Fourteen players from across the state descended on Castlemaine for the Victorian Country Chess Championship on the weekend.
Michael Turner from Bendigo started the tournament well with a draw against fifth seed Patrick Lenne (Ballarat), but couldn’t continue his good form in the second round, being defeated by Terry Feduniw (Geelong).
Mark Bruere (Yea) emerged as outright leader after three rounds, by knocking off tournament favourite Stewart Booth (Swan Hill). Booth had won the exchange for a pawn early in the game, but Bruere managed to create overwhelming threats by advancing his passed pawns supported by king and knight.
Booth began to catch up to Bruere in the later rounds after Bruere conceded draws against Bendigo players Nigel Barrow (round four) and Leigh Healey (round 6). In the last game to finish in the final round, Booth needed to defeat Barrow to tie with Bruere. Barrow missed a chance to force a draw with a sacrificial combination leading to perpetual check, and Booth emerged victorious to share the title with Bruere.
The Reserves championship also went down to wire, with Kevin Perrin and Joel Beggs (both from Ballarat), joint leaders in the Reserves section, paired against one another in the final round. After a long struggle, both players agreed to a draw, which meant that they shared the title.
Strong final round showings from Patrick Lenne saw him join Perrin, Beggs, Barrow and Healey in equal third. Final results: Booth & Bruere, 5/6, Barrow, Beggs, Healey, Lenne and Perrin 3.5/6.
2009 Country Vic: L-R Stewart Booth (joint champ), Patrick Cook, Kevin Perrin (joint Reserve), Mark Bruere (joint champ), Leigh Healey, Joel Beggs (joint Reserve), Nigel Barrow and Chris Segrave crouching at front -too tall to fit into the photo standing up!
Round 1 Mark Bruere contemplates his opponent's aggressively placed Rook, Joel Beggs marshalls Black's defence and Leigh Healey takes on Matthew Clarke
Round 1: Clint Stewart versus Chris Segrave, in the background are the Reserves Trophy and the Championship Trophy
Round 2 James Eldridge versus Joel Beggs, while Terry Feduniw (obscured by James' hair) takes on Michael Turner
Round 2: Matthew Clark invades the White position with some aggresively placed pawns, Clint Stewart has time to look over at Stewart Booth's game
Round 3: Eldridge vTurner (foreground, Segrave ve Lenne & Perrin v Clarke
Round 3: Matthew Clarke takes on Kevin Perrin in the foreground, while Clint Stewart doesn't seem to like his last move in the background.
Round 4: Eldridge takes on Clarke as Feduniw looks on
Round 4: First morning after daylight savings and plenty of empty boards. Bruere and Booth in the foreground while Terry Feduniw shares a joke with a spectator in the background
Round 5: Bruere v Perrin. No wonder they are both wearing glasses, look how blurry the board is!
Round 5 Water Bottle v Packed Lunch - in the end Patrick Lenne's lunch won the day over Terry Feduniw's water bottle
Round 5: Left to Right Feduniw, Beggs, Segrave, Eldridge and Clint Stewart
Round 6: Kevin Perrin is distracted by a photographer during his game against Joel Beggs
Round 6 Patrick Cook takes on Clint Stewart
Round 6 Patrick Lenne again faces a water bottle gambit, this time at the hands of Matthew Clarke (0-1 Lenne), meanwhile Joel Beggs and Kevin Perrin battle it out for the Reserve Trophy (the game was drawn and the trophy shared)