42nd Club Championships 2007

2007 Club Champion: Scott Stewart

The 2007 Ballarat Chess Club championship, the 42nd since the Club's revival in the mid-1960s, begins on the 3rd of May with a healthy field of 12 players.

Once again, Scott Stewart is top seed, making yet another bid to win the title that has cruelly eluded him over the past decade. His main rival is likely to be defending champion Patrick Cook who is aiming for a third successive title. If successful, Patrick will be equal two longstanding club records: 7 titles in all to equal Kevin Perrin's record and 3 titles in a row to equal Bas van Riel's record from the mid-1990s. Other serious contenders are the aggressive Jamie Brotheridge, the solid technician Rob Loveband, and of course, Kevin Perrin himself, playing in his 42nd successive championship, an astonishing record that will almost certainly never be broken.

As in previous years, players in the bottom half of the field are also eligible for the title of Reserves champion.

Round 1

In the heavyweight battle of the round, 7 times club champion Kevin Perrin took on top seed Scott Stewart. A Dutch Defence, as expected, the game become a tense, theoretical duel. In the middlegame, Scott sacrificed a pawn for the iniative, then the exchange as well for an attack. Scott admitted later that he thought Kevin was winning, but in the complications, White went astray and Scott triumphed in a difficult game.

John Frangakis had the daunting task of playing defending champion Patrick Cook. A Nimzo-Indian Defence produced an even position and after a mass exchange of pieces in the middlegame a Queen and pawns ending was reached. Patrick probed the White position for some time trying to provoke a weakness but was eventually forced to concede a draw. An excellent, solid result for John.

Rob Bailey faced Rob Loveband. In a Smith-Morra Gambit Declined, White emerged from the opening a pawn up and then, with excellent attacking chess won Black's Queen, and the game shortly after.

Michael Schreenan played Jamie Brotheridge who defended with the Scandinavian Defence (1. e4 d5), normally the specialty of Kevin Perrin. Michael turned it into an odd French, but after dropping his Queen in a lively middlegame, was unable to survive for long.

John Abson met James Eldridge in another Scandinavian and gained a positional advantage with inventive play. John held a slight edge into the endgame but was then outplayed by James who went on to score a fine win.

The last game to finish on the night was Tim Commons versus Clint Stewart. From a Sicilian Defence, a typically complicated, evenly balanced middlegame was reached. Clint gained a pawn with excellent tactical play and turned down Tim's draw offer. Tim then regainded the pawn with splendid counter-attacking play and a draw was subsequently agreed upon anyway.


Results

Tim Commons v Clint Stewart
½ - ½
Robert Bailey v Robert Loveband
1 - 0
John Frangakis v Patrick Cook
½ - ½
Michael Schreenan v Jamie Brotheridge
0 - 1
Kevin Perrin v Scott Stewart
0 - 1
John Abson v James Eldridge
0 - 1

Round 2

Clint Stewart met James Eldridge in an open Sicilian. Black gained a pawn in a messy middle game and had the opportunity to win the exchange as well, but spurned it, probably wisely, since taking it would have exposed his King to a vicious attack. Both players pressed for the win, but in the end, James opted for a draw by perpetual check.

Scott Stewart faced John Abson and wheeled out the antique Bishop's Opening (1. e4 e5 2. Bc4). White sacrificed the Bishop on f7 on move 3 and quickly gained the upper hand winning Black's Queen for 2 pieces and 2 pawns. John did not survive for very long.

Patrick Cook met Michael Schreenan and played his favourite Larsen's Opening. White gained nothing from the opening but won a piece in the middlegame when Michael played a faulty combination. Black resigned shortly after when faced with losing the exchange as well.

Jamie Brotheridge played Kevin Perrin in a Catalan Opening. A tough positional battle ensued, with neither player gaining an edge. Kevin offered an early draw which Jamie declined, only to offer one himself a few moves later which was accepted.

Rob Loveband faced John Frangakis who played the Caro-Kann Defence. Typically, John set up a position very difficult to crack, but Rob ground away on the Queenside and provoked a weakness that would probably have given him a win eventually. John however blundered his Queen and promptly resigned.

The highlight of the night was the showdown between Tim Commons and Rob Bailey. This was another Bishop's Opening and bizarrely, featured the same sacrifice at f7 on move 3 as in the Stewart versus Abson game. Tim gained nothing from the sacrifice but a lost position, but was back in the game when Rob played a faulty combination in the middlegame. Both players had their chances in a very sharp game that ended in a draw when Tim claimed a three-fold repetition of the position.


Results

Clint Stewart v James Eldridge
½ - ½
Scott Stewart v John Abson
1 - 0
Patrick Cook v Michael Schreenan
1 - 0
Jamie Brotheridge v Kevin Perrin
½ - ½
Robert Loveband v John Frangakis
1 - 0
Tim Commons v Robert Bailey
½ - ½

Round 3

Rob Bailey versus Clint Stewart was a Sicilian, Levenfish variation. White misplayed the opening and dropped 2 pawns. Black played accurately to hold them into the middlegame and won another in the process before finishing off a fine game in the endgame.

John Frangakis faced Tim Commons and a Grunfeld Defence, of sorts, was reached before a draw was agreed in 10 moves!

Kevin Perrin met Patrick Cook and played a cautious Reti Opening. Patrick's careful response gave neither player an edge and a draw was agreed after 15 moves.

Michael Schreenan played Rob Loveband in another Sicilian Defence. Black picked up 2 pawns early on, but Michael held his own from them on, frustrating Rob's efforts at a quick win. The deficit was too great, however, and Black did eventually win.

John Abson took on Jamie Brotheridge in the third Sicilian of the night. Black won a pawn in the opening and could have won a piece as well but decided to be ultra-cautious and declined the opportunity. John then launched a nifty attack and won a piece himself! Having reached a winning position, John could have sealed victory, and a major upset, by winning the exchange as well, but missed his chance and quickly self-destructed to hand Jamie a lucky win.

James Eldridge met top seed Scott Stewart in a Dutch Leningrad, predictably enough. Black picked up a pawn in the opening stage, but the middlegame favoured White who regained the material. A drawn position was reached, but White committed hara-kiri to hand Black the full point in the endgame.

Results

Robert Bailey v Clint Stewart
0 - 1
John Frangakis v Tim Commons
½ - ½
Michael Schreenan v Robert Loveband
0 - 1
Kevin Perrin v Patrick Cook
½ - ½
John Abson v Jamie Brotheridge
0 - 1
James Eldridge v Scott Stewart
0 - 1

Round 4

Jamie Brotheridge faced James Eldridge who played the solid Queens Indian Defence. Lack of precision by James enabled Jamie to seize the initiative and when Black overlooked a combination that netted his Queen, he resigned after just 15 moves.

Tim Commons met Michael Schreenan who ventured the Petroff Defence, a favourite of World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. The game was played at lightning pace. Tim won a pawn in the opening, then picked up a piece in the middlegame. White then "sacrificed" his Queen for 2 rooks in the endgame to reach an easily winning position and finished it off in style.

Rob Bailey took on the tough John Frangakis. A Caro-Kann Defence, John's specialty these days it seems, the position looked solid enough. In the middlegame, White's Queen ran amok, however, picking up 2 pawns and when John was faced with mate or loss of a rook, he resigned.

Rob Loveband versus Kevin Perrin featured an obscure line of the French Defence, Winawer variation. White built up a powerful attack against Black's King which rapidly overwhelmed Kevin who was forced to resign surprisingly quickly when he could not defend against mate.

Defending champion Patrick Cook played his usual Larsen against John Abson. After grabbing a hot pawn, White found himself under some pressure and John proceeded to launch a brilliant attack which forced Patrick to give up his Queen for just 2 pieces. With club members hovering around in expectation of a major upset. John declined Patrick's hopeful draw offer, but several inaccuracies ket the champion alive until John tragically walked into a swindle to hand Patrick the full point.

Clint Stewart versus his brother, top seed Scott Stewart was postponed at the latter's request.

Results

Jamie Brotheridge v James Eldridge
1 - 0
Tim Commons v Michael Schreenan
1 - 0
Robert Bailey v John Frangakis
1 - 0
Robert Loveband v Kevin Perrin
1 - 0
Patrick Cook v John Abson
1 - 0
Clint Stewart v Scott Stewart
0 - 1

Round 5

John Frangakis versus Clint Stewart featured a Dutch Defence, unsurprisingly. White had a space advantage early on, with Black having some piece activity. In a very complicated game, White steadily increased his spatial advantage and gained a piece and several pawns which should have been enough to win. Somehow, Black stayed alive, despite raging time trouble and White failed to convert his advantage allowing Black to swindle a win in a very lengthy game.

Michael Schreenan faced Rob Bailey who played a Sicilian. After a rapid trading of material early on, a position with equal chances was reached in the middle game where Black seized the initiative and won 2 pawns. White kept posing problems for Black in an interesting feisty game, but the material deficit eventually proved enough to force White's resignation.

John Abson took on Rob Loveband who defended with the Scandinavian. White dropped a pawn early, then a piece in the middle game before being comfortably finished off by Black. No heroics by John this week!

James Eldridge faced Patrick Cook who wheeled out the Alekhine Defence. After getting a firm grip on the position Black appeared headed for an easy win, but a few inaccuracies allowed White to counterattack to great effect, winning a rook and some pawns. White then squandered his winning advantage and when Black offered a draw, both players seemed relieved.

The highlight of the night was the showdown between top seed Scott Stewart and Jamie Bortheridge. Morra Gambit, White sacrificed a piece for the initiative in the opening. Black clung on to it in the face for White's tremendous attack. The sacrifice proved worthwhile, and White smashed through to win brilliantly in 20 moves. Kevin Perrin versus Tim Commons was postponed.

Results

John Frangakis v Clint Stewart
0 - 1
Michael Schreenan v Robert Bailey
0 - 1
Kevin Perrin v Tim Commons
1 - 0
John Abson v Robert Loveband
0 - 1
James Eldridge v Patrick Cook
½ - ½
Scott Stewart v Jamie Brotheridge
1 - 0

Round 6

Clint Stewart took on Jamie Brotheridge who surprised many club members by adopting the Scandinavian Defence. A popular opening in this championship it seems. White misplayed the opening badly and dropped a piece after just 6 moves. He never recovered and resigned when 3 pieces for a rook down.

Rob Loveband versus James Eldridge was a Sicilian. White built up a dangerous attack and gained the exchange for a pawn. Black fought back bravely and inventively late in the middle game confused White enough to win a rook, prompting White's resignation shortly after.

Tim Commons faced the unlucky John Abson in a weird Ruy Lopez. The two players were out of the blocks after 3 moves! By the middle game White had won the exchange and 3 pawns to be in a winning position. Black fought back bravely, however, and then stunned his opponent with a brilliant mating attack to record his first points of the tournament.

John Frangakis versus Michael Schreenan was on innocuous Queen's Pawn Opening. White won a pawn in the opening, then a rook in the middle game and won with difficulty thereafter.

The best game of the night saw Rob Bailey take on the doyen of Ballarat Chess, Kevin Perrin who defended with the Caro-Kann Defence, rather then his usual Scandinavian! The game proved to be a tough, even battle between experience opponents, featuring opposite sides castling. Blacks attack proved to be quicker than White's and Kevin broke through to score the full point and his first win of the championship.

The confrontation between defending champion Patrick Cook and top seed Scott Stewart was postponed.

Results

Clint Stewart v Jamie Brotheridge
0 - 1
Patrick Cook v Scott Stewart
½ - ½
Robert Loveband v James Eldridge
0 - 1
Tim Commons v John Abson
0 - 1
Robert Bailey v Kevin Perrin
0 - 1
John Frangakis v Michael Schreenan
1 - 0

Round 7

Michael Schreenan faced Clint Stewart who defended with a Sicilian Dragon. Black won a rook and 2 pawns in the opening!, then the exchange in the middle game to have 2 rooks for a Bishop, plus the pawns. White never recovered from the deficit.

Kevin Perrin versus John Frangakis was a Caro-Kann. Black set up a typically passive, but solid structure. White gradually obtained a dominating position and won a piece, before finishing off his opponent with a brilliant combination.

John Abson, fresh from his triumph last week, took on Rob Bailey. Another Sicilian, Black won a piece in middlegame complications. White fought back to have a rook and pawn for 2 pieces, but then missed a nasty rook fork and went downhill from there.

James Eldridge played a Danish Gambit against Tim Commons, who declined the gambit. Black later snatched a pawn, but White regained it soon after, leaving a sharp, even position. A neat 'pseudo-sacrifice' of a piece by Black added zest to the middle game position. Tim picked up a pawn from his inventive play to reach a winning pawn ending, but a bad error threw away the win and he was fortunate to escape with a draw.

Jamie Brotheridge met Patrick Cook in their traditional grudge match. A French, Advance variation it was a tough, tense affair. Black seemed to gain a decisive edge in the middle game when he won the exchange and a pawn, but could not find a way to convert the advantage in the endgame. White was able to regain the material and reach a drawn rook ending.

Top seed, and runaway tournament leader, Scott Stewart played a Kings Indian Attack against Rob Loveband. White gained little more than a broken pawn structure from the opening, but sacrificed a piece in typically speculative style, for an attack that crashed through for another powerfully played win.

Results

Michael Schreenan v Clint Stewart
0 - 1
Kevin Perrin v John Frangakis
1 - 0

John Abson v Robert Bailey

0 - 1
James Eldridge v Tim Commons
½ - ½
Scott Stewart v Robert Loveband
1 - 0
Jamie Brotheridge v Patrick Cook
½ - ½

Round 8

Rob Loveband versus Jamie Brotheridge was an open Sicilian, unsurprisingly. White gave up a piece for 3 pawns to reach an interesting, very sharp and unbalanced position early in the middle game. He followed this up with a Queen sacrifice! A complex and original game resulted. The material investment went too far, however and Black gained a winning position, which he converted after a few last saving efforts by White were brushed aside.

Rob Bailey played James Eldridge and once again White ventured the Morra Gambit. Black took the pawn but was forced to return it and then some in a middle game tactical battle. White then sacrificed his Queen thinking he had a quick mate, but took longer than he expected to prove it.

Michael Schreenan met chess club legend Kevin Perrin and played a Ruy Lopez. Black had gained the exchange and a pawn by the middle game for a comfortable position. He later picked up a rook and won easily, despite some nifty tricks by White.

Clint Stewart faced defending champion Patrick Cook and played the quirky Bird's Opening. Black, feeling cramped offered a draw on move 16 which White ignored, choosing instead to increase the pressure. White finished the champion off with a clever combination commencing with a rook sacrifice on a vacant square!

Tim Commons failed to show for his game against Scott Stewart, and Black was awarded the full point. John Frangakis versus John Abson was postponed.

Results

Rob Loveband v Jamie Brotheridge
0 - 1
Rob Bailey v James Eldridge
1 - 0
Michael Schreenan v Kevin Perrin
0 - 1
Clint Stewart v Patrick Cook
1 - 0
Tim Commons v Scott Stewart
0 - 1
John Frangakis v John Abson
0 - 1

Round 9

Kevin Perrin took on Clint Stewart's Dutch Leningrad. In a quiet positional struggle, White obtained a firm grip on the game and methodically converted this to a win in a fine example of excellent technique.

John Abson met Michael Schreenan who ventured a Petroff Defence. White snatched a pawn in the opening which Black eventually regained. By then, however, White had set up a direct attack on Black's King which culminated in a neat checkmate in the middle of the board.

Jamie Brotheridge faced Tim Commons in a 4 knights game! After declining Black's 5 th move draw offer, White quickly won a pawn and broke open his opponents King's position. Tim did well to survive the initial onslaught, but White simply increased the pressure, won 2 pieces, as was not troubled thereafter.

Patrick Cook met Rob Loveband in a Queens Gambit Declined. The defending champion drifted into a bad position and was quickly overwhelmed by Black's focused play. 2 losses in a row for the soon-to-be ex-champion!

James Eldridge versus John Frangakis and Scott Stewart versus Rob Bailey were postponed.

Results

Kevin Perrin v Clint Stewart
1 - 0
John Abson v Michael Schreenan
1 - 0
Jamie Brotheridge v Tim Commons
1 - 0
Patrick Cook v Rob Loveband
0 - 1
James Eldridge v John Frangakis
0 - 1
Scott Stewart v Rob Bailey
1 - 0

Round 10

Clint Stewart versus Rob Loveband was a Bird's Opening, a speciality of Clint and his brother Scott. Rob tried an unusual Queens Indian-type structure and was doing well until he dropped a pawn while trying to trade material. Clint applied pressure and gained a firm grip on the position. Mutual time trouble resulted in a chaotic position in the late middle game and Rob twice missed winning moves. Both players reached move 40 with seconds to spare and Rob resigned shortly after due to his material deficit.

Rob Bailey took on Jamie Brotheridge with a Closed Sicilian. Black won a pawn in the early middle game through a declined piece sacrifice, but White eventually regained the pawn. Black later sacrificed a piece for 2 pawns and a dangerous attack on the White King and followed it up with a further sacrifice of the exchange in a faulty combination. White missed his chance and ended up with only 2 rooks for his Queen and a subsequent blunder forced his resignation.

John Frangakis versus Scott Stewart was a Dutch Leningrad, unsurprisingly. Black won a piece in the middle game to have control of the game, and later added a couple of pawns to his material haul before subsequently winning comfortably.

Michael Schreenan met James Eldridge and was confronted by the Philidor Defence (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6). In an even and lively middle game, White gained 2 rooks for the Queen, but was then outplayed by Black who scored a convincing win.

Kevin Perrin played John Abson. From a Queens Gambit Accepted, a messy middle game was reached. White then won several pawns, and added a piece and a rook to his advantage before finishing John off with a crushing combination.

Tim Commons faced Patrick Cook who answered 1. e4 with the Alekhine Defence (1. e4 Nf6). Tim opted for the uncompromising 4 pawns attack, but misplayed it and dropped the exchange. Black then outplayed White in a sharp, tactical middle game and won quickly after returning the exchange for a mating attack

One other game, Patrick Cook versus Scott Stewart postponed from Round 6, was played during the week. A Larsen as expected, not much happened before the players agreed to a short "Grandmaster" draw.

Results

Clint Stewart v Rob Loveband
1 - 0
Rob Bailey v Jamie Brotheridge
0 - 1
John Frangakis v Scott Stewart
0 - 1
Michael Schreenan v James Eldridge
0 - 1
Kevin Perrin v John Abson
1 - 0
Tim Commons v Patrick Cook
0 - 1

Round 11

Jamie Brotheridge faced John Frangakis who ventured a Caro-Kann Defence. White sacrificed a pawn in the opening and launched a King-side offensive. White eventually prevailed winning a rook and piece in a tactical melee. This win secured second place for Jamie.

Rob Loveband met Tim Commons who played an Alekhine's Defence. Rob opted for the aggressive 4-pawns attack and an interesting complex middle game resulted. An oversight by Rob enabled Tim to seize the iniative and he won a piece and the game shortly after to register a major upset.

James Eldridge took on Kevin Perrin who played a French Defence. James went for the Tarrash variation and a tough, evenly balanced game ensued. In the late middle game, James dropped a pawn and he then lashed out. Kevin was unfazed and smoothly cleaned up to take the full point.

John Abson versus Clint Stewart was an open Sicilian and John held his own until late into the middle game when he went astray in a tactical battle and was mated.

Scott Stewart, looking to secure his first championship title, met Michael Schreenan, still searching for his first points! A Bishops Opening, White made no mistake and efficiently swept Black away. So, despite still having one game to play Scott made his top seeding count and is the 2007 Ballarat Chess Club Champion.

The defending champion Patrick Cook met Rob Bailey. A Modern Benoni, it was a typical positional battle. White won a pawn in the middle game and increased the pressure until Black fell apart, losing a couple of pieces and then losing the game on time.

Earlier in the week, the postponed Round 4 game Clint Stewart versus Scott Stewart was played at the public library. A Kings Indian, White built up a great position and was soon smashing Black. Somehow, Scott found a swindle to reach a drawn Queen ending, but White misplayed it to hand the full point to Scott.

Results

Jamie Brotheridge v John Frangakis
1 - 0
Rob Loveband v Tim Commons
0 - 1
James Eldridge v Kevin Perrin
0 - 1
John Abson v Clint Stewart
0 - 1
Scott Stewart v Michael Schreenan
1 - 0
Patrick Cook v Rob Bailey
1 - 0

 

Epilogue

The postponed games from earlier in the tournament were played off to complete the 2007 Ballarat Chess Club championship.

From round 5, Kevin Perrin versus Tim Commons was a kind of Grunfeld. Black played sensibly and achieved a solid, even position before he grabbed a pawn in the early middle-game. White stayed focused and won back the pawn with an attack that proved decisive. Kevin's 8 points was good enough for 3rd place in the tournament.

The round 8 game John Frangakis versus John Abson was a Trompovsky. White gained nothing from the opening, but gradually gained the upper hand in the middle-game. After winning a piece and a couple of pawns, White had a crushing position, but overlooked one of John Abson's famous lightning counterattacks and lost his Queen and the game.

The remaining two games were from round 9. The top seed and new champion Scott Stewart met Rob Bailey. A Morra Gambit, Black kept the pawn at the cost of a passive position. White kept up the pressure and won the exchange as a reward. From there Black's position deteriorated and eventually he ran out of time while struggling to find a defence.

Reserves Champion - Rob Bailey

The last game, James Eldridge versus John Frangakis was important for the Reserves title. If James could win, he would be into a play-off with Rob Bailey. Predictably a Caro-Kann was played. White seemed to be cruising in a comfortable position, too comfortable perhaps, since he fell into a forced mate and his Reserves title hopes vanished, leaving Rob Bailey as the 2007 Ballarat Chess Club Reserves champion.

Players
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Total
1
Tim Commons (1348)
½
½
1
0
0
½
0
0
0
1
½
4
2
Robert Bailey (1408)
½
1
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
1
0
3
John Frangakis (1326)
½
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
½
0
0
3
4
Michael Schreenan (961)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
5
Kevin Perrin (1521)
1
1
1
1
1
1
0
½
½
0
1
8
6
John Abson (1015)
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
7
James Eldridge (1412)
½
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
½
1
½
8
Scott Stewart (1804)
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
½
1
1
10½
9
Jamie Brotheridge (1558)
1
1
1
1
½
1
1
0
½
1
1
9
10
Patrick Cook (1702)
1
1
½
1
½
1
½
½
½
0
0
11
Robert Loveband (1509)
0
0
1
1
1
1
0
0
0
1
0
5
12
Clint Stewart (1466)
½
1
1
1
0
1
½
0
0
1
1
7


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The A grade plays for the Andy Miitel Championship trophy, and the B grade for John Baynham Reserves title. Andy Miitel was a former club president who was instrumental in revitalising and reconstituting the club in the mid nineteen sixties after the club had become somewhat moribund in the early sixties. John Baynham was an important club administrator in the late sixties and early seventies.