2009 Spielvogel Memorial

Congratulations to Rob Loveband who won this tournament in style, conceding only 1/2 a point to Jamie Brotheridge.

Round Reports

Round 1

After a first night of social games at our new venue, the club got down to some serious chess with the 2009 Spielvogel Memorial. A 7 round Swiss in honour of a great player and administrator from the past, the tournament offers players a chance to warm up for the forthcoming Begonia Open, and attracted 9 players including 2 new members.

Top seed, and club champion, Patrick Cook faced newcomer Yu Liu, and wheeled out his favourite Larsen’s Opening. It didn’t take long for White to win material and he continued to do so until Black, a rook and 5 pawns down, asked “can I surrender?”

Veteran John Abson took on 2nd seed Jamie Brotheridge in an open Sicilian. White was unable to cope with Black’s aggressive style and lost his Queen in the early middlegame and did not survive long after that.

Kevin Perrin, the doyen of Ballarat chess, met Michael Schreenan with an English Opening. White quickly gained the upper hand and soon picked up Black’s Queen and finished off his opponent soon after.

The other newcomer, H. Zhang, met Rob Loveband in a closed Sicilian. White was able to put up some resistance to the 4th seed, but was eventually outplayed and Black won as expected.

Round 2

Rob Loveband took on top seed Patrick Cook in an unusual French Defence, exchange variation (1.e4 e6 2.f4 d5 3. exd5 …). An interesting game ensued with chances for both sides before Black lost the plot with a couple of tactical oversights that cost his Queen and the game.

Jamie Brotheridge met Chris Segrave who found himself playing an Alekhine Defence via 1.d4 !! Black quickly had a cramped position and White rapidly built up a powerful attack in the early middle game. Black soon cracked under the pressure and lost his Queen before being mated.

Yu Liu versus Kevin Perrin was a King’s Indian Defence. White missed several good opportunities to gain an advantage, before dropping the exchange for a pawn, and then blundering a rook.

Michael Schreenan met Hao Zhang in a Ruy Lopez, exchange variation. White picked up 2 pawns late in the middle game and won smoothly.

Round 3

Kevin Perrin faced the ever dangerous Jamie Brotheridge and a Queen’s Gambit Declined appeared on the board. A complex positional game was enlivened by White launching an attack, sacrificing 2 pieces in an effort to win. The investment proved too great and Black held on to win.

Chris Segrave met Rob Loveband who adopted the Scandinavian Defence, normally the province of Kevin Perrin. The game was a lively fight, but Black won material to be in a winning position when White lost on time.

Top seed Patrick Cook took on feisty Michael Schreenan in his usual Larsen’s Opening. White picked up a pawn early but left his sense of danger at home and Black suddenly won a piece with active play in the middle game. White eventually regained the piece but lost too many pawns along the way and was unable to hold the resulting rook ending. A great upset win for Black!

Zhang Hao versus John Abson was the old fashioned Bishop’s Opening (1.e4 e5 2. Bc4 …). White won a pawn early, but was unable to make the most of it in the face of Black’s experience.

Liu Yu had the bye.

Round 4

Jamie Brotheridge faced Rob Loveband who adopted the Scandinavian once again. Black played a sharp Gambit variation, sacrificing a pawn for rapid development. He was soon in trouble as White won a piece and set about consolidating his advantage. Black regained the piece and a pawn with a clever tactical trick late in the game and a draw was agreed.

Patrick Cook met his old rival Kevin Perrin in a Slav Defence. A quiet positional game ensued until White won the exchange, only to find himself under attack! Black couldn’t quite land the decisive blow and after declining White’s draw offer became the latest victim of “Patrick’s curse” when he suddenly found himself in a lost endgame after Queen’s were exchanged.

Michael Schreenan, fresh from his triumph in round 3, took on Liu Yu. The game was a French Defence via a circuitous route in which Black won a pawn early. He soon lost control of the game however, allowing White to seize the initiative and gain a decisive piece plus pawn edge. He converted his advantage without incident.

John Abson versus Chris Segrave was another Scandinavian, this time a main line. The players castled on opposite wings, resulting in a sharp attacking game. Black sacrificed a piece to get at the White King, but his opponent held on grimly in a precarious position, before turning the tables to score a neat mate.

Zhang Hao had the bye.

Round 5

p class="fontstyle1">Michael Schreenan took on Jamie Brotheridge in a Sicilian. White played well but was unable to overcome Black’s superior technique and experience.

Rob Loveband versus John Abson was a Giuco Piano that didn’t last long. Black dropped a pawn in the opening and went downhill fast from there.

Yu Liu played fellow debutant Zhang Hao and won against the Scandinavian!

Chris Segrave met Kevin Perrin in a Sicilian Grand Prix attack. White sacrificed a piece early for not much more than a difficult game. After further material loss later in the game, White was finished off with an elegant mate.

Patrick Cook had the bye.

Round 6

Jamie Brotheridge faced arch-rival Patrick Cook in a Slav Defence that quickly turned into a wild tactical melee. When the smoke cleared, Black had won a rook and despite some inventive play by White, the deficit proved too great.

Kevin Perrin met Rob Loveband with the English Opening. A tough, even positional battle ensued. Black gradually gained the upper hand and managed to convert his advantage into the full point.

John Abson versus Yu Liu was a Ruy Lopez. A good, even game resulted, right into the middle game. Black eventually gained an advantage in an interesting rook ending, but inexperience cost him the full point.

Zhang Hao failed to turn up, handing Chris Segrave a full point.

Michael Schreenan had the bye.

Round 7

Rob Loveband versus Yu Liu was a Dutch! White calmly gained the edge against his inexperienced opponent, before delivering sudden death with a forced mate on move 16 leading to a resignation.

Jamie Brotheridge met Zhang Hao in a sort of Tarrasch Defence. White got on top in the middle game, winning a piece. He then cleaned up, winning more material before checkmating.

John Abson took on Michael Schreenan in another Ruy Lopez. Sharp, aggressive play by White won a pawn in the opening, then he grabbed a surprise opportunity to deliver mate on move 13.

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From Australian Dictionary of Bibliography

Nathan Frederick Spielvogel (1874-1956), teacher, writer and historian, was born on 10 May 1874 at Ballarat, Victoria, son of Newman Frederick Spielvogel, pawnbroker, and his wife Hannah, née Cohen. Newman, an Austrian, and Hannah, a Prussian, were typical of the strong Jewish community on the Ballarat goldfields. Nathan attended Dana Street State School and trained there in 1892-95 as a pupil-teacher. He taught at several schools in the Wimmera, including Dimboola (1897, 1899-1907).

A small man, with sharply chiselled features, a wide forehead, big ears, warm eyes, a jutting chin and a beard that became golden, Spielvogel was adventurous and imaginative. In 1904 he spent his savings of £120 on a six-month journey through Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Britain. He had begun his writing career in 1894 with a Christmas story for the Ballarat Courier, to which—with the Jewish press, the Bulletin, the Dimboola Banner and other newspapers—he contributed regularly under such pen names as 'Genung', 'Eko', 'Ato' and 'Ahaswar'. From the early 1920s he wrote a humorous piece each month for the Teachers' Journal, but was probably best known for his first book, A Gumsucker on the Tramp (1906). It sold 20,000 copies. He also published The Cocky Farmer (1914), A Gumsucker at Home (1914), Old Eko's Note-Book (1930) and a volume of poetry called Our Gum Trees (1913).

He loved a beer (not lager) and around 1908 dined every Thursday at Fasoli's café, Melbourne, with writers and artists such as E. J. Brady, Norman Lindsay, Hal Gye, C. J. Dennis and Louis Esson. Later he was close to J. K. Moir, Victor Kennedy and R. H. Croll of the Bread and Cheese Club. Croll thought him 'offensively Australian' yet proudly Jewish, a conjunction that rent Spielvogel in 1901 when his love for a Gentile conflicted with a promise to his mother not to marry out of the faith. He remained steadfast and on 6 September 1911 at the Great Synagogue, Hyde Park, Sydney, married Jessie Muriel, daughter of Henry Harris, publisher of the Hebrew Standard.

After further postings to other Victorian schools, Spielvogel returned to Ballarat to be headmaster of Dana Street in 1924-39. Inspiring, sympathetic and methodical, he was immensely popular: a phalanx of pupils usually escorted him into the grounds. As president of the revived Ballarat Historical Society (1933-56), he developed a passion for local history. He published vignettes of early Ballarat life and a popular monograph, The Affair at Eureka (1928). After retirement he was largely responsible for managing the local museum and for placing plaques and monuments at historic sites. His broadcasts and press releases increased historical awareness.

Spielvogel was president of the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation, the Mechanics' Institute, the Teachers' Institute and Dana Street Old Scholars' Association. Strongly patriotic during World War I, he became chairman of the Dads' Association in World War II. A sharp mind lay behind his lifelong interest in chess: he was secretary (1894) and president (1939) of the Ballarat club and represented Victoria in 1921 and 1925. He was instrumental in sustaining the Ballarat synagogue between 1941 and 1953 and wrote Jewish stories with a tenderness and strength that drew from Judah Waten the remark that Jewish literature in Australia began with him. Spielvogel died on 10 September 1956 at Ballarat and was buried in the old cemetery. His wife and their three sons (all of whom had married out of the faith and in his absence) survived him.