Puzzle of the Week #022

Our last puzzle proved a bit of a thronker, with only one real solution proffered by the mighty Hammer faithful.

It’s Adam “Pickle” Cranson who takes the plaudits – congratulations! – with the following line:

  1. Nc6! Qc7 2. Re7!! – Winning the Queen for Rook & Bishop, with an easily won position.

This was from a game in 1954, Bykova v Kogan, at a Moscow-Ukraine match. Taken from The Soviet School of Chess, by Kotov and Yudovich, which apparently does actually contain some decent chess, amongst all the Soviet propaganda! East-side!!!

To this week’s thinker – white to move and win, answers in the comments:

Puzzle of the Week #021

Straight down to business this week – last week’s puzzle generated a lot of responses (not all of them from Charlie!). It wasn’t until our very own Irish Ace – PaulDead EyeKennelly – got in on the act, that order was restored and the correct solution proffered.

Yes, the not-immediately-obvious 1.Rd7! was correct! Black resigned due to the line …Qxd7 2. Qxh5, gxh5 3.Bh7#

Rd7 was necessary as after an immediate Qxh5, black has the defence Qxh2+

Congratulations Paul!

To this week’s puzzle then… White to play – answers in the comments please:


The Dutch & The Irish Weekender

Question: What connects Amsterdam, Cork, and Hammersmith?

Stumped? Then read on…

The Irish tricolour, the national flag of Ireland, comprises of three colours – green, white and orange. A flag which carries huge symbolism.

The colour Green represents the Catholic and Republican population, and Orange that of the Protestant community. Orange is a colour long associated with the Netherlands through the name of the Royal Family (e.g. William of Orange) and is also worn proudly by the country’s sporting stars. White is one of the constituent colours of the Union Flag and coincidentally happens to be the surname of the author of this report.

There must be a connection….. of course – it is chess!!

If only the common history of Ireland, the Netherlands and England could have been worked out on the 64 squares, where would we be now?

Yes, after enjoying the magnificent generosity of the chess clubs of Espion and Cork, it was Hammer’s turn to play host in a weekend festival of chess. The designated weekend was agreed: the 22nd to 24th of June, and Hammer had to deliver.

At this stage the whole of Hammer Chess Club must thank the Hammersmith & Fulham Council, who enthusiastically backed the idea.

The format of the weekend was quickly agreed with the following key points:

  • A casual Friday night drink with some blitz
  • Saturday morning a long-play game followed by a blitz tourney and ending the chess activities with a chess-based quiz
  • A typical British meal Saturday evening – it had to be curry!
  • To round things off, on Sunday morning a mass simultaneous where our guests and selected Hammers would take on Hammer legend GM Keith Arkell

Now last year, in Amsterdam, the Hammer crew were not very cooperative guests and dominated the long-play match, inflicting a heavy defeat – there was also the recent match for the Ring of Cork that had ended in deadlock. The scent of revenge was in the air and the fact that both the Netherlands and Ireland were not at the World Cup weighed heavily (only joking… or not?!?).

First things first it was so good to catch up with Raymond and the thirteen other Espion boys on the Friday night – it served as a huge reminder of the real friendship between our clubs and the power of chess to break down barriers (are you listening Theresa May??). A bit of blitz was played and we were joined by GM Keith and had a brilliant evening. No thoughts of the deadly combat to follow the next day.

We gathered the next morning in the Anvil at the unearthly hour of 9am – snacks and coffee were consumed and everybody got their game-face together. Mark from Cork also joined us in good time.

Speeches by Wily, Raymond and Mark were well-received and an exchange of gifts was conducted.

Clueless very gratefully accepted a photo-collage of our Amsterdam weekend from Raymond, and Mark brought half of the Ring of Cork and a T-Shirt with a logo proclaiming the “Republic of Cork”. Hammer really needs to invest in a trophy cabinet, methinks.

A special edition of the Espion chess magazine – entitled the “Magazine with No Name” was also distributed with a serious quiz challenge with an awesome prize – a bottle of Dutch gin. Where would Hogarth and the rest of the English be without the Dutch – a G&T, the absolute definition of an English tipple is, in fact, all down to the Dutch!!!

[Famously, after the Glorious Revolution, in an effort to wipe out the profitable French Brandy trade, Dutch Gin – deriving from the Dutch word ‘jenever’ for it’s main botanical ingredient, Juniper – was introduced to these Isles, with deadly consequences!]

Hogarth’s celebrated ‘Gin Alley’

Clueless revealed the Tri-Club trophy that would be the prize for the forthcoming match. Hopefully, this will be contested annually!

Finally, we got to the serious chess business. There were two morning events, both run simultaneously.

An elite clock simul saw GM Keith take on some of the cream of Hammer – the Great Dane (Carsten), Zeus (Marios), Sydney (Chris S), Brexit (Jeremy) and Alexander (The Future).

This was a tough assignment with GM Keith taking on an average of ECF 176 – with only really 20 minutes thinking time at each board. This was a fascinating challenge, which ended with Keith scoring three wins and two losses.

He blundered against our Great Dane, and his King endured a long pursuit over an open chessboard. Credit to Keith for keeping it going for so long when many of us would have walked away.

He then scored two typical “Arkell-esque” wins with his superb endgame technique as Sydney and Zeus fell to the legend.

The Future has real talent and in a spectacular game went so close to causing an upset, however the sheer experience of Keith saw him through.

Finally, as in real life, all eyes turned to Brexit. The Hammer version, unlike DD and the rest, gets stuff done – there is no MAY about it, he just carries on – but, as opposed to our miserable politicians – with purpose and fortitude.

With time running out and a theoretical win on the board that was a serious endgame study, Keith generously resigned. He then demonstrated the various manoeuvres required to prosecute the win but was so gracious and complimentary of our Jezza’s play. Yep, Brexit had done it… again.

The main event saw the pride of Hammer take on the combined might of Espion and Cork. Two vs. one… not bad odds.

First, the caveats…

Pickle was suffering from the mother of the morning-after-the-night-before sydnromes. Clueless was a late substitute when Safi pulled out with 30 minutes to the start. A black cat crossed my path that morning, I walked under several ladders and saw two magpies – the omens were not good – these are all real life alternative facts!!

If you believe the hogwash in the last paragraph then you obviously have the gift of Trumpism and believe that fairies are real.

The Hammer boys, in the immortal words of a famous Norwegian football commentator, took a bit of a beating.

The match card cannot disguise the fact that Hammer were not only Double-Dutched, but were also given a decent chess Mickey Finn.

The scoreboard makes painful reading.

There were some good individual results with Dead-Eye (Paul K), Sorted (Charlie), Wannabe (Ken) and Vintage (Shiraz) scoring good wins.

Clueless did his usual trick of blowing a positional edge with the very rash g4, resigning shortly afterwards… just desperate.

Things were looking even down to Board 10, but then a string of 5 wins took the Espion/Cork boys out of sight. Revenge is definitely a dish best served cold. The worst thing was they are all such nice people and gracious in victory.

Raymond, his Espion colleagues and Mark had delivered a lesson that will not be forgotten. Hammer were down but not out.

The afternoon session gave a great chance to recapture some dignity with a 34-man Swiss rapid tourney – and GM Keith participating but having a time handicap to even things out. Pickle was at the helm and did a magnificent job.

The one thing that can be said is blitz chess runs through the veins of every true Hammerite and the final tale of the tape saw the Hammer boys grab some much-needed dignity back.

The Legend that is Keith Arkell won despite his time handicap with 6 Hammers and 3 Espion players making up the top 10. This was poor man’s fare for Hammer, but at least heads were lifted and we could exit the Anvil with some pride restored.

The next part of the activities involved dividing into teams for the “Magnus Carsten Mastermind” chess quiz at The Albion – with the Great Dane reveling in his ability to find the most obscure questions relating to our brilliant sport. This was great fun and my knowledge of obscure openings and Chess facts was impressively expanded, and that alone was worth it!

To say things got feisty would be an understatement – indeed the banter and calling-out reached rarefied levels. The favourites were definitely team Raykell (Raymond’s team had GM Keith) – if you have a GM in your team things have got to go your way!

Clueless, in an exercise that would put even FIDE or FIFA to shame, blatantly engineered the result with team Raykell being leap-frogged at the end by Sorted’s band of Merry Men after the aware of the dubious bonus. This was a rigged result but who really cared – it was just huge fun.

Around 6pm all departed the Albion and proceeded to the Miram Masala, via Tesco for essential alcohol supplies, where all consumed an excellent buffet and chatted the night away. It was just a perfect example of chess camaraderie. The night ended with friendships renewed, expanded and started – just a brilliant time.

The next day started early with Wily, Sorted and Clueless on table/chair transfer duty from the Anvil to Better Gym. The two lads did a sterling job and all was ready for the challenge. Yes, the cream of Amsterdam, Cork and Hammer would be taking on GM Keith “The Legend” Arkell in a 26-board simultaneous.

For the amateur players this is a rare chance to take on a GM over the board with a decent change of getting a result.

In a superb demonstration of stamina, chess skill and just downright willpower over the course of three hours, Keith won 23, drew 2, and lost 1. The sole winner was Roland who played an outstanding game and scored a thoroughly deserved victory.

The answer to the question posed by Espion in the Magazine with No Name – a field in Northern France, Espion and Hammersmith – the point is equi-distant. This signaled the end of the chess weekend and the parting of ways.

It achieved so much and there are far too many people to thank, but here goes:

  • Raymond and the Espion boys who made the journey – our bond has grown stronger
  • To Mark from Cork Chess Club, who delivered the cleaved “Ring of C-orc-dor”
  • To Eva and Andy whose vital help secured the grant from Hammersmith and Fulham
  • To the moving firm – Sorted and Wily independent Traders – who got the furniture to the gym venue on time and back. They solved so many problems
  • To all the Hammer boys who took part and got involved – particularly Wyatt, Marios and the Hammer Lytton washing-up team
  • Adam (Pickle) who ran the blitz tourney superbly
  • Dawn and the Lytton Residents association who were so helpful
  • The incomparable Carsten – whose torturous and mind-boggling questions added a brilliant dimension
  • Finally, to the Legend GM Keith Arkell who helped make it an unforgettable weekend

Clueless signing off, but promising that 2019 will have a tough act to follow, but it will be bigger AND BETTER!!!

Have a great Summer,

Clueless (aka John).

Puzzle of the Week #020

Our previous puzzle appears to have been a bit of a tricky one, with only one solution submitted, although that was the correct one (and correctly described as “delicious“). Congratulations goes to Marios!

It was a great study from a brilliant woman, Judit Polar – generally considered the strongest female player of all time. Taken from a 1998 game against Vishy Anand, and featured in a book: “Judit Polar: The Princess of Chess”.

The full game is worth a look (puzzle starts on move 54):


So to this week’s offering. White to play and win!

Answers in the comments please.

The Fellowship of the Hammer – Corking in C-Orc-dor

[Official Warning – This report contains graphic passages on alcohol abuse and requires a knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkein’s masterpiece – The Lord of The Rings]

Yes, the official chess season was done and dusted and that could only mean one thing – the Hammer Crew were once again off on their foreign quest in search of beer, pubs, friendship, fun and a bit of chess. The Hammer 2018 tour party was primed and ready – the only question was where to go?

The chosen city of our munificence was the beautiful city of C-Orc-dor, set in the South West of the Emerald Isle in the ancient province of Munster. The prize was to destroy the legendary Ring of Cork and secure peace and friendship forever. A noble quest if there ever was one.

The chief protagonists in this cabal were Mark Watkins, aka Mark Gamgee, Chairman of C-Orc-dor Chess Club, and John White, aka Clueless Baggins, the Hammer emissary. A covert meeting was held on the 28th December 2017 in a dubious inn on the quayside in C-Orc-Dor. The two men quickly agreed dates and the format over a few beers and several casual games of chess. The deal was done and the challenge was on.

By plane, train, automobile and boat, the Hammer Fellowship arrived in Cork on Friday the 8th June. The Fellowship were given special codenames for this quest by Clueless – their familiar designations are also given below:

  • Chairman Bajrush – Wily – aka Aragorn
  • Ryzsard – Breslau – Eomer
  • Chris Skulte – Sydney – Gimli
  • Wyatt – Gandalf, and surprisingly… still Gandalf
  • Dipender – Mr Dipendable – Elrond
  • Shiraz – Vintage – Pippin
  • Chris Moore – RU Serious – Faramir
  • Mike – Mad Dog – Merry
  • Paul K – Dead Eye – Legolas [Ed – genius.. ]
  • Eva – Athena – Eowyn
  • John – Clueless – Clueless Baggins

This tale starts with a simple fact. The beautiful city of Cork is definitely not Mordor – it is simply stunning, with pubs, bars, restaurants and music galore. There is craic to be had everywhere and the people of this proud city are hugely welcoming and friendly.

The Fellowship assembled at the home of C-Orc-Dor Chess Club on the Friday after dumping their luggage at various places around the city. Clueless Baggins on behalf of the Fellowship presented a certificate to Mark Gamgee that declared everlasting friendship would be the goal, but we were there to win the Ring of Cork.

The C-Orc-Dor Chess venue is truly stunning with panoramic views of the River Lee and plenty of space to play. A genuine and relaxed atmosphere was established and all settled down to enjoy lots of bliss, chess and getting to know our new friends.

The leader of the Fellowship, Aragorn, was in great form and as the night wore on rallied the Hammer boys and urged them to great deeds in the two long-play matches scheduled for the following day.

As the night drew to a close the Fellowship dispersed with certain Hammers seeking alcoholic and musical entertainment. The inn that drew most of the attention went by the Gaelic name of Sin E (a very quaint quayside bar with a musical bent) – the raiding party consisted of Gimli, Aragorn, Eomer and Clueless and they were joined by Eowyn. A good few Stouts were consumed – as is well documented, alcohol can raise the courage levels. The music provided the perfect backdrop but travel fatigue took its toll and the Hammers hit the sack with a vengeance.

The following morning C-Orc-Dor greeted us with brilliant sunshine and the Fellowship gathered to take on the challenge of a morning long-play game. The fate of the contest would be decided over two ten-board contests – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The morning Hammer line-up in Board Order was:

Eomer, Gimli, Aragorn, Legolas, Clueless Baggins, Eowny, Faramir, Elrond, Pippin and Gandalf.

Before battle commenced, welcoming speeches and gifts were exchanged, and the Ring of Cork was revealed. Whether it would be a source of discord or harmony was to be determined…

My precious!!!

The games were played under time incremental conditions. In this tense morning session, the contest swung backwards and forwards, with both clubs at different stages holding the edge.

This was the tale of the morning session:

All the games were closely contested with a real, epic heavyweight contest on board One with Eomer (Ryszard) holding a slight edge – huge complications then ensued and the outcome of the contest hung in the balance. In a hard-fought game Eomer could not hold it down and went down in flames – a real battle of Helms Deep proportions.

The Hammer Fellowship heroes were Gandalf (Wyatt), Pippin (Shiraz), Paul (Legolas) and Aragorn (Bajrush) who all scored excellent wins. Whilst Baggins (Clueless), Elrond (Dipender) and Gimli (Chris S) stayed true and solid to the quest and drew. There were tough losses for Eowyn (Eva) and Faramir (Chris) – like the Lord of the Rings they were united in their bravery.

The Fellowship had sneaked a 5.5-4.5 win – a truce was called and both teams regrouped and took on board refreshments ready for the afternoon struggle.

If it was possible, the afternoon session was even more intensely fought with the fate of the Ring coming down to the last game to finish.

Ryszard (Eomer) was under severe pressure, facing multiple threats, but as time pressure came into play, kept his cool and started finding consistently strong moves that challenged his opponent. In a battle of nerves and skill he held out and gained a great revenge win.

Chris (Gimli) was in awesome form and when that is the case, a win usually ensues – he did not disappoint. Hammer at 2-0

The Fellowship heroes of the morning, Aragorn (Bajrush) and Legolas (Paul K) both suffered afternoon reverses with their opponents playing excellent forcing chess that merited two deserved wins. It was getting tense at two points apiece.

Clueless Baggins was involved in a real struggle having punted a Budapest gambit, and with forceful play had established a definite edge. As is common with Baggins, he has issues converting positional advantages into a win. Pushing hard for victory, he let his worthy opponent off the hook and went down in flames.

Both Faramir (Chris M) and Gandalf (Wyatt) scored excellent wins against stronger opponents. Indeed with his heroics this weekend Wyatt has emerged as Gandalf the White and definitely not Grey. A tremendous performance by both men.

Two more losses were suffered by Elrond (Dipender) and Merry (Mike) with both Fellowship heroes fighting to the last. Hammer down 5-4 and on the ropes.

All eyes turned to the final encounter which would decide the destiny of the Ring of Cork – a win for either Cork or Hammer in this game, and the Ring would stay intact and balance would not be found. A draw would see the Ring of Cork broken and divided.

All eyes turned to Pippin.

No pressure

In a great struggle Pippin (Shiraz) ended up in a  rook and pawn endgame that really went down to the last pawn. He had a winning line, that he failed to see in time pressure, and the game petered out to a draw.

Definitely no pressure at all…

This meant that the overall match was drawn and the Ring of Cork would be cleaved in two and its spell broken! Harmony and balance would triumph and both clubs would be forever bound in friendship.

In the end, Fellowship won and the great chess clubs of Cork and Hammer will always be bound by friendship, an appreciation of beer, and a mutual love of the noble game of chess.

With the serious business done and dusted both clubs ambled along to the Franciscan Well brewery, where with the burden of combat already a distant memory, beer, chat and chess endured long into the night. There is nothing like copious amounts of good beer and pizza to create a brilliant night.

Friendships were formed and will endure.

I have vague memories of leaving The Well at about 1am in the company of those ill-reputes: Bajrush, Chris S, Ryszard and Wyatt, in search of another bar. Cork City was still buzzing.

There was definitely more beer and shots consumed and somewhere around 3am Ryszard, Bajrush and I surrendered and sought our way back home. Wyatt and Chris went in search of more entertainment – I can only admire their capacity and stamina.

The following morning Chris S missed his flight – a definite case of the effects of over-indulgence, while the remnants of the Fellowship gathered for the last hurrah at the Cork Chess Club. A blitz tourney had been arranged as a parting gift – from a medical perspective one of the best antidotes to excessive beer consumption and hangovers!

In an excellent tourney, First Place was taken by Ryszard with the critical encounter against Bajrush proving a mesmerising battle. In the end Ryszard won and deservedly took first place.

We thanked our hosts – they had put on a brilliant chess and social weekend that will live long in the memory, and departed on the best of terms. Real kudos should go to Mark and the Cork Chess Committee.

This is where the tale should end, but some of the Fellowship decided to wander the streets of Cork City, take in a meal, consume the odd drink before, before heading for the airport and home.

Honour had been satisfied – we had also had the very best of weekends. There will be further adventures to come.

Here ends the tale of the Fellowship of Hammer.

Summer Chess League – Launch Night – June 19th

Ladies & Gents, the Summer League is almost upon us!

It all kicks off next Tuesday evening from 7pm at Battersea’s home venue – The Battersea Labour Club, down on Falcon Road, a mere 5 minute stroll from Clapham Junction station.

Remember, the Summer League is a bit different from the usual staid and sometimes stuffy atmosphere of most league chess, and the launch night will be no different – it’s going to be a chess extravaganza! With fully 26 teams this year (yes, twenty-six – that’s not a typo!!), Summer Chess has gone London-wide, with entries from all over the city.

First up, GM Simon “The Ginger GM” Williams, will be providing one of his entertaining & equally insightful lectures for the audience. This will be followed by a blitz tournament, a Chess-themed quiz, and a series of puzzles.

It’s going to be massive!

Importantly – if you are planning on coming along, you need to ensure you complete the doodle below so that the Battersea folks can manage numbers & ensure everyone gets to take part. It takes all of 20 seconds to complete:


Sign up to ensure you don’t miss out – it’s going to be a great evening!

And remember, the rest of the game nights are as follows – your captain should already have been in touch to check availability. If not, just drop us a line!

The 2018 Summer Programme

Get excited! Our Summer Programme is back for 2018, bigger & better than ever! We will be upstairs at The Albion every Monday night this Summer, putting on a host of different activities:

Training Sessions

The club’s top players will be hosting a total of SIX training sessions throughout the Summer. Specific details will be announced nearer the time, but we already have some great things scheduled.

ECF-accredited coach, Paul McKeown, will host a pair of sessions (9th July & 30th July) focused on “Calculation and visualization with Michael Tal” – each session aimed at different strength players, though as with all our events, everybody is welcome.

Two of our strongest players – Jim Stevenson, and Carsten Pedersen – will be taking a session each. Jim will be focusing on “Practical Thinking Skills” (25th June), using illustrations from classic Bobby Fischer games. Meanwhile, Carsten will be providing his expert analysis on some games submitted by members (23rd July) – you’re invited to submit 3 or 4 games each, at least one win and one loss, and Carsten will take us through some of the more instructive ones.

(For those not in the know, our Jim is also an avid user of Twitter, and is well worth a follow: @Jimovskytwenty3 – some fabulous chess analysis & musings on life!)

And another ECF-accredited coach, Tony Niccoli, will be taking a session on 20th August. Details TBC at the moment, but those who came to Tony’s session earlier in the season will recall what a well-run and instructive evening that was.

History Lecture

As well as the training, Carsten will be providing us with a fascinating lecture on the History of Chess, for general interest on 13th August.


After the amazing success of similar events last Summer, our Tournament wizard Adam, will be organizing three more events this year:

  • Team Rapidplay (2nd July) – attendees will be split into four teams and play one rapidplay game against each of the others. Prizes to the winning team!
  • Handicap Blitz (3rd Sept) – a straight up Blitz tourney played out in traditional Hammer handicap style
  • Bughouse (16th July) – This chess variant is great fun and hugely popular. Players will be paired according to grade and fight it out for the grand prize
Some of last years tournament winners, with prizes!!
Pub Crawl

Arguably the highlight of Summer 2017 – this year’s Kensington pub crawl will incorporate even more pubs, with plenty of chess along the way. Save the date – 6th August!

Club Nights

The powers that be have selfishly littered a few Monday nights with big football games and bank holidays. No problem! Come along to The Albion anyway and there’s sure to be plenty of like-minded folks around to play some chess.

Summer League

And don’t forget – as well as all this, there are also 6 Tuesday evenings of Summer League Chess down at Battersea Chess Club (5 mins from Clapham Junction). We are entering even more teams this year, so there’ll be loads of competitive chess to play!

Full details of all events below, and on our Club Calendar:

Stop the Press!! Hold the Front Page!!!

The Hammersmith Blitz Champion 2017-18

After the shortest AGM in Hammer history, the hammerites got down to the fun part of the evening – the final leg of our three-tourney-cycle to determine the Handicap Blitz Champion of the Club for the 2017-18 season.

Twenty-three of the best of our club entered this final round with the two blitz gurus of the club, Chairman Bajrush, and Carsten, vying for top dog status. They were #1 and #2 in the rankings after the first two rounds and surely one of them would emerge as the champion?

However, matters were not so simple, with 23 points up for grabs for first place in this final round.

Without further ado I can announce that the winner of the third-round of the Blitz Tourney with a perfect 8/8 was Tony Niccoli.

Not only that, but he also seized the overall title as well with this superhuman performance that propelled him into first place. A stunning score of 43.5 points.

In second place was new member Thomas, with a total of 42.5 points – another epic performance.

In third and fourth respectively were bookies favourites, Carsten and  Bajrush.

The best result of the night was Robin Lee, who finished joint 5th despite being ranked 15th – a really stellar performance.

A big vote of thanks must go to Adam who ran the tournament really well and used the software expertly to keep matters rolling along.

So, we have a new champion – yet another sign of all the changes happening in our vibrant club – roll on next season! The best is yet to come.

The tournament results in full:

Puzzle of the Week #018… plus FREE GM Simul!

It has officially been one month since our previous Puzzle of the “Week”, so without further ado, the winner from our previous Puzzle is….

Charlie (aka. Sorted) & Adam (aka. Pickle), both of whom were correct, albeit with ever-so-slightly different styles of responding! Honours shared this time – congrats to both excellent solutions.

2. exd5, Rxd1+
3. Ke2, Rxd5

The puzzle was taken from Sokolov-Thogersen, Rilton Cup 2018. White should now have continued with Rxb7 with reasonable drawing chances but Sokolov played Bxa7 and eventually lost, securing his opponent a well deserved FM title.

The position was from the weekly column in the Danish newspaper Fyens Stiftidende, a personal tribute to their long standing chess correspondent Niels Erik Neilsen, who is recovering from a recent stroke.

Our puzzle-setter in chief, Carsten, has known Niels Erik for almost 40 years, so I’m sure we all join Carsten in collectively sending Niels Erik our best wishes too!

On to this week’s offering then – White to move and draw! Answers in the comments please:


And Finally…

If that’s not enough for you, our friends over at Battersea Chess Club will be hosting GM Danny Gormally for a Simultaneous exhibition next week – and it’s FREE to enter!

The details you need to know:

  • Where? Battersea’s Home Venue – Battersea Labour Club, 81-83 Falcon Road, SW11 2PF. It’s next to Clapham Junction Station
  • When? Kicks off at 7.30pm
  • Who? GM Danny Gormally, currently rated 2484!
  • Contact? Reserve your spot by emailing Aldo: aldocamilleri@aol.com

Battersea have generously reserved a number of spots just for us Hammers, so you’ll be guaranteed a place – you just need to drop Aldo an email to confirm first.

The Hammersmith League Finale

The inaugural Hammersmith League came to a dramatic conclusion last Monday at the Anvil – with three teams in with a shout for the title.

In pole position the SW Juniors, followed closely by the Hammerheads and the Circus. Battersea were playing for pride and honour.

That doyen of football analysts, Alan Hansen in 1995, after watching a young Manchester United team crash in their opening game of the season opined, “You can’t win anything with kids”.

He was subsequently proved wrong by those same kids when they secured the Premier League title later that season. Not the first time a pundit had egg on their face. I must confess when looking at the teams this season in the Hammersmith League I thought the winner would come from Hammersmith or Battersea.

The SW Juniors would be gallant participants but older wise heads would rule the day.

Show you how much I know!!!

Before I get to the bones of the finale I must correct an error in the table of the last report. I got the points plus wrong, so here is how things actually stood before the last round:

The SW Juniors were flying high and “just” needed to win their last match to secure the first Hammersmith Rapid League Table.

The final pairings were as follows:

  • SW Juniors v Hammer Circus
  • Battersea v Hammerheads

To the second match first. Battersea have had a tough tournament and were in all reality only playing for pride. However, our noisy neighbours are not ones to go down without a fight, and in an excellent display inflicted a decisive defeat on the Hammerheads:

A great performance that took the Hammerheads out of the title race and restored a lot of pride to Battersea.

This meant the destination of the title was down to the SW Juniors match against the Hammer Circus.

I can report exclusively for the Hammer website that the Juniors stayed strong and are deserved first champions of the Hammersmith Rapid League. Many congratulations to them!

Clueless has joined Alan Hansen with egg on his face!!

The scoresheet reads as follows:

Only Adi for the Circus held the line and won his individual match.

The SW Junior heavyweights Alexander and Nadhmi were in dominating form and scored a clean sweep. Both Connal and Charlie delivered the extra points needed to secure the win and the title.

The SW Juniors are champions and it proves kids can win championships. Their coach Tony Niccoli deserves great credit for their result.

My only advice to my fellow Hammerites is watch out! These kids are good and they are coming.

The final table and standings are as follows:

On a final note I must pick out Alexander Jamieson as player of the tournament with an ultra-impressive 6/6, a definite start of the future.

Roll on next year and hopefully we can have even more teams competing!