Category Archives: Reports

Hastings v Hammersmith 18 June 2022

Friendly match – Hastings v Hammersmith

18 June 2022

It is enjoyable to travel around the country playing chess in different cities. But last weekend it was our chance to stay at home and let the challengers come to us. Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club were hosting a friendly match against one of the top London clubs, Hammersmith Chess Club. The visitors arrived at midday with a team of 10 players, and a number of supporters, and the competition was soon underway.

The home team were marginally stronger, and based on the grading tables would have expected to win 6 games and lose 4. However, the home advantage kicked in and Hastings were ready to shine.

The first game to finish was the bottom board where Hastings Junior Alex Lebedev was facing the youngest competitor, 7 year old Oliver Valle. Alex played good solid chess and steadily dominated the board, giving Hastings their first win.

This was followed by board 9, where Martin Fletcher was playing against Brian Joyce. Martin found some tactical ideas in the middle game and forced a victory before reaching the end game. A pattern was starting to develop, and these two wins were followed on Board 8, where Keith Hossack beat Frank Valle; Board 6, where Brendan Ruane beat Robin Sarfas; Board 5, where Mark Brougham beat Adam Cranston; and Board 2, where John Sugden beat Gaston Franco.

Hammersmith were able to avoid a clean sweep with Ian Calvert on Board 3 and Paul Kelly on Board 4 being held to a draw by Michael Saunders and Edoardo de Angelis.

After several hours of play there were just two games still continuing. On Board 1 Daniel Lowe was in an evently matched end game against Marios Kouis. With both players graded at 2170 this was always going to be a difficult result to call and as it reached its climax the game could still go either way. However Daniel’s faultless end game skills proved decisive and Hastings had one more win. The final game was Caelan Rooney against Charlie Sturt. This was also a very closely fought end game, with the clock also impacting on the play with

just minutes remaining. Like Daniel, Caelan showed that he was solid in the end game, and this proved too much for Charlie as the final chance of a win for Hammermith disappeared. This gave a final result of 8 wins and two draws to Hastings with a score of 9:1.

While the long play games were the main course for the day, these were followed by a dessert of rapid play with a five round blitz tournament. Twelve players took part in this and the winner (with 4 points) was Hammersmith player Gaston Franco. Jim Wheeler was joint second with visitor Michael Sunders, both achieving 3.5 points.

The day was a great success. Not only did both teams enjoy some great chess, but it was also a friendly atmosphere, and Hastings are definitely hoping that this will become a regular fixture – perhaps with a trip to London next time. After the match the Hastings team were quick to say that the cammeraderie was more inportant than the winning. However that is much easier to say when you have won 9:1, than when you have lost.

Martin Fletcher

Newmarket Chess Tournament

From our roving reporter Martin Fletcher
Newmarket Chess Tournament – 27 May to 29 May 2022
Here is a brief report on the Newmarket Chess Tournament, which I attended last weekend.
It is a relatively small event – limited to 96 players (this number was reached). It also has only three sections – Open; Under 1950; and Under 1650.
It is held in a hall on Newmarket High Street. There was a cheap car park very close to the venue (just £3 all day), so travel was fine. I also found a relatively cheap Travel Lodge 15 miles away which kept the costs down.
The five games were played over three days (one on Friday evening and then two on Saturday and two on Sunday).
It was a friendly/sociable event, and most of the players knew each other, with probably the majority being from clubs in East Anglia.
The time control was 40 moves in 90 moves – with a 15 second increment from move 1; and then an additional 15 minutes after move 40. This time control did give a problem on the Sunday, as one of the games which started at 10am was still going strong when round 5 was meant to start at 2pm. One of the players seemed convinced that the game was clearly drawn, but the arbiter was unable to declare it a draw, and it was not until 2:20pm that the other player decided to accept a draw. This did delay the start of the afternoon – even more so for the two players in that game (and their opponents) who had a 30 minute rest before they went into round 5,
With a relatively high cut off for the minor section, there were very few lower graded players entered, which meant I started the event ranked 15th out of the 18 in this section. However, I had a good tournament and managed to finish higher up the leader board. With one loss, two draws, and two wins I finished equal fourth, and also gained the rating prize (with a grading increase of 19 points over the five games). I was happy with this result; although I am still having flashbacks to the disastrous knight move in the endgame of game 2. I had an extra pawn in the endgame with a knight against my opponent’s weak bishop. My endgame play is not great, and I gave away a winning game – not only that, but that extra point would have won the tournament! If only …. Why? …. Sigh!
Once I have got over game two I shall definitely recommend this tournament to others in the club. I shall be back next year to try to atone for the knight move, and shall be very happy to have some club members on hand to commiserate if my endgame does not improve.
As an aside there was one interesting incident on Saturday afternoon. When the games started at 10am one of the players was sitting opposite an empty chair on board 5, watching the time tick away. Then at 10:10 a player scurried into the room, sat opposite him, and started to play. It was another ten minutes before a second late player arrived and came to board 5 to belatedly start his game. The first late player was not only a poor time-keeper, he was also playing at the wrong board – he was paired on board 2! An interesting situation for the arbiter’s examination.