43rd Club Championships 2008

2008 Club Champion: Patrick Cook

Ten players initially entered the 43rd Ballarat Chess Club championship, including  defending champion Scott Stewart, 7 times champion Kevin Perrin (playing his 43rd championship tournament!!), and 6 times champion Patrick Cook.

A last minute entry by Jamie Brotheridge necessitated a one week delay to redo the pairings, but brought the entry up to 11 players.

Scott Stewart is top seed and favourite to win his 2nd title, while 2nd seed Patrick Cook, 3rd seed Jamie Brotheridge, and 4th seed Rob Loveband, are all contenders in the clubs most prestigious event of the year.

Round 1

Michael Schreenan took on Rob Bailey who surprised a few members by playing the French Defence (1.e4  e6 2. d4  d5). White opted for the Advance variation (3.e5..), but Black quickly won a pawn and gained control of the centre. White managed to obtain some play in the middle game until he overlooked a lethal pin and lost his Queen.

John Abson met unrated newcomer Chris Segrave who defended with the Sicilian. White gained a space advantage from the opening and in his typical enterprising style sacrificed a pawn for the initiative. Black played passively, but solidly, and gradually dissipated Whites attacking chances to reach an endgame with good winning prospects. White saved him the trouble of demonstrating his technique by losing on time!

The heavyweight showdown of the round was the clash between the no.2 and 3 seeds, Patrick Cook versus Jamie Brotheridge.

Black opted for the Modern Benoni against White’s 1.d4, turning it into a sort of delayed Benko Gambit with his 10th move. He followed up too hastily, though, and White soon had a firm grip on the position which he never really let go of. A blunder late in the middle game handed White a decisive material advantage and the 2nd. Seed had no trouble scoring the full point.

Rob Loveband versus Scott Stewart and John Frangakis versus Swytzar Swytzer were postponed. Kevin Perrin had the bye.

Results

Patrick Cook vs Jamie Brotheridge
1-0
Rob Loveband vs Scott Stewart
pp
Michael Schreenan vs Rob Bailey
0-1
John Frangakis vs Swytzer Swytzar
pp
John. Abson vs Chris Segrave
0-1
Kevin Perrin v bye
1-0

Round 2

Round 2 was preceded by the unfortunate news that the top seed, Scott Stewart, has had to withdraw from the tournament, so an extra bye was created.

On the night, Swytzar Swytzer met John Abson in a 4 Knights Game! Black picked up a pawn in the opening stages, but inventive play by White turned the tables. White was unable to find an adequate plan, however, allowing Black to steadily build up a mating attack which succeeded against indifferent defence.

Jamie Brotheridge met Rob Loveband in another early high level encounter. A Queen’s Gambit Declined it was a tough game for both players. White pushed hard, offering material for an attack in his typically aggressive style. Black accepted a piece for a pawn, but with his King in danger was soon forced to give up his Queen for Rook and piece, and was then quickly overwhelmed. A good win for the 3rd seed after the disappointment of round 1.

Kevin Perrin versus Patrick Cook and Rob Bailey versus John Frangakis were postponed. Chris Segrave and Michael Schreenan had a bye.

Results

S. Swytzer  v  J. Abson 
0-1
J. Brotheridge v R. Loveband 
1-0
K. Perrin v P. Cook  
p-p
R. Bailey v J. Frangakis  
p-p
C. Segrave v bye       
1-0
M. Schreenanv v bye        
1-0

Round 3

Michael Schreenan faced 2nd. Seed Jamie Brotheridge and ventured the primitive Elephant attack (1.e4  e5 2. d4?!). White inexplicably left his Queen en prise on move 7 and Black won quite efficiently from there.

John Abson met Rob Bailey in a Sicilian. White found himself a piece for a pawn up in the opening after a blunder by Black. He didn’t hold on to it for long though; lack of alertness allowed Black to trap a piece and even the material balance. Thereafter, Black always seemed to have the initiative and soon won the exchange and then a rook to win comfortably.

Chris Segrave took on Swytzar Swytzer and played the English opening (1.c4). It quickly transposed to a main line Nimzo-Indian and a slow manoeuvring game ensued. Black obtained a slight positional edge which soon became a tangible 2 pawn advantage. Playing carefully and sensibly, Black gradually gained a decisive material advantage of a piece and 4 pawns. He then set about slowly handing back all the gained material, spurning several simple wins along the way! He then gave up his rook as well, to reach a completely lost position. White returned the favour, generously blundering his rook and a draw was reached with kings on the bare board.

Rob Loveband versus Kevin Perrin was postponed. John Frangakis and Patrick Cook had a bye.

Results

M. Schreenan  v  J. Brotheridge 
0-1
J. Abson v R. Bailey
0-1
C. Segrave v S. Swytzer  
½-½
R. Loveband   v  K. Perrin  
p-p
J. Frangakis v bye           
0-1
P. Cook v bye
0-1

Round 4

Rob Bailey met newcomer Chris Segrave who defended against the King Pawn Opening with the unusual Owen’s Defence (1. e4  b6). In a complicated middle game, White won a couple of pawns , then the exchange and steadily improved his position. Black could find no counterplay  and White went on to score his third straight win.

Jamie Brotheridge versus John Frangakis was a Caro-Kann see game.... The opening was very even, with all the action postponed to the middle game. As usual, White went straight for the King, building up a menacing position before unleashing a risky sacrificial attack. After giving up two rooks and a bishop for the Black Queen, and stripping the Black King of pawn protection, he had a perpetual check for the taking, but wanted more. He overlooked a one move checkmate!, however, in a position that was probably lost anyway.

Kevin Perrin versus Michael Schreenan  was a weird Two Knights Tango ( 1. e4  Nc6 2.d4  Nf6). White gained no advantage from the opening but did obtain some pressure against the Black King in the middle game. Black kept his nerve in an interesting game, before allowing a pin that cost him his Queen and the game.

Patrick Cook played Rob Loveband and ventured his old favourite Larsen’s Opening (1. b3 ) Both players were cautious and accurate, with many tactical ideas hidden beneath the moves. Not surprisingly the game ended in a draw after 19 moves.

John Abson and Swytzar Swytzer had byes.

Results

Rob Bailey v Chris Segrave
1-0
Jamie Brotheridge v John Frangakis
0-1
Kevin Perrin v Michael Schreenan
1-0
Patrick Cook v Rob Loveband
½-½
 

Round 5

Swytzar Swytzer faced Rob Bailey in a Closed Sicilian. Black picked up a pawn in the early middle game and quickly ratcheted up the pressure. White couldn’t cope, dropped a Knight, was then forced to give up his Queen and was rapidly overwhelmed.

John Abson took on Jamie Brotheridge in a French Advance variation. Black won as expected, in 30 moves, despite a few scares along the way.

John Frangakis versus Kevin Perrin was a Slav of sorts, with g6 and Bg7. The game quickly transposed into something like a Tarrasch Defence. Black gained a solid protected passed pawn early and a protracted manoeuvring game ensued. White had some chances for active play on the Queen side but played too passively and was ground down in the endgame.

Michael Schreenan faced Patrick Cook and played his usual 1.e4. Black offered an Alekhine Defence (1….Nf6), but the game settled down to a Pirc Defence after 2.Nc3..d6. Black found himself in a cramped position and decided to wait for a mistake rather than take a risk with active play. White found a nice combination and outplayed Black in the middle game to reach a winning position before inexplicably offering a draw which Black was happy to accept.

Results

M. Schreenan v  P. Cook   
½-½

J. Frangakis v  K. Perrin  

0-1
J. Abson v J. Brotheridge     
0-1

S. Swytzer v R. Bailey         

0-1

C. Segrave v bye

1-0

R. Loveband v bye

1-0

Round 6

Kevin Perrin took on John Abson in an Italian Game. White’s logical development saw him win a pawn in the opening phase, then pick up a piece in the early middle game to have a commanding position. He then organized a winning attack at his leisure and efficiently finished off the game.

Rob Loveband met Michael Schreenan, fresh from his excellent play the previous round. A Queen’s Gambit Accepted resulted in sharp opening play. Black dropped a piece for a pawn in the middle game, giving White the opportunity to relentlessly build up an attack against the Black King. White soon broke through for a fine win in 21 moves.

Patrick Cook met the tough John Frangakis and played a careful Catalan type opening. White slowly increased the pressure against Black’s passive defence to reach a winning position. Black then overlooked a mate to hand White a splendid win.

Jamie Brotheridge met Chris Segrave and surprised his opponent with the Trompowsky Opening (1. d4  Nf6 2. Bg5 ). A complex positional game ensued with Black holding his own for some time before going down to superior play by the (now) top seed.

Results

K. Perrin v J. Abson   
1-0
R. Loveband v M. Schreenan 
1-0
J. Brotheridge v C. Segrave
1-0

P. Cook v J. Frangakis  

1-0

R. Bailey v bye    

1-0
S. Swytzer v bye
1-0

Round 7

Chris Segrave  met Kevin Perrin and a Scandinavian Defence (1.e4 d5) was played, not surprising as it has been Kevin Perrin’s main answer to 1.e4 for decades! Black played his usual accurate chess and profited from White’s loose position, gaining 2 pieces for a rook. Black soon had 2 extra pawns as well with a dominating position which he had no trouble winning.

John Abson faced Patrick Cook in the only other game played on the night. An Alekhine’s Defence. Black won a pawn in the opening and steadily improved his position. Late in the middle game, White launched won of his typical attacks and the position was suddenly very lively. He missed the best continuation, however, and Black quickly cleaned up.

John Frangakis versus Rob Loveband  and Swytzar Swytzer versus Jamie Brotheridge were postponed. Michael Schreenan and Rob Bailey had a bye.

Results
C. Segrave v  K. Perrin 
0-1
J. Abson v P. Cook   
0-1
J. Frangakis v R. Loveband
0-1
S. Swytzer v J. Brotheridge
pp
M. Schreenan v bye
1-0
R. Bailey v bye
1-0

Round 8

Jamie Brotheridge took on Rob Bailey at the public library earlier. A King’s Indian Defence, the game produced a dynamic, double-edged position in the middle game. Black steadily improved his position and had a win but failed to find the right path to victory. In time trouble his desperate exchange sacrifice failed and White scored the win.

Kevin Perrin met Swytzar Swytzer in a Giuco Piano. The game was even until the middle game when White built up a wicked attack against the Black King. White won the Black Queen and then mated without difficulty. An elegant win by White in just 19 moves.

Rob Loveband versus John Abson was a Nimzo-Indian Defence. White laboured hard but gained no advantage until by the late middle game he had a positional edge. Black then lashed out, sacrificing a Rook in a speculative attack that ultimately failed, handing White the full point.

Michael Schreenan faced John Frangakis and played his now usual Elephant attack (1.e4 e5 2.d4). The game quickly mutated into a Caro-Kann Defence. Black picked up a pawn in the opening, but had to return it in the middle game. White then whipped up a promising attack, but with both Queen’s still on the board neither player was able to gain a decisive edge and a draw was eventually agreed.

Patrick Cook faced Chris Segrave and played something resembling a Grunfeld. Quiet manoeuvring characterised the game until the game exploded into life and White brutally crushed  his opponent.

This was also the only round with no bye!

Results
J. Brotheridge v R.Bailey
 1-0
K. Perrin v S. Swytzer
1-0
R. Loveband v J. Abson
1-0
M. Schreenan v J. Frangakis
½-½
P. Cook v C. Segrave
1-0
 

Round 9

John Abson took on Michael Schreenan in an Italian Game. In a sharp opening phase, White typically sacrificed a pawn for an attack. Black defended well, and after a great many exchanges in the middle game a draw seemed likely. However, White went badly astray, trapping his own Bishop ala Fischer from the famous first game of the Fisher-Spassky match in 1972. Black jumped on the chance and went on to win.

Chris Segrave met Rob Loveband. White played the Grand Prix attack against the Sicilian Defence. Black snatched a pawn early after an oversight by White and then patiently improved his position, picking up two more pawns along the way. By the middle game, Black had two powerful central pawns which soon crashed through for a decisive advantage and mate followed shortly after.

Swytzar Swytzer faced Patrick Cook in a French Defence, Advance variation. After several positional errors early, Black gained an edge and tactical errors in the middle game soon gave Black a decisive material advantage before finishing the game with a crisp mate.

The big game of the night saw Rob Bailey face Kevin Perrin in a classical Sicilian Dragon. White gave a master class in how to play against it, gaining strong pressure against an isolated c pawn in the middle game. White soon won the pawn to reach a technically winning position, but blundered a rook just after the first time control, missing a winning line to find himself in a lost position instead. Black inexplicably returned the favour late in the end game and a drawn rook and pawn ending was reached.

John Frangakis and Jamie Brotheridge had a bye.

Earlier in the week, John Frangakis met Rob Loveband in their postponed Round 7 game. In something like a Colle opening, White gradually built up a promising position, but went astray in the middle game tactics, finally resigning in despair after a final oversight.

Results
J. Abson v M. Schreenan      
0-1
C. Segrave v R. Loveband       
0-1
S. Swytzer v P. Cook                
0-1
R. Bailey v K. Perrin             
½-½
J. Frangakis v bye
1-0
J. Brotheridge v bye
1-0

Round 10

Rob Loveband met Swytzar Swytzer in a Queen’s Gambit Declined. White gained early piece activity in an efficient manner and picked up a rook to have a comfortably winning position. He soon won the other rook, and a piece as well, and finished Black off easily.

Michael Schreenan faced Chris Segrave. An open Sicilian, White gave up a piece early on for a speculative attack after the opening had veered off into strange territory. The attack failed, but with enterprising play White regained the piece and with some pressure on the Black position. This soon became a winning attack, but on the verge of victory, White blundered into a lost position and resigned in disgust.

John Frangakis versus John Abson was a Colle Opening. White soon had a cramped position, but managed to get some activity anyway. The middle game became a dour positional battle, with White gradually gaining the upper hand. He won 2 pawns, but then went passive, allowing Black to mount one of his trademark devil-may-care attacks. With an active King in the endgame, Black went on to win a fine game.

Patrick Cook faced Rob Bailey and was surprised by Black’s choice of the Dutch Defence. The game was characterised by careful manoeuvring, with neither player gaining a decisive edge, prompting White to toss in one of his infamous psychological draw offers. Black thought about it for quite some time, then accepted, not wanting to tempt “Patrick’s curse”.

Kevin Perrin and Jamie Brotheridge had a bye.

Results
Kevin Perrin v bye
1-0
Patrick Cook vs Rob Bailey
½-½
Rob Loveband vs  Swytar Swyter     
1-0
Michael Shreenan vs Chris Segrave   
0-1
John Frangakis vs John Abson   
0-1
Jamie Brotheridge v bye
1-0

Round 11

Jamie Brotheridge met Kevin Perrin with a Colle Opening. Cautious and solid play ensued, characteristic of the opening system and a draw was the not unexpected result.

Swytzar Swytzer faced Michael Schreenan in a Ruy Lopez (of sorts). The game was very even throughout and eventually reached a pawn ending with both King’s active. White misplayed this probably drawn endgame position, betraying his inexperience, and lost.

Chris Segrave took on John Frangakis who played his usual Caro-Kann Defence. Black was too passive in the face of Black’s steady King-side build up and succumbed to an excellent attack.

Rob Bailey versus Rob Loveband was an open Sicilian. A tough theoretical battle ensued, with both players using a lot of time. White declined a draw offer, but tragically lost on time, with Black having just 3 seconds left himself!

Results
John Abson v Bye
1-0
Patrick Cook v Bye
1-0
Rob Bailey v Rob Loveband      
0-1
Swytar Swyter v Michael Shreenan  
0-1
Chris Segrave v John Frangakis   
1-0
Jamie Brotheridge v Kevin Perrin
½-½

 

Epilogue

Reserves Champion - Chris Segrave

Chris Segrave, unrated and playing his first Ballarat tournament, had a great result and won the Murray Byrne Shield as Reserves Champion.


The postponed games were finally dealt with, some them being crucial to the final standings in this dramatic tournament.

From round 7, Swytzar Swytzer versus Jamie Brotheridge was a Sicilian that gave Black no problems. His superior technique and experience resulted in a comfortable win.

The round 2 game, Kevin Perrin versus Patrick Cook was a French Defence, exchange variation. Both players needed to win to maintain realistic chances of winning the tournament, although a draw raised the interesting possibility of a three-way tie! The usual drawish opening gave rise to a subtle positional game, with Black picking up an exchange and, declining several draw offers, ground out a good win in 67 moves. So the top seed finished with an unbeaten 7 1/2/9.

Rob Loveband versus Kevin Perrin, from round 3, was also important. If White could win he would catch up with Patrick Cook, and a play-off would decide the title. The game was something of an anti-climax. A Slav Defence, White built up a dangerous attack before Black realised the peril he was in, and subsequently won a piece and Black resigned.

John Frangakis, psychologically shattered by his disastrous run of losses, forfeited his last 2 games against Swytzar Swytzer and Rob Bailey.

After all games had been finalised, Patrick Cook and Rob Loveband tied for first and will play-off for the title of Ballarat Chess Club Champion 2008.

The Play-off

The play-off is the best of 2 games at championship time controls. Patrick Cook drew white for the first game and played a Catalan system. A careful manoevering game ensued until Black saw an opportunity to harass the White King, only to discover that he had trapped a piece. White made no mistake in hauling in the full point thereafter.

Game 2 was a Slav Defence; White needing to win threw everything at the Black position, sacrificing a piece to expose the King. Black defended well, but at a crucial moment was overanxious to simplify and gave back the piece to reach an ending a pawn to the good. He discovered too late that he had simplified into a passive, lost ending and White was merciless in leveling the score. So 2 more games were required.

Game 3 was a Queen's Gambit Declined and Black set out from the start to draw the game, even at the cost of a pawn. This proved a mistake, as White demonstrated high-class technique in winning a rooks and pawns ending.

Game 4 was a Nimzo-Indian Defence, and once again White was in a must win situation. Inspired by Jamie Brotheridge's enterprising style, he launched another sacrificial attack. Black kept the piece and carefully defended against the mate threats, before reaching a won position. White resigned a hopeless position and congratulated his opponent.

This gave Patrick Cook his 7th Ballarat Chess Club championship title, equalling Kevin Perrin's all-time record.

Players
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Total
1
Kevin Perrin (1537)
0
0
1
1
1
1
1
½
-
½
6
2
Patrick Cook (1537)
1
½
½
1
1
1
1
½
-
1
3
Rob Loveband (1479)
1
½
1
1
1
1
1
1
-
0
4
Michael Schreenan (936)
0
½
0
½
1
0
1
0
-
0
3
5
John Frangakis (1283)
0
0
0
½
0
0
0
0
-
1
6
John Abson (1053)
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
-
0
2
7
Chris Segrave (6g)
0
0
0
1
1
1
½
0
-
0
3½
8
Swyzer Swyzar (3g)
0
0
0
0
1
0
½
0
-
0
9
Rob Bailey (1435)
½
½
0
1
1
1
1
1
-
0
6
10
Scott Stewart (1770)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
11
Jamie Brotheridge (1657)
½
0
1
1
0
1
1
1
1
-


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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.