Author Archives: Mark Watkins

Hammersmith weekend report 2018

After months of backroom negotiations between our own Mark Watkins and John White from Hammersmith Chess Club in West London a chess weekend was organised between the two clubs. And so, on a warm Friday mid-afternoon on the 8th of June Hammersmith Chess Club`s delegation touched down in Cork. After chancing their arm trying to find our location on Google maps (getting sent to a casino), they eventually arrived on the premises of Cork Chess Club for the beginning of what would be a great weekend of chess between the two clubs. John White introduced his delegation and presented the citizens of Cork Chess Club with a document, written up by Michael Mackenzie, granting them the freedom to visit and play in Hammersmith (free of tax and tythe!). Members of both chess clubs then got introduced and played blitz games followed by some intense games of six-person swap chess.

Hammersmith chairperson Bajrush Kelmendi, Cork Chairperson Mark Watkins, and the trophy Many of the Hammersmith and Cork competitors Hear ye! A document granting the freedom to play chess in Hammersmith The trophy

The following morning the main event of the weekend of the club got going with the first of two rounds of long play.

Saša Gavrilović made a strong debut for the club beating Ryszard Maciol (FIDE 2171)
Board 1: Ryszard Maciol (Hammer) – Saša Gavrilović (Cork)

Stephen Clancy, current captain of UCC Chess Club, learned the cruelty of the game on his first cap for the club as an unfortunate mistake triggered the collapse of his otherwise strong position against Shiraz Suntook.

One of the most interesting games of the tournament took place between Henk de Jonge and Christopher Skulte, Henk opened with a Queen`s gambit and early action only led on to even more relentless attacks, with the initiative swapping from Chris early on and then to Henk before almost all pieces were traded off leading to a draw.
Board 2: Henk de Jonge (Cork) – Chris Skulte (Hammer)

Peter Doyle, after being called up at a moment`s notice opened his game with the English opening and then took full advantage of opportunities to get a very strong passed pawn in the centre of the board. But alas it was not to be, and he was eventually brought down in time trouble by Wyatt Donaldson.
Board 10: Peter Doyle (Cork) – Wyatt Donaldson (Hammer)

Round 1 underway image 1 of 2 Round 1 underway image 2 of 2

Round two got under way at around 2:30. Cork Chess Club were down 4.5 to 5.5 from the morning but it was all still far from decided.

Gavriil joined us for this round to score a crucial win
Board 3: Gavriil Spiropoulos (Cork) – Bajrush Kelmendi (Hammer)

while Stephen Clancy and the invincible Desmond Doran also scored wins.
Board 7: Des Doran (Cork) – Dipender Gill (Hammer)

Seán Murphy who had fallen victim to a tactic against Paul Kennelly (originally from Dublin!) redeemed himself in the second round, again playing Paul, applying enough pressure to grab two pawns from his opponent.
Board 4: Paul Kennelly (Hammer) – Sean Murphy (Cork)

Mark Watkins was the second Cork player to fall victim to Wyatt Donaldson`s play as Wyatt seized the opportunity to strike a crushing blow at Mark`s kingside from which he could not recover.
Board 9: Mark Watkins (Cork) – Wyatt Donaldson (Hammer)

Then, Australian Christopher Skulte almost brought us back down under with a win against Henk if it was not for a terrific win by Pat Twomey to bring us back level on aggregate.
Board 5: Pat Twomey (Cork) – John White (Hammer)

There was one match left playing and that was between Barry Foran and Shiraz. Shiraz had been down a pawn from a gambit but managed turn the tables and go one pawn up. With this knife-edge margin Barry had no reason to give up and before a large group of spectators from both clubs he managed to hold out and a draw was declared with Cork winning the second round 5.5 to 4.5 leaving a draw on aggregate at 10-10. This draw left both clubs with the dilemma of what to down with the inaugural Cork-Hammersmith Challenge trophy, Barry Foran however has provided us with the most elegant of solutions by cutting the trophy in two, Mark will deliver Hammersmith`s half trophy to them on a return visit. With the result settled, the members of both Cork and Hammersmith Chess Clubs retired to the Franciscan Well for some well-deserved pints of locally brewed beer.

Shiraz Suntook vs Barry Foran to decide the match The Franciscan Well image 1 of 2 The Franciscan Well image 2 of 2 The Hammersmith vs Cork Chess challenge 2018 trophy, after Barry Foran cut it down the middle.

Hammersmith vs Cork - Games and results
Round Board Cork Colour ICU ID ICU Rating Cork Player Cork Score Hammer Score Hammersmith Player ECF ID ECF Grade ECF converted to ELO FIDE ID FIDE Rating Hammer Colour
1 1 B 0 0 Gavrilović Saša 1 0 Maciol Ryszard 273505C 198 2185 1118153 2171 W
1 2 W 16006 1844 De Jonge Henk 0.5 0.5 Skulte Christopher 291761A 186 2095 3214044 1986 B
1 3 B 5168 1711 Lawrence Simon 0 1 Kelmendi Bajrush 170210F 182 2065 426024 2085 W
1 4 W 18059 1654 Murphy Sean 0 1 Kennelly Paul 127472H 156 1870 449989 1704 B
1 5 B 5963 1510 O'Connell Denis 0.5 0.5 White John 288495B 148 1810 439452 0 W
1 6 W 10931 1456 Doran Desmond 1 0 Psychrani Eva 285854L 122 1615 25864742 0 B
1 7 B 5342 1443 Foran Barry 1 0 Moore Chris 233080F 118 1585 0 0 W
1 8 W 6139 1376 Watkins Mark 0.5 0.5 Gill Dipender 231625A 111 1533 0 0 B
1 9 B 18484 1196 Clancy Stephen 0 1 Suntook Shiraz 285720A 100 1450 0 0 W
1 10 W 10237 1069 Doyle Peter 0 1 Donaldson Wyatt 312856J 83 1323 467740 0 B
Round 1 Total 4.5 5.5
Round Board Cork Colour ICU ID ICU Rating Cork Player Cork Score Hammer Score Hammersmith Player ECF ID ECF Grade ECF converted to ELO FIDE ID FIDE Rating Hammer Colour
2 1 W 0 0 Gavrilović Saša 0 1 Maciol Ryszard 273505C 198 2185 1118153 2171 B
2 2 B 16006 1844 De Jonge Henk 0 1 Skulte Christopher 291761A 186 2095 3214044 1986 W
2 3 W 18489 1826 Spyropoulos Gavriil 1 0 Kelmendi Bajrush 170210F 182 2065 426024 2085 B
2 4 B 18059 1654 Murphy Sean 1 0 Kennelly Paul 127472H 156 1870 449989 1704 W
2 5 W 1637 1581 Twomey Pat 1 0 White John 288495B 148 1810 439452 0 B
2 6 B 5963 1510 O'Connell Denis 0 1 Moore Chris 233080F 118 1585 0 0 W
2 7 W 10931 1456 Doran Desmond 1 0 Gill Dipender 231625A 111 1533 0 0 B
2 8 B 5342 1443 Foran Barry 0.5 0.5 Suntook Shiraz 285720A 100 1450 0 0 W
2 9 W 6139 1376 Watkins Mark 0 1 Donaldson Wyatt 312856J 83 1323 467740 0 B
2 10 B 18484 1196 Clancy Stephen 1 0 MacKenzie Michael 255690L 99 1443 0 0 W
Round 2 Total 5.5 4.5
Overall Total 10 10

The following morning saw several players of Cork and Hammersmith play one last competition – a rapidplay with time control 10 minutes + 3 seconds of increment. Daniel Stelcik, who is new to the chess club, joined us for this one and managed to beat Shiraz and put up a great game against Paul Kennelly. Eventually however Ryszard Maciol won with Bajrush Kelmendi coming second and Mark Watkins coming in for third place.

With that, the members of Hammersmith departed taking memories of a great weekend of chess with them.

We are grateful to all Cork and Hammersmith members who supported this event and helped to make it into a success. We are also grateful for the support from the Cork Bridge Club who granted us exceptional use of the premises. Thank you to Denis O’Connell for arranging to get the games rated and to Barry Foran for arranging tea, coffee and the trophy. Last but certainly not least, Mark Watkins and John White deserve a special thank you for organising this pioneering weekend of chess- without whom this would not have been possible.

Games not included inline above

Round 1 games:
Board 3: Bajrush Kelmendi (Hammer) – Simon Lawrence (Cork)

Board 4: Sean Murphy (Cork) – Paul Kennelly (Hammer)

Board 8: Mark Watkins (Cork) – Dipender Gill (Hammer)

Round 2 games:
Board 1: Saša Gavrilović (Cork) – Ryszard Maciol (Hammer)