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Country Chess

VRCL Championship

Ballarat Chess Club - chess for everyone!

Koelle 2017

Round 5 - Bas held Heath to a draw, while Jamie and Rod both won their games, bringing them to equal first on 4 points. Ruari defeated Kevin, showing he is another young player ready to overthrow the status quo. Jasan and Leonard head up the Reserves on 4 points apiece. Read more

Ruari took the point against Kevin. Read more

Chess Drama on the goldfields!

B'rat Handicap 1866

As far as I know, this was one of the first chess tournaments held in Australia, although restricted by players from Ballarat. Amongst them Charles M. Fisher, one of the strongest players in the ‘colony’ of Victoria. I found a database with of 47 of his games on the internet here. They will be amongst the oldest recorded games of Australia.

C.M.Watson, a lawyer and a strong chess-player, was the father of a future Australian chess champion (in 1922 and 1931). I have never asked if ‘our’ talented 2016 Champion, James, is related to this Watson family-line...

The old newspaper reports often include beautiful and flowery descriptions of how chess was played in Ballarat, more than 150 years ago.

This is only a small selection of more historical information about chess in Ballarat, which I have found thus far. I am slowly extending my search through time.

Bas van Riel

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Chess Triathlon

The Chess Triathlon last year attracted 15 keen participants and this year we are hoping for many more.

The event will be held on the 9th of December, at either the BMI or Sovereign Hill.

Have a read about last year's event here, and pencil the date in your chess calendar!

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Ballarat Chess League

Jasan has made some innovative changes by starting a chess ladder tournament. Anyone can play - ask how to join in!

Results are here! Read more

Mount Alexander Chess Challenge

On the 20th of September, a bus load of 10 intrepid primary school chess players from Ballarat Clarendon College ventured out to compete in the Mount Alexander Cluster Chess Challenge in Castlemaine. A uniquely motivating and rewarding factor regarding this tournament was the welcome chess grants on offer to the top three placed schools. The wonderfully aesthetic and historic venue of the Old Castlemaine Gaol provided the apt rustic setting and battleground!

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Vic Country Champs

Congratulations to Geoffrey Gill and James Watson on winning this year's event.

It was a wonderful turnout of 35 participants. Ballarat and Geelong clubs were expecially well represented. Nigel and Kevin to be congratulated on yet another smoothly run Victorian Country Championship!

Have a look through the crosstable, Peter, Michael and Kevin's photos of the event and some of the games here on the Vic Country page.

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How Can Older Players Improve?

by IM Silman from


The member jayzorac wrote: I have a question for you. Do you think “older” players can still improve to expert and master level?

SILMAN: Mr. jayzorac wrote quite a bit about his chess history (from childhood to being an “older” player), but I really liked this: “I was in my early 20s and recovering from a football injury that ended that career before it started, and thought chess was a great way to keep competing with a lower chance of injury.”

Here are some articles that might interest you: Can Anyone Be An IM Or GM? The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Dancing With Yourself. Do Aspiring Players Need a Coach/Teacher?

I also wrote a couple articles about older players and if they can (or can’t) reach master level. The answer is YES, they can reach master but only if they work very, very hard (kind of true about anything). Anyway, keep in mind that chess is about having fun, and rating isn’t that important. However, if you want that kind of goal do it bit by bit. If you are 1700, your goal should be 1800, then 1900, etc. Also, many players (in their youth) were very good at tactics but as they age their tactical vision isn’t what it was. If that’s a problem for you, try to master positional things, endgames, and also create an opening repertoire that really excites you at least 100 rating points ahead of you (and fits in with your strengths). After that, try and play people (30 minute games or much longer games...blitz is really fun but it won’t help you make expert or master). Again, making expert or master is a very real goal. After that the sky is the limit. Good luck!

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)



Put your games up in the cloud to monitor your progress, mark your victories, and to help others research how to beat you when you get to the top! Get the password from Patrick or any committee member and go for it!

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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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 2017 Ballarat Chess photo albums


Check out the year of chess in images.

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