After a dramatic event in 2013, the 2014 Andy Miitel Championship tournament promises to be another exciting event, with a full list of 12 entries.
Top seed this year is 8 times Champion Patrick Cook
, lining up for his 30th attempt at the title. Armed with such experience and a strong positional style, he will be a real contender.
2nd seed is defending Champion Rob Bailey
, professional chess coach, aiming for back-to-back titles.
3rd seed is Rob Loveband
, with 2 titles under his belt, his chances can’t be overlooked.
4th seed is feisty Jamie Brotheridge
, yet to win the Championship, but he is ambitious and backs it up with an aggressive style.
5th seed is Ballarat chess legend Kevin Perrin
, holder of 7 titles and playing in his 49th Championship tournament. He came close last year and could go even further this year.
6th seed Rod Jacobs
was the tragedy of 2013, with the title in his grasp he collapsed at the end, and will be aiming for revenge this year.
7th seed is Peter Miitel
, also unlucky last year, he has 2 titles already, and with his high class technique, could add a 3rd this year.
showed himself to be a capable player in his debut last year and cannot be taken lightly.
is returning to the Club after a number of years away. Tactically inventive, it will be interesting to see how he fares back in the fray.
proved himself to be very dangerous in 2013, knocking 2 heavyweight contenders out of the title race, and will no doubt prove equally dangerous this year.
is back again, blessed with a solid positional style, but cursed with tactical blind spots, he will be tough to overcome if his vision is clear.
, 2013 John Baynham Reserves Champion, has bravely taken his right to play in the Championship this year. He could trouble the more experienced entries.
The Reserves tournament for 2014 is hard to pick, but Tom Oppenheim
and Michael Schreenan
are the obvious candidates, with Anna Yates
and newcomers Andrew Laurie
and James Eyre
also in the mix.
List of Players
Top seed Patrick Cook lined up against Chris Segrave and was confronted with the Budapest Gambit. Chris had held Patrick to a draw recently with this unusual defence and had high hopes of doing so again. He got his move order wrong, however, and dropped a piece on move 14, prompting immediate resignation.
Rob Bailey faced Tim Commons who adopted the Benoni Defence, a favourite of Mikhail Tal in his heyday. White declined Black’s early draw offer and the game reached murky waters in the middle game. Rob had a positional advantage and Tim had used up a lot of time, resulting in him blundering away a rook, a piece, and the game.
Kevin Perrin took on Daniel Healey who surprised by playing Alekhine’s Defence. Kevin preferred to avoid the sharp lines and a dour positional battle ensued. Black eventually dropped the exchange, but created a dangerous passed pawn for it which he pushed through for a great upset win.
Rod Jacobs met Peter Miitel with the ultra-sharp Morra Gambit. Peter got seriously lost in the complications and was blown away in just 11 moves!
Jamie Brotheridge faced Jonathon Yates and a Queen’s Gambit Accepted resulted in sharp play. Black snatched a pawn early on, provoking further complications in which Jonathon gained a piece. Black then blundered back the piece and the game subsided to a drawn ending.
Rob Loveband versus Bjorn Lategan was postponed.
Round Two Results
Patrick Cook faced Rob Bailey in the battle of the top two seeds. A Classical Nimzo-Indian Defence, the two repeated a line they had played last year. White tried hard to gain an edge but after seemingly over-extending his position, predictably offered a draw. Black accepted after a short think.
Chris Segrave met Peter Miitel in an odd Benoni Defence. The game settled down into a positional struggle until Chris dropped a piece in the middle game, after which Peter efficiently finished off his hapless opponent.
Daniel Healey versus Rod Jacobs was a Scandinavian Defence. After opposite side castling, White was left with an isolated pawn for Black to aim at. In a tough game, Rod eventually won the pawn, and Daniel later collapsed, blundering a rook and the game.
Bjorn Lategan took on Jamie Brotheridge in a Closed Sicilian. Bjorn did exceptionally well to keep things equal into the middle game, but Jamie’s persistence and imagination eventually netted a piece and pawn and he mopped up without further difficulty.
Jonathon Yates versus Kevin Perrin and Tim Commons versus Rob Loveband were postponed, so the Round 4 game Tim Commons versus Kevin Perrin was played. A sort of Philidor Defence resulted in an interesting position. Tim launched a King-side attack, but Kevin effectively strangled White’s initiative before going on to win convincingly.
The round got underway with the unfortunate news that Peter Miitel has had to withdraw from the tournament due to ill health. We wish him a speedy recovery.
With Peter Miitel’s withdrawal, Daniel Healey had a bye
Rob Bailey took on Chris Segrave in a strange Pirc/Owen’s Defence hybrid. An interesting positional struggle ensued. Almost predictably, Chris crumbled under pressure and gave away a Knight, giving Rob an easy win.
Jamie Brotheridge faced Tim Commons in a peculiar Queens Gambit, Chigorin variation. It didn’t work out well for Tim, with Jamie picking up 2 pawns in the opening stage. He was ruthless and relentless in hauling in the full point from there.
Rod Jacobs faced his nemesis from last year, Jonathon Yates, in a Caro-Kann. White came well-armed, sacrificing a piece for an attack quite early. He swiftly regained the piece, dislocating the Black King in the process. He went on to win an excellent game, gaining revenge for last year’s vexing defeat.
Rob Loveband versus Patrick Cook, and Kevin Perrin versus Bjorn Lategan were postponed. So Patrick Cook versus Bjorn Lategan from Round 10 was played. The game began as a Semi-Slav Defence, but quickly morphed into something like a Dutch. Neither player gained much from the opening until Patrick grabbed a loose pawn and settled down to grind out a win. Bjorn had other ideas, and after White lazily castled King-side, Black launched a spectacular sacrificial attack, giving up rook for Knight and immediately after Bishop for pawn to strip the White King of his pawn shield. The computers say Bjorn had a forced mate in 7!!, but he was unable to find it and Patrick survived the attack, leaving him a rook up, prompting Bjorn’s sad resignation.
When Rob Loveband and Patrick Cook finally caught up White dropped a pawn on move 13 but at the cost of further development for Black. When Black overlooked a pawn fork got White
well and truly back into the game and, with a solid pawn majority in the centre, managed to shut down all Black's play, swapping material, winning the exchange and eventually the game.
Chris Segrave faced Daniel Healey with a Catalan that soon transposed into an English Opening. After a manoeuvring opening stage, Black picked up a pawn and fine technique made it pay in the end.
Bjorn Lategan met Rod Jacobs whose Scandinavian Defence took White by surprise. Rod won a pawn right in the opening phase and seemed set for a comfortable win. However, Bjorn showed last week that he has tactical vision and found a spectacular piece sacrifice that caused Rod some headaches. Sadly, Bjorn was unable to find a decisive follow-up, and Rod survived and won the game.
Patrick Cook faced his old rival Jamie Brotheridge in a Neo-Grunfeld. Jamie snatched a pawn in the opening and tried to hang on to it but conceded a few too many positional weaknesses in the process. Once Patrick regained the pawn the Black weaknesses gave him a winning game.
Rob Bailey versus Rob Loveband was a major theoretical duel in a Caro-Kann Defence. An even struggle in which White obtained some positional pressure, but Black carefully held his position together and the players eventually agreed a draw.
Tim Commons versus Kevin Perrin was played earlier; Jonathon Yates had the bye.
Rob Loveband took on Chris Segrave who adopted a Pirc Defence. Black played beautifully, building up a strong position with nice play on both sides of the board. He used up too much time, however, and in a very promising position blundered away the game.
Jamie Brotheridge versus Rob Bailey was a Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and the players repeated a game they played 2 years earlier. Rob won 2 pawns in the opening and thereafter it was just technique to haul in the full point.
Rod Jacobs faced Tim Commons in a Philidor Defence. Tim misplayed the opening and was soon being pressed and squeezed, eventually dropping a piece and the game.
Daniel Healey met Jonathon Yates in a Caro-Kann. Neither player gained much from the opening, but wily play from Daniel in the middle game caused Jonathon to go astray and shed a piece. Daniel made no mistake in making it count.
Kevin Perrin versus Patrick Cook was postponed. Bjorn Lategan had the bye.
Chris Segrave met Jonathon Yates in an Italian Game. Chris was in an aggressive mood and went for the Fried Liver Attack, sacrificing a piece for 2 pawns. Jonathon avoided the pitfalls and carefully consolidated his advantage. White then lashed out, launching a kamikaze rook for pawn sacrifice. It soon transpired that this offered no attack or compensation and Jonathon quickly wrapped up the game.
Patrick Cook faced Rod Jacobs in a Dutch Defence, Leningrad variation. The opening phase saw accurate play by both players and it wasn’t until Rod gave up a pawn to free a Bishop that things heated up. Patrick kept the pawn and dodged Rod’s inventive middle game threats to reach a winning endgame which he converted efficiently.
Bjorn Lategan played Daniel Healey who surprisingly adopted an Alekhine Defence. White sidestepped the critical lines, but dropped a pawn in the opening anyway. He showed great fortitude in the middle game however, eventually reaching a rook and pawns ending, still a pawn down, and held it!
Rob Loveband versus Jamie Brotheridge was something like a Queen’s Indian Defence. In a complex middle game, Jamie gave up a piece for a pawn unnecessarily and Rob went on to convert his advantage.
Rob Bailey versus Kevin Perrin was postponed, and Tim Commons had the bye.
Jamie Brotheridge faced Chris Segrave. Chris, often full of surprises, played the Two Knights Tango this time. He obtained a solid position from the opening, with good chances in the middle game, but did not take full advantage. This enabled Jamie to take over the initiative, and he went on to win handily, breaking a galling losing streak.
Rod Jacobs took on Rob Bailey with a Morra Gambit by transposition. White sacrificed a Knight for 2 pawns, and a messy, see-saw affair ensued. Both players had chances, but in mutual time pressure the game was agreed a draw.
Daniel Healey versus Tim Commons was an unusual line of the Spanish which paid off for Tim, as he won a piece in the opening. Daniel didn’t despair and won back an exchange in the middle game to keep himself in the game. Tragically, Tim then blundered in the endgame to hand Daniel the full point.
Kevin Perrin met Rob Loveband in an English Opening. White retained the initiative throughout the game, and Black struggled to find meaningful counterplay, eventually collapsing under the pressure.
Jonathon Yates versus Bjorn Lategan was a Sicilian which Jonathon won without too much drama.
Patrick Cook had the bye.
Chris Segrave met Bjorn Lategan in a Sicilian Defence! After the opening phase, Chris won a pawn in the middle game and good technique (and no blunders!) hauled in his first point despite stubborn resistance from Bjorn.
Patrick Cook faced Daniel Healey in a Nimzo-Indian. Daniel cleverly adopted the same line as in Cook-Bailey from round 2. This time Patrick was able to make the most of his early initiative and after winning a piece in the middle game, he carefully parried Daniel’s counter play to claim the full point.
Rob Loveband versus Rod Jacobs was another Albin Counter Gambit from Rod. White chose a quiet approach that left him with an isolated Queen pawn. The game was a fight, but late in the middle game, White gave up a piece for 2 pawns with some pressure as compensation. Black carefully sidestepped his problems and White, in time pressure, was unable to find an adequate defence, enabling Black to claim the full point.
Jamie Brotheridge took on Kevin Perrin in a Sicilian Dragon! Kevin snaffled a pawn with clever middle game tactics and Jamie then over-reacted, lashing out and dropping further material before resigning in disgust.
Tim Commons versus Jonathon Yates was postponed. Rob Bailey had the bye.
Round Eight Results
Kevin Perrin took on Chris Segrave with his usual English Opening. Black adopted a King’s Indian Defence structure and held his own for a while before succumbing to greater experience and determination.
Rod Jacobs met Jamie Brotheridge in a Caro-Kann. Rod’s home brewed Gambit left his King a bit “airy”, but Jamie was unable to make anything of it and he was eventually overwhelmed by the strength of White’s play.
Daniel Healey faced Rob Bailey in a Sicilian, Najdorf. In a major theoretical battle, White pushed on the King side early, building up a promising attack. Rob’s calm play netted him a piece in the middle game and he had no difficulty in claiming the full point from there.
Jonathon Yates met Patrick Cook who was in a vengeful mood after his loss last year. A French, Exchange variation, resulted in an even position from the opening. Patrick then began creating positional weaknesses in Jonathon’s camp, only to discover that he had given him attacking lines. Jonathon then demonstrated his strength with a brutal demolition of the 8 times champion.
Bjorn Lategan versus Tim Commons began as an Alekhine Defence but then morphed into an Italian Game. White dropped a pawn early on, then an exchange later, and finally gave Rook for Bishop and Knight, leaving him a piece and pawn down. Tim had no trouble winning the endgame to gain his first point for the tournament.
Rob Loveband had the bye.
Chris Segrave met Tim Commons and played his slow Zukertort Attack. Black answered with a weird defence of his own, provoking White into improvisation. He seemed to be handling the situation until he found his queen trapped on move 10! Despairing resignation was the immediate response.
Rob Bailey met his student Jonathon Yates, fresh from his triumph last week. A Queen’s Gambit Declined became a Tarrasch Defence and White quickly gained a space advantage, but did seem over extended. Black’s counter attack was timely, and he won 2 pawns in the middle game. Just when victory was within his grasp, a blunder handed Rob the game, sparing his blushes and keeping him in the title race.
Rob Loveband took on Daniel Healey in a Queen’s Indian Defence. Black had the better of the opening but wasn’t able to make anything of it. White became active in the middle game and was suddenly dominating the position. Rob was precise in winning from there.
Kevin Perrin faced Rod Jacobs and once again we saw an English Opening. Black overlooked the loss of the exchange in the early middle game, and despite fighting manfully in time pressure, was unable to recover.
Patrick Cook versus Bjorn Lategan was played earlier. Jamie Brotheridge had the bye.
Officially this was the last round of the tournament, but a number of postponed games are still to be played, and they are most important to the final standings.
Tim Commons faced Patrick Cook in a French, Advance variation. Patrick won material early, but Tim succeeded in creating some chaos on the board, with lots of tactical pitfalls. Patrick avoided the traps and went on to win an interesting game.
Daniel Healey met a dispirited Jamie Brotheridge in an open Sicilian. Jamie was certainly lacking in focus and was demolished by Daniel, his Queen trapped after 16 moves, and resignation was prompt.
Rob Bailey versus Bjorn Lategan was a symmetrical English. Rob quickly won the exchange and a pawn but then seemed to relax. Bjorn took the opportunity to whip up an attack which Rob did not handle well. Unbelievably, Bjorn, distracted by the chance to win a piece, missed a mate in 1!, and the game then subsided to a draw by threefold repetition. Despite the lucky escape, this was a blow to the defending Champion’s chances.
Giant killer Jonathon Yates took on Rob Loveband in another open Sicilian. Rob found himself in a dangerously cramped position in the middle game. Jonathon kept a firm grip on the position, forgoing chances to simplify in favour of keeping up the pressure and was rewarded with a crushing victory.
Rod Jacobs met Chris Segrave in a Pirc Defence. In an active, attacking game, typical of Rod, White gave up a piece for 3 connected passed pawns. Unable to cope with the problems, Black collapsed, enabling Rod to finish on 7 ½ points and retain a theoretical chance of winning the title.
Kevin Perrin had the bye.
The Round 2 postponed game, Jonathon Yates versus Kevin Perrin was played earlier in the week, and was a comfortable win for Kevin.
The remaining postponed games were duly played off.
A 4 player double round robin tournament will decide the 2014 Ballarat Chess Club Champion.
From Round 1, Rob Loveband versus Bjorn Lategan was a win for Rob. No details are available.
From Round 2, Tim Commons versus Rob Loveband was a Sicilian The game proved to be messy right from the Opening phase, but Black got the better of it, picking up a piece and a pawn despite Whites inventive tactical ideas. After Tim’s last attacking effort failed, leaving him a rook down, he resigned.
From Round 8, Tim Commons versus Jonathon Yates was a Caro-Kann. Jonathon, showing his tactical alertness, grabbed 2 pawns in the opening, and then a piece as Tim tried to get some compensation. Undaunted, Tim regained his lost material with excellent middle game play, but somehow managed to lose the end game.
The remaining 2 games were crucial for the title.
From Round 5, Kevin Perrin versus Patrick Cook was an English Opening. Careful play saw an even position until a loose move by Kevin enabled Patrick to win a pawn. Excellent technique saw Patrick win very efficiently from that point.
This left just Rob Bailey versus Kevin Perrin from Round 6, a repeat of last year!, with the important difference that a win for either player would see that player as Club Champion. The game was dramatic; a French Defence (already a surprise) was played, and the advantage waxed and waned, with neither player wanting to concede a draw.
But a draw it was, resulting in an unprecedented 4-way tie between defending Champion Rob Bailey, 8 times Champion Patrick Cook, 7 times Champion Kevin Perrin, and Rod Jacobs.
2014 Championship Play-off
Rod Jacobs triumphed in the Championship play-off to finally win the title that has eluded him over the decades!
Congratulations to James Eyre who won the play-off for the Reserves Championship against Tom Oppenheim!
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.