Hammersmith Chess Club – 2020/21 Season

With Hammer’s Summer School having just drawn to a close, it’s time for a long overdue update about the upcoming season at Planet Hammer.

Sadly coronavirus is still very much a pandemic, affecting the lives of billions worldwide. With the government’s new “rule of six” coming into force this week, and winter fast approaching, it is with regret that the club sees no imminent return to over-the-board chess. This is a view shared by the vast majority of our rival clubs, as well as the organisers of all the leagues we play in.

Now for the good news… there are plenty of opportunities to play online chess!

Whether you’re a beginner or grandmaster, adult or junior, blitz addict or slowplay guru, we’re confident Hammer has something for you.

The Sledgehammer, Rockhammer & Jackhammer Cups

These tournaments proved to be increasingly popular last year – especially after moving online. The idea is that you can challenge any player at the club, and agree on a mutually suitable time to play. The Sledgehammer is a slowplay version, Rockhammer is rapidplay, while Jackhammer uses the Chess960 variant. Matches can be played online or over-the-board, with all Sledgehammer and Rockhammer games eligible for ECF grading.

Weekly Hammer Blitz

Over the spring and summer we held our “Corona Cup” series, with lots of you taking part in ad-hoc blitz tournaments and arenas. It will come as no surprise that the series winner was Thomas Bonn, who played excellent chess throughout. Congratulations T-Bone!

From this Sunday 20th September we’ll be putting on weekly internal 7-round Swiss tournaments, with a 5+3 time control. Be sure to join our lichess team to take part: https://lichess.org/team/hammersmith-chess-club. The first event can be found at this link.

Simultaneous Exhibitions

Over the spring and summer we also hosted a “Covid-19 Simul” series. Top club members and associates were invited to take on lots of you at the same time. Grandmasters Jon Speelman, Simon Williams and Keith Arkell were just a few of the names involved, with the series culminating in IM Adam Taylor simultaneously taking on 6 Hammers BLINDFOLDED, finishing with an astonishing 5.5 points.

A huge congratulations to Moritz Reuter, the winner of our Covid-19 simul series, who dismantled many extremely strong chess players!

We’ll be looking to offer lots more simuls over the coming months. If there’s someone you particularly want to play, please get in touch and we’ll try to make it happen!

League Chess

The London, Middlesex and Thames Valley leagues are all planning to start online competitions in the near future. These will provide opportunities for players of all levels to represent Hammersmith at a slower time control.

We expect the organisers to employ arbiters and anti-cheating measures to provide an experience as close as possible to competitive over-the-board chess. Furthermore we plan to open up our Zoom room after each match to facilitate virtual analysis and socialising.

If you are interested in captaining one of these teams please contact club captain Ben: ben@rothwells.org.

Challenge Matches

Over the last few years, the club has made a lot of connections with other clubs around the world. We have been on trips to Bury St. Edmunds, Cork, Wrocław and Amsterdam, with this summer’s tour to Lübeck sadly scuppered by Covid.

We are reaching out to all of these clubs to organise exhibition matches. Cork have also invited us to their online congress in October. Be sure to join our chess.com club, through which many of these matches will be arranged: https://www.chess.com/club/hammersmith-chess-club

Junior Hour

The club will be continuing a weekly Junior Hour at 5pm on Tuesdays, across a varied set of topics, focussing on improving chess understanding. As well as juniors, it will also be open to “late starters”: adult members relatively new to the game, looking for advice on how to improve. The first session will take place on Tuesday 22nd September. Please contact Christof if you’d like to take part: cbrixel@yahoo.com.au.

Subscriptions & ECF Membership

Hammersmith membership for 2020/21 was agreed at the AGM at the following rates:

  • Adults & Juniors: £65 per annum
  • Concession: £40 per annum (for senior citizens, and unwaged)

Despite the lack of over-the-board chess at present, the club still expects to have many costs for the year ahead. Please support us by paying your subs early. If it transpires that Covid-19 prevents OTB chess for a significant period of time, and venue and/or league fees are therefore much lower than usual, we are committed to offering a discount on 2021/22 subs to all 2020/21 members.

Subs can be paid via bank transfer:

  • Name: Hammersmith Chess Club
  • Sort Code: 40-03-21
  • Account Number: 91245120

It is also time to renew your membership with the ECF, which, amongst other things, covers the costs associated with grading your games. Bronze membership this year costs £18 for adults, or £6 for juniors. Further details are available here.

Please contact Adam for any questions about membership: adam1234321@gmail.com.

The Hammersmith Committee