The Twelve Reports of Christmas – Part 3: London League Third Team

Hammersmith’s third team in the London League play in Division Four, aiming to provide competitive games to a large and rotating squad and to have fun at the same time. Our opponents usually range from 90-150ECF, and new members are most welcome to put their names forward.

So far this season, sixteen different players have been involved in three games, where we have won one, drawn one and lost one, leaving us in a solid mid-table position. That is not the full picture though, as our squad of relatively low graded players have beaten the expectations (and their opponents!) and claimed some impressive individual results.

Our season started with the club derby against the second team, who are aiming for promotion. Despite this, we took them to the wire and nearly derailed their plans in the first match! The result was in the balance towards the end, but ended in a 5.5-2.5 loss overall. Of note two were two debutants, with Will Johnston scoring a win on board four against club regular Adam Cranston, and Cian Ward on board eight almost achieved a result against opposing captain David Lambert before succumbing at the end. Both look like strong players to watch going forward, belying their current grades.

Dave has slightly overextended and young Cian will come very close to exploiting the weaknesses

Athenaeum were next up. Going into this match we were outgraded and outnumbered, with one board defaulted due to a late drop-out, and Jakub Wirecki kindly filling in on the day and preventing a second default. Athenaeum are a strong side, and won the fixture 6-2 last year. Despite this, a series of strong games led to a 4-4 draw overall, with Hammers Rahulan, Izaan, Jonathan and Ben all scoring wins against opponents graded some thirty points above them, while Charlie Sturt on board two fought a near-winning game as well (you win some, you lose some). At least half of the team stayed until the end and then some, with further analysis of our games carrying on afterwards at the local pub.

The final game of the season so far was a 5-3 victory over Greater London Chess Club. Despite some pre-match organisational difficulties, with a few players arriving late, the result was a solid win. Cian carried forward his earlier form with a draw that could well have led to a win, while Yazhou Jiang, Benji Portheault, Will Johnston and Robin Lee all recorded wins as well. The match ended with some late controversy in the final game on board five, with Hammer Charlie Sturt taking issue with his opponent’s timekeeping. Thankfully this was ironed out by both captains, and with the match won with the score already standing at 4.5-2.5, a gentleman’s agreement resulted in a draw being agreed here.

After Christmas we have a busy January and February, not just for the third team who have four games, but for the club as a whole as well (, so please do get in touch and reply to your emails from the various captains, and we hope to see you playing in the New Year.

Merry Christmas!


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