El Chessico – The Result!

Tuesday evening saw the second and deciding leg of our Summer double-header against Battersea Chess Club, dubbed “El Chessico” by those in the know. We had the pleasure of visiting their home venue – Battersea Labour Club – and what a venue it is!

A lovely centre near Clapham Junction with ample room, audio visuals, and pints from £2.35!! Mike Mackenzie was overheard describing it as “a hell of a drum”. Our hosts were equally hospitable – I’m planning my return trip as we speak!

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The Battersea Labour Club – rumoured to serve the cheapest pints in SW London

Down to business though – the 15-board return leg was fabulously well organised – credit to Aldo & the Battersea folks for the arrangements. It was an even match up across all boards and the game played out accordingly, with a handful of games going right down to the wire.

It could easily have gone either way, but by the end of the evening the teams couldn’t be separated and the match ended drawn at 7.5-7.5, handing Hammersmith a win over the two legs, 1.5-0.5.

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A full house – 15 boards of chess!
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Simon Cowell turned up with a glass of Pinot Grigio

A few of the Hammersmith results deserve a shout out – firstly to Paolo for winning on his competitive debut for the club; Jorge also picked up another win in his second outing for us; Chris continued his excellent form with yet another result!; Carsten secured a tasty victory with a 10 move forced combination, and Jeremy secured a hard-fought win after a hair-raising struggle in the middle game (described as “a humdinger of a game”!). John, Pavel and Paul all with creditable draws in the mix too.

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Thanks again to our hosts and opponents, and to everyone who turned out over the two legs (27 boards in total – quite a feat!). Well done to Hammersmith for the narrow victory, and here’s to making this an annual fixture!!

Battersea’s match report can be found here.

 

Hammersmith vs Battersea

Save the dates!! We have agreed to hold a 12-board double-header against Battersea Chess Club in July, with one game at our Summer venue in The Albion on Monday 18th, followed by a game at Battersea’s home venue on Tuesday 26th. It’s a great opportunity to get a chess fix during the close season, and should be a competitive pair of games against London’s oldest chess club.

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The games will be ECF graded and we’ll be playing London League (Quick Play) rules on all boards – so no adjournments. A great opportunity for all members, including those new to competitive chess. We have asked Battersea to put out an even spread of graded players so that we can have some relatively even match ups.

It’s an open invite and free to all members – if you’re interested in playing please leave a message below, drop us an email, or contact your team captain. Promises to be a great pair of evenings with some competitive chess which we’re really looking forward to!

Dates: Monday 18th July, Tuesday 26th July
Venues: Albion Pub, Battersea Chess Club
Details: London League Quick Play Rules, 12 Boards, ECF rated

1975 Club Championship Game

A treat from the archives this evening – Club Secretary Mike Mackenzie managed to dig out this classic from 1975 – the same year we saw the Thriller in Manilla, Thatcher became leader of the Tories, and Aston Villa were even a good club back then, winning the League Cup final!

Reigning Club Champion (since 1962!!) John Rogers – rated 200 ECF! – faced our late Chairman John White – rated 148 ECF – in the deciding game of the Club Championship.

On paper an easy victory for John Rogers and should’ve been a 13th straight Club Championship for him. Could the young upstart unseat him?

Click here to find out!

Theory & Practice Session – May 23rd

A reminder folks – we hold our next FREE theory & practice session at our club venue on Monday 23rd May, starting from 7.30pm.

As usual it is open to anyone who would like to join us – we’ll have a session involving some theory, and in-depth game analysis, followed by a bit of putting it into practice. If you’d like your game to be considered for analysis, please bring it along! One of our top club players will be hosting and we’ll have our usual selection of tea, coffee and other refreshments on hand.

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Our previous session saw a fantastic turnout – no less than 17 people turned up including a number of new faces. It would be great to see some more new faces (and familiar ones of course!) this coming Monday – hope to see you there!!

A Newbie’s Guide to League Chess in London

Club membership – Paid.
ECF Membership – Sorted.
Played some games at your club to prove you know your way round the board – Done.

Now what?

Now you’re ready to play some London League chess, of course!

That’s where it started for me 3 years ago. It’s been at times bewildering, exhilarating, and sometimes just downright confusing (How did I just lose on time??), but I hope this post serves as a reasonable guide to assuage any doubts for those thinking about taking the plunge.

My first game was a memorable ride. Turning up at the ascribed venue near Euston station, I’d arrived early – eager to impress, clearly! – but it wasn’t hard to spot the chess crowd milling around. Nervous tension palpable, a slight sense of foreboding overcame me – how would I remember to write down each move correctly (harder than you might think when the board is un-annotated and you’re playing black!), press the clock, whilst trying not to embarrass myself on the board? Surely all new players go through the same set of thoughts, fears and emotions, I tried to reassure myself.

Thankfully my team captain was already there and helpfully pointed out where I should be sitting. The respective captains toss a coin to decide who picks which colour on the top board. The other boards then alternate down from that, as does the slow/quick play timing. It’s worth reminding yourself of the difference in the timing regimes and other rules of play before you start – I’ve won and lost cheaply through not knowing the details properly.

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Typical league chess board setup with scoresheets and clocks

With my opponent and I in situ and apparently ready to go, there’s the awkward wait for the allotted start time to arrive. Do you engage your opponent in conversation? It doesn’t appear to be the done thing but some are more receptive to it than others. One thing that’s useful to do at this point is ensure you have written your opponents name and the other details of the match down correctly on your match sheet.

A general murmur of excitement builds, the home captain might make a quick announcement about mobile phones, and you’re ready to start. A quick shake of your opponents hand – mumble a “good luck” while you do it – and you’re off.

I will admit, I spent most of my first game panicking about making a spectacular blunder. Check, double check, triple check every move and position – diagonals for bishops, potential forks for knights, discovered checks, any obvious intermezzos I’ve missed? The stress level and heart rate were both pretty high. I can’t really remember too much of the detail but after about 4 moves I was way off any openings I knew about (admittedly not saying much, but my opponent employed the English opening – 1.c4, rare enough for a beginner like me I think). Somehow I was able to convince myself it’s fine; just play your game and don’t worry too much about anything else.

I don’t remember the sequence of moves or my thought process at the time, but I ended up with an advanced knight threatening the squares near his King, with my Queen poised to move forward next move and check him. Surely this couldn’t be check mate, I thought, as I sat there pondering the combinations and desperately hoping my opponent wouldn’t make the obvious defensive move to repel me? The excitement and pressure at a moment like that can be quite intense. My mouth was dry, my right leg hopelessly twitching in nervous response to the sudden burst of adrenaline as I contemplated victory against a respectably strong player in my maiden game for my club.

The overriding thought was to double, triple, quadruple check to ensure I wasn’t leaving the back door open to a disastrous failed attack. Breathe and relax, write your move down and await your opponents response.

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An eight board London League Match

One notable difference in face to face chess versus that played over the internet or on my phone, is that your opponent nearly always finds the right move to deny your thrilling combination. Your considered sacrifice resolves to vain, inglorious defeat. You quickly learn to leave your Mikhail Tal impression at home and more often play the dull – but safe – move. On balance this is where results are found in the London League. Very rarely does the frivolous attack lead to victory.

Not today though.

Beginners luck perhaps but my opponent failed to spot the threat, making a move of little consequence. I tried – and mostly failed – to nonchalantly advance my Queen, dispatching my opponents King with aplomb. I stumbled slightly in announcing “check mate” (as is de rigour when one achieves it), not entirely convinced of my own victory. After a brief pause to assess the position my opponent looked up and mumbled “Uhm… I didn’t spot that”, conceding defeat with the offer of a hand to shake.

What normally passes after a game has finished is the stilted assessment by bother players in hushed tones, offering advice or pointing out where victory/defeat was achieved. Aside from annoying your neighbouring players (and thus often having to de-camp to the nearest empty room), these little chess vignettes can be remarkably useful in understanding how you played, where you could have made better moves, or what the expected response to a certain opening was. It can be a good opportunity to get into the mind of your opponent too – they will often have assessed a situation quite differently to what you may have. On occasion I’ve had my opponent point out where I missed an opportunity for check-mate. Now that is frustrating!

As a relatively hardened pro I now tend to shy away from assessing my defeats with my opponent – pretty poor on my part this – but I do enjoy replaying the occasional game that was particularly enjoyable and close fought. I prefer to analyse my games a few days later with a book or two and perhaps a computer to aide me. I’ve found it one of the best ways to learn opening theory and spot holes or missed opportunities in my performance – though admittedly my current grade (92 ECF) does not reflect this!

Regardless of the outcome you can always be sure of learning something about the game in a face to face match. It may not be the fluid attacking combo you were hoping for, executing that opening you’ve been studying for weeks, or ruining your opponent in a 20-move blitz of style and sophistication, but even old pros get a bit of luck occasionally.

You can see my full “analysis” of that game here. Enjoy!
– Andy.

Training Night – April 25th

Last night at Lytton Hall the club had its latest training session, hosted by club Chairman Bajrush.  The session had two parts.  In the first part Bajrush presented some common positions featuring rook vs rook and pawn, and posed to us how a win (or draw) could be forced.

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In the second part of the session, the club was split into two teams: Knights and Bishops.  Each player lined up against someone from the other team and played three moves each on a board, then moved with their opponent to play three moves on the next board, which had already been played on by a different pair.  A pair of players would drop out when one checkmated the other. 

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This session was great fun and forced everyone to examine positions they might not be familiar with.  In the end the session finished in a 3-3 tie.  The debate over which is stronger out of the Knight and the Bishop will continue!

Upcoming Training: Rook Endgames, and Knights vs Bishops!

Save the date: Monday 25th April, starting 7.45pm at our home venue!

This Monday evening our Chairman Bajrush will be leading us through a session on Rook endgames at the training board. Anecdotally this is probably one of the more common endgames you’re likely to come across in a face to face game, or online, so it’ll be very useful for all who attend. At this stage in the game the advantage can switch very easily and it’s valuable to know any tactics that can help sway things your way.

This will be followed by an interactive game of Knights v Rooks, where we’ll have two teams playing each other with players taking turns to make moves. Hopefully this will give everyone the chance to sense the positions and discuss possible moves – really get us thinking about the lines to play and combinations. Should be fun!!

As ever, the session will be free and open to anyone who wants to come along – just drop us a line first so we know to expect you. It’d be great to see you there!!

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2016 @ 6:28 pm

Hammersmith Chess Club – March 2016 Report

By Club Secretary, Mike Mackenzie.

March was a busy month for the club on all fronts, with eight league games and a couple of events down at the club. Here’s a quick recap:

Monday 29th February – The club took advantage of a match-free evening at our home venue to host another training session run by club Chairman, Bajrush Kelmendi.

The previous week’s session proved a great success and was very well attended, hence we had another good turnout tonight. Opening theory and Endgames were the order of the day, admirably presented by Bajrush. He also covered Pawn structures in depth, passed pawns, isolated and doubled pawns, which was enlightening. Bajrush then shifted to a couple of his own personal games that were good examples of the evenings themes.

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Our Chairman, on closing the event, revealed that he had a special opening of his own creation which he uses against all opponents when playing White. What is it? Well, you’ll have to play him and draw the Black pieces to find out! Members were so impressed with it that one team captain is going to adopt the setup next time he has white!!

I think we need to patent this opening and give it a name. Therefore, anyone that attended the session please think of a suitable name – suggestions in the comments at the bottom of the article, or by email. I will start off by naming it “The Mixed Grill”!! Very suitable I believe.

Thursday 3rd March – London League Division 4, Team 1
Hammersmith v Wanstead 2
Another win for Hammersmith, 5-3. The team is pushing hard for promotion – latest position as follows:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

7

6

1

0

6.5

1st

Monday 7th March – Thames Valley League
Hammersmith A v Hounslow A
This was a thumping win for Hammersmith, 4.5-2.5. The team looks strong in this division too with 3 wins, 3 draws, and just 1 defeat:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

8

5

1

2

5.5

2nd

Tuesday 8th March – London League Division 6
Hammersmith v Greater London
A nice win from Hammersmith on GLCC’s home turf, 2.5-1.5. We are tied for 1st place in the division with Battersea, who we play on 31st March. Latest position as follows:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

6

4

1

1

4.5

Tied for 1st

Thursday 10th March – London League Division 4, Team 2
Hammersmith v Streatham
Streatham out graded us on all boards by quite a long way. Brian Dodgeon playing board 1 (and as stand-in Captain) was the hero of the night, gaining a very creditable draw with a 164!! There were 2 adjournments and we defaulted board 8. Result 6.5-0.5 in favour of Streatham.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

8

1

0

7

1

10th

Monday 14th March – Committee Meeting & Theory Session – Game Analysis
The club exercised its first Committee Meeting of the year. All issues discussed are included in the minutes for the meeting.

This was followed by a brilliant analytical display from Carsten Pedersen of 3 games submitted by members from the Simultaneous against GM Chris Ward earlier in the year. We had 13 people turn out, full of questions, comments and suggestions for Carsten to answer.

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First up was Chris Moore playing the French, with Chris Ward demonstrating why he is a GM! Even Carsten could not save the game in the post-mortem!!

Your author was up next, playing my favoured Modern Benoni opening (which I suggested to the GM I would play if he opened up with 1.d4, which he duly did). I felt I played the opening quite well but Carsten pointed out some weak moves which gave Chris the advantage. From there it was only going to go one way.

Last up was Dave Lambert playing the Nimzo-Indian, an opening Chris has written 3 books on. Dave held his position well making very few bad moves, eventually being forced into retirement – death by a thousand cuts!

Carsten then gave a few useful tips: Prepare for pawn storms when castling on opposite sides; Backward diagonal moves are always hard to foresee; Beware of Alekhine’s cannon – a Queen on d1, a Rook on d2, and another Rook on d3.

A loud round of applause was the order of the day for such a fine display. Well done Carsten! He has requested feedback to assist him with future demonstrations – leave your comments below.

Thursday 17th March – Middlesex League
Harrow 1 v Hammersmith
Bajrush has sent an email requesting full commitment to the remaining Middlesex fixtures as the team battles to avoid relegation. The current picture:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

10

1

1

8

1.5

7th

Monday 21st March – Thames Valley League
Wimbledon C v Hammersmith
6 wins from 7 boards for Hammersmith in this game – an excellent result with the last game adjourned. 3 matches remain in the division. If Hammersmith can secure 3 more wins we are guaranteed promotion to Division 1.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

9

6

1

2

6.5

Joint 1st

Wednesday 23rd March – Middlesex League
West London v Hammermsith
3 games remain this season. Hammermsith secured a nice draw in this game but it doesn’t look like it will be enough to stave off relegation:

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

11

1

2

8

2

7th

Monday 28th March – Bank Holiday – Club Closed for Easter

Thursday 31st March – London League Division 6
Hammersmith v Battersea
A great win for Hammersmith against our main rivals for the Division title. We now lead the division by a point with 2 games left. This game was on a knife edge at 1.5-1.5, with Dan Rugman’s game to complete. A pawn up, it looked to be heading for an adjournment until Dan unleashed a great mating attack which his opponent fell straight into. With the win on the last board, Hammersmith won the game 2.5-1.5.

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points

Position

7

5

1

1

5.5

1st

Thanks to all players in a busy month of games – good luck with our April fixtures!

April Fixtures:

  • 4th April – Ealing Juniors (A), Thames Valley League
  • 6th April – Kings Head (H), London League Div 4 (Team 1)
  • 7th April – Wanstead (A), London League Div 6
  • 11th April – Ealing B (H), Thames Valley League
  • 13th April – Metropolitan (H), London League Div 5
  • 14th April – Newham (A), London League Div 4 (Team 2)
  • 18th April – Muswell Hill (H), Middlesex League
  • 21st April – Battersea (A), London League Div 5
  • 26th April – DHSS (A), London League Div 4 (Team 1)
  • 28th April – Streatham (H), London League Div 5
Note: subject to change – team captains will confirm in advance
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

A Brief History of Hammersmith Chess Club

Hammersmith Chess Club has been around for a while – since 1962 to be precise. That might seem like the fairly recent past to some of you – perhaps even living memory for many of our members – however for those of us born after 1980 that is, quite frankly, a different era. Up there with pre-history for the millennial generation!

To bear this out, indulge me for a moment while I recount some of the events that happened in Britain in 1962.

  • The Beatles were yet to release an album. Hard to imagine a time before the Beatles isn’t it, but this was quite literally a pre-Beatles era. They had some of their first sessions at Abbey Road in 1962, and released their first ever single (Love Me Do) in October of that year.
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The Mark I Fort Cortina – launched the same year as Hammersmith Chess Club!
  • The Ford Cortina was launched – for the princely sum of £573 you could buy yourself a brand new Cortina! Other motoring options available at that time – the Vauxhall Victor, Hillman Minx (!), and the Morris Oxford Farina.
  • The first ever James Bond film – Dr. No – premieres, with Sean Connery playing the famous secret agent. Glad to see this is still going strong today, albeit without the schhhpeech impediment.
  • Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and James Watson win the Nobel Prize for their discovery of DNA – the building blocks of life!

I don’t need to point out that mobile phones didn’t exist, nor did the internet, home computers, concorde (now since retired!), Malawi, CD’s, Z-Cars, Steptoe and Son, and England were yet to win the World Cup. I could go on…

My point is, we have been around for a long time, and it’s only right that some of that history is recorded and shared.

Luckily for us our ever-diligent club Secretary, Mike Mackenzie, recently re-discovered a treasure trove of historic material about the club whilst tidying up our equipment cupboard. As long ago as 1967 we were producing a regular newsletter for members. I’d like to share a few snippets and factoids from those fascinating records.

  • The Club first opened its doors on 3rd September 1962 at Westcott Lodge, now a Grade II listed Georgian House. Membership at the time was 22, including John White (made life President in 2012 to mark 50 years of the club) and Peter Martin (a long-time Treasurer and later Secretary of the club).
Westcott Lodge as it stands proudly today
Westcott Lodge as it stands proudly today
  • Hammersmith Borough Council (itself a throwback – now Hammersmith & Fulham Council) helped found the club, starting with an open chess competition in 1961 for which the council provided a handsome cup for the winner. Sometime after that competition, the council met and agreed the formation of Hammersmith Chess Club.
  • It took some time to properly establish the club, and it wasn’t until 1966 that the club elected it’s first President, Lady Herbert. Lady Herbert was well known on the chess circuit at the time and something of a character. She was married to Sir Alan Patrick Herbert, himself a very interesting and erudite man – the club certainly had friends in high places! Membership had by then grown to 35 and cost around 30 shillings (£1.50!) – that’s right, Hammersmith Chess Club even pre-dates decimal money!
  • In July of 1968 Dr. Jonathan Penrose, British Champion, gave a simultaneous display at the club, winning 17 games and drawing 2. His fee was reported as 6 guineas (£6.30 in modern money). Given the level he played at, it is quite impressive that two club players managed a draw against the great man.
Dr. Penrose plays Mikhail Tal in 1960. Full game here.
Dr. Penrose plays Mikhail Tal in 1960. Full game here. It finished as a victory to the British Champion
  • At some point in 1968 our former President John White (back then just a regular member, one presumes) recorded a record 8th-straight victory in competitive chess, a club record! Sadly John is no longer with us, however his long-term contribution and dedication to the club lives on in the annual John White tournament – a handicap rapid play event we hold every Christmas. We were lucky enough to have John’s son present the trophy last year on the inaugural occasion of the re-named event.
  • May 1968 saw the West London Open Junior (U-19) Championship, where several of Hammersmith’s most promising players competed. This included one Peter S Morton. Those of you familiar with the London club circuit will recognise Peter as an ever-present player. He stepped in as acting Chairman for us following John’s death, and is still an active player across the London Leagues.
  • Also in 1968, our U21’s took on the over 21’s at the club. It sounded like a great match, finishing 8-8. Below photos document the event, which also made the local press!
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Pictured in the centre with a beard and holding up the Key, is John White, former life President of the Club
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An impressive result from the juniors considering the youth of some on the team!
  • 1970 saw the club move venue to St. Paul’s Church Hall, Sussex Place, having outgrown the premises at Westcott Lodge. I stand to be corrected, but I believe this is the church that you can see as you pass over the Hammersmith Flyover – the attached conference facility is now a RIBA-award winning architectural gem – oh to have our club nights there now! One wonders how the church and parish felt back in 1961 when the flyover was constructed! A frequent gripe of members at the time appears to be a lack of sufficient heating in the hall!
  • Later in 1970 the club sent a team of seven players to Amsterdam to take part in a triangular match. I wonder how they got on – did the famous coffee shops exist back then??
  • The London Chess Congress Novice section in 1972 was won by a very young Hammersmith player. At just 9 years old, Julian Hodgson also won the Under 10’s prize – a pocket chess set. Julian would of course later go on to become British Champion.
Four times British Champion Julian Hodgson began his illustrious career at Hammersmith
Four times British Champion Julian Hodgson began his illustrious career at Hammersmith
  • Interestingly, around this time there seemed to be a great deal of correspondence chess going on at the club. Hammersmith had a team in division two of the British Correspondence Chess League in 1973-74. In this era of online chess and smartphones, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the British Correspondence Chess Association is still going strong!
  • Dominic Lawson was the opponent for a Hammersmith player in a 1974 game in the Thames Valley League. A famous family name – Dominic is the son of former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson, and brother of T.V. chef Nigella.
  • Later that year, IM Robert (Bob) Wade played a simultaneous at the club, ending with a Q&A on his chess experiences. Bob played numerous times for England and was well regarded as a coach and author. He even helped Bobby Fischer in his preparation for his 1972 match against Boris Spassky. Rather predictably, the first question he got asked: “What was it like playing Bobby Fischer?”
  • At some point around 1975 the club moved venue again, to Blythe Hall. This seems to have gone down very well with the members – much warmer than the church hall! Drunken Knights club get their first mention around this time too. Pleased to say they are still going strong as well!
  • Our chess book library commenced in 1975 too. The first title to be loaned out – “Yearbook of Chess 1969/70”. The library continued through the rest of the decade and up to 1984 when our final title went on loan – “100 Chess Gems”. Good times.
  • The 1980’s are short on detail in the archives, but we do have our first mention of Ken Hedger in 1983, as captain of our third team in the Hammersmith League. Ken is another regular on the London chess scene, and is still an active player today, some 30+ years later.
  • March 1996 the club finally received money through from it’s insurers for rain damage to our boards! The record isn’t entirely clear how this happened but it was very well received! Carsten Pedersen also gets a mention for the first time – Carsten is currently the strongest player at the club.
  • John Wooley took over captaincy of our Thames Valley team in 1998, successfully seeing the team through to promotion to Division 1. John is another stalwart of the club and still plays strong chess in the Thames Valley league today.
Sue pictured in 2013 by which time she had already achieved the WIM designation
Sue pictured in 2013, shortly before she achieved the WIM designation
  • 1999 sees the last entry of note in the archive, but it’s a good one! Our in-house tournament that year was won by Michael Bushill. More notable was the 3rd placed player – CJ De Mooi. You may have heard of CJ – a long-time fixture on the BBC quiz show Eggheads, he’s also appeared on Countdown, Fifteen to One, and numerous other shows, as well as having a successful modelling and acting career! His life is not without controversy too – have a read of his Wikipedia biog here.
  • The late 2000’s saw Sue Maroroa on the books of Hammersmith. Sue has had a distinguished chess career, including earning the title of Woman International Master, with a victory over GM Mark Hebden to her name. She was the strongest player at our club whilst a member.

As you can see, it’s been an interesting 54 years since the club first opened its doors. Times have certainly changed since then, but I wonder if the game itself has changed much in those years? Over the next few weeks we’ll be putting up some of the games from the archive newsletters so we can have a look to see for ourselves. See you soon!

Last Updated: Mar 10, 2017 @ 2:14 pm

Does Playing Chess Make You Sexy?!

This question was posed by my partner Karen in the pub the other night as she watched a friend and I push wood around the board. She definitely thought NOT!!

Is this typical Anglo-Irish prejudice that is reflected by the rest of the non-playing chess community of these islands? Being good at chess in the British Isles does not confer sex appeal.

In other parts of the world chess players are judged as sports people, have endorsements, and are used as models! They are sexy.

It is a universal truth that in these islands no-one ever took up chess in the pursuit of finding their true love. I would also contend that no-one ever took up chess in these islands to improve their sex appeal.

Why?

Sadly, competence in chess at club level never translates into huge amounts of adoring fans, invitations to glamorous parties, members of the opposite sex falling at your feet, or an improvement in your physical appeal. It also does not confer wisdom in the fashion arena.

To use the Jeremy Clarkson vernacular – the image of the club chess player is popularly covered by words such as jumper, pipe smoking, socially awkward, boring, tweed jackets etc. You are definitely viewed as the Austin Allegro as opposed to the Ferrari you think you are.

Rod_Stewart_Da_Ya_Think_Im_Sexy_1978-500x370
After a couple of pints and a chat with Karen, John hit the karaoke …

But the professional chess world gives us Magnus Carlsen and Alexandra Kosteniuk, amongst many others who are both smart, good looking and sexy. Great for them, but sadly it does not seem to trickle down.

With the Oscars season just passed, it is worth looking how Hollywood uses chess. It is overwhelmingly used as a prop to convey intelligence and sophistication. Only once to my knowledge has it been used as the element of seduction [answers please to our Twitter account!]. Surely those two traits are sexy?? At our level… no!

The combination of art, science and life that is chess must be sexy?? Again, at our level… no!

So do the new pursuits of chess-boxing and chess-hip-hop hit the sex appeal scorecard? Good for boxing and hip-hop, but for our chess playing level??…. no!

So sadly I conclude that I reluctantly agree with Karen, Another victory for her! Again!

But I have the final word… Damn the popular majority! Chess makes me feel good, and that alone in my mind makes me sexy!! So there!!

By John White, London League 4 Captain and Sexy Beast.

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016 @ 12:51 pm