A January Corker!

As world leaders prepare to depart from Davos, here at Hammer we’re always looking for our next excursion! After the huge success of our visit to Amsterdam last Summer, plans are being laid for a trip across the Irish Sea to visit Cork!

Read on to find out more, along with the usual goings on at Planet Hammer…

  • Cork Chess Club trip
  • Bury St Edmonds challenge match
  • London League 3 vs. Athenaeum
  • Middlesex League 3 vs. Hendon
Get Ready to be Corked!

Yes, the Hammer crew – like a dodgy bottle of Chateau Rothschild – are going to be Corked! The 2018 Hammer on Tour is now confirmed.

On the weekend of June 8-10 Hammer are taking on the might of Cork Chess Club in the second city of Ireland. In a weekend that will celebrate chess, beer, camaraderie and sampling the delights of the beautiful city of Cork.

The stunning Cork riverfront

Following on from our enormously enjoyable and most excellent weekend in Amsterdam in 2017, we have decided to grace the Emerald Isle with our presence. How magnanimous we are!!

Cork is a beautiful city situated on the River Lee in the stunning South-West of Ireland. It has a huge history, with us – the Brits – the noisy and repressive neighbours, playing a large part in that.

University College Cork

Cork Chess club was founded in 1990 and like us is heavily involved in all matters of the promotion of our beautiful game. Their current star is IM Alex Lopez, ELO rated 2432! Check out their website: www.corkchess.com

So, it is time to pack your bags and book your flights (I have already done so!). The flights are excellent value at the moment.

The English Market in Cork City

Please email John White (john.white49@ntlworld.com) ASAP confirming your participation so we can start assembling numbers and looking at accommodation. Plus, we need to give the numbers to our hosts so the arrangements can be put in place.

This will be a superb weekend, so do not miss out!

The 2018 Challenge Match vs Bury St Edmunds – 7th April

The gauntlet has been thrown down and the date set. Hammer are going on the road to take on the powerhouse of Suffolk Chess – Bury St Edmunds. We have been called out and we will answer the challenge to defend the honour of the House of Anvil. Read on…

Beautiful Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds is a beautiful Suffolk market town with a history dating back to the 11th Century, and a fine cathedral.

They are also pretty good at chess! Check out their club website: www.bsechess.org.uk

The centre-piece of the day will be a long-play over-the-board mass-team match, so we need as many Hammerites to step up and defend the honour of our club!

It will be an excellent day of chess, making new friends and perhaps best of all the prospect of sampling the beer at the Old Cannon Brewery and the Nutshell.

I already have commitments from Carsten, Bajrush, Marios, Wyatt, Adam and Chris Skulte. So, guys I need you step up. Email me ASAP – john.white49@ntlworld.com – so I can match you with a suitable opponent.

This is new territory for Hammer, but hopefully it will become an annual event in the calendar.

Our honour must and will be defended. Go Hammer!

London League 3 vs. Athenaeum – 22.01.18

Welcome to part 4 of the Starship Hammer One 2018 odyssey, and its one season mission to boldly go to Division Two of the London League.

Captain Clueless Log – Part Date 22.01.2018 – Hammer 1’s crew have beamed down to the planet of literary and scientific study – Athenaeum. A strange and hostile world, where gaining entry to the match venue requires digital input technology.

The Hammer Landing Party consisted of, in board order: Thomas, Marios, Bajrush, Jim, Paul McK, Chris S, Sheikh, Tommaso, Paul K and Clueless. Even with the inclusion of Clueless, the strongest team Hammer 1 has put out i the London League for many a year.

We out-graded our opponents on average by 20 points a board. Thus, applying Spock logic – the result should not have been in doubt. If only life was that simple!

Captain Clueless also cocked up on the logistical front and got the wrong start time. Basically gifting at least 10 minutes to some of the Athenaeum team.

Chris S got delayed but brought John G (Sauvignon) along, and poor Bajrush arrived too late. Fortunately, John G stepped in and took over board three for the Hammer crew. Default-free we remain.

So, to the tale of a much fraught and difficult evening.

Playing black on board one and making his debut in the London League, Thomas (T-Bone) took on an opponent who clearly wanted a draw. Displaying great patience and tenacity, Thomas probed, created problems and worried his opponent on the clock. On a blitz-style finish he broke through and downed his opponent. A victory for sheer willpower. Hammer at 1-0.

On board two Marios (Zeus) has adjourned in a position where he has a slight advantage. I have to say his determination to carry on and grab the full point at the conclusion of the evening was truly awe-inspiring. There is nothing like an ultra-determined Greek with immortal characteristics!

John G started on board 3 with a near thirty minute deficit, and truth be told one too many Sauvignon Blancs to the bad. This was a brave shout from JG and ensured that Hammer did not default. He definitely took one for the team. Sadly he lost, Hammer now at 1-1

Jim (Loco) had one of those games that saw little happening and is adjourned in a position with a setup of Rook and three pawns, vs Rook and four pawns. He has three pawns. His King is cramped but he is convinced he can hold the position. I do not think this is Celtic wistfulness.

Board 5 saw Paul McK (The Prof) have the game of the evening with the black pieces. I have asked him to annotate it for the website. This game had everything – piece sacrifices, a king march-up the board in search of safety, and finally a two Rooks vs Queen endgame.

Paul deployed all his ingenuity and experience to keep the game alive – including excellent reverse psychology. The strategic offer of a draw when you are the one being battered! Suffice it to say, in the end all came good and he made it 2-1 to Hammer.

On board 6 – Chris (Sydney) had one of those nights when you are in a bad vein of form. He missed a forced checkmate win and in the end had to resign. He was so angry with himself and cursing his luck. This was an aberration & he will recover his best form – he is too good a player.

Board 7 saw Sheikh (Pandit) with the black pieces, establish equality early on. He was cruising to a draw at worse when it all went wrong and he allowed a Rook and Knight corner checkmate. He was at a loss to explain it in the pub afterwards and his form this season has been good. Personally, I blame the venue. Hammer now down 3-2.

Onto Board 8. Making his debut in the LL3 division a new face. His name is Tommaso – his nickname is Forza. Remember that name. This was probably the best attacking game of the evening – taking on a Dragon Sicilian f3 variation, Tommaso played a fine game and won in great style. A new Hammer star is born. 3-3

Paul K (Dead-Eye) is in lethal form this season for Hammer in LL3. He recored his third win in a fine tactical game. He really is on fire. Hammer now edging at 4-3.

Finally, to Clueless on Board 10 a list-minute substitute for The Suit (Matteo) who succumbed to the Aussie/Japanese flu virus. To be honest with you I played poorly. My form is uncertain at the moment and I was lucky to find a tactic to force a draw. Hammer at 4.5-3.5 on the night.

So not a disaster, but to  be honest we are a better team than the score suggests. We now need to refocus and put this behind us. Promotion is our goal and games like this remind us that we have to work for it.

Clueless over & out!

Middlesex League 3 vs. Hendon, 25.01.18

Hammersmith 2 entered the second half of the season knowing that a good run of results would see us promoted to Division 2. It was vital to get a good start in a tough encounter at Hendon.

On board one, John White had the white pieces. He sacrificed a piece for two pawns and a dangerous attack early into the game, but his young opponent defended tenaciously. When the attack fizzled out, John was simply material down and had no choice but to resign. 0-1

I played my favourite Albin Counter-Gambit on board two. An exciting contest ensued, in which I had good positional compensation for the gambit pawn. Ultimately my passed pawn on the 7th rank posed too many problems, and I came away with the victory. 1-1. Here is the game in full:

Pouya played a closed structure on board 3 that remained very even throughout. The players agreed a draw when it was clear that no progress could be made. 1.5-1.5

Eva’s debut for the team did not go quite according to plan. A few imprecise moves in a tactical sequence left her an exchange down. In trying to work out how to make a draw, her flag dropped and the game was lost, and the team was a point down with four to play. 1.5-2.5

John Ryan won a pawn early on and exchanged pieces off into a tricky queen and pawn endgame. John’s infamous endgame technique shone through – he coolly navigated perpetual check threats and gradually pushed his pawn until it was unstoppable, forcing resignation. The match was level at 2.5-2.5, and John’s record for the team improves to an impressive 3.5/4.

Coming off the back of two defeats, Dipender on board 6 was keen to turn things around. He didn’t play a particularly sound game but unfortunately his opponent made proportionally more blunders and Dipender scored an important win. They performed a detailed analysis at the end of the game with his opponent’s father – a very strong player and first team regular. 3.5-2.5

Shiraz found exactly the right time to exchange off all the pieces in the middle game. To his dismay, his opponent realised that he was now one tempo too late to stop Shiraz’s passed pawn. He tried to cling on for a speculative stalemate but Shiraz was far too clinical and delivered mate. 4.5-2.5

Dan on board 8 opted to delay his development to pick up material early on. His opponent couldn’t find a way to exploit his weak king – Dan consolidated and picked up the win.

So in the end it was a 5.5-2.5 win to Hammersmith – a relief to score a win after two 4-4 draws. Well played all!

It’s well and truly a three horse race for the promotion spots. Our next two home games will be key, versus Kings Head and Muswell Hill:


One thought on “A January Corker!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *