Hammersmith Chess Club summoned to UK Parliament

Hammersmith Chess Club often leads the way in the London chess community, bringing together various chess players from all over Europe (from various mainland clubs to Cork, Ireland) – This time however, our travels took us closer to home, as we were invited by UK Parliamentary Chess Club for an exhibition match along with a private tour.

The traditional first move was played by Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter vs. Hammersmith Secretary Adam Cranston.

A very respectable 1.e4 played by Andy Slaughter MP

The match was underway – 6 Hammers vs. 6 Parliamentarians in a 2 games per board rapid match-up, with Adam Cranston as team captain, and Christopher Skulte as the official photographer.

Many of the games were going the distance, and part way through, Hammers were in the lead 3.5-1.5 with tense matches across a lot of the boards.

Eventually the experience of the Hammersmith players came through and we took the match 9.5 – 2.5. While competition was rife over the board, the teams came together to share our passion for the game after the final king was laid to rest, with some detailed analysis discussing what could have been.

Post-match we were treated to a private tour of UK Parliament by Peter Hornsby, sitting in on live sessions of the House of Commons and House of Lords (walking past ex-Prime minister David Cameron at one point), as well as learning about the history of the building.

We were also lucky enough to be joined on the tour by Political Advisor Chris Waterman, whose many jokes kept the team entertained throughout the tour.

Overall it was quite the memorable evening for those Hammers lucky enough to attend, and we would like to thank Peter Hornsby and the UK Parliamentary Chess Club for inviting us along for the evening.

Christopher Skulte

Chess Champions of the 4 Nations!

Is there anything Hammersmith Can’t do?!?

By Christopher Skulte

Hammersmith has long been a bedrock of fame, be it Hammersmith Bridge that was first designed by William Tierney Clark, opening in 1827 as the first suspension bridge crossing the River Thames, or The Dove (pub), which boasts the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest public bar in the United Kingdom, or even the famous (infamous) movie star Hugh Grant, who was born in Hammersmith.

Now we can add a new accolade to the list, where a number of Hammer’s master-level players (IM Peter Roberson, IM Thomas Rendle & IM Mark Kvetny) played for the national league squad TigerSharks to win Division 1 of the 4NCL Online League, which consists of many professional and semi-professional chess players.

NB: TigerSharks are a combination of two division 1 4NCL teams, the Celtic Tigers (which many Hammers play for, and is managed by Hammer’s own Chris Skulte), and the Grantham Sharks. In the 4NCL Online they are managed by Ryszard Maciol (another Hammer).

Part 1: The Group Stages

The top division of the 4 Nations Chess League Online (online due to Covid), is made up of teams of 4, who are split into 4 groups of 8, where the top ranked team from each group goes through to the semi-finals.

TigerSharks finished top of their group with 6 wins, and 1 draw, and the second highest game points of 22 (an average game sore of 3.1-0.9 per match!). Only Chessable’s White Rose managed higher, with 23 game points over the 7 rounds.

The other teams progressing to the finals were:

  • Chessable White Rose 1
  • Guildford Young Guns (Guildford are current 4NCL champions)
  • Chessable White Rose 2
Part 2: The semi-final

It was all systems go for the semifinal, luckily for us, we faced the weakest of the 4 teams (though there is no easy opponent at this level), and form holding true we were able to win comfortably 3-1.

The other game saw the highest rank team, Chessable’s White Rose, led by England #3 and current Online European Blitz Champion Gawain Jones, draw the match with Guildford. IN the event of a draw, whoever wins the highest board wins, therefore an amazing upset win for Guildford.

Part 3: The Final

The moment of the season, having been knocked out of the previous knockout semi-finals by 2-2 draws (losing on board count), the team has one goal on our mind for the first final. Games have been commented on below in the order which they finished.

Board 3 (White): In a tight encounter against Grandmaster Mark Hebden, after a slight misplay by Kvetny on move 25, Hebden started to press, Mark gave a final attack to try and save the game, but alas it wasn’t enough.

3 games to go: TigerSharks 0-1 Guildford


Board 1 (White): In the next match to finish, Peter slowly built up an advantage, though some good defence and counter play by Wadsworth brought the game back into balance. Expertly played by both at this point, pieces were slowly traded down into a draw.

2 games to go: TigerSharks 0.5-1.5 Guildford

To win the match, we now had to win on board 2, otherwise we would lose on game points, or tiebreak – unfortunately at the time our opponents had a +4 advantage on that board.


Board 2 (Black): All eyes were on this game, it was an extremely tactical encounter between two strong international masters, Reimanis and Suarez. A key moment being White’s 26th move, which brought the game back to even. Reimanis then continued to outplay his opponent, got the advantage, and sealed the win with beautiful style.

1 game to go: TigerSharks 1.5-1.5 Guildford

To win the match, we only had to draw the last game.


Board 4 (Black): The final game of the match was international master Rendle vs Grieve. It was an extremely close encounter, with a lot of pressure built up on both sides. Navigating the difficulties, Rendle was able to steer the game towards a peaceful ending.

Final Score: TigerSharks 2-2 Guildford

We win the title!!!


The final match table is below, we sit down with a beer to digest the season, have a sleep, dust off our pieces, and get ready to defend our title. Hammer’s influence grows larger yet again!

Jonnydangerous faces off against the Ginger GM

Before talking through my battle with “Ginger GM” Simon Williams, I will start by discussing my background in chess. I do this to outline how an ex-130 rated player (currently 106) might think as they work through a game in a highly uncomfortable position they have never seen before, against much higher-rated opposition.

Lots of my club peers probably go through the same kind of feeling during certain games of chess. I do this to point out the obvious: feeling uncomfortable at times is an unavoidable part of chess – the trick is to accept and embrace it!

I learned to play chess when I joined my school chess club at the age of 11, and my 14-year-old self made it to 130 level, from where I stagnated with no coaching and no plan. I continued to play actively through university and during my first years of work. However, work combined with some life events led me to all but give up chess at 30, for the best part of a decade.

Your correspondent – Dangerous Jon

Then, my childhood friends Aidan and Mark helped me back into chess. A plan was hatched to learn the same openings as they were, ditching my beloved e4 as white and Sicilian as black, for things I had never played before. The reinvention of my love of chess had begun. While I have hardly played in England, i have made recent annual trips to Bunratty with my friends to enjoy a break for socialising and chess.

I’ve now been a member of the mighty Hammer for about 18 months. I joined after a combined effort from John White and Mark (of Cork Chess Club) that got me involved in the Keith Arkell Simul at the tri-club meeting with our Dutch and Irish friends in London in Summer 2018. I hope to play many more matches and get back into over-the-board chess, and while I have had a few outings, work has conspired against me at various points.

Still, I am delighted to be involved with a great club that has a strong beating heart of committed players and great team spirit, and I hope to continue playing in future…. but for now we are in lockdown and with no over-the-board chess.

Since lockdown I have been continuing to play on Lichess, and my outdoors cycling has been swapped for cycling in the shed on my indoor training, where I have regularly combined exercise with watching YouTube chess videos, particularly when I find ones focused on openings I play.

On one such occasion I  stumbled upon some videos by Simon Williams of ‘Ginger GM’ notoriety, which I found instructive and entertaining. I had seen Simon play at Bunratty and knew he was famous for a love of pushing ‘Harry’ and ‘Gary’ whenever possible. I appreciate good attacking chess and like this style, so when the invitation to play Ginger GM in a simul came up, I felt I had to give it a go. I have played in about half a dozen simuls over the years, and lost all except one – a draw with Peter Wells while I was at university.

So, the scene is set…

1. e4, g6 2. h4

So, already Simon demonstrates his love of Harry… this is not something I have ever faced before. Objectively speaking, 2.h4 must be an inferior move and black should be able to at least equalise. Practically speaking, it is entirely a different matter!

I know that when an opponent attacks on a wing, it is often good to counter in the centre, and so…

2…d5! 3. h5


I felt 3…gxh5 was obviously bad. 3… Bg7 doesn’t feel quite right here either –   I felt I had to take up the offer of a central pawn and play for activity.

4. hxg6, fxg6 5. d3, Nf6!

Taking the pawn would just help white achieve his aims. I have to continue to play actively. I am a pawn up but can see how easily white can attack if given  half a chance!

6. Nc3, Bg4

Again playing for activity above all else, development of a piece with tempo felt logical.

7. Be2, Bxe2 8. Qxe2

Simon may have made a slight mistake here as Ngxe2 seems more useful development.

8…exd3! 9. cxd3, Nc6 10. Nf3, Nd4

Both Bg7 and Qd7 are also good here. I simply wanted to continue to develop with tempo where possible and felt piece swaps help me more.

11. Nxd4, Qxd4 12. O-O, O-O-O!

I had committed to this with my 10th move. The position is sharp, but black is doing well.

13. Nb5! Qb6

White’s 13th is not the computers best move, but Simon seeks to create complications and attack against a lower-rated opponent. 13… Qd5 may well have been my best option.

14. a4, a6 15. Be3, Qe6

Black is better, but the position is very sharp.

16. Rfc1, Nd5?

A mistake by me. White’s 16th is not the best, I should have taken up the challenge with 16…axb5! For example: (i) 17. axb5 Qe5 18. d4 Qd6 19. Ra8+ Kd7 20. Ra7 Rb8 21. Qc4 Nd5 and white has nowhere near enough for the piece. Or (ii) 17. Bf4 Qxe2 18. Rxc7 Kb8 19. Rxe7+ Ka7 20. axb5 Kb6 21. Rxe2 Nd5 and black is fine. I respected my opponent too much, I trusted that my GM opponent has serious threats. I saw how sharp taking the piece was and didn’t manage to calculate out those variations to safety. Spending a bit more time thinking here may well have yielded dividends for me!

17. Na7+?

17.Nxc7 was white’s chance to gain the advantage. I was working about this move once I had played Nd5.


Not 17…Kb8? when 18. Nc6+ bc6 19. Ba7+ wins the Queen.

18. Rc5 Nxe3! 19. Fxe3 Qb6

I was looking at this and at 19…Bh6, and immediately wished I had played the latter: it develops with threats, connects the rooks, and is just a good move! …Qb6 mistakenly focuses on his threats, rather than generating my own.

20. Rac1 c6?!

20…Qxa7 is okay for black but after 21. Rxc7+ Ke8 there is still a lot of hard work to do.

21. Qg4+? e6!

White would be better playing 21. Nxc6 bxc6 22. Rxc6 Qxc6 23. Rxc6 Kxc6 but black should still win if he can complete his development without dropping a piece. This mistake is understandable as white has been under immense pressure to try and find threats.

The above point, with hindsight, reveals much to me about mistakes in my thinking as a (hopefully) improving club player. My main learning from this game is that feeling uncomfortable in this open position is absolutely okay, but it meant I did not realise at the time quite how strong my position actually was and how much pressure white was under.

The position is assessed by our silicon friends as better for black almost entirely throughout this game. It is right to feel uncomfortable, but I needed to also recognise that my position was better, and work to dissipate white’s short-term threats, then take my opportunities as they emerge.

The fact it was a GM on the other side of the board perhaps clouded my judgement, led me to worrying too much and giving him too much respect in some of my move choices! I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in a game like this, and should play as such!

22. Nxc6 Bxc5!

The point of …e6. Now white is in big trouble.

23. Ne5+ Ke8

e8 felt like the right square, to stay away from as many checks as I can.

24. d4 Bxd4

24… Rxd4 25. exd4 Bxd4+ 26. Kh1 Bxe5 is better as white has a resource after Bxd4.

25. exd4?

White could have played: 24. Rc6!! Bxe3+ 26. Kh2 Qxc6 27. nxc6 Rd6=

25… Rxd4! 26. a5

26. Rc8+ is met by 26…Rd8+!! However, now black has a big threat:

26… Rd1+!

White is lost.

27. Kh2 Qg1+! 28. Kh3 Qe3+ 29. g3 Qh6+ 30. Kg2 Qh1+ 31. Kf2 Qe1+

31… Rf8+ is also good e.g. 32. Nf3 Qf1+ 33. Ke3 Qd3+ 34. Kf2 Qd2#

32. Kg2 Qf1+! 33. Kh2 Rd2+ 34. Qe2 Rxe2#

Looking back over the game I am pleased with my fighting spirit, and while I made mistakes, I was delighted to take the tactical opportunity I was presented with! My first every victory against a GM, 31 years after I learned how the pieces move. Here’s hoping I can do it in a real over the board match one day!

I think Simon ended up with 11/15, so well done to the other three Hammers who took points (I’d love to see those games too), and a big thanks to Simon for his fun approach to the simultaneous. I have promised him a beer when he visits our club when we are all able to meet face-to-face again!

Simon broadcast the simul on his Twitch channel – you can re-watch here (starts at 7 minutes in):



The Lubeck Weekend

“We’re all going on a… Summer Chess Weekend, no more work just chess and beer for a day or two…..”
The Lubeck Heist Awaits: 5-7th June 2020

Yes, in times like now, these comforting, plagiarized lyrics, from the great Sir Cliff, provide some relief to the daily flood of bad news. In my mind – what is left of it – the universal panacea qualities of chess, beer and potential new friendships are the perfect antidote to all ills and act as a gateway to a glorious Summer.

Lord Clueless, playing fast with copyright and outrageous use of hyperbole, urges all true Hammerites to read on and take part in our own “Glastonbury of Chess”.

Please refer to the previous article on our friends from Lubeck: http://hammerchess.co.uk/2019/11/

This is a unique opportunity for both Hammer Seniors and Juniors to enjoy an amazing chess challenge against a more-than-worthy opponent – enjoy a historic city and the chance to sample some amazing beer.

The Lubeck club has an excellent Junior section, so we would love to take a Junior Team for the trip.

What true, red-blooded Hammer could resist?

If you want to take part, now is the time for action – the closing date is 31st March 2020!

The itinerary is yet to be finalized, but it’s likely the main chess activity will take part on the Saturday and Sunday mornings, so you can arrive Friday or early Saturday. The Saturday will definitely consist of at least one or two long-play games.

So, what do you need to do if you want to take part?

  • First of all, email Lord Clueless to say Count Me In! john.white49@ntlworld.com
  • Secondly, book your passage. Adam and I have already booked flights to Hamburg, and a train to Lubeck on the Friday (Check out Easyjet!)
  • Thirdly, confirm to Lord Clueless when your flight is booked, and what your accommodation requirements are – number of nights needed.
  • Finally, turn up and play for the glory of Hammer on the weekend of 5-7th June


Time is short, as the many Hammers who have enjoyed the delights of Amsterdam, Cork and Wroclaw over the past three years – these weekends are just superb.

Lord Clueless expects every Hammer to do their duty!

Cyclonic Win for Hammersmith Hedger

Our Hedger team visited Greater London Chess Club at their home in Little Russel Street near Holborn earlier this month, for our second game in 2020.

As usual our friends at GLCC welcomed us very warmly and made us feel at home, maybe too much!

It all started on board 2, where Nick Rutherford (aka Triple X) did a very quick job. All I was able to see was Mr.X updating the match sheet with a nice “1” for Hammer. Like usual, when Triple X does not make any big mistakes, all remained very quiet and calm until you hear a big SIGH of relief indicating a victory!

Then board 1, where Dave Lambert (aka Toffee) delivered the point as well. In a typical Caro game, Toffee played white and managed to keep the advantage, preventing any counter attack until black had nothing left to do.

A Charming Pair – Toffee and Triple X ready for action

Next, board 4, where your man (aka Il Consiliatore) was facing a tough experienced player rated not less than 40 ECF points higher. I was able to avoid mistakes and take advantage during the middle game and early endgame. Then the clock started taking a toll on both sides, and I have to say that with my 28…Ng4? I sent the night away from the action and my position suffered a bit. My opponent started repeating moves and a draw was agreed down the line on move 34. Still, a good result for me and a very good game.

Hylands v Osseiran:

But the defining game of this match was on board 3. Clouds were gathering for our player Javier Silvarrey (aka Cyclone), as he found himself in a difficult situation down a Bishop early in the game. But any weather scientist will tell you how a cyclone sucks the pressure away from where it hits. Move by move, Cyclone aggressively and stubbornly disintegrated the opponents pressure, and finally the clock helped Black collapse, delivering the final win to the Hedger team. Unfortunately the most interesting part of this game was not written down as time was at a premium! But the crowd held their breath watching this cyclonic ending.

The man of the moment – Cyclone nears the endgame!

Silvarrey v Scott:

Great chess entertainment!!

Final score 3.5-0.5 to Hammer, and four unbeaten boards against a strong and respectable opponent.

Let’s continue like this for the rest of the season!

The new ECF grades are OUT!!!

Chess at Hammersmith is a team game. Nonetheless, every player has their own grade based on their own games, and it would be wrong not to take some pride in these as well. These grades are currently updated by the ECF every six months, with the latest coming out last week on January 29th, and a number of Hammersmith players deserve a special highlight:

Our Middlesex One captain Marios Kouis leads the way, gaining 15 points and increasing his grade from 180 to 195. Marios has played across the Hammersmith first teams in the Thames Valley and London League as well as for his Middlesex teams, and currently has 7 game points from 9 games so far this season.

Club stalwart Dan Rugman has been a regular for Hammersmith Hedger so far this season, playing in four of their seven games so far, and six for the club in total. His grade is up 10 to 97, his highest grade yet. Joining him as a regular this season has been Abakar Nasrutdinoff. Abakar has also played six games so far, and his grade has reached 101, a 16 point increase.

Following two wins from three in the 2019 London Summer Chess League, Rauno Jarvinen has been turning out for the Hammersmith first teams and has also gained 10 points, taking him to 182, which is another personal best. At the other end of the age order, one of our youngest members (and newcomer) Cian Ward has shown his strength across eight games for the club so far across the London League, Middlesex and Central London League teams. Despite facing some tough opponents so far, his grade has gone up by 16 to reach 95.

Next up, while not playing too many games for Hammersmith itself in the season so far, Laith Auchi has also impressed and overtaken his brother Taymour, our winner of 2018-19’s most improved club player of the season. Laith is now graded 114, an increase of 18, while Taymour is close behind with a grade of 110. All remains to play for over the remainder of the season here!

The same also holds true for juniors Kumar Banerji (up 15 to 142), Jack Esiri (up 11 to 141), and Kabir Ghosh (up 19 to 107), all of whom I look forward to seeing turn out for more games for the club over the coming months.

Finally, new joiner Will Johnston debuted in the Hammersmith derby in London League Four with a win against club secretary Adam Cranston. After six wins from eight games (and no draws!) he has earned a first grade of 151. This has made a bit of a mockery of his original estimated grades, which were originally 110 and have since been revised to 125!

For anyone wishing to look further, all of the current and past ECF grades can be found on the grading website at http://www.ecfgrading.org.uk/new/menu.php

Best of luck to all Hammersmith players for the rest of the season,

Club Captain

A Hammer in Bavaria

I’m sure everyone remembers Christof’s debut article for Hammer – an account from the East Devon Congress – his first over the board chess tournament for nearly half a century!

Since then Christof has established himself as a Hammer legend – junior coach, Sledgehammer leader, and general top guy.

At the end of October he entered his second tournament – this time overseas at the 23rd Open International Bavarian Championship. Read on for Christof’s account of the topsy-turvy week.

I would like to whet the appetite to participate in these kind of international week-long open tournaments. And especially for this specific great festival in which the UK was underrepresented to put it mildly. While the 505 participants came from 29 nations, with 68 players from non-German Europe, 13 players from India, 11 from Russia, none came from Scotland, Wales, NI and only one from England (not me, but a junior against whom I had played this year, what a coincidence). Why this absence??? Was it Brexit day 31 October in the middle of the tourney? Well, everyone should have known that Halloween was not to be the last Brexit date. The rugby world cup?? Can this really be, rugby more important than chess??? But then, what do I understand about rugby, or about the English… So, only one UK chess club showing up in the players list, Hammersmith!

The great location needs mentioning. This one stands for an ideal holiday week at a mountain lake in Southern Germany, combined with highly competitive chess – the games start at 4pm, so there is ample time in the mornings to go to the mountains or around the lake, and my great city Munich is just one hour away.

And imagine, every fifth player is a title holder, with 31 GMs, 31 IMs and 49 FMs. The average ELO rating at 1965 (ECF 169), the top 10 average at 2608 (ECF 254) the top 50 still at 2477 (237). And everyone plays in one Open group. If you score well enough in the first rounds, chances are you will play against a giant! Wow, what a challenge. My starting rank with ELO 1846 was 353rd of 505, my stretch target was to get 50% and earn a few ELO points. Well, Hammers like challenges…

In the first round, I had to overcome formidable determined opposition (as shown in the photo) which compensated for the ELO difference. Other greats lost their first points against juniors. Top-seeded GM Gata Kamsky drew against a 12-year old Indian more than 500 points below his 2685.

photo of my first round opposition by Thomas Müller

The second round saw me clawing to a draw by repetition against an opponent some 200 points higher.

Me as White to play: Rd7 – bxc4 – e6 – fxe6 – Rg7+ and the Black king cannot escape the checks. Could I have aimed for a win with cxb5 and Rd1? I decided not, with 5 minutes left for 7 moves.

I noted as well that the “English opening” guru GM Mihail Marin lost his game. Maybe he had been distracted after our unrelated discussion just before the round about the exhibited paintings of his wife and FM Mariya Yugina? Sorry mate.

In the third round I achieved a lucky draw after difficult defence. The computer later told me that I had not only followed my opening preparation unknowingly for the first 14 moves but then had 100% accuracy of the remaining 10 follow-up moves. Now, is that good or bad to play like a computer?

The fourth round set me against the local matador, a junior who surprisingly had beaten a Polish FM in the first round. I was soundly beaten as well. Now I was back to where I had started, at zero balance. In my tristesse, I was contemplating to buy one of the colourful paintings of Mariya Yugina on display, which shows a brighter side of life and chess.

photo courtesy of Mariya Yugina

Another loss in the fifth round against a formal full-time chess teacher. We skipped the post mortem in favour of a discussion on the Munich Chess Academy which provides chess lessons in various Munich public schools, very interesting and encouraging. In my time as a junior, these were exceptions, nowadays that seems to be more the rule and the distinction of a good school.

The sixth round generated mixed feelings after I broke my own principles to calculate seriously in endgames. I drew finally, but only after I could have won quickly and subsequently could as quickly have lost. Pawn endgames require accurate calculation and rarely draw.

Ke5 would have easily won the pawn race (White´s g vs Black´s b) respectively the subsequent queen endgame because White queens with check after having drawn the Black king to a8 and can exchange queens; my Kd5??? draws with difficulties.

As a punishment for my stupidity, in the 7th round I was paired against a 300 points higher opponent and lost, though only after I had given him a fright in the fifth hour of our game. Alas, loss is loss. The only consolation for now being at minus 2 was that my chances for easier opponents in the last 2 rounds had improved considerably.

Thus, in the penultimate round I was paired against a lower-rated lady from Austria. In the opening, the lady saved her queen with a pawn sacrifice as is demanded in real life at the royal court, though in chess the opposite is sometimes better:

My 14.Ncb5! axb5 15. Nxb5 Qc6 16.Bxd6 won the a-pawn and finally the game. But wait, later at home the computer surprised me with Black´s alternative of a queen sacrifice for 3 minor pieces, starting with 15….Bxg3 16.Nxc7 Bxc7 (computers don´t value old court rules anymore). The engine evaluated this with total equality 0.00, meaning it does not know what to make of the situation, and I might have struggled as well over the board, never having had this material distribution on board.

Dear me, the win catapulted me back into the higher pairing section and I again got an opponent 250 points above me, and this with Black, not a good basis for the last round. But the young player was apparently tired after 8 days of chess, or because the last round started in the morning, and he early on made a mistake which I was able to exploit to get a lasting structural advantage and finally bring a full point home.

So, with a little luck in the end, I had achieved my target of a 50% score, and thanks to the strong opponents an increase by 37 ELO points. First price was shared by 2 Ukrainian GMs with 7.5 points, Vitaliy Bernadskiy and Pavel Eljanov, half a point above Gata Kamsky and 10 other GMs. Of the other players mentioned in my text, best was the chess artist with 5.5 points, half a point above her husband GM. The chess teacher was at 4.5, my young tiger-supported opponent of the first round at 3.5 and the sole English player at 3. By the way, no German in the top-ten which shows the strength of the international participation.

Appetite? Mark it in your calendar: The 24th OIBM will take place 31.10.-8.11.2020: www.schach-tegernsee.de

Or already in spring next year a similar 9-day Open International tournament with GM participation close to Munich: Bad Wörishofen 6.-14.3.2020: www.chessorg.de

If you want to start sooner, on a smaller scale over a weekend and closer to London, there is the Bunratty International Chess Festival (Ireland) where sound Hammer representation is guaranteed, 21.-23.2.2020: www.bunrattychess.com

And if you like to see or buy paintings of FM Maria Yugina: go to www.yugina.com or instagram: mariya_yugina, or contact her PR manager on facebook: mihail marin or email: mihailmarin21@gmail.com


Bunratty & Dunkirk in 2020!

The Bunratty Chess Challenge 2020

My fellow Hammers, I am putting this out early. As you know, the club has purchased as a thank-you gift to our retired secretary Mike Mackenzie, a week in Ireland and participation in the Bunratty Chess festival.

I am writing this piece to implore all of you (I am an optimist!) to sign up for the Tourney as well – Hammersmith has huge historical links with Ireland and Bunratty is the premier chess tourney in the Emerald Isle. Read on…

The Bunratty Chess Festival 2020 runs from the 19th – 21st February with four rated sections – check out their website for full details: www.bunrattychess.com

The event has obtained mythical status and recent attendees have included Nigel Short, Mickey Adams, Luke McShane and the Ginger GM himself, Simon Williams.

It is a huge chess event and an amazing social one – this is a once in a lifetime experience for a normal chess player – although Jim (Loco) and Chris (Sydney) are returning for a second time. This promises to be one of the chess highlights of 2020.

I have booked my flight and hotel room already – Shannon airport is just down the board – and the whole tourney takes place in the Bunratty Castle Hotel.

No introduction needed

I also have another motive in bringing this to your attention.

In February this year Karen and I lost one of our closest friends at the age of 44 – she was just a great person unfortunately cursed with an auto-immune disease that destroyed her liver. A liver transplant was necessary. Alas, she was never well enough to receive a liver, or ill enough to be given one. The organs are so scarce the medical authorities have to be so selective. A real-life Catch-22 situation.

I have been in contact with the Liver Trust organisation and want to use the event to raise money for them and honour the memory of our friend and her husband. I will be getting sponsorship for the event (individual and corporate) – so for every half-point I score, a donation will be made.

The Liver Trust have been very helpful and the Bunratty organisers have given permission for a pull-up to be displayed at the event.

If you want to get involved in the trip and wish to fund raise at the same time then please contact me – I know Chris (Sydney) is encouraging the Celtic Tigers to take part.

The irony of using a chess event with a huge alcohol bent to raise money for the Liver Trust is not lost on me.

I urge you all to join Mike and I at this special chess event.

John (aka. Clueless).

The Kings Head Annual Jolly to Dunkirk

Next year’s annual Kings Head trip to Dunkirk will revert back to the usual Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend of 22-25 May 2020.

The French players of Cappelle are looking forward to hosting those intrepid travellers again!

It is also worthwhile noting that it will be immensely special to be in Dunkirk on that particular weekend as it is the 80th Anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation.

Even more significantly (some might say!!), next year is also the 40th anniversary of the first Anglo-French-Railways-Dunkirk chess match!

We are hoping as many people are able to come as possible. Further information can be found here: http://www.khcc.org.uk/autumn2017/cappelle.html

As usual, the trip is being organised by the indomitable folk at Kings Head – if you wish to register your interest, please get in touch with Seljon.selcox@ntlworld.com – full details, including logistics and likely costs etc., will follow in September.


Puzzle of the Week #030

Our last puzzle generated a record number of comments and debate – ranging from “impossible” right through to GM Jon Speelman immediately identifying the match, year, and opponents, whilst sportingly not posting the spoiler!

Props go to Adam Cranston this time – correctly figuring out this fiendishly tricky puzzle with the extremely non-intuitive 1.Kc8!! Line continues as follows:

  1. Kc8!!, b5
  2. Kd7! (White is now threatening Kc6), b4 (or Bf5+)
  3. Kd6!, Bf5
  4. Ke5!, Bc8 (or anywhere else on h3-c8 diagonal)
  5. Kd4 and black is in the square, so =

A true beauty.

To this week’s puzzle – and our source material is one of our Sledgehammer Cup Games! If you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late to get involved in our season-long, long play format competition, which is providing some great matchups.

Not strictly a forced-mate, but an 8 move mating sequence (with all remaining pieces staying on the 8th rank), with White to move – answers in the comments please:

Puzzle of the Week #029

‘Weekly’ puzzle? No problem – here we go again…

Our last instalment was way back in March(!!). Yes, we have been slack – apologies!!!

Adam Cranston takes the plaudits there, picking the correct line to follow (Rg3!!), after 2. hxg3, Qe4, mate becomes unavoidable.

To our next puzzle – White to move and save him/herself: answers in the comments please: