12-07-18 Blitz #2
20 participants, nearly half of whom were born in the 'noughties', enjoyed a 9 round marathon blitz tournament on Thursday evening. Some of the more senior members chose to rest up after the championship! Sean was the best performing junior coming equal second on 6/9 followed by Leonard and Caitlin on 5/9. Of the seniors, Rob scored a picket fence of 9/9 with Harrison, Jamie and Rod sharing second place with Sean on 6/9.
The Championship game: 2nd seed Heath Gooch versus top seed Bas van Riel. Black, needing
a win, went for the French, Winawer, and ignored Heath’s early draw offer. White gained a
slight edge with the exchange of Queen’s, and kept the position safe and seemingly
unassailable. Bas kept plugging away and late in the game (and night!) conjured up a passed
pawn. According to Heath, Bas was now winning, but he stumbled at the crucial moment,
and instead fell into a losing endgame which Heath finished off with his trademark
technique, to become the 2018 Ballarat Chess Club Champion.
So Heath Gooch is our deserved Champion for 2018, Caitlin Barnett is 2018 Reserves Champion, and Justin Goodison is ‘C’ Group Champion, making a trio of juniors as our Champions! Congratulations to all three players.
Heath and Bas fight it out in the last round. Justin reaches across in the final game to checkmate opponent, Peter Wang, as coach Rob Bailey looks on with interest, and Reserves winner Caitlin Barnett.
End game tournament
Jason Barnett devised an interesting and challenging practice tournament specifically so we could practise end game play. We played 5 rounds with randomly selected starting positions which were judged by computer to be equal after white's first move. We had a minute or two to study the position before starting a 5 minute 40 second increment game. A great way to get right to the nitty-gritty, analysing a position and making a plan.
C Group Winner: Justin Goodison
Justin Goodison has emerged at the top of the C Group after winning an exciting double round robin playoff between the top 4 players. Peter and Justin finished up on equal scores leading into their final match of the 6 x 15 minute game playoff. They were just ahead of Dan and Sasha after Dan defeated Justin in the first game.
In the Consolation event for the other C grade players, Dylan Worthy finished a clear winner and played some very fighting chess after struggling in the prior games. His good result signals that he has found the confidence to be a strong contender for the C grade title next year. Other players in this section were Kalen, Karthik, Selwyn and Gustav.
Justin reaches across in the final game to checkmate opponent, Peter Wang, as coach Rob Bailey looks on with interest
Championship Round 9
Harrison Harrison took on Robert Bailey, and came up with a new opening oddity with
1.Nc3…2.e3…3.Nce2. With logical play, Black punished this eccentricity, and White quickly
found himself in a tangle and dropping pawns. Black carefully kept the advantage through
the middle game and into the endgame to score an excellent win.
A resurgent Jamie Brotheridge faced Rodney Jacobs in a Queen’s Gambit Declined. In a very complex game, White pressed hard, but Black resisted despite dropping the exchange along the way. A tough, theoretically drawn endgame was reached, with Black seeking safety in a rook versus bishop ending. The game went ‘til midnight!, with Jamie showing fantastic technique to score a memorable win.
Championship Round 8
Heath Gooch faced Ruari Coffey and played the venerable Scotch Opening! Black missed a chance to grab a pawn in the opening, before he felt compelled to give up the exchange in the middle game. Thereafter, Heath’s classy technique kicked in, and he picked up a couple of pawns as well, forcing Ruari to resign in a hopeless endgame.
The ACF June ratings shuffled our member rankings around a little and we now find ourselves with Heath Gooch as the highest rated player in the club. Congratulations to Heath on his massive 73 point jump to 1839! Caitlin Barnett, up 134 points - awesome result! Justin Goodison zoomed up 95 points; excellent result there. Ben Naughton jumped 93 points - well done! Chantelle Barnett shot up 87 points, go Chantelle! Cameron Frame up 67 - another great improvement. There were some downs as well, of course, but it's usually only the seniors that go up and down with the tide; the juniors' ratings are usually more like a helium balloon - up, up and away!
This was another fighting round of chess, with some strange things happening on the board!
Rodney Jacobs took on veteran Kevin Perrin in a Sicilian, and launched his favourite Morra Gambit. Hand to hand combat from both players ensued. With time trouble looming in an even end game, Black missed many drawing opportunities before being mated.
Kent Baden faced defending Champion Rob Loveband in a Caro-Kann. The game was over very quickly as White suffered a catastrophe in the opening, losing his Queen to a wicked pin.
Jamie Brotheridge met Robert Bailey in another Sicilian and it was a real slugfest.
The vastly experienced 7-time Champion Kevin Perrin took on tournament newcomer Ruari Coffey, who played the rare Nimzowitsch Defence (1.e4 Nc6). White snapped off a pawn in the Opening with an old trick, and kept it throughout a complex game. At the end, Ruari overlooked a one move checkmate in a probably lost position.
Patrick Cook, 8-time Champion, playing his 34th Championship tournament, faced tournament leader Harrison Harrison. Black surprised everyone by leaving his opening experiments at home, and played a normal King’s Indian Defence. After reaching the middle game with equality, Harrison proceeded to outplay Patrick to achieve a winning position. White then rolled the dice without much confidence, sacrificing his Queen, only to discover that he had accidentally checkmated his opponent! As Rob Loveband noted, in a reference to Patrick’s disaster the previous week, “Fate turns on a dime”.
Inaugural Barrow - van Riel Challenge Match 2018
The idea of a Ballarat versus Bendigo Challenge match along the lines of our annual Fletcher-Morrow match against Geelong has been floating around for several years, and after Kevin Perrin’s gentle coaxing over the past few months, the match finally was agreed upon. A shield has been ordered, and the two Clubs settled on Barrow–van Riel Challenge to honour two members who have been important to the history of both Clubs.
Defending Champion Rob Loveband took on veteran Kevin Perrin and played an odd Queen pawn opening that quickly resembled a weird Larsen Opening. White managed to win the exchange early on, and had little difficulty making his advantage count.
Cassandra Barnett faced Patrick Cook who played a Nimzo-Indian Defence. Black quickly gained a decisive advantage from the opening, picking up the exchange and a pawn. White resisted stubbornly, and late in the game Black was poleaxed by a lethal tactic that saw the 8-time Champion crash to a vexing defeat.
Harrison full steam ahead...
Round 2 sees Rod and Harrison keep the lead with 2 full points...
Patrick Cook is once again picking up his quill to record the triumphs and defeats of the 53rd Ballarat Chess Club Championships.
This week; the prologue with insights into the styles and recent performances of the participating players.
A shot from 2016: Mikel is enjoying his game!
22-03-18 Rapid Play #1
After 3 games, Bas is the only one unscathed: Rod came unstuck to Justin, Kiki took out Harrison, Ruari drew with Rob and Patrick fell to Bas. The Rapid Play continues next Thursday.
New member Kent Baden plays Kiki. First round games.
Rod plays Tom. Bas defeated Patrick.
24 players participated in the first blitz tourney of the year. Rob L. on 8 points finished 1/2 point ahead of Jamie who was a clear point ahead of the nearest rival. Caitlin was top junior on 5.5 points, 1/2 point ahead of Justin on 5 points. A fun night was had by all, although some of us were a little weary after a busy Begonia Open weekend! more...
The Ernie Greenhalgh Blitz Championship.
A Grand Prix cycle of four, 9 round tournaments throughout the year, with a player's best 3 scores deciding the title. There is a $75 prize for the King or Queen of the clock!
Michael playing Chicken on a Blitz night 8 years ago...
Blitz chess does strange things to people: come along and find out for yourself!
James Morris and Anton Smirnov shared first prize at the Open on the weekend. Many locals enjoyed the tournament, and parents and friends of the players helped in the canteen. It was nearly a record for entries at 139 competitors, and the committee once again ensured a well run tournament placed Ballarat on the Chess map.
James, with the Kevin J Perrin Shield, relayed to everyone that the Begonia Open was his favourite Weekender.
Spielvogel Round 7: Patrick prevails
After Patrick drawing with Rob, not even Ruari's defeat of Kevin could affect the outcome: Patrick's second Spielvogel title. Patrick noted after the tournament that it'd been a while between tournament wins, and that it felt good to be on the up. Rod commented that with upcoming players of Ruari's calibre the old guard may soon be taking a back seat!
Rod and Tom play the Barnett sisters, with the Begonia imminent Ruari takes on a somewhat preoccupied Kevin, and Rob and Patrick draw.
Spielvogel Round 6
Tournament leader, Patrick Cook, got a freebie from a no-show which propelled him into an unbeatable position. Whether he shares the prize with Ruari or not depends on last round outcomes - Rob vs Patrick, and Ruari vs Kevin. Obviously underrated Ruari defeated one of the club's strongest players, Rod Jacobs, showing he is another young rising star of the club. Kevin's concentration held and he took a point from Jamie. Rob and Harrison both won their games against lower rated opponents. Caitlin Barnett is now the best performing junior in this tournament with 3.5 points. Kiki, Louis and Chantelle are all following with 3 points.
Ruari on the rise, Rob and Anna chat pre-game, Marley and Karthik start their battle.
Patrick's 'steady as she goes' approach against Rod stood him in good stead as he showed that gambits don't always succeed against a calm, logical defence. Jamie and Rob had an even game up until late in the night when Rob, up the exchange and a pawn, couldn't summon the energy to fight on with two Rooks and a Bishop versus two Bishops and a Rook on an open board, and offered a draw. Underrated Tom Oppenheim lost a pawn race late in the game as Ruari took advantage of a pawn majority he had created very early in the game, to Queen on a1 covering Tom's queening square. In the big upset of the night, Jasan drew with Harrison, a player nearly double his rating!
Patrick unfazed by the Von Hennig Schara gambit, Rob and Jamie grind out a draw, and new member, Karthik, defeated by Leonard.
Rod continued his run with a win against Jamie; it was an even game until some miscalculations resulted in Black trying to survive down 2 exchanges. Ruari conceded a draw to Patrick in a slightly favourable position, after an even game. In Harrison vs Bas, Black had his a pawn on a2 by move 15! White's unusual opening resulted in a cramped position and an uncastled king. Black soon overwhelmed White's king near the centre of the board. Ben and Rob both took the point in their games.
Anna, Rod and Tom get ready while Jasan finalises the draw.
After 3. .., Ra6, a classic Surrealist opening in top seed Harrison's repertoire, Patrick's solid play and a timely push with central pawns was enough to take the whole point. Rod, facing second seed Bas, took advantage of somewhat sloppy opening play by White to gain the exchange and then after facing off a short-lived king-side attack by White, continued his attack on the queen-side, culminating with a pawn advancing to c3 and Bas' resignation. Jasan took advantage of Kevin's lapse in concentration and gift of his queen to secure a win against the veteran. Rob L, in trying to avoid swapping queens, dropped the exchange and Tom's continuing solid play eventuated in a draw regardless. Jamie, Ben and Ruari all made sure of the point in their games against lower rated opponents.
Bas couldn't pull the rabbit out of the hat after an opening slip up. Jamie on full points. Ben's second win
24 players are competing in the Spielvogel Memorial; a good entry spread over the A grade and the Reserves. Top seed and 2017 winner Harrison H. will be looking to keep the title for a third time.
After 2 rounds, 5 players are on 2 points and some important games are set to be decided next Thursday in Round 3. Top seed in the Reserves, Jasan Barnett, played a good game against Bas last week and will be trying to improve on his play even more this week against Kevin Perrin.