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!!

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!

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.

Opening Match Reports

With the games coming thick & fast we have a couple of recent match reports to share from our team captains:

03.10.16 – London League 6 Derby: Hammersmith HEDGER v Hammersmith

With our newly-formed additional team in London 6, Hammersmith HEDGER (named for the late, great Ken Hedger), we faced the prospect of a League 6 Derby for the first time in a long time. In the cauldron of Lytton Hall our two teams faced off in their opening game of the new season.

Our Hedger team saw club stalwarts Robin Lee, Nick Rutherford, Mike Mackenzie and Dan “Ruggers” Rugman face a slightly less well established ensemble with new captain Rich Wingfield, Chris “CJ” Moore, Andy Routledge and Shaun Gordon (sporting a fine fedora) in his first competitive outing for Hammersmith. Great to have our new faces on board representing the club!

The best-dressed team in chess
The best-dressed team in chess

Top board saw a hard fought game between Robin and Rich. Two players who’ve been on great form of late, Robin edged the encounter with Rich under time pressure and in the face of a beautiful Queen sacrifice. A good game.

Chris and Nick played out a draw on board two; probably a fair result in the end.

Andy managed to get the better of Mike thanks to some aggressive attacking play leaving Mike’s king isolated. A good result for the big man.

On board four Shaun was a late (and unexpected) replacement – probably not ideal preparation for his first game for the club! Facing Dan, he played a very respectable game, eventually succumbing with Dan taking a deserved win.

A great match by all concerned, and particularly pleasing that our new Hedger team opened their account with a victory. A fitting tribute to Ken.


06.10.16 – London League 4, Hammersmith v Newham

It’s always a pleasure to realise that your opponent’s 200-graded captain is stepping-down to make way for other players. Less pleasant to realise that half of the players you’re up against are under 13 years old!!

Newham are certainly a team of young guns, so you get the usual script. Lightning-quick moves, underestimated grades and a cast-iron resolve to play until they’re absolutely beaten. My opponent refused to quit even when it was a rook and two pawns against his lone king…

It was a pretty close match all-round with a draw feeling like the right result.

Adam and John were the last to finish; both had extremely tight games with Adam finally getting edged in a Rook vs Bishop endgame. John’s draw ultimately meant that we ended the night with honours even. He was up on material but faced into a pair of bishops locked together ominously.

The games on boards 6-8 seemed to be played at breakneck pace. By the time I drew breath to look up and walk around, the tables were clear and the boards put away. My commentary on these games is limited, but Phil was cursing himself in the Shakespeare for allowing a fork on f7. Always next time.

A special word must go to Danny Gordon – for not only making his debut but for starting with a win. Well done – long may it continue.


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!

LL 3 – Tough Start for Hammer 1!

A Tough Match to Start the London League Season for Hammer 1, by Captain John White

Hammersmith went down 3.5 to 6.5 away to Cavendish in our opening match for the newly-promoted team.

We really missed the experience of Paul Kennelly and Jeremy Hodgson owing to holiday and other commitments. However, new members Jay Hinolan and Matteo Bezzini stepped up to the plate.

Jay suffered a loss in his first LL match – due to a heavy cold he was not in the best of form. He’ll be back stronger – having seen him beat Sue Maroroa in the simul during the Summer, I know he was well below his best here.

Matteo playing black got a draw – a solid start to his London League odyssey.

Both of these guys will be great assets for Hammersmith in the London and other Leagues this season. Welcome aboard!

To the rest of the games – the highlight was John Woolley’s return to form with an excellent win. Fighting draws from Brian Dodgeon, Bajrush, John Goodacre (great to see him back!) and yours truly.

Sheikh, Safi and Alex all had tough losses – early season blues I think.

A disappointing result but we were out graded by 15 points or more from boards 2 to 6.

We’ll be back, and stronger next time!



Full scorecard on LL site here.

Opening Night!

By our London League 3 Captain, John White

Hello fellow members – the most memorable evening since Hillary and Donald decided to get it on, took place last night in the Valhalla of West London Chess.

Chess is back at Lytton Hall!

Last night Hammersmith Chess Club returned to its home and the prospect of a tough and exciting season of league chess, blitz tourneys, events and great chess got a lot closer.

The evening was dominated by two events. Firstly – the presentation of merit awards to our most deserving players for their performances in the Thames Valley, London, and Middlesex Leagues last season.

Winners included our Chairman, Bajrush, Brian Dodgeon, Robin Lee, David Lambert and your humble correspondent.


Special mention should be given to John Ryan who received the award for the best increase in rating achieved over the 2015/16 season.


Once again the Club is indebted to our brilliant Secretary, Mike Mackenzie, who put in a lot of work to the awards to make it a special occasion.

HCC gets digital clocks in 2016!

With the gongs out of the way we got down to the first of four 10-minute Blitz tournaments of the season.

A new initiative this year, the Club will be operating a season-long series of four Blitz tournaments where members can rack up points according to their finishing positions. At the end of the final round the Club will crown our inaugural Blitz Champion.

Seventeen people took part in this first round, including a number of new and potentially-new members – we extend our warmest welcome to Phil, Ken, Paolo, Giovanni and Matteo. Pleased to say that Matteo plays his first game for the Club this Thursday – good luck!

The nuts & bolts of the evening saw our Chairman Bajrush beating League 4 Captain David Lambert in the hotly-contested final. A well deserved victory for Bajrush and a solid placing for David – a great night was had by all. Full Roll of Honour and points awarded as follows:

  • Winner – Bajrush (17 points)
  • Runner Up – David (16 points)
  • 3rd (Joint) – Brian, Matteo (15 points)
  • 5th (Joint) – Chris, John W, John R, Robin (13 points)
  • 9th – Sheikh (9 points)
  • 10th – Giovanni (8 points)
  • 11th (Joint) – Paolo, Matt (7 points)
  • 13th (Joint) – Ken, Rich, Danny, Mike (5 points)
  • 17th – Phil (1 point)

Congratulations to all concerned and all the best for the coming season!!

Don’t forget – if you haven’t done so already, please get your Club Membership Fee and ECF Membership Sorted – both essential if you wish to play League Chess for Hammersmith. Please get in touch for details.

Middlesex Fixtures & the Return to Lytton Hall

We have now confirmed all our upcoming fixtures in the Middlesex League – full details available on our calendar, and on the Middlesex website.

Please take a moment to check the fixtures in advance – with Hammersmith entering 7 teams across 6 leagues this season, the fixture list is busier than it has been in a long time! Thames Valley fixtures should be confirmed next week.

In addition, we are pleased to confirm our return to our home venue Lytton Hall on Monday 26 September, after a very successful (and hot!) Summer at the Albion.

It will be a busy evening – starting with a short presentation ceremony for our players of the season, closely followed by a blitz tournament for all-comers. Promises to be a great opener to the season & we’d love to see as many faces down there as possible!

2016/17 Fixtures, and some updates!

As the new season rapidly approaches, we’ve got a couple of notices and reminders for you:

  • London League fixtures for the coming season have now been released! All games have been added to the Hammersmith Calendar, and are also available on the London League website. It will be a busy year for Hammersmith with an additional team in League 6, named in honour of the late Ken Hedger, as well as teams in Leagues 3, 4 and 5, along with our Thames Valley and Middlesex League teams!
Not long to go…
  • Library evenings at Shepherds Bush, and Kensington libraries are suspended until week commencing 26th September. Apologies to anyone wanting to attend, but owing to other commitments we won’t be there for a few weeks.
  • Monday 26th September also sees us re-locate to Lytton Hall for the new season. We’ll be waving goodbye to the Albion until next year!
  • September 15th sees an interesting tournament at Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club over in Teddington, West London: The Abraham Neviazsky Memorial Tournament. All games to start with 1.b4 (The Polish). Entry is £5  – full details on their Facebook event page:


Hammersmith Chess Club – Summer Report 2016

This Summer at Hammersmith saw a change from the usual downtime that accompanies the end of the league season and the long wait for the new one to begin. Members were lucky enough to take part in a number of events involving competitive – and in some cases not-so-competitive – chess during July and August. Club Sec Mike Mackenzie presents a summary.

Monday 18th July
A special evening of chess saw Hammersmith take on Battersea in the first game of our Summer double-header, dubbed “El-Chessico”. Members of both clubs seemed very much up for the event, with 12 boards turning out for this rated game at the Albion Pub. Full report can be found here.

Our inaugural Summer double-header against Battersea saw 26 boards across the two games!

Monday 25th July
This scorching hot evening saw a splendid simultaneous over 14 boards by our very own Sue Maroroa. An excellent turnout, coupled with Sue generously waiving her fee and donating it to the club, saw a thrilling evening of chess. Full report can be found here.

Sue Maroroa – knows a thing or two about chess!

Tuesday 26th July
The concluding game of El-Chessico saw a huge turnout at Battersea’s home venue in darkest South-West London. Fully 14 boards took part in this second leg as Battersea sought to salvage some pride…. Full report here.

With a draw in the second leg, Hammersmith took the tie 1.5-0.5

Monday 1st August
Saw 7 members turn out at the Albion pub for an evening of chess.

Monday 8th August
9 members showed up for what turned out to be a very interesting evening of chess. John, Mike, Jorge, Paolo, Shaun, Javid, Tomas, and Matt turned out, along with top club player Carsten, who was kind enough to analyse several games played by the other members, as well as enjoying a spot of recreational chess himself.

Monday 15th August
A whopping 13 members showed up at the Albion, plus Danny’s flatmate, and new recruit Matteo.

Monday 22nd August
8 members including John, Mike, Phil, Anda (our terrific library organiser!), Rich and Jorge turned out for the evening, plus a graduate from one of our library evenings, Marc, came down to see what it’s all about.
Pavel also turned up and sadly let us know he’ll be moving back to the Midlands in the next few weeks. Best of luck Pavel!

Monday 29th August
No chess due to the Bank Holiday!

The Life of a King

It’s not often a film about chess comes along – though the recent biog of Bobby Fischer stands out – but here are some details about an upcoming chess-themed cinematic event…

The film “Life of a King” is being screened on Tuesday 30th August at Walthamstow Empire cinema. The film stars Cuba Gooding Jnr, and is an inspirational tale based on the true story of an ex-con who, determined to help at-risk youths avoid the mistakes he made, forms a chess club to offer them an alternative to street gangs. Tickets are £10.50 and the screening starts at 7pm – full details can be found here.

Move before you… dammit! 

As part of the screening, Hackney’s first team captain FM Bob Eames is giving a free simultaneous on the afternoon of Saturday 27th August. Keep your eyes posted on Hackney’s website for details.

Sue Maroroa vs. Hammersmith!

As regular readers will know, Hammersmith Chess Club had the enormous pleasure of taking on Women’s International Master Sue Maroroa in a Simultaneous display across 14 boards on Monday 25th July.

It was a sultry evening in the Big Smoke and the atmosphere in the upstairs function room of The Albion pub was no different. What little ventilation was on offer didn’t really help, as we just about managed to squeeze in enough boards to accommodate everyone!

Former Hammersmith player Sue had generously agreed to play us this Summer and it was an enthusiastic crowd that turned up, ranging from our old timers, recent new members, and the odd potential signing. Sue had hoped that the evening would be “quick and painless”. Whilst we could ensure an evening free of physical torment, with 14 boards it looked anything but rapid!

Play commenced shortly after 7.30 and it quickly became evident that Sue would have a fight on her hands – not only was Hammersmith fielding a former Punjab Chess Champion in Amit Sharma, amongst other strong opposition, but the setup of the pub meant a long walk down to the far end of the bar with every circuit Sue completed – Hardly ideal given the heat & humidity!

It was a loooong way to get round all the boards

First blood went to Sue however, with a brisk ten-move victory over Shaun (someone had to be first!). Your correspondent followed soon after, conceding after 26 moves. Sue gradually clocked up the victories and whilst the war was clearly being won by the WIM, there remained a number of intriguing skirmishes that would end with victory for Hammersmith.

Amit eventually ended up victorious from a deep strategic game that had Sue thinking hard all evening.

The ice-man… Amit. The coolest thing in the pub that night

John Wooley went two pawns up in a commanding position leaving Sue with little option but to concede.

Jay Hinolan wound up with doubled pawns in a tight endgame, but somehow managed to get one to an imminent Queening position, forcing Sue to resign.

Jay looking very happy with his position

Chris Moore sealed a draw by taking out Sue’s last pawns. He came agonisingly close to forcing the game but there just wasn’t enough material to get his last pawn to a Queening square. Bad luck!

Chris looked under the cosh early doors but ended with a brilliant draw

Club Secretary Mike Mackenzie managed to hold on with even material throughout a long game which looked to be heading for a draw, however Sue was able to push forward and claim victory.

The evening finished with Sue notching up 10 wins, 1 drawn game, and conceding 3. Congratulations go to those players who obtained a result – some terrific chess was played. Thanks also to everyone who turned out for the event, it was great to see so many faces.

Special thanks to Sue for donating her time and energy on a very warm evening in the capital – Hammersmith Chess Club salutes you, and we hope it wasn’t too painful!

For more photos of the evening please check out our Facebook Album, and don’t forget to check out Battersea Chess Club’s website if you would like to play in the Simul they are organising against Simon William, aka the Ginger GM!