SW London Juniors, and ECF Training at Hammersmith

Chess fans, some exciting news to share!

First up, we have arranged another double-header with a local Junior club – South West London Juniors. Based in SW10 (near West Brompton), the SW London club were founded in 2015 but already have a strong base of players and will be putting out 10 boards against us.

We’ll first play the Juniors at their home venue St Luke’s Church, Redcliffe Gardens on Thursday 23rd Feb, and play a return fixture at Lytton Hall on Monday 13th March. We’ll be looking at rapid play timings for both matches. Fixtures are on our Club Calendar – save the dates!

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The SW London Juniors in action!

Secondly, in a brilliant gesture of friendship the Juniors co-founder and coach, Tony Niccoli, will be hosting a FREE evening of chess coaching at Hammersmith on the evening of Monday 21 st November.

Tony has been teaching chess since the age of 15, and is now an ECF trainer and arbiter, with a current rating of 198! More on Tony here, but suffice to say he is a top chess professional and it is a real treat to have him offer his services at Hammersmith.

The session is going to be based around a run through & analysis of some games submitted by members. Please get in touch if you’d like your game to be included, so that Tony has time to prepare an analysis first.

We’re really looking forward to seeing as many of you there as possible, should be a great night.

The Ant & Dec of Chess

Our first Hammer training session was well attended last night with many new faces – welcome to Matt, Orial, Daphne and Adam!!

However the evening was dominated by our own version of Ant and Dec – Baj and Car (BajCar) – aka Bajrush and Carsten – who gave us a thoroughly enjoyable evening with great advice and amusing comments!!

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Bajrush getting in to his new role as Dec

The evening began looking at the three different types of pin that occur in chess – followed by a forensic examination of our own David Lambert’s game against GM Chris Ward.

The intention was not to heap more misery on David but to illustrate graphically how the pin can be utilised to tie your opponent in knots and gradually increase your advantage. To the extent where tactics are inevitable and this translates into victory. You really appreciated that playing simple (not that simple!) positional chess can lead to a win without any risk to yourself.

Very instructive!

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Training – always a crowd pleaser!

The session then started to free wheel with lots of questions from the members and a quick examination of openings. For players new to the game this was invaluable and the advice given by Bajrush and Carsten was really pertinent

  • Learn one opening – practise it and experiment
  • Always ask the question what does your opponent intend with their move(s)
  • A heightened sense of paranoia and scepticism are excellent qualities in a chess player
  • Rapid development with gain of tempo are ideal

Our evening finished at 10pm and everyone went away happy and curious to apply what we had learnt asap.

Training Days

A reminder – the first training & theory evening of the new season kicks off on Monday 10th October at our Lytton Hall home venue.

This session will be hosted by our Kosovan wizard of a Chairman, Bajrush, and is entitled “The Power of the Pin in the Middle Game” – sounds very interesting!!

Attendance is free and non-members are welcome to join for a taster of what we’ll be offering throughout the season. If you’ve not done so already, please check out our Calendar for dates of future sessions.

The sessions proved very popular last season & we hope to see you all there on Monday!

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!!

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

Blitz Tournament & Training Evenings – Save the Dates!

Happy Easter everyone! As the chess season continues thick & fast, so do the training evenings at the club – please save the following dates:

  • Monday 4th April – Blitz Tournament
  • Monday 25th April – Training & Theory
  • Monday 9th May – Training & Theory
  • Monday 23rd May – Training & Theory

We are pleased to announce that on Monday 4th April we will host a 5-round Swiss Blitz tournament at the club, with time controls between 10 and 15 mins. It should be a great evening of fast, competitive chess! We’ll aim to start at about 8pm, but club will be open as usual from 7.30pm. Content of future training sessions to be confirmed nearer the time.

This will be an open tournament with free entry – non members are welcome to come along and try out their chess skills against our seasoned club players. If you’re not a member and would like to join in, please just drop us an email to confirm your attendance: updates@hammerchess.co.uk

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The chicken on the left played a ‘cracking’ endgame…

If you can’t make a Monday evening at our club venue, we also run a free weekly session at Hammersmith Library (on Shepherds Bush Road, 2 mins from tube station) every Wednesday from 6-8pm. It’s hosted by a player or two from the club with a number of boards, and anyone is welcome to come up and try their hand at a game. The evenings have proven very popular of late, particularly with younger players. It’s a great way to get some hands on experience of the game! We are looking to shortly expand into Shepherds Bush and Kensington Libraries – more on that soon!

Do come along to these events if you can – you’ll be very welcome!

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016 @ 12:50 pm

Training Day – Part Deux

A reminder – Monday 29th sees our second evening of theory training at the club. It’s another free & open session – non-members are welcome to come along and join in.

Our Chairman, Bajrush (Rated ECF 208 for rapid play!) will be taking us through the following topics:

  • Endgame revision with practical sessions
  • Middle game basics
  • Basic openings & opening theory

Promises to be another valuable session – hope to see you there!

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The Balkan Bootcamp!

We held our first training session of the year tonight – and it was a cracking evening to get us started for the year. Our Balkan wizard at the board – chairman Bajrush Kelmendi – led the session with aplomb, taking a good sized group through the following topics:

  • Basic endgame theory
  • King & pawn endings
  • Pawn on pawn formations
  • Rook and Bishop theory, including the tricky task of mating with a bishop pair

It didn’t end there – that was followed by a practical session on applying some of these themes in a couple of previous games of his.

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Bajrush was aided by our League 4 Captain John White at the demo board. We also had the benefit of a large television & computer for running through the games.

There were plenty of questions and challenges from the crowd, and a couple of moments of levity, mostly involving missing pieces from the demo board which John had managed to squirrel away in his pockets! True magnetism.

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It was a great session – hats off to Bajrush for arranging, and also to John for helping sort out on the night.

Further tips and tactics for endgames can be found here.

Looking forward to the next session – Monday 29th Feb, 7.30pm start. Save the date & do come along!!