Top seed Bas van Riel met Kevin Perrin in a Queen’s Indian Defence. A long, slow positional battle ensued. The game was quite even for a long time, but Kevin eventually fell to Bas’ subtle play.
Jamie Brotheridge faced Patrick Cook in a Semi-Slav, and played the rare Exchange variation. He gained some pressure from this innocuous line, and late in the game Patrick gave a pawn to gain some play. In a rooks and pawns ending Patrick claimed a draw by three-fold repetition. Jamie wasn’t convinced but eventually accepted that he couldn’t win anyway.
Harrison Harrison ventured another of his Surrealist Openings (1.h4 e5 2.e3…) against Ben Naughton. The game quickly warped into a sort of deformed Larsen Opening. Harrison won Queen for rook, with a passed pawn to boot, in the middle game. But Ben did not despair and fought back to reach an ending with 2 rooks plus 2 pawns for his Queen. Sadly, he blundered away a rook and crashed to yet another defeat.
Rodney Jacobs met Heath Gooch in an important clash. A Caro-Kann Defence, the game was a sharp theoretical duel. Heath grabbed a hot pawn in the middle game, and then picked up another to seemingly have the edge. But when he castled King-side straight into a vicious attack, he was asking for trouble against Rodney. Heath proved unable to cope with the deep tactics and Rodney scored a great win, denting Heath’s title prospects.
Robert Bailey took on tournament leader Rob Loveband in a French, Steinitz variation. After castling on opposite wings, Black created a weakness in the White position. White gave up a pawn trying to create some play, but Black simply kept the pawn throughout a long positional struggle and made it count in the endgame.
Defending Champion James Watson faced Peter Lumsdon in a Queen’s Gambit Declined. Another theoretical duel between 2 knowledgeable opponents was the result. In the early middle game Peter missed an important tactic and was forced to give up his Queen for rook and bishop. This was all James needed, and he went on to score an efficient win and stay in the hunt for the title.
Meanwhile, the postponed round 3 game James Watson versus Patrick Cook was played. Patrick left his usual French Defence at home and opted for the Modern instead (1.e4 g6). James quickly turned it into a King’s Indian Defence and gained the exchange in the middle game. He neatly avoided some pitfalls and scored a convincing win.
So, with 1 round to go, the title race is now between the leader Rob Loveband and James Watson a half-point behind. As luck would have it, these 2 will play each other in the last round.
With the tournament nearing the end, every result is becoming crucial, especially for the leaders.
James Watson, still in with a big chance, faced top seed Bas van Riel, who has suffered some setbacks. A Dutch Defence, Staunton Gambit was played and Bas kept the pawn for a long time whilst simplifying the position. James collapsed late in the endgame to revive Bas’ chances.
Peter Lumsdon met Robert Bailey in a Sicilian. Peter chose the Closed variation and a tough positional battle ensued. It looked very even throughout, until Rob managed to push through a pawn on the Queen-side late in the endgame to score a very nice win.
Heath Gooch, another of the leaders, took on Harrison Harrison, still in with a chance himself. After 1.e4 h5?!, Heath’s logical and unpretentious play won him a pawn quite early. He seemed to be heading for another win, but Harrison, ever inventive, succeeded in pushing forward a King-side pawn majority and creating real problems for Heath. A timely draw offer by White saved him! Harrison accepted, not realising that he was, in fact, winning!
Ben Naughton, struggling at the bottom, faced Jamie Brotheridge in a Caro-Kann. The game was very even right into the endgame, and Ben appeared to be on his way to a draw. A slip gave Black a pawn and although he laboured somewhat, Jamie was able to eventually win.
Rob Loveband, the nominal tournament leader, took on the always dangerous Rodney Jacobs with the English. Rod made it a reversed Sicilian and a real fight resulted. Rob successfully restrained Rod’s attacking flair and managed to win the exchange late in the middle game. Excellent and accurate endgame play then gave Rob a fine victory and real chances of grabbing the title.
Patrick Cook faced his old rival Kevin Perrin in their 33nd Championship encounter! A Dutch Defence was played and a lively game was the result. Early in the middle game, Patrick spotted a nice tactic that netted two pawns and from there he was quite ruthless in hauling in the full point, denting the veterans chances of adding a record equalling 8th title to his legacy.
Harrison Harrison wheeled out another Surrealist opening against Rob Loveband (1.c3 Nf6 2.a4 d5 3.f3…). Rob quickly obtained an imposing centre and in middle game operations gained a piece for two weak pawns. Black later simplified to an easy endgame win with passed pawns on the a and h files, while his extra piece took care of White’s sole passed pawn.
Rodney Jacobs faced Peter Lumsdon in another Morra Gambit, although Peter declined the pawn offer. The game was very sharp nonetheless, and Rod managed to win the exchange for a pawn in the middle game. After interesting play, Peter resigned when faced with an unstoppable Queen sacrifice leading to mate.
Robert Bailey took on defending Champion James Watson in a Spanish, a rare opening in this tournament! With simple and logical play James won a pawn in the middle game and quickly reached an endgame still a pawn to the good. Rob resigned after blundering a rook instead of regaining the pawn as he had thought.
Jamie Brotheridge met Heath Gooch in a Queen-pawn opening. Classical and logical play by Heath won him the exchange in the middle game, and when Jamie’s attempts at counter play resulted in the loss of another exchange, he resigned.
Kevin Perrin met Ben Naughton in an English Opening (“playing the English against an Englishman” as Rob Bailey aptly noted!). Kevin’s vast experience prevailed and Ben sadly remains at the bottom of the table on 0 points.
Bas van Riel versus Patrick Cook was postponed.
Robert Bailey challenged Bas van Riel’s favourite King’s Indian Defence with the fearsome Bayonet Attack. And it was an uncompromising battle between two well-armed opponents. White went for rapid Queen-side expansion, with Black quickly launching a King-side attack. White’s attack petered out, while Black crashed through for a convincing win.
Defending Champion James Watson met Rodney Jacobs in a Tarrasch Defence. White gained a positional edge early, and tactical operations netted a pawn and the exchange to set up a completely winning position. Some less than optimal moves by James gave Rodney a saving chance, and he grabbed it to force a draw by repetition.
Peter Lumsdon versus Harrison Harrison featured another opening oddity (1.e4 Na6?). Classical play by Peter left Harrison with a cramped position, and Peter reached a winning position with further logical play. But he failed to put Harrison away, and Black was able to bamboozle White and somehow snatch victory!
Ben Naughton faced Patrick Cook in a French, Exchange variation. Despite its drawish reputation, this line has hidden pitfalls for the unwary, and Patrick is well versed in its subtlties and won a pawn in the early middle game. The rest, as they say, was a matter of technique, and Patrick won despite an endgame inaccuracy.
Heath Gooch versus Kevin Perrin and Rob Loveband versus Jamie Brotheridge were postponed.
Meanwhile, the round 5 postponed game, Rodney Jacobs versus Bas van Riel was played. Rodney essayed his favourite Morra Gambit against Bas’ Sicilian, but found Bas to be very well prepared. It was a tough fight that ended abruptly when Rodney missed a critical threat that forced him to give up his Queen to avoid mate. He resigned a few moves later, to give Bas another high class win.
Bas van Riel brought a touch of the 19th C to the Club when he played the Kings Gambit against Ben Naughton. Ben cleverly declined the gambit and kept things even well into the middle game. Bas used a lot of time and he invested it wisely, eventually winning the game.
Patrick Cook took on the nominal leader Heath Gooch in a Slav. Patrick, unusually, couldn’t resist giving a piece for 3 pawns in the early middle game. The rest was a superb display of technique by Heath, who calmly and accurately snuffed out all Whites attempts to make something of his passed pawns.
A resurgent Kevin Perrin faced the last undefeated player Rob Loveband in an English that very quickly became a Nimzo-Indian. White won a pawn early, and with accurate play picked up the exchange as well. Black tried to set up a blockade, but a timely return of the exchange in a deep combination gave Kevin another brilliant win, and ended Rob’s unbeaten run.
Jamie Brotheridge versus Peter Lumsdon was another English that transposed, this time to a Slav-like structure. White picked up a piece for 2 pawns in the middle game, but Black had pressure on the White King as compensation. In a tense game, White blundered into a lost Queen and pawns ending trying to relieve the pressure.
The opening of Harrison Harrison versus James Watson is indescribable. James simply made logical moves and a rather chaotic middle game position was reached. Black pressed and punished Whites loose play. Only loss on time prevented James from delivering an elegant mate.
Rod Jacobs met Robert Bailey in a delayed Morra Gambit. Both players were well armed, and a tough, tense, theoretical duel ensued. Typically, Rod sacrificed a piece for a couple of pawns and the initiative. Later in the game, the players reached a very unusual position with every square on the e file occupied by pieces or pawns! After some calm and deft defensive play, Rob executed an aesthetically pleasing finish to score his first win of the tournament.
Robert Bailey, languishing at the bottom of the tournament, took on Harrison Harrison in a Pirc Defence that quickly went feral. In no time at all, White gained an imposing centre.
Looking to press his advantage, White sacrificed a pawn in the middle game, only to discover that he’d merely lost his edge. After a long and difficult endgame, White resigned with seconds left on his clock in an apparently lost position, only to discover that the game should be drawn!
James Watson faced Jamie Brotheridge in a Grunfeld; no surprise there. White won a pawn in the opening, picked up another in the middle game, and then polished Jamie off with precise endgame play.
Rob Loveband versus Patrick Cook was a French, Winawer. White went for a positional approach, but was then unable to resist a piece sacrifice to open up the Black King for a seemingly irresistible mating attack. Black missed the hole in the combination, but still managed to survive, and an engrossing game resulted. White prevailed after some brilliant endgame play and remains undefeated.
Peter Lumsdon met his old rival Kevin Perrin in a Scandinavian Defence. In a tough positional encounter, neither player seemed able to gain the advantage, but Peter continued to press and appeared to be gaining a decisive edge, before great tactical alertness by Kevin won a piece and his nimble Queen snuffed out Peter’s last chance. A great win by the veteran!
Heath Gooch faced Ben Naughton in a Scotch. White gained the 2 Bishops in the opening, but not much else due to stiff resistance by Black. After reaching a Rooks and pawns ending equal, Heath managed to win a pawn and gained 2 connected passed pawns, which he pushed through to win efficiently.
Rodney Jacobs versus Bas van Riel was postponed.
Meanwhile, the postponed game Harrison Harrison versus Bas van Riel from round 3 has been played. It was another weird “Harrison special”, with a very early Ra3. Simple play by Bas gained him the exchange, but Harrison never gives up, and Bas was unable to convert his advantage, eventually accepting a draw after a lengthy game.
Harrison Harrison took on runaway leader Rodney Jacobs in an almost conventional
opening! In something resembling the Colle system, Rodney sacrificed a piece for 3 pawns
right in the opening stages. A messy game ensued, with unfathomable tactics, until Black
blundered his Queen in a winning position.
Top seed Bas van Riel faced newcomer Heath Gooch in a Caro-Kann. In a theoretical discussion, the game remained quite even, with Black solving all his problems. Late in the game, Bas missed something and dropped a pawn. Thereafter, Heath converted his advantage in a smooth display of technical chess.
Ben Naughton versus Rob Loveband was an open Sicilian, and proved to be a real fight! White was doing well until a few unfortunate ideas late in the middle game resulted in a rapid collapse.
Kevin Perrin met aggressive defending Champion James Watson in a Danish Gambit Declined! James couldn’t resist sacrificing a piece for a couple of pawns plus an attack. Kevin survived, despite his exposed King, and took advantage of several errors by James to record a major upset win.
Jamie Brotheridge played the English against Robert Bailey and applied a lot of pressure to Black’s position, eventually winning the exchange and making it count, to inflict more misery on the 2013 Champion.
Patrick Cook versus Peter Lumsdon was postponed.
From Rod vs Jamie annotations: The main book line from this position - 69% of games. It looks risky for White, but isn't as, due to the closed centre, Black can't use his pieces to attack White's 'weakened' kingside. The logic may be that it will be natural for Black to expand on the queenside, so it's natural for White to get in first on the kingside - so it may as well be straight away, particularly as White can do so with tempi by kicking around the bishop. (RJ)
The Barnett family took 4 points in Round 3 of the Championships this year, probably the only time a family has ever done so in this club!
Rodney Jacobs met Jamie Brotheridge in a Caro-Kann. White launched into a sharp, aggressive line and a fascinating tactical shoot out was the result. After trading blows toe-to-toe, Rodney emerged a rook to the good when the smoke cleared and Jamie resigned.
Rob Loveband versus Heath Gooch was a Semi-Slav. In a theoretical duel, neither player strayed far from equality, and the game petered out to a draw.
Peter Lumsdon faced Ben Naughton in a main line Spanish. Ben avoided any opening catastrophe, but Peter’s knowledge and experience eventually gave him a material advantage which he duly converted.
Robert Bailey played Kevin Perrin in an English Opening. This was a surprise, since it is one of Kevin’s specialties, and Robert has not been known to play it. In a positional struggle, Kevin began to worry about his position and offered a draw. Robert declined, but immediately made a disastrous move, and resigned in disgust without waiting for Kevin’s reply!
Harrison Harrison versus Bas van Riel, and James Watson versus Patrick Cook ere postponed.
Kevin Perrin faced Rodney Jacobs in a Tarrasch Defence. In a hard fought game, the 2 protagonists reached the late middle game more or less equal, but a faulty combination by Kevin left his position in ruins and Rodney pocketed the full point.
Bas van Riel met Rob Loveband and the game began as a Benoni, before quickly morphing into something like an English. Bas was unable to get much of an edge, and Rob quietly kept improving his position before profiting from unusual tactical ineptness by Bas and going on to score a big upset result.
Patrick Cook versus Robert Bailey was a Nimzo-Indian. Predictably, Patrick offered a draw impossibly early, which Black dismissed. He soon regretted that decision when a poor move gave Patrick a material advantage and firm positional grip that he never let go. White went on to score a smooth win and notch up another victim of “Patrick’s Curse”.
Heath Gooch versus Peter Lumsdon was a Scotch. After Queen swap and piece trading, a very drawish looking end game was reached. Heath had other ideas, though, and in a display of high class technique was able to put great pressure on Peter’s position, which he converted after Peter’s attempt at counter play failed.
Ben Naughton played James Watson in a Scandinavian. It was short and brutal. After donating a piece on move 7, Ben then stumbled into a mating set up and resigned on move 12!
Jamie Brotheridge took on Harrison Harrison in a non-descript Queen-pawn opening. After a great deal of piece shuffling, they reached a Rooks and pawns ending with Jamie a pawn to the good. Uncharacteristically, Jamie did not blunder it all away with a hasty move, instead he stayed focused and scored an impressive victory.
Earlier in the week, the postponed game Jamie Brotheridge versus Bas van Riel was played. In an unusual QGD/Tarrasch hybrid, Black managed to grab a pawn. Jamie kept fighting and was eventually rewarded with a hard fought draw.
The 2017 Ballarat Chess Club Championships is the 52nd in a long line dating back to 1966, the 1st of the “modern” era. 36 players have entered in 3 sections, a fantastic turnout that bodes well for the future of chess in Ballarat.The ‘A’ grade Championship tournament for the “Andy Miitel” Memorial Shield is a 12 player round robin.
Defending Champion James Watson took on newcomer Heath Gooch in a sharp Slav Defence. A tough, theoretical battle, White eventually won a pawn in the late middle game, and won surprisingly quickly from there. Read more
From Round 1 Rod vs Patrick, White to move, should he take the Rook and try to get material compensation for his trapped Queen, or head the other way? Read more
We're up and running with 36 entrants divided into 2 round robins and a Swiss.
Patrick will be writing a commentary on the tournaments and it will assist him greatly if you put your games up promptly on Chess Microbase. He generally comments on the A Grade so if we have any volunteers to say a few words about the B and C group, Sue, that would be just fantastic!
Rod and Harrison, leaders in the Rapid Grand Prix
Now that there are only 12 rapid games per year rather than 18, each point has a higher weighting in the race to be Rapid Champ of 2017. Rod Jacobs and Harrison are on 5 of 6, followed by Jamie on 4.5, then a host of others on 4.
Vic U15 Girls 2nd Place
Congratulations to Caitlin Barnett and Chantelle Barnett who both won prizes at the 2017 Aged Group Rapid Tournament, held on Sunday 19 March at the Glen Waverley Secondary College! Caitlin scooped 2nd prize in the U15 girls and Chantelle won 3rd prize in her age group.
Caitlin and justifiably proud dad, Jasan, and the trophy
Game of the week: Mallari v Harrison
Thursday 23rd/30th March things slow down with 2 weeks, 6 rounds of 20m + 10s rapid play. Try out some new openings in this unrated precursor to the Championship starting 20/4.
27 people took advantage of Jamie's absence to accumulate a few points in the Blitz Grand Priz of 2017. Coming out on top of the pile was Patrick on 8 points followed by the 3 wise men, Harrison, Rod and Rob, all on 7 of 9. Miguel and Caitlin were the top juniors on 5 points. Fun was had by most but I did get one comment -"remind me not to play the next blitz - too stressful!" from one of our entrants! Contrasted with "What? 9 rounds already?! I was just warming up!"
Ballarat Club was well represented with no less than 19 players - confirming one of the original intentions of the tournament: to provide a venue for local players to play higher rated players. Leading point scorer was James Watson on 4.5, albeit taken from lower rated players. Highlights were Harrison beating an FM (Donato Mallari 2077) as well as a CM (Hilton Bennett 1977)! Rob L beat two players over 1870 (Angelo Tsagarakis and Emily Rosmait), Rod scored a nice point against Oscar Hermann (1741), and Sue Ryan scored the upset prize with a win against a 1246 rated opponent, Sugandha Goswami. Our juniors got some more valuable tournament experience in a friendly, supportive environment. The pre-tourney lecture by David from ChessLife was entertaining and informative, and Robert Jamieson's game commentary was insightful and educational. The canteen (probably) made a few bucks thanks to tireless tea-makers, Ash, Annie, Bill, Evie, Josephine and Mike. Thanks to everyone for your help and support!Begonia site
Although not all games were completed on the night (Ruari vs Kevin adjourned around 11:30 and Rod vs Jamie was postponed), after Harrison turned a losing position into a winning one against Rob L, he achieved the admirable score of 7 out of 7! A remarkably enterprising player, Harrison's games are never boring. Congratulations on a great performance! Harrison adjusts his 'lucky hat' below.
After a classic opening where 3 of 4 of the first moves were made by the same knight, Harrison settled down to castle and consolidate, waiting for Ruari to create his own weaknesses. This duly occurred after black's matriarch found herself attacked and left an unprotected central pawn to fall, signalling the beginning of the end. The black queen was eventually snared and although black improved his position for the next 20 moves, nearly attaining equality, one poor bishop move saw the deck of cards collapse. Harrison now has an unassailable lead and is the 2017 Spielvogel Memorial Champion! Congratulations! In other games, Chantelle showed patience and thoughtfulness to turn a drawn endgame into a win - resourcefulness reflected in her and sister Caitlin's March rating rises. Patrick’s first 40 moves earned him a single pawn advantage against Rod, and by making his knight better than Rod’s bishop, with careful footwork he marched his h pawn home for a win in 57 moves. Rob L was lucky to find a win against Rob B after a very even game, both players missing chances. Miguel's fighting spirit gave Kevin a challenge but his experience was enough to garner the point. Read more
Tournament leader, Harrison, took his 5th scalp, Rod's, on Thursday evening, increasing his lead to a full point.
The big upset of Rd 5 though, was Ruari Coffey overwhelming James Watson and surging ahead to second place on the ladder. James had a moment of madness on move 50 which cost him the game.
Rob Bailey and Patrick Cook didn't want to play chess and drew in 17 moves, while Jamie Brotheridge vs Rob Loveband was a crowded, complicated game, ending well for Black, with 7 of his pawns still on the board. Caitlin and Miguel have won enough games to bring them well into the top half and will have some challenges ahead. Read more
Spielvogel Round 4
The game of the night, Harrison vs James W., hasn't made it onto ChessMicrobase as yet, so we are still a little in the dark about how Harrison was able to defeat James. I did see towards the end that James took a good 20 minutes to try to think out a possible win in a Bishop and double passed pawns vs Rook, and sacked his Bishop to try to give his pawns on both sides of the board a run down to Queen. However, Harrison had time to get his pieces in place to cover all potential queening squares and secure the point.
Rod overwhelmed Kevin in another hard game for Kevin. Rod's incessant encroachments on Black's castled king side eventuated in the White h pawn breaking up Black's defences and making life untenable. All other games went more or less as expected.
Spielvogel Round 3
Kevin and James' game finished at around 11:30 after a tense, see-saw in the balance of power tipped to Black's side as Kevin relinquished a hard fought pawn and R vs B advantage to stave off mate. Harrison gave up 2 Queens to Cassandra over the course of their game; looking slightly bleary eyed, Harrison still managed to eke out a win with a one pawn advantage. Rod dispatched Isaac for a comparitively early night, while Patrick had no qualms about capitalising on Rob L's lacklustre play, and in response to Rob's draw offer he found an devilish Knight move forcing Rob's resignation. Rob B took the point from Sue, as did Ruari from Michael, while Dad-Jasan defeated slightly more highly rated Daughter-Caitlin. The Douglas trio made a late appearance but were shuffled into the draw by our obliging arbiter, James E who is not playing the tournament. Bas, last year's winner, dropped in to check out the action.
Spielvogel Round 2
23 players arrived ready to exercise their mental muscles on Thursday night. An overseas visitor popped in to purchase a Begonia history book signed by the editor, Patrick Cook, and James Eyre returned to take up the arbiter's reins and get the tourney back on track. The pairings threw up some tough games; Kevin was able to successfully prove that a Rook and and a Bishop (and an extra pawn) beats 2 of Patrick's Bishops; Rod and Rob L fought to a standstill draw; Jamie was unable to turn a material advantage into a win against Harrison whose nimble play earned him the point; Rob B was unable to punish James W for castling late and his reluctance to sac a piece in the centre early cost him the initiative and eventually the game. Cassandra notched up her second point, Ruari, Sean and the Goodison boys all late entries, joined the fray. The Barnetts were out in force - only Chantelle was left without a point as she gave it to Dad. Young Nick Ruyg took a half point bye as Cody was a no-show, and Tom was defeated by Sue - not sure what happened there! Miguel has returned - welcome back!
Spielvogel Round 1
The Spielvogel Memorial kicked off with 18 players, but with more in the wings starting in Round 2. School holidays are not quite over and we expect numbers to increase as the year goes on. We have several new players in the field which should keep the old guard on their toes.
Jasan stepped in as arbiter in lieu of James E who is still away. Results will be posted when we have final numbers for the tourney.
On the Move
Chess in Ballarat will start again on Thursday, 19th of January in the Hooper Room at the Ballarat Mechanics' Institute which will be our new home. See the Contact page for map and address.
Hear All About It! Sue Ryan is now editing a monthly chess newsletter for the Ballarat Chess Club... Download and read the debut edition below!
From international tournament analyses and photo galleries to club member's contribution- it's got it all. Write something yourself for the next edition!