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Every March

Ballarat Chess Club - chess for everyone!

Junior Club and Move to Humffray Room

As the numbers of adult and junior players attending the club increased during 2019, we found that we were often a little over crowded in the Hooper Room on the ground floor at the Mechanics Institute.
After a trial period using the grand and spacious Humffray Room on level 4, the committee has arranged for meetings to be held in that room when activities resume on 16th January 2020.
Coinciding with this relocation, the club has re-established the Ballarat Junior Chess Club and initiated a coaching program for junior chess players. The first term of coaching will start on Thursday 30th January 2020 at 6.00 pm in the Humffray Room. Full details of this initiative can be found here.
To provide the larger venue and offer professional coaching there will be some changes to the fee arrangements for 2020. There will be a family and junior memberships available. The coaching sessions will incur a small fee to cover costs. The new membership fees are detailed here and the coaching fees here.
Any junior who enrols for a term of coaching will be entitled to free membership of the Ballarat Chess Club for that period. All club members will be eligible to compete in events with cash prizes on a no entry fee basis, with the exception of the Begonia Open. We do not know of any other club in Australia providing that to members. Any person who has difficulty meeting the coaching or membership fees should discuss the matter with Kevin Perrin the club Treasurer.
Our aim is to provide attractive and comfortable facilities for players wanting to play chess in a friendly and pleasant atmosphere. We also want to provide professional coaching for junior members to encourage them to develop their skills, enjoy the game and ultimately become members of the senior club.


The Humffray Room

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In 2020 Ballarat Chess Club will formally engage FM Simon Rutherford of Central Highlands Chess to oversee the coaching of juniors at the newly re-established Ballarat Junior Chess Club every Thursday evening at 6:00pm.

The Ballarat Junior Chess Club is for players of all levels, Beginners to Advanced. Each week we will hold a lesson that is appropriate to the skill level of the children - Beginners will learn the rules of chess and how to play, progressing to basic checkmates, tactics and strategies. Intermediate and Advanced players will learn opening theory, tactics, strategies and endgames, working on improving their game, and expanding their ability to calculate and make plans. There will also be time to play friendly and competitive games and to solve stimulating chess puzzles.

Who: Anyone under the age of 18
Where: Humffray Room, Level 4 of the Mechanics Institute - the same for the Ballarat Chess Club from 2020 (Lift available)
When: Thursdays 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Term Dates:
Term 1 - 30th January 2020 – 26th March 2020
Term 2 - 16th April 2020 – 25th June 2020
Term 3 - 16th July 2020 – 17th September 2020
Term 4 - 8th October 2020 – 17th December 2020

$100 per term (or $15 per night). Pro-rata fees will be charged if a student commences part way during the term

All enrolled students from the same family (brothers and sisters) are entitled to a 25% discount

Students who enrol for a full term are entitled to free membership of the Ballarat Chess Club which meets at that venue from 7.30pm on the same night

Who will be coaching me?

FM Simon Rutherford, Master of World Chess Federation, Director of Central Highlands Chess, National/State champion, Australian representative. Read more about Simon here... Simon will be supported by other coaches from the Ballarat Chess Club as required.

Please fill in your details on the enrolment page, and follow the prompts to make payment.
For further enquiries about the course, contact Simon (0490 706 207

For payment enquiries, contact BCC Treasurer, Kevin Perrin (0418 533 517


The year that was....

ACF Ratings News

The new rating lists are out and Sean Macak is second in the list for Top Improvers in Victoria, jumping a massive 256 points to 1504, due to his great performances in the Teters Memorial, Country Vic Championship and Koelle Tournament. Read More...

Triathlon 2019

The 4th annual Triathlon tournament attracted a field of 13 players, headed by Ruari Coffey with Harrison Harrison as 2nd seed. The numbers were down from last years event, but still on a par with the first two tournaments.


Blitz 2019

In a tense finish, Sean Macak defeated contender Ruari Coffey in round 7 of the final Blitz tournament, denying him a third share in the prize. Jamie Brotheridge was nowhere to be seen, but had enough points to get his half of the prize with his best 3 of 5 scores. Simon got a picket fence, and taught his opponents a few tricks and traps along the way. Read More...

The Smokery

About 5 o'clock on a dreary afternoon is the best time to visit the Smokery at the Mechanics' Institute. “Out in the street­ The wind blaws as t'wad blaw its last, The rattling showers rise on the blast”. But whistling wind, sleety rain, and bitter cold are all forgotten once you enter the cheerful smokery, the air of which is a fog produced by more or less fragrant tobacco. Nearly all the chairs are occupied. Fine, solid old-fashioned chairs they are! Some of them. black and shiny with the friction of thousands of trousers, must be a hundred years old.

Duels of grim earnestness are being fought across the chess and draught tables, for you must certainly know that the Smokery has produced at least three chess players considered good enough to play for Victoria against New South Wales, and today John Armstrong, a son of the Smokery is playing off for the draughts championship of Australia. Around each table is a group of onlookers ever ready to give unsolicited advice how the game should have been played. No insult will silence them!

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The Kevin Perrin Era

In the mid-1960's, a fresh group of energetic chess enthusiasts, led by new President Andy Miitel, reconstituted the Ballarat Chess Club, and separated it from the Mechanics Institute,  although they later returned in later years.
The founding meeting of the current Ballarat Chess Club occurred on Oct 1st.1964. It was held in the home of the first president, life-member Andy Miitel. For several years, Andy’s house was the venue where the weekly club evenings were held, for which he received the princely sum of 4 pounds (?) for the wood, needed for heating.
Following are the minutes of the first meeting of the Ballarat Chess Club in 1964, marking the revitalization of the club and the start of a new chapter of the Chess Club, the Kevin Perrin Era.
Notable amongst those present at this meeting were S.Jacobs, the father of Rod Jacobs (the most recent life member of the club). Rod joined the club in 1967. Don Maciulaitis left Ballarat for Melbourne two years later, to become one of the stalwarts of the Melbourne chess scene, mostly as an administrator.

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For info re coaching, junior tournaments, study resources etc.. visit the Ballarat Junior Chess Club pages.

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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
How to write down your games - Chess notation made easy here!

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Coffee and Chess

Homeground on Sturt St next to BMI, Frangos up from Myers, and The Building at 30 Main Rd now all have chess sets donated by BCC, available for use by patrons - have a coffee and a game! Below, Kevin and grandson, Monty, enjoy a game in the sun! Rob has an the ongoing challenge match with Patrick.

Bas' Chess Columns

From April 1991 until March 1993, Bas wrote a fortnightly chess column for the Ballarat Courier. Read them here