Momentous Times

First up, a very exciting update on the recent British Bangla Rapidplay tournament, followed by some truly momentous news from the Thames Valley Division. This report is definitely worth a full read! Please enjoy…

A Chairman’s Performance

A trio of Hammers took part in the recent BBCA Rapidplay on 11th November, and the results were very encouraging!

Chris and Kostis both took part in the major section, with our Wily Chairman, Bajrush, playing in the Open (no grade limit!) section.

The Happy Hammer Trio!

Kostis came away with 2.5 points out of 6 – a solid result. Chris bettered that slightly, with 3 points from 6. But the performance of the day goes to Bajrush, with a whopping 5 out of 6, and a share of 2nd place!

The third round saw him facing GM Bogdan Lalic as white, with the following position:

Black to play. Bajrush gives his thoughts: “I think I have a winning position, but miscalculated the next move. Black played Bd2, the only move to save him losing the game on the next move (Qg8+). After, I should play Kg2, but instead played Qa2 and ended up losing”.

Still, Bajrush ended up sharing 2nd prize with a GM and an IM! Not a bad performance at all!!

05.11.18 – Thames Valley Division 3: Wimbledon v Hammersmith

Captain Robin reports from the front line….

Our first match got off to a shaky start with a 4-1 defeat, and one adjournment, against the very strong Wimbledon team.

The one bright note was Sheikh on board 2 with a rapid win. His game is presented below – on the White side of a Sicilian:

Nadhmi came up against a 161 player, and played courageously up to the very end.

Yazhou on board 5 adjourned with a possible slight advantage. We wait to see how that goes!

12.11.18 – Thames Valley Division 1: Hammersmith v Surbiton
The Thames Valley Times Are A Changing – A Clueless Onlooker Reports

Back ’63 a young man called Robert Zimmerman captured for an entire generation the scent of change and hope that was in the air. He was Bob Dylan and the rest is history.

The second verse of ‘The Times they are a-changin’ for your delight is given below because it perfectly encapsulates the journey made by Hammersmith Chess Club in the last four years:

Come writes and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Nowhere has this progress been more forcibly demonstrated than the Thames Valley League.

On Monday night Hammer took on one of the perennial powerhouses of the First division – Surbiton A. Hammer have never beaten Surbiton A – last season we got a draw when some player called Clueless salvaged a draw in a murky adjourned game. Indeed, your correspondent can vividly recall a 7.5-0.5 mauling the Hammer crew took 20 months ago that was really traumatic at the time. Hammer were light years away from ever achieving parity, let alone victory.

However, this season Hammer have started at a pace in the Thames Valley League – as of Monday night, before the Surbiton encounter, we were 3 and 0. The match would prove how far along the road we have come.

The times are a changing – nothing shows this more than the scoreboard below:

First thing – we won. We won handsomely.

However, what strikes me is the change in our team line-up. Only Carsten, Bajrush and Marios played in the massacre 20 months ago.

Thomas, Sylvain, Tony, Paul and Jim have all joined the Hammer family since that 7.5-0.5 thrashing and hence do not bear the scars of that bruising encounter. Yep, not only the times are a changing, but the personnel definitely are as well.

Enough musings. To the games.

In board order, Carsten had yet another OTB no quarter given match-up with Chris Briscoe. I would love to know how many times they have played each other. Methinks it is up there with Karpov-Kasparov numbers. The one thing these games are not, and that is boring. It always seems to be primeval chess. Carsten is probably the most correct Hammer player I know but something happens to him when he runs into Chris. The inner Viking takes over.

This was a no holds-barred game with kings on an open-board with heavy artillery raining down. It was tightrope stuff with the result possibly going to either player. In the end Chris manoeuvred his black bishop to f3 to give a check, putting it en-prise, and this seemed with time ticking down to throw the Great Dane. A few moves later Carsten resigned in a position where he was one move away from delivering the coup-de-grace himself. Hammer down 0-1.

Thomas, our finest piece of French T-Bone, had a very positional game with his 200 rated opponent – playing black for a long period it looked like he held an edge with this bishop pair versus an opposing knight and bishop on a fairly open board. In a complex series of maneouvres he lost a pawn and was then fighting to salvage a draw which he duly delivered. Hammer on the scoreboard 0.5-1.5

Board three was possibly the game of the evening – our Wily Chairman Bajrush playing white against another 200-rated player. Yep, the patented Wily opening variation got another punt – but astonishingly he introduced a novelty – he actually castled! – which I thought was against the entire spirit of the variation. It was a very exciting encounter with white’s thematic c5! Making space for his bishop on c4 being a highlight. The whole game is given below for your enjoyment. Nobody plays chess like Wily!

Board 4 brought our newest newbie Sylvain to the fore – I must say this was a game of warfare that encompassed the whole board – it was brutal and complicated. There were tactics galore accompanied by deep strategy – it gave me a headache just looking at it. However, the finish was prosaic – white in desperation had launched a speculative kingside attack rather than just accept a totally passive position. Sylvain seized his moment by taking a knight with his Queen forcing a recapture with the white Queen and then playing Nf2+ forking the Queen – just very classy. I hereby nickname him Aramis!

Hammer nudging ahead 2.5-1.5

Board 4 saw the Surgeon in excellent form against a very tricky opponent Nick Faulks. Playing to provoke weaknesses in the black position, Tony induced his opponent to lash out. However, he had missed a sequence that lost a piece and then compounded the error by moving his queen to a7 instead of d8 and dropping an exchange. Here is the game:

Next up was Paul McK, the Prof, who deplores the Slow Play format and let it be said is fairly vocal about it. However, I do share his view that it should be confined to the dustbin of history. I have to confess I did not see much of the game but there looked like a lot of manoeuvring and the draw was agreed in one of those positions that would please the detractors of the current Carlsen and Caruana WCC match.

Hammer at 4-2 up and guaranteed at least a draw.

Next to the plate was ZeusMarios had uncertain form to the end of last season due to a huge chess workload. However, with a new career, a lack of beard and an uptick in sartorial elegance he is returning to his best form.

The game below is him at his best although he unnecessarily berated himself for missing 18. Nd5! – the good news for Hammer is Zeus is back. It is always good to have the Gods on your side.

Hammer past the winning post at 5-2. Our first ever win over Surbiton A. Cue fireworks, music, ticker-tape parade and raucous celebrations. But hold your horses – JimEl LocoStevenson still had to check-in.

All eyes turned to our LL Hammer 1 captain playing a slow-play finish game where he held the upper-hand. Now my knowledge of El Loco’s games is filled with Kings Gambits, with tactics and strategy in perfect harmony. This was not one of those games.

This was a drudge and a sludge affair where there were no tactics, just the heavy sound of positional moves. Jim had won a pawn in a position where there were two rooks vs two rooks and an opponent intent on just making the sealed move point. Jim was striving to convert when the adjournment came – fortunately his sealed move means he is +3 according to the uber brain, Stockfish. We expect good news shortly.

This was a stellar performance by the team – and it provides this pleasing picture:

Hammer has come of age!!!

A great Hammer night, and many congratulations to Captain Wily and the crew.

The World Chess Championship

Carlsen vs Caruana: 9th-29th November 2018

Can’t get a ticket, or visiting central London? Why not watch the LIVE online coverage for FREE with other chess fans and enthusiasts at Chess & Bridge shop! Yes, our website sponsors will be showing the official LIVE stream throughout the event at their central London store on Baker Street.

They’ll have some chairs in front of their large in-store TV screen, plus outdoor FREE to use chess sets if the world championship action gets too much. And of course, thousands of books and chess products to browse in-store.

Come watch, browse, chat, grab refreshments from any nearby establishments (there are lots!), and share your thoughts on the excitement of the match with like-minded people.

And remember, all Hammersmith Chess Club members are entitled to a 10% discount on all products with the code: HAMMERCHESS10 – works online too!

For more information and schedules see:
https://worldchess.com

Tickets to the actual venue can be purchased via Ticketmaster:
https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/World-Chess-Championships-tickets/artist/5274704

LIVE online access can be purchased with 25% discount using code: CBBKST from:
https://worldchess.com/paygate

El Chessico – Pt. II – Tuesday 6th November

Roll up, Roll up! The big day is almost upon us…

Forget about Christmas – El Chessico pt. II is the only thing people are talking about this month, and it all kicks off tomorrow evening.

Three years of rivalry, grudges, scores-to-be-settled, oh and some friendship in there too – we’re putting it all on the line tomorrow night across 30+ boards against those noisy neighbours in saaaarf London, Battersea Chess Club.

Full details below – please get in touch if you have any last minute queries. And we have a tentative board order too (subject to change!). It’s going to be EPIC:

  • Tuesday 6th November, 7.15pm sharp start
  • Battersea Labour Club, 81-83 Falcon Road, SW11 2PF
  • Clapham Junction is the nearest station
  • Time Control: 70 minutes, +10 second increment
  • All games rated
  • There is a huge trophy to be won!

Tentative Board Order:

And There’s More!

Battersea will also be hosting a special Blitz tournament, inspired by the WCC match in conjunction with Chessable, on Tuesday 20th November.

There will be cash prizes, and more than a couple of Hammers have already thrown their hats into the ring.

If you’re keen to take part, please get in touch with Battersea’s Aldo, who is helping organise: aldocamilleri@aol.com

British Bangla RapidPlay & Other Updates

The Annual British Bangla Chess Association FIDE Rapidplay is coming up  – and as always there are some serious cash prizes up for grabs, with a side dish of Biryani!

It’s been a great tournament the last few years, and the BBCA are terrific hosts & very welcoming – and terrific competitors too, as we know from our Summer League matchups!

Full details below, but the key thing to note is the £1,360 prize fund, which includes 3x grading prizes for the best performers at the lower levels – great idea!

  • When: Sunday 11th November 2018, 11am kickoff, 7pm prize-giving
  • Where: London Enterprise Academy, Commercial Road, E1 1RD
  • Entry: £25 entry (ECF bronze members will need to pay an additional £7.50)
  • What: Six round, Swiss pairings, 15 mins +5 sec increment
  • Contact: britishbanglachess@gmail.com

Further information is available on the BBCA website, along with entry forms and a current list of players:

www.britishbanglachess.com

Other News & Reminders…

Diversity Officer – if you’re  interested in talking to us about this new position on our Committee, please get in touch. We’ll be locking this down on 26th October.

Safeguarding – we are now a fully-fledged child-friendly club, having signed up to the ECF’s Safeguarding Policy and with the appointment of a Child Protection Officer – full details here – we encourage all members to familiarise themselves with the ECF’s policy

El Chessico – we’re at 30+ boards already, and are still looking for signups for this huge event on Tuesday November 6th, at Battersea Chess Club. Please contact John if you’d like to play: john.white49@ntlworld.com

Club Internal RapidPlay – if you haven’t done so already, please get in touch with your opponent and get your First Round match arranged! All results need to be reported back to the Tournament controllers by Friday 16th November. The clock is ticking!!

Tomorrow night sees us making our London Division 2 debut against the mighty East Ham! It’s been a wild ride for our top London team this last few years, with two rapid promotions. We’re now dining in the elite section of the London Club setup! Big JimLocoStevenson captains the side… wish them luck!

And finally… The Hammer Christmas Party will soon be upon us! The date is set for Thursday 6th December, and we have a spot reserved for us at Wahaca restaurant on Charlotte Street. It’s already proving popular, so don’t delay and get in touch with John to confirm your place: john.white49@ntlworld.com. Remember – partners, parents, friends and anyone else is welcome, the more the merrier… we just need to confirm numbers.

Rapidplay – Round One, plus… Simul Evening!

The 2018-19 Hammersmith Internal Rapidplay Tournament has begun!

20 brave souls have thrown their hats into the ring for the opportunity to win this prestigious annual event. As with last year there are 4 sections, so plenty of opportunity for everyone to bag some glory, regardless of playing strength.

We’ll be running updates every month with the current standings and new pairings – so stay tuned.

The first round officially kicks off today, with the full (random) pairings below. Future pairings will operate on a Swiss system, so they get much tastier as the competition goes on:

Players are asked to contact their opponents using the information emailed out to you, and arrange your games ASAP – the round needs to be completed by close of business on Friday 16th November. If you miss this deadline, you’re looking at a default and nil points!

If you have any queries (or maybe the FOMO is too much and you want a late, late entry!), please contact the tournament controllers:

Good luck Hammers!!

Bonus: Simul Evening – 22nd October

This coming Monday 22 October marks our first free evening at Lytton Hall this season with no home games, and as a result we’re putting on a small competition!

It was originally intended to be a training night, but we thought it’d be much more fun to play a few simultaneous games against our top players – Carsten, Tony and Bajrush – and get their thoughts & analysis afterwards.

This is a great opportunity to take on a top chess player, with the added time and thinking advantage that a Simultaneous provides! Depending on numbers, we’ll split the group and have 5-10 Hammerites taking on each of our top bods. Games will all be on a casual basis – no ratings for this one!

In addition, there’ll be the usual opportunity to play some more casual chess against other Hammerites, and enjoy a cup of tea with a hobnob. Who could ask for more???

Happiness is a warm cup

 

Hammer Internal Rapidplay Tournament 2018-19

Register by 13th October to Guarantee Your Place!

The Hammer Internal Rapidplay Tournament is back! Last year’s tournament was a great success, and we hope to build on it this season.

With a score of 7.5/8, our chairman Bajrush was last year’s clear winner in the Open section, and he took home the trophy. Grading prizes were awarded to the following:

  • Kings (<160): Matteo Bezzini – 5/8
  • Bishops (<130): Ben Rothwell – 5/8
  • Knights (<100): Chris Moore – 4/8

Undoubtedly the real winner was Hammersmith Chess Club, who now boast 31 players with a rapid grading, up from 20 in January 2018!

This year the tournament will be run over 7 matches, down from 8 last year. Pairings will be decided by a Swiss system, and the controllers will be Adam Cranston (Middlesex 2 Captain) and Dave Lambert (London 4 Captain). All matches will be graded with the ECF under ‘rapidplay’.

This year there will only be two rounds before Christmas – the first running from mid-October to mid-November, and the second from mid-November to Christmas. After Christmas we’ll revert to one round per month.

It’ll be up to each of you to track down your opponent and arrange a time/date of your choosing to play – we’ll provide the necessary contact details. We ask for you to do this within the first week after pairings are released, and enter the agreed date and venue into a shared spreadsheet.

With fewer matches on Monday’s at Lytton Hall this season, we hope these will provide a good opportunity to play your games. This is not a requirement though – the game could be played at one of your houses, or down the pub. It really doesn’t matter as long as you’re both happy with the conditions & the game gets played within the month.

You arrange your match and enter it into the spreadsheet; You play your match; You let Adam & Dave know the result, and they’ll do the rest.

They’ll tabulate the standings and publish the next set of pairings at the start of each round. Then you’ll have the next week to arrange Game 2, and so it goes.

Competition Structure
  • Fee: £0 – included in HCC Membership Fee (however, you must have paid your subs)
  • Matches: 7, over course of seasons
  • Pairings: Swiss system
  • Graded: Yes, all games to be submitted for July 2019 grading list
  • Scoring: 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw, 0 points for a loss
  • Tie-Breaks: Decided by Sonneborn-Berger method
  • Format: Rapidplay
  • Time Control: 30 minutes for all moves; 15 seconds increment
  • Conditions: Entirely up to you and what you agree with your opponent. If you’re both happy, that works for us.
Competition Timing
  • October: Registration – if you wish to play, contact Adam or Dave by 13th October
  • October-May: Games 1 to 7
  • Entry Requirements: You’re a member of Hammersmith Chess Club. You’re registered with the ECF for the 2018-19 season. You’re happy to commit to playing the full 7 matches throughout the season
Prizes

Prizes will be awarded for the best score in each of the below categories. No one will be eligible to win more than one award:

  • Open: No grade limit
  • Kings: <160 ECF
  • Bishops: <130 ECF
  • Knights: <100 ECF
Small Print

Grades will be based on the July 2018 grading list

  • If you have a Rapidplay grade, we’ll use that
  • If you only have a Standard grade, we’ll go with that
  • If you have neither, we’ll estimate your grade
Byes

All players will be permitted to take a maximum of 2 byes over the course of the tournament between rounds 1 and 6, scoring 0.5 points in each case.

Requests for byes must be submitted in advance of the end of the previous round.

Late entries may be permitted at the discretion of the tournament controllers. Late entrants will start with 0 points as standard.

Defaults

Failure to arrange a match within the first week: Both players will be awarded 0 points. Unless a player can demonstrate they have made reasonable and repeated (3 or more) attempts to find a suitable time & date for the match, in which case they may be awarded the win by default.

Failure to complete a match within the designated month: Both players will be awarded 0 points.

Adam and Dave to make the final decision on any disputes.

The tournament controllers reserve the right to make minor tweaks to the tournament as the season progresses due to unforeseen circumstances. In such a scenario, a written update will be provided to all the players.

If you have any questions, please drop Adam or Dave an email:

And remember – if you wish to play, please let us know by 13th October at the absolute latest. We’ll produce the first set of pairings shortly after the deadline.

Thanks, and good luck!

Adam and Dave.

Cappelle la Grande, via Kings Head

The small town of Cappelle-la-Grande, located in the far North-East corner of Normandy, is home to a surprisingly large & popular annual chess tournament, The Cappelle International Open. It’s no small feat, with up to 750 players getting their game on in the cultured surroundings of the Palais des Arts.

The 2016 Cappelle Open

With such a strong connection to the game, it’s no wonder that London’s Kings Head Chess Club organises an annual trip to Cappelle, to take on the local teams at the Palais. And excitingly, they have extended the invite to Hammersmith for 2019!!

Details below, but broadly speaking it involves a coach trip to Dunkirk, a couple of nights in la Belle France, and a whole heap of chess against the locals (very Hammer-style, you might say!):

  • 3rd to 6th May (bank holiday weekend)
  • £50 coach/transport, and £75 accomodation
  • Contact Mark Davey if you’d like to take part: mark@fozzy.me.uk

Further details can be found on the Kings Head website:

http://www.khcc.org.uk/autumn2017/cappelle.html

Kings Head in action!

 

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.

Tournaments

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:

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!

John.