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:

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.

1…Nxd5
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.

Puzzle of the Week #015

After a brief hiatus last week, we are back with a bang – down to business.

As the only response to last week’s puzzle, PaulDead-EyeKennelly takes the plaudits this time – congratulations Paul!

It was taken from Kolb-Schroeder, Nuremberg in 1895. Snipped from the wonderful Van Perlo’s Endgame Tactics.

On to this week’s puzzle – White has just played Rxb7 (so it’s Black to move). Why was that a bad idea??

A Night at the Speelman

26.02.18The hallowed hall of The Anvil last night hosted chess royalty in the form of GM Jon Speelman. A special evening where over thirty Hammerites and guests listened, enthralled and captivated, to the wit and wisdom of a top man and a world-class Chess Grandmaster. The “Beast from the East” may have hit London but we had our Beast from Hampstead to keep us warm. The evening had something for everyone… read on.

First off, a few GM Speelman facts:

  • In 1989 he was ranked #4 in the world, with only some wood-pushers called Kasparov, Karpov and Timman keeping him off the top spot
  • He was a World Championship semi-finalist, losing narrowly to Jan Timman by the odd point
  • He is a writer, analyst, newspaper columnist, excellent company and all-round top bloke

My original brief to GM Jon Speelman was to analyse one of his games, talking us through his thought processes, reasoning and strategy. Needless to say, he delivered way beyond that, and graciously indulged us in a lengthy Q&A session.

For those of you who could not attend, you missed a treat. However, do not despair as all the games, puzzles and analysis are included in this report.

Packed to the rafters for the GM!
GM Jon takes us through a game on the practice board

The evening started with GM Jon laying out what he had in store for us, and supplying the first piece of GM Speelman wisdom on chess.

“I like games that are clear cut – either tremendously violent or logical, like this first illustrative game.”

The first game was a clash between Kramnik and SjugirovSochi 2016. The game is given below with Speelman analysis.

Jon – we are now BFF’s – went through the game encouraging and prompting answers from the audience. No idea or suggestion was too stupid, and all efforts were met with courtesy and listened to… then mostly demolished with logic and good grace.

The game itself is a brilliant example of a top-class Grandmaster, utilising a slightly superior position and giving his talented opponent no chance of counter play.

In particular, Jon enthused over move 24.g3, and as he explained his reasoning for his admiration of this move, uttered the second piece of Speelman chess wisdom of the night.

“If you have a positional advantage, do not press. Improve your position. The likelihood is your opponent will make bad moves”

At this stage of the evening Jon also revealed that he did not count moves when he calculated, he simply pinged!! A counting method I shall try out in my next over-the-board encounter.

Jon then turned to the second game to analyse, and this time he was less modest. It was his classic encounter from the 1989 Brussels Tournament against a certain Viktor Kortchnoi. A case of the unstoppable force meeting the…. unstoppable force. This was a real violent caveman encounter with no quarter asked, or given. As you would expect from two great chess warriors.

Here is the game:

Jon’s observations throughout this game were superb, and obviously heightened by his actual participation. The game goes mental from about move 7, and continues throughout with both GM’s walking a tightrope. The anecdotes about the game and then the final forcing line, were tremendously entertaining, educational and insightful – this was brilliant stuff.

The irony was, Jon confessed this was probably his best game – his “immortal”, but sadly contained a flaw. A rather dodgy character called GM John Nunn approached him immediately after the game and pointed out that if 16.Qc4 had been played by White, then Black had a lost position. How small are the margins between perfection and….. ?

The third piece of Speelman chess wisdom then emerged:

“Play positions you feel happy with. Regardless of material. If you are happy and are playing the game you want, then that is all you need”

The evening then changed tack with two studies being given the Speelman treatment. One an endgame study and one a middle-game fantasy. Both were fascinating and informative – by this stage I could only marvel at Jon’s patience and humour as numerous suggestions from the audience were shouted out. Two problems (with solutions) are given below:

The demonstration part of the evening concluded with Jon taking us through another violent game. This one featured GM Teimour Radjabov (famous for destroying Kasparov with the black pieces in a Kings Indian when he was ridiculously young) and a young, probably talented, upstart called Olexandr Bortnyk. The latter was dealt with harshly for obviously not showing enough respect or deference to the now thirty year old Teimour.

So, for your enjoyment and delight, admire the sheer brutality and the putting-you-in-your-place nature of this game.

After this piece of carnage another pearl of chess wisdom was bestowed.

“When you sit down at the board, you have to be in warrior mode. No half measures – you are there to fight”

The final part of the evening saw Jon doing his version of Question Time. Dealing with toughies such as:

  • What advice would you give kids when facing e4, Bc4 and Qh5?
  • Who will challenge Carlsen for the WCC?
  • When will we have a different World Champion?
  • I play c4, d3, e4… what do you think?
  • If Nakamura was playing you and he went e4, Qh5, what would you say or not say to him?
  • What’s the weirdest thing an opponent has done to you at the board? (One opponent actually laughed at him!!)
  • Who was the most talented player you ever met over the board?
  • What was your chess book collection growing up?
  • What were Petrosian, Smyslov, Spassky etc. like to play against?
  • What did you think of Fischer as a chess player, not as… ?

You can tell by the quality of the questions the Hammerites knew their stuff. By the way, two of the questions have the same answer – Ivanchuk. I leave you to work out what are the questions concerned.

Forty minutes past our official finish time your correspondent brought the evening to a close, and Jon accompanied various disreputable Hammerites to the Albion to carry on the evening. Knowing he had spent the weekend playing the Bunratty Chess festival, I can only admire his stamina.

The afterparty!

A couple of thanks before signing off – a big shout out to both Adam and Mike for helping me setup the furniture.

Also, a big note of thanks to Paul McK (the Prof) who kept Jon’s wine glass nicely topped-up and supplied the wine as well.

However, the biggest thanks go to GM Jon Speelman. An amazing chess player, analyst and raconteur, who can now bask in the added title of “Hammer Legend”.

Normal service resumes next Monday.

Puzzle of the Week #013

Unlucky for some, we are back for our thirteenth installment with another puzzle.

But first, to last weeks. It was another superb response from Hammerites with no fewer than 10 attempts – many of them not from Charlie!

The first correct reply was from Mohammad – well done to you sir! An honourable mention must also go to Gokhan with a slightly later, but equally correct, effort.

It was no mean feat – full solution as follows:

1.f6! gxf6
2. f4 Kd4
3. g5 fxg5
4. fxg5 Ke5 (if hxg5, h6 and black is outside the square, now it looks like he can stop the pawn except for…)
5. gxh6 Kf6
6. Kc2!!

Ed. Lasker – Moll, Berlin Ch 1904.

Black is now in Zugzwang! The actual game went 1.f4 f6, and black won, a tragedy for “Die Kleine Lasker” who would have won the city championship with a win in this game. (Source: The Bobby Fischer I Knew, Arnold Denker).

So to #13- White to move, answers in the comments please:

 

Puzzle of the Week #012

To say last week’s puzzle was popular would be something of an understatement – no fewer than 14 responses (albeit most of them from Charlie!!).

In the end, it was Charlie who got there first (on his 11th attempt), but credit to Adam too. Well done to you both and we’re loving the enthusiasm!

The full solution as follows:

1. Qc3+ (Qb2 is also ok), Kg8 (not forced but anything else loses lots of material)
2.  Qxh8+, Kxh8
3.  Bf6+, Kg8
4.  Re8+, mate!

So to this week’s puzzle, and it’s a bit more of a thinker.

All our recent puzzles have been about piece play, so this one celebrates the little guys – the pawns are the hero here:

White to move, answers in the comments…

Puzzle of the Week #011

Happy Friday – we’re back once again with another Puzzle just in time for the weekend.

Last week’s was a reasonably straightforward mating puzzle, albeit not necessarily entirely intuitive.

Panos was the first to respond with the correct answer – effectively a Queen sacrifice to force the mating sequence. Well done Panos!

This week sees us celebrating the outbreak of mad romanticism in the London 4 team last week, with a game from the archives featuring Capt. Evans.

Evans-McDonnell, London, 1829. Not the first recorded game with the Evans Gambit, but a win by the inventor.

White to move, answers in the comments please!

An Evening with GM Jon Speelman

Hammersmith Chess Productions are proud to present… 

On the night of the 26th February in the hallowed halls of the Anvil, Hammersmith Chess Club will host one of the most original and finest grandmasters this country has ever produced.

GM Jon Speelman is not only a world championship semi-finalist, he is a great analyst, journalist, mathematician and writer. His games are some of the most original on record.

The evening will consist of Jon analysing one of his games and commenting on his thought processes and strategy goals as he progresses through it. It’s a unique chance to see how a world class chess player prepares for their opponent, what factors influence the critical decision-making process, his state of mind at various points in the game, and much more.

This will make you look at your chess approach in a totally different way and help you develop as a chess player.

The analysis part of the evening will then be followed by a Q&A session- your chance to ask any question of a top chess professional.

Plus, we have a very special offer for Hammersmith members. As one of the most prestigious events we’ve hosted to date, it’s likely to sell out in advance so we have introduced an EarlyBird offer – if you signup before 31st January, you’ll also get a discounted entry fee. It pays to be pro-active!!

As always, please get in touch with John to confirm your entry asap – john.white49@ntlworld.com

  • Date: Monday 26th February
  • Time: From 7.30pm
  • Location: The Anvil (aka Lytton Hall), W14 8TE
  • Entry: Members – £7 before 31st Jan, £10 thereafter
  • Entry: Guests – £10 before 31st Jan, £12 thereafter
  • Contact: john.white49@ntlworld.com

 

A Charming Draw

No Bruce Springsteen this week, but the Glory Days are very much here as we travel headlong towards The Promised Land. Read on!

Middlesex League 3: Hammersmith v Hendon – 13.11.17

On Monday Hammer’s 2nd team were back at Lytton Hall to face Hendon 5 – a junior team often known as Hendon Barnet Knights. On paper we out-graded them by a whopping 35 grading points on average, but as with all juniors they were expected to punch above their weight.

It didn’t go well on the top boards. Sheikh and Matteo, often first team call-ups, were brought in to bolster the lineup. They both blundered pieces early on and resigned, leaving us 2-0 down.

Regulars John and Brian were on boards 3 and 4. John can always be relied upon to dispatch weaker players, and as expected clocked up a win fairly quickly. Brian took a little longer, but ultimately had too much for his young opponent. He describes his game:

“I played the Sicilian O’Kelly/Tartakover variation, pressurising white’s centre with an early e5 and Bb4 to pin white’s knight defending e4.

My opponent overlooked a tactical trap on move 8, losing his knight for two pawns. But he made good use of his two bishops to support his menacing d-pawn advance. To eliminate that pawn and complete my cramped development I had to sac my two q-side pawns.

Having swapped queens and a pair of rooks, I advanced my king to support my pieces through a series of tricky late-middle-game exchanges and win back a pawn, reaching the ending with knight & three pawns v opponent’s five pawns. Dealing with his remote pawn pair, in time trouble I allowed his king entry to gobble up two of my pawns, but retreated the knight just in time to save the remaining pawn for the win.”

Board 5 saw Simon employ a version of the London System recommended by his namesake, Ginger GM Simon Williams. Known as the “Black Half-Asleep Variation”, Simon planted his pawns on d4 and e4 with a knight on c3, against a king-side fianchetto. He soon eliminated black’s menacing dark-square bishop and seized a strong positional advantage. Simon couldn’t find a clear route to victory, however, and his opponent fought back well. Pieces got exchanged and the game boiled down to a draw.

By his own admission, Dipender played a very disappointing game. He lost a piece early on and never really got back into it. It was as if he had other things on his mind – possibly his wedding this weekend! A big congratulations – we wish him well on his honeymoon and hope to see him back at the chessboard stronger than ever!

Mr Dipenderble * wife not pictured

Ken got extremely lucky on board seven. He offered a draw in a losing position with far less time on his clock. His opponent, possibly considering the grade difference rather than the position, kindly accepted, leaving us 3-4 down with one to play.

It was down to Ben, making his debut for the club, to come up with the goods on board 8. He did so in emphatic style, playing a very good game to wipe his opponent completely off the board.

So for the second match in a row we ended with a slightly disappointing draw.

We remain top of the table, but this has to be qualified by the fact we’ve played two games more than our closest rivals, and we  have the toughest fixtures still to come.

Ken drops level with John as MVP (I’m not giving the accolade to anyone having played just one game). Sheikh, Matteo and Ben bring the number of members to have played this season up to 19 at the half way point, closing in on last season’s total of 28.

Next up is Kings Head 2 away on 13th December.

Adam.

Middlesex League 2: Hammersmith v Hendon – 13.11.17

On the same evening, our first team also scored a 4-4 against Hendon. Full report to follow!

Training Nights – 20th November, 27th November

Don’t forget the second of our two training nights next week – details as follows:

  • Monday 27th November – club legend & Middlesex 3 Captain Pickle (aka Adam) will host a session specially designed for players around 100 ECF or below. It’ll be a shorter session than Marios’s, allowing time afterwards for people to play their RapidPlay Round II matches, if they wish. Session starts at 7.30pm, running for about an hour.
Can You Topple the King of YouTube?

Well now you can find out! Our good friends at Battersea Chess Club will be hosting IM John Bartholomew on 29th November for an evening of chess!

It all kicks off at 5pm at their Battersea Labour Club home, full details are available on Battersea’s Website.

It’s FREE and you don’t even need to be a Battersea member!

Let’s Get Quizzical

The learned minds at Hammer Chess have decided to  branch out beyond the 64 squares of the chess board and take part in a pub quiz later this month!  We reckon there’s enough general knowledge there to give anyone a run for the their money (a test run last week resulted in a respectable 2nd placed finish – firm foundations!), so we’re going to have a crack at one of the local pubs in Hammersmith.

We’ll be hitting up the quiz at The Crabtree pub on Tuesday 28th November. If you’d like to take part please drop John an email: john.white49@ntlworld.com

The more the merrier! Quiz starts at 8pm (drinks at 6!) – see you there!

A pair of important reminders:
  • GM Keith Arkell SimultaneousMonday 11th December – £6 to enter and take on Keith over the board! Should be a cracker – get in touch to reserve a spot: john.white49@ntlworld.com
  • Rapidplay Round II – our new Rapidplay competition continues this week, with all players looking to get their second round games complete before the end of November. If you’ve not yet done so, get in touch with your opponent NOW!! You’ll both score a default if you don’t get the game finished before the end of the month. Contact Dave or Adam with any queries:
  • adam1234321@gmail.com
  • davidlambert80@gmail.com

That’s all for now – plenty of games this week and next, more updates soon!