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Australian Open 2019

8 current Ballarat Chess Club players participated in the Australian Open Chess Tournament held in Ashwood at the Box Hill Chess Clubrooms over the period between Christmas and the New Year. Bas, Patrick, Rob and Ruari played in the Open section, while Ben, Sean, Leonard and Justin participated in the Minor section.

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Australian Junior 2019

Leonard and Justin Goodison will be competing in the Australian Junior Chess Championships in Sydney, to be held at Trinity Grammar School pictured above. Monday 14th to Tuesday 22nd, it's a long tournament but with a variety of activities to take part in. More information and entry can be found at the official web site here.

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Update! 2019 Schedule

17 January - Blitz #1 - 7 rounds of 5 minute chess. Speed up to start the year.

24 January and 31 January: Rapid Play 1, 25mns + 10 secs, 1 section: 7 round Swiss

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C.M. Fisher (1845-1890), the overlooked giant of Ballarat’s chess history.

Charles Marshall Fisher was undoubtedly the strongest and most distinguished chess-player who has lived and played chess in Ballarat, ever. According to conflicting records, he was born in either Creswick or in the Goulburn area, where his family reportedly owned a farm-station, the Woodstock. The family moved to Ballarat in 1860, where Charles found work in a local foundry for the next 10 years. In those years, he became a very keen and strong chess-player. Around 1875 Fisher was believed to be one of the three strongest players of Australia, together with Andrew Burns and Louis Goldsmith, if not the informal best, after he defeated the latter by 6.5-5.5 points in a match in 1875. When the (second) Ballarat Chess Club was formalised in 1865, Fisher became its first secretary/treasury, at only twenty years old. In the following year he won the first Ballarat Chess Club championship, and in the year after he became the president of the club.

In 1871, Fisher left Ballarat to start a career in stockbroking in Melbourne and Sydney. He soon become very busy and wealthy, but he still remained very involved in chess as a player, administrator and editor. In 1884, he returned to Ballarat as the celebrated son of Ballarat to play a simul in the Mechanics Institute. It was famously reported in the Ballarat Courier. When Fisher suddenly died in 1890, while on an extended stay in Europe, at least two newspaper eulogies were published, describing various aspects of his colourful life, and compilations from a private letter of the last months before his death. Remarkable is a statement in the Adelaide Observer saying that Fisher was called the Kolisch of Australia, because he was similar to the unofficial chess world-champion in 1867, Ignaz Kolisch in chess qualities, age and in personality, so it seems.

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Ballarat Chess 1991-’93 Chess column by Bas van Riel in The Ballarat Courier.

From April 1991 until March 1993, Bas wrote a fortnightly chess column for the Ballarat Courier. It was a reflection of the many aspects of chess, which fascinated him during that period. Because he was deeply involved in the local chess scene, his reports invariably included the activities of the Ballarat Chess club on a regular basis. In its totality, his contributions present a detailed historical snapshot of the Club in those years. Included are reports of the Begonia Tournaments, the Country Victoria Championships and the Ballarat Club Championships, Interclub competitions, school-chess, and about the people involved.
Bas has kept all the newspaper clippings throughout the years, and he has now scanned them with the main focus on local content. The scans combined are now part of the History project of the Ballarat Chess Club (in progress).

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Today's Puzzle

(If using an iPad, work out the answer and check by hitting the hint button - uses Java so better on a PC)


2019 Programme Updated

After consulting with members at the AGM, convening a committee and consulting committee members opinions on the first draft, a second and hopefully final draft has now been published on the Programme page. We tried to avoid holding major tournament games during school holidays, tried to include a simul or lecture, and broke up the long championship schedule with a blitz in the middle. Probably not perfect, but we're working on it!

Ballarat Junior Chess page updated with 2018 news.

Are you in the News? Clarendon, Mt Pleasant, Buninyong and Mt Clear news....

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 New to Chess?

A great site for learning the basics from a cool video, improving your chess with puzzles, and playing against QWERTY the chess computer, check out

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Join the league, climb the ladder

Come a little early and play a 15min League game

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Cassandra Barnett has resuscitated the Chess Chatter Newsletter and you can read it here! Submissions accepted gratefully, send to -

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