News: 2019

Mt Blowhard Primary

Kids Unlimited National Finals will be held in early December, with several Ballarat chess club members in attendance.

Sean Macak will be in the Open Secondary division, while Justin and Leonard Goodison will head the Mt Blowhard players in the Primary division.

The Courier front page, 2nd Nov, featured Cameron, Justin and Luke in front of a chess board - great to see chess in the public eye at a local level. Chess Coach, Rob Bailey, announced the tournament at the club this week and all applauded his and other coaches and parents efforts that are contributing to the recent growth in local chess in schools such as Mt Blowhard.

Several Primary Schools have contacted Ballarat Chess Club recently seeking support through coaching - members with time to do some voluntary coaching should contact Rob L.

9th Annual Arthur Koelle tournament 2019

The Arthur Koelle tournament had a visitor pop in as games were beginning - Arthur quietly viewed some of the action and caught up with friends.

Round 3 had one upset, Ben Naughton defeated Patrick Cook, not wasting any opportunities and converting a material advantage by swapping off all the big guns. Ruari and Sean had a real battle, even up until the endgame, both sides had chances but a slightly sub-optimal move choice by Sean gave Ruari what he needed. Simon faced a good challenge by Bas, but on move 25 Bas missed the correct continuation and handed the game to his opponent. Harrison played through a dodgy opening to defeat Kevin, Peter resigned to Tom in an even position as he had to go home, and Cassandra rushed a move after a solid game with chances for both sides, handing Rob a checkmate in one.

Next week we will be meeting in the Humffray Room upstairs. Please let Jasan and Rob L know you will be late or absent by text message to 0438530431. The round will be paired at 7:30 sharp, so don't miss out by not notifying.

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Koelle 2019

In Round 1 there were no upsets but 5 of the ten participants took a half point bye. In Round 2 Sean beat Rob L after Rob blundered trying to handle a blistering attack on his kingside, barely out of the opening. Once again there were 5 half point byes.

In the Reserves, Justin beat top seed John Aczel on Board 1, while Sasha held Anna to a draw. Young Kanishk also managed to draw against Chantelle after a blocked up game ending with rooks and pawns drew to a standstill. In Round 2 upsets included Dan taking out Michael, and Ishan defeating Anushka.

Please let Jasan and Rob L know you will be late or absent by text message to 0438530431.

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Koelle 2019

The first round of the Arthur Koelle Tournament begins next Thursday, 17th October. It will be divided into two sections, both playing a Swiss style pairing system over 7 rounds.

Last year Ruari and Bas took the honours in the A section, while the title was shared between Leonard, Peter and Dan in the Reserves.

Please come a little early to put your name down, as Jasan and Rob L will be setting the tournament up to start by 7:30pm. If you know you will be late please inform them by text message to 0438530431.

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Vic Country Championship

Round 1 had two major upsets - Jack Smith defeated second seed Nigel Barrow, and Bas van Riel fell to lower rated Sean Macak. Unlucky Patrick Cook was paired against unrated Alex Leach - undoubtedly a strong club player from OS of around 1800, so no easy game for either in the first round.

Round 2 saw Ruari hold Alistair to a draw, Sean continued winning, this time against Omar, another 1800 rated player. Rob L and Reza drew in a long hard game. Nigel fell to Alex and Bas couldn't manage more than a draw against 23rd seed, Robert Dejanovic. Jasan had a good win against Patrick Lenne, and Anna Yates fought well to draw veteran Andrew Wemyss.

Round 3 - Carl Gorka continued his winning streak, taking out Geoff Barber from Geelong. Alex finally met his match in Geoffrey Gill, Mio played a good game against Reza, and Chantelle held Patrick C to a draw after trapping his queen. Bas once again couldn't flex his chess muscles, losing to Kevin. Greg Brown beat Patrick Lenne who was suffering from a cold and subsequently withdrew.

In Round 4 the two leaders, Carl and Geoffrey G continued their run, with Ruari taking a point from Omar, putting him on 3/4. It was Rob's turn for victory against Geoff B, who had defeated him in a Ballarat Geelong match 2 years previously. Bas withdrew citing poor form.

Round 5 - Last year's winner Carl Gorka found himself under attack by Geoffrey Gill, but stubbornly refused a draw offer, falling 5 moves later to checkmate. Kevin had a good win against higher rated Omar.

Last round and it looked like Geoffrey Gill had it in the bag - paired against 13th seed Rob Loveband and on 5/5. If he lost and Carl won against Ruari it could have been a 3 way tie but the odds were long. He soundly beat Rob but on board 2 Ruari scored a surprise win against Carl, putting him in 2nd place. Kevin held KG to a draw, Sean continued his good form, beating Rod Hessing.

Thanks to Geelong for hosting and to Nigel Barrow, our arbiter, and to Kevin for organising prizes and equipment. Thanks to all players for a fun tournament, and for continuing the tradition of having a Country Victorian Chess Championship for the folks up bush.

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Rapid No 3

For the final rounds, Simon Rutherford finished the night on 5.5/6. As this was the third part of the rapid tournament, only the highest two scores out of the three count to take the rapid title. Harrison Harrison was leading on overall score, with only Patrick Cook or Ruari being able to catch up to him. The title went to Harrison Harrison with a total score of 10.5/12 with Ruari trailing on 10/12, and Patrick on 9/12.

C-grade champion recap

After several weeks of waiting, Kalen Douglas has recieved his medal for coming first in the C-grade Championship with a score of 6.5/9. Kalen will be able play in the Reserves championship for next year.
The full report can be found here.


Kalen recieves his medal from Patrick

Round 7

In the final round of the Teters, many strong games were played and the final results would determine if Simon Rutherford would share sole first place. The two main games of the night were Harrison Harrison vs Simon Rutherford and Patrick Cook vs Peter Miitel. After a relatively normal opening by Harrison standards, Simon managed to open up Harrison's kingside and promptly deliver a checkmate. With outstanding play in the tournament, Simon scored 7/7.
Patrick vs Peter was a semi-slav defense in which the game was quite even throughout. Patrick, after being offered two draw offers by Peter, accepted the third offer and scored 5.5/7.
Bas van Riel vs Jamie Brotheridge was a Sicillian: Najdorf. During the middlegame, white won the exchange and after a bit of resistance by black, went on to win the game.
Ruari Coffey vs Rodney Jacobs was a Bird's opening which transitioned into a Stonewall. After a queenside attack by black, white managed to hold and in an even position black made two moves of no return and resigned. Bas and Ruari finished on 5/7.

As for the reserves, Leonard and Justin Goodison finished with 4/7, a score on par with several of the other higher rated players.

Local and Secondary States Tournaments

Two interschool chess tournaments have been played this week, a regional and the Open Secondary state finals. The regional tournament was held at Ballarat Grammar and had 124 players total across the Primary, Middle year and Secondary divisions. The state finals were held at Maribyrnong College and had 147 players.

Regional: In the Primary division, Leonard Goodison came first, out of 64, with 7/7. Justin Goodison placed second with 6.5/7 and John McGill came third with 6/7. Andrew Wang and Kanishk Mahsuar also scored a commendable 5.5/7 taking 4th and 5th place.
In the team results, Ballarat Clarendon college came first, Mt Blowhard placed second and Bacchus Marsh Grammar came third.
In the middle years, Dan Wang scored 6/7 placing him on equal first with six others and third overall on tiebreaks.
For the teams, Ballarat Clarendon College came first, Mt Clear placed second and Braemar College came third.
In the Secondary Division, Sean Macak came first overall with 7/7.
Ballarat Clarendon College placed first, Mt Clear came second and Bacchus Marsh Grammar came third.

Open Secondary States: Sean Macak scored an impressive 7/9, placing him equal fourth with five others and ninth overall, out of 147 players.
Melbourne High School came first, Mazenod placed second and Nossal High came third.

Teters Round 6

In round 6, Simon Rutherford played Jamie Brotheridge, the latter playing a Caro-Kann. After a positional error by black which opened their kingside and a well time piece sacrfice from white, black's king found itself virtually trapped with no safe defence and promptly resigned.
Rodney Jacobs vs Patrick Cook was a French: Tarrasch which black opted to take a quiet approach. During the middlegame, white gave up a rook and bishop for a queen, only to blunder in the endgame over a positional miscalculation, leading to a nice checkmate by black.
All of the other games went as expected.
Simon now leads on 6/6. Patrick follows on 5/6 and Harrison on 4.5/6. There is still the posibility of a two way tie depending on next weeks results.

Teters: Round 5

Simon leads with 5/5. Patrick vs Simon was a King's Indian in which neither side gained much advantage in the middlegame. However a few choice moves by Patrick allowed Simon to snatch a few pawns, after which Patrick resigned. Jamie vs Chantelle was a Gruenfeld, in which during the middlegame, Jamie won an exchange and converted the point soon after. Rodney v Peter was a Caro-Kann where black exchanged knights on e4 leaving a weakened pawn in whites camp. In an attempt to protect it, black weakened their light squares which white then exploted. A few more moves and black found themelves in an undesirable poition and resigned. To cap off the round, Simon leads on 5/5, Rodney, Jamie and Patrick all trail with 4/5.

Best in the West 2019

4 Ballarat players entered the Best in the West tournament organised by Hobson's Bay Chess Club over the weekend of 31st Aug.-1 Sept. 2019. 80 players competed in the event, headed by IM James Morris, a regular at the Begonia Open for many years.
The tournament ended in a 5-way tie for first. Caitlin Barnett had the best result of the Ballarat players with 3.5/5 (3+ 1= 1-) to share the best junior prize. Patrick Cook scored 3/5 (1+ 4=), Chantelle Barnett scored 2/5 (2+ 3-) , while Jasan Barnett scored 1 (1+ 4-).


Teters Round 4

Simon and Patrick are now the sole leaders in the tournament on 4/4. Simon vs Rodney was a declined centre gambit. Rodney appeard out of his preparation and Simon quickly scooped up the point. Patrick vs Harrison contained more of Harrisons' unusual play. During the middlegame, Patrick managed to pick up a rook and managed to hold his advantage to win the game. The game of the round however goes to Chantelle Barnett who managed to beat Bas van Riel, a brilliant upset. The game resembled a classical setup against a king's indian structure. During the middlegame, a moment of inattention by Bas led to the loss of his queen and then promptly resigned. The rest of the games went as expected.


Teters Round 3

Simon, Patrick and Rodney now lead the pack, all unscathed on 3 points. Upsets in the round include Partrick's win over Bas, a French advance variation where Bas got tangled up trying too hard to defend a pawn and ended up in a lost middle game. Jamie went astray giving away too many pawns for little positional advantage until Rodney's d pawn headed unstoppably towards the first rank. Simon played the Caro Kann against Rob and things were preety much book for the first 22 moves when Rob swapped a bishop for a knight and offered a draw - that happened to be the losing move... Round 4 and it'll be Rodney's turn to take on Simon.


Kings, Queens, Rook and Castles

Northern Star Chess held a Chess tournament at Kryal Castle on Friday the 23rd of August. There were around 180 participants, 120 in the primary division and 60 in the senior division.
In the primary division, Leonard and Justin Goodison placed first and second respectively. Sean Macak placed second in the senior division.
Amongst other participants were club members Thomas Wardle, Gus Tatman, Alan Cai and John McGill who all did well.
Club members also helped out arbitering the event including Bas van Riel, Patrick cook, Rob Loveband, Mike Goodison and Nigel Block. Overall a great day, albeit chilly and not well lit- the ambience was medieval!


Left: Leonard recieves his trophy. Right: the awards and reults being presented.


Left: All the helpers of the tournament. Right: Mt Clear team on the bigger board.


Left: Bas, the club's local king of the year, and Rob on the thrones. Right: Leonard, the king of Kryal castle's chess.

Teters Memorial 2019

The Teters Memorial round 2 coming up!

Ian gets the lucky pairing against chess FM Simon Rutherford - and their game was one of the last going! Well done, Ian, on surviving so long!

More info here...

Andy Miitel Championship trophy - Bas receives his medal

The 54th Ballarat Chess Club championship was won by Bas van Riel with 9/11, in a great display of high class chess, and great determination after his early set backs. This is Bas' 8th title victory, and he now joins Patrick Cook as the Club's “Champion of Champions”!

Ben Naughton won the John Baynham Reserves title, and Kalen Douglas won the inaugural John Abson tournament division.

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Kings, Queens, Rooks and Castles

Northern Star Chess will be holding a Chess tournament at Kryal Castle on Friday the 23rd of August. There will be an Open Primary and Open Secondary division in which schools within the region will be participating. A number of students are expected to play, so a good day should be had by all.

More information is avaliable here

 

Epilogue: Bas van Riel wins championship

So the 54th Ballarat Chess Club championship was won by Bas van Riel with 9/11, in a great display of high class chess, and great determination after his early set backs. This is Bas' 8th title victory, and he now joins Patrick Cook as the Club's “Champion of Champions”!
Ruari Coffey finished 2nd with 8/11, but might consider himself unfortunate not to be Champion himself after “going off the boil” towards the end. Patrick Cook and Harrison Harrison finished joint 3rd with 7/11.
Ben Naughton is the 2019 “Reserves” Champion after finishing with 8/10. 2 players withdrew (although the results of 1 player do count), resulting in only 10 rounds. Ben earns a place in next years 'A' group

Round 11

The last round, and just 2 games would decide the final tournament standings.

Peter Miitel took on tournament leader Bas van Riel, who needed only a draw for tournament victory. A Reti Opening, Peter found himself in a difficult position straight out of the opening, and resigned after just 18 moves, rather than face a lengthy torture.

Ruari Coffey versus Harrison Harrison was the usual weirdness from Harrison, but this time he was severely punished, finding himself 2 pieces down with no compensation after just 14 moves. He didn't survive long, with his King checkmated in the middle of the board after just 23 moves.

Caitlin Barnett met Patrick Cook in a Nimzo-Indian, Classical variation. Tactical alertness won Caitlin a pawn in the early middle game, whereupon she promptly offered a draw. The 8-time Champion had no reason to decline. After the game, Caitlin, in a reference to her 7 draws in the tournament, made the amusing comment “The draw mistress drew with the draw master”!

Jamie Brotheridge, who withdrew last week but quickly recovered from his personal issues, returned to the fray and faced Rodney Jacobs in a Slav-like game. These 2 fighters vied for an advantage, but after Rodney missed the chance to win a piece in the middle game, the game quietly ended in a draw.

Cassandra Barnett met Rob Loveband in a Queens Gambit Declined. Not much happened in the game, and the players agreed a draw in an equal middle game.

Robert Bailey faced veteran Kevin Perrin in the latter's old favourite Scandinavian Defence. In a reminder of his real strength, Kevin outplayed Rob to establish a dominant position. Rob resigned in the face of serious material loss.

In the Reserves, leader Ben Naughton took on junior Louis Douglas, and was very lucky to survive after a brilliant Queen sacrifice by Louis won a rook. Sadly, he handed it back gratis shortly after, and the game ended in a draw.

Championship Round 10

After a 2 week break for the 2nd Rapid Play tournament, the Championships resumed. Sadly, one player, Jamie Brotheridge has withdrawn, for personal reasons, but his results will count.
Kevin Perrin met Peter Miitel in an English Opening. Tactical alertness by Peter in the middle game won him a pawn, and his strong technique enabled him to convert the advantage.
Bas van Riel faced Caitlin Barnett in a Pirc Defence. Bas built up a strong initiative, and he soon won material, and eventually made it count, despite Caitlin's usual strong resistance.
Patrick Cook versus Ruari Coffey was a Queen's Gambit Declined. Patrick gained a positional edge in the middle game and in his usual fashion, used it to obtain a winning endgame and pocket the full point. A major set-back for Ruari.
Harrison Harrison versus Jamie Brotheridge was a win by forfeit for Harrison.
Rodney Jacobs versus Cassandra Barnett, and Rob Loveband versus Robert Bailey were postponed.
Meanwhile, a number of postponed games have been played.
Ruari Coffey versus Caitlin Barnett began as an English, but quickly transposed into Caitlin's favourite Benoni Defence. Caitlin daringly sacrificed a piece in the middle game to obtain 3 connected passed pawns on the Queen side, but fell to a King side mating attack before she could make them count.
Bas van Riel, returned from overseas, has played his 3 postponed games.
Bas van Riel versus Robert Bailey was a Sicilian Najdorf. A tough, theoretical duel, Bas eventually prevailed in a Rook and pawn endgame.
Bas van Riel versus Rodney Jacobs was a Spanish, Schliemann variation, a home cooked special from Rodney. In a wild game, Rodney obtained a massive material advantage, and seemed on track for a big win, before overlooking a mate and crashing to defeat.
Ruari Coffey versus Bas van Riel was another Pirc Defence. Ruari avoided main theory, and after a series of imprecise moves, found himself a double exchange down. He never recovered, and Bas went on to defeat his main rival in the tournament.
So with 1 round to go, Bas van Riel now leads with 8/10, followed by Ruari Coffey and Harrison Harrison on 7/10. Ruari and Harrison meet in the last round, and a Bas versus Ruari or Harrison play-off is still possible!
The Reserves is still unclear, but Ben Naughton has the best chance, leading with 7.5/9, followed by Peter Wang and Sean Macak on 6.5/9 and Kiki Dunn on 5.5/8.
The 'C' grade, for the John Abson Shield, has been won by Kalen Douglas (see Kevin Perrin's excellent
report).

C-grade Championship Conclusion: Kalen Douglas victorious

The C Grade Championship (recently named the John Abson Tournament) had a record 25 players complete games. This made the total entry for all divisions of the 2019 Championship a record of 49 players. This is an incredible performance and on most evenings many of the C Grade Championship games needed to be played in the upstairs Williamson Foyer to allow sufficient space in the Hooper Room for the 24 players in the A & B Grade sections to be comfortably seated.

There were 9 rounds played and amazingly on the final night there were still 16 players paired. The flexible Swiss format enabled players to elect for half-point byes in the early rounds or even re-join after they missed a week or more. Most of the players were juniors, but not all with 4 adult players competing. It is much harder for juniors to be regular in attendance, so the flexible Swiss format was a good choice to ensure that interest and participation were maximised.

There were many upsets in the early rounds or at least that is what appeared to be the case. In the absence of firm ratings for many it was sometimes hard to work out who was actually the higher rated. Michael Schreenan started exceptionally well winning his first 4 games but was closely followed by Dylan Douglas on 3.5. Ultimately though it came down to a closely fought encounter between Michael, Dylan & Kalen Douglas and Dan & Andrew Wang. All these 5 played each other and Michael had the best aggregate score of 3 out of 4, losing only to Dylan. He did however lose 2 other games to James Smyth and Brandon Ling which proved costly to his final score.

Going into the last round Michael was the clear leader on 6 points. He was closely followed by the Douglas brothers on 5.5 and then the Wang brothers on 5.0 points. The upsets were to continue in this round with Michael being the first to fall. He was away to an early lead in his game against Brandon Ling after winning a rook, but he stumbled into a very nicely executed mate after overlooking a surprise attack on his exposed king. Next to fall was Dylan who rather unexpectedly blundered against new player Kanishk Mahasuar. This opened the way for a possible repeat of last year’s 4-way tie after Dan and Andrew accounted for Marley Sutherland and Gus Tatman respectively. We then witnessed a battle of epic proportions between Kalen and Nigel Block which finished at 11.25pm after a game lasting over 3.75 hours. Nigel emerged with a pawn advantage in the endgame, but he miscalculated the time need to promote his pawn and Kalen queened first and went on to win the game and the championship. Who said that players in the C Grade rush their games? Not young Kalen, he was rewarded for taking his time. Both players impressed with their great perseverance.

Of the other players special mention must go to John McGill who was competing in his first event and he finished on 5 points equal with Brandon Ling. Brandon only played 4 games winning them all but elected for 2 half point byes in the early rounds. His victory over Michael in the final round will leave him wondering what might have been if he had played the other 3 games for which he was absent. Sasha and Kanishk put in very creditable efforts to finish on 4 points. Kanishk’s win over Dylan in the final round cost the latter equal first place. Nigel did very well on his return to the club but will regret missing a win in the long endgame again Kalen. Gus and James will be much better for the experience they gained, they each played some very good games. Gustav’s score would have been better but unfortunately, he finished up in hospital for the last 2 rounds after suffering a major health scare. Sean tells us that he is now at home recovering, so hopefully he will be back at the club before too long. Marley, Aayush, Ishaan, Lance and the 2 Thomas’ will benefit from the experience and hopefully they will gain that in other club events ahead of next year’s championship.

So, congratulations to Kalen for winning the fourth C Grade Championship joining Miguel Marbella, Chantelle Barnett and Justin Goodison as previous champions. Kalen now has the chance to compete for the B Grade Championship in 2020. We just have to wonder if any one of these champions will progress to win the B Grade or even possibly the A Grade titles in the future.

Round 9

Only 3 games in the Championship were played on the night. Cassandra Barnett met Harrison Harrison who defended with an almost conventional Old Indian. In a positional game, Cassandra could make no headway against Harrison's strong play and Black went on to win comfortably. Caitlin Barnett fared better against Peter Miitel in a Benoni-like structure, maintaining material equality until a draw was agreed after 18 moves. White may even have had an edge at the end. Jamie Brotheridge met Patrick Cook in an Alekhine Defence. White seemed unprepared, and quickly drifted into an awkward position which Black smoothly exploited to gain a decisive material advantage. Patrick wrapped up the full point shortly after. Rob Loveband versus Kevin Perrin was played earlier. Robert Bailey versus Rodney Jacobs, and Ruari Coffey versus Bas van Riel were postponed.
The Reserves is somewhat confused, with the title still up for grabs. Ben Naughton leads with 6.5/8, followed by Kiki Dunn on 5.5/7, Peter Wang and Sean Macak on 5.5/8, and Tom Oppenheim on 5.5/9.

Round 8

Kevin Perrin met the qualifier Caitlin Barnett in a Pirc Defence. Caitlin showed good, solid chess against her experienced opponent, and was rewarded with a well fought draw.
Peter Miitel faced tournament leader Ruari Coffey and essayed the Reti. It was a short, sharp game, with Peter offering a draw after 15 moves that Ruari surprisingly accepted.
Patrick Cook met his tormentor from last year, Cassandra Barnett, and played an English Opening. Patrick showed his best qualities, gaining material early, and playing precisely thereafter to haul in the full point.
Harrison Harrison versus Robert Bailey was a sort of weird reversed King's Indian. White gained some King-side pressure before offering a draw on move 20, to Rob's surprise, who happily accepted.
Bas van Riel versus Jamie Brotheridge, and Rob Loveband versus Rodney Jacobs were both played earlier.
Meanwhile, 2 postponed games were played during the week. Cassandra Barnett played her sister Caitlin Barnett. Caitlin's offer of a Benoni was sidestepped by Cassandra and a careful manoeuvring game was the result. It never strayed from equality, and was eventually agreed a draw.
Patrick Cook faced his oldest rival Kevin Perrin in their 35th Championship tournament game! In a Dutch Defence, Patrick gained a material and positional grip early, and went on to crush his hapless opponent.
(The score? 17 wins, 11 draws, 7 losses in Patrick's favour.)

In the Reserves, Ben Naughton and Kiki Dunn lead with 5.5/7, with Sean Macak, Tom Oppenheim, and Peter Wang following on 4.5/7. All these players have a postponed game.

In the 'C' group, Dylan Douglas maintains the lead on 5.5/7, ahead of Michael Schreenan and Dan Wang on 5.

Round 7

Rodney Jacobs faced his old rival, veteran Kevin Perrin, and once again Kevin showed his versatility by adopting a Modern Defence that quickly transposed to a main line Pirc Defence. In a tough, complex middle game, Black suddenly threw away a piece for nothing and promptly resigned.
Jamie Brotheridge took on Peter Miitel in a French Tarrasch. Peter, betraying an unfocused mood, offered a draw on move 16, 18, and again on move 25, before resigning in a position that seemed to be still playable.
Robert Bailey met Patrick Cook in another French, this time the Advance variation, and offered the Milner-Barry Gambit. Patrick grabbed the pawn and set about making it count. Robert stayed afloat and in a Queen and pawns endgame Patrick lost the thread and in desperation offered a draw. Rob, short of time and not realising that he had a mate on the board, accepted!
Rob Loveband versus Harrison Harrison was a sort of Modern Defence. Rob won the opening battle, and gained an apparently decisive material advantage in the middle game. Slippery as ever, Harrison created enough problems for Rob in the endgame that he was able to escape with a draw.
Ruari Coffey versus Caitlin Barnett was postponed. Cassandra Barnett versus Bas van Riel was played earlier.

In the Reserves, Ben Naughton and Kiki Dunn lead with 5, Sean Macak is just half a point behind.

In the 'C' group, Dylan Douglas still leads on 5.5, ahead of Michael Schreenan and Dan Wang on 5.

Welcome Young Jose

A record for the youngest Ballarat Chess Club member has been set! Jose Echeverria, no doubt named after Cuban World Champion Jose Capablanca, visited on Thursday evening with parents, Manuel and Gabriel, to check out the competition. Patrick can be seen below holding Jose aloft and no doubt thinking - 'oh no, another strong young player on the way!'

Michael is a quinquagenarian!

Long standing Ballarat Chess Club member, and current leader of the C Group in the Championships, Michael Schreenan hit the big "Five Oh" last week. He celebrated his birthday with family and friends, including a contingent from the club. Anyone who has played Michael knows that he is to be approached only with extreme care - his chess is sharper than ever! Congratulations, Mick, live long and prosper!

Round 6

Veteran Kevin Perrin faced runaway tournament leader Ruari Coffey, and essayed his old favourite English Opening. The game was very even throughout, prompting Kevin to offer a draw several times, but Ruari preferred to play, and late in the game showed superb endgame technique to put Kevin in zugzwang and score yet another win.
Caitlin Barnett met aggressive Jamie Brotheridge and challenged him in his favourite mainline Grunfeld, Exchange variation. Unafraid of reputation, she played a strong game and held her more experienced opponent to a draw. A good result for the 'A' group newcomer.
Peter Miitel met Cassandra Barnett in a Reti Opening. The game never strayed far from equality, and duly ended in a draw.
Patrick Cook took on Rob Loveband in a Queen's Gambit Declined. After a sleepy opening stage, Patrick predictably offered a draw. Rob played on, and the game sprang to life, with Rob finding a way to win the exchange. Patrick had some compensation and was soon fighting for the advantage. Late in the endgame a draw was agreed in an unbalanced but equal position.
Harrison Harrison faced Rodney Jacobs and wheeled out more of his surrealist opening madness. Uncharacteristically, Harrison offered a draw after 15 moves!, and several more over the next few moves before settling down. The game eventually hinged on Rod's far advanced passed pawn that appeared to give him a stranglehold on the position. Always inventive, Harrison found ways to stay in the game, and then took advantage of Rod's time trouble errors to score an impressive win.
Bas van Riel versus Robert Bailey was postponed. Meanwhile, several more games have been played in advance. Cassandra Barnett met Bas van Riel in their Rd. 7 game, but was unable to cope with the top seeds strength and experience. From Rd. 8, Rodney Jacobs met Rob Loveband in a French Tarrasch. The game was quite even until late in the middle game, when Rob fatally weakened his King position and Rod piled in for a trademark victory. From Rd. 9, Rob Loveband faced Kevin Perrin in a Scotch! The game never strayed from equality and the pawn ending was agreed drawn.

In the Reserves, Peter Wang pounced on another tactical blunder by tournament favourite Sean Macak to score a big win, while Anna Yates scored a good win against disappointing Chantelle Barnett. Ben Naughton and Kiki Dunn have 4/5, Peter Wang 4/6, Anna Yates and Sean Macak 3.5/6.

In the 'C' group. Dylan Douglas continues to lead on 4.5/5, from Michael Schreenan on 4, and Kalen Douglas on 3.5.

Blitz #3: Go Ruari!

34 players squeezed into the venue for a fun night of skittles - re-scheduled to coincide with the Comedy Festival event due to noise concerns. Patrick was leading the field undefeated after brushing aside Rod and Rob L, until the last round when he met Ruari who was a half point behind. Ruari showed his mettle to defeat Patrick and take the honours for the night on 6 of 7 points. Leonard, Louis and Sean all scored 5 points, punching above their weight!

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Round 5

Harrison Harrison faced veteran Kevin Perrin and played his usual Surrealist opening moves. Kevin won the exchange early and seemed on track for a win, until he fell for a trick that handed Harrison the game. Rodney Jacobs met Patrick Cook who surprised his opponent with an Alekhine Defence. Rodney side-stepped the sharpest lines, and the game remained more or less even until Patrick went for an interesting idea in search of a clearer position. There was a big hole in it, and Rodney won a piece and the game shortly after. Rob Loveband, 2nd seed, versus Bas van Riel, top seed, was an important encounter in an Open Sicilian. The game was dynamically even well into the middle game, and became quite complicated until Bas won an important pawn, gaining a deadly passed pawn that he pushed through to score a decisive win. Robert Bailey took on Peter Miitel in a French, Advance variation. Peter offered a draw as early as move 8, and again on move 13, and no doubt Rob regretted declining, since he promptly blundered Queen for Knight and Peter quickly wrapped up the full point. Jamie Brotheridge versus Ruari Coffey was another full blooded Open Sicilian. Jamie won a pawn in the early middle game, and another later on. Shortly after, his radar seemed to go awry, and he dropped 2 pieces for a rook and resigned, perhaps a bit prematurely, to hand Ruari another lucky win. Cassandra Barnett versus Caitlin Barnett was postponed. So, going into the “rest round”, Ruari maintains a handy lead at the top of the standings. In the Reserves, Ben Naughton faced favourite Sean Macak who built up a winning position, before blundering to hand Ben an important win. Kiki Dunn has quietly made his presence felt with a victory over early leader Peter Wang, and Ben and Kiki now lead, with Sean half a point back. In the 'C' group, Dylan Douglas leads with 4.5/5, followed by Michael Schreenan on 4 and Kalen Douglas on 3.5.

Round 4

Kevin Perrin met Jamie Brotheridge in the veterans' old favourite English Opening. An interesting Kingside attack by Kevin caused Jamie to tangle up his position and squander 2 pawns. He dropped the exchange as well in the late middle game to hand Kevin a nice win. Patrick Cook took on Harrison Harrison and set up a Classical King's Indian structure against Harrison's weird play. Harrison shed a pawn in the early middle game and Patrick went on to a smooth positional win in a reprise of his best years. Ruari Coffey faced Cassandra Barnett who played the rarely seen Czech Benoni. Ruari seemed to struggle with it, and Cassandra won the exchange in middle game play. Ruari resisted and gained a couple of passed pawns as compensation, which he eventually used to turn the tables and gain a fortunate win. Peter Miitel met Rob Loveband and surprised everyone by playing Larsen's Opening, usually the sole province of Patrick Cook. Peter showed how classy his technique can still be, and gave Rob no chance for an edge, and the game quietly slumbered to a draw. Caitlin Barnett versus Robert Bailey was a Semi-Slav. Caitlin played with ambition, and sacrificed a piece for 2 passed pawns early on. It shouldn't have been enough, and for most of the game it looked like Rob would grind to a win, but Caitlin resisted and was rewarded with a draw when she reached an ending of Rook versus Rook and Knight. Bas van Riel versus Rodney Jacobs was postponed.

Ballarat Bendigo match - Barrow - van Riel

The annual match between Bendigo and Ballarat was held in the BMI on Sunday. Bendigo fielded a team of 6 players, leaving a few of our players without a dance partner, but the match went ahead. Board one, Rob L played Nigel and trailed until he forked a queen and rook, going up the exchange. Short of time, he blundered a winning position, giving Bendigo the full point. Board two, Leah played Ruari and the longest game of the match played out to a draw, with Ruari unable to convert his pawn advantage to a win. Board three saw David make incremental improvements against Rod, until he threatened to queen a pawn after swapping queens. Board four was over before it started, 18 moves, 2 pieces and a pawn each off the board, and Patrick offered 85 yr old veteran, Ken (rated 1165), a draw - he accepted the gift, the deciding 1/2 point. Kevin and Jamie on boards 5 and 6 made quick work of their less experienced opponents, bringing in the points and saving our club from a loss. Final result 3 vs 3, another draw.

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C.M. Fisher (1845-1890), the overlooked giant of Ballarat’s chess history.

Charles Marshall Fisher was undoubtedly the strongest and most distinguished chess-player who has lived and played chess in Ballarat, ever. According to conflicting records, he was born in either Creswick or in the Goulburn area, where his family reportedly owned a farm-station, the Woodstock. The family moved to Ballarat in 1860, where Charles found work in a local foundry for the next 10 years. In those years, he became a very keen and strong chess-player. Around 1875 Fisher was believed to be one of the three strongest players of Australia, together with Andrew Burns and Louis Goldsmith, if not the informal best, after he defeated the latter by 6.5-5.5 points in a match in 1875. When the (second) Ballarat Chess Club was formalised in 1865, Fisher became its first secretary/treasury, at only twenty years old. In the following year he won the first Ballarat Chess Club championship, and in the year after he became the president of the club.

In 1871, Fisher left Ballarat to start a career in stockbroking in Melbourne and Sydney. He soon become very busy and wealthy, but he still remained very involved in chess as a player, administrator and editor. In 1884, he returned to Ballarat as the celebrated son of Ballarat to play a simul in the Mechanics Institute. It was famously reported in the Ballarat Courier. When Fisher suddenly died in 1890, while on an extended stay in Europe, at least two newspaper eulogies were published, describing various aspects of his colourful life, and compilations from a private letter of the last months before his death. Remarkable is a statement in the Adelaide Observer saying that Fisher was called the Kolisch of Australia, because he was similar to the unofficial chess world-champion in 1867, Ignaz Kolisch in chess qualities, age and in personality, so it seems.

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Championship Prologue

The 2019 Ballarat Chess Club Championship is the 54th of the modern era, a record stretching back to 1966 when the old Club was revived and reconstituted. The number of entries is once again well over 30 players and so 3 tournaments will be held.
The 'A' group for the “Andy Miitel Memorial” shield is a 12 player round robin.
Top seed is Bas van Riel, a formidable all round player with 7 titles to his name, he will be hard to stop.
2nd seed is our Webmaster, Rob Loveband. Imaginative, unafraid of reputations, and with 3 titles to his name, he could easily add another.
3rd seed is Ruari Coffey. He has made rapid progress over the past year and could go all the way in this event.
4th seed is Rodney Jacobs, winner in 2014. With a very sharp style, and deeply prepared openings, he is certainly a contender.
5th seed is our President Patrick Cook, playing his 35th Championship tournament. Armed with a solid positional style, excellent endgame technique, and a record 8 titles to his name, he can't be ruled out.
6th seed is Harrison Harrison. Bizarre in the opening, creative in the middle game, and precise in the endgame, if he gets it right this could be his year.
7th seed is Robert Bailey, a professional chess coach, very knowledgeable, and the 2013 winner, he is a possibility.
8th seed is our incomparable Treasurer Kevin Perrin. He has played in all the Championships (!!) and has 7 titles to his name. Experience counts...
9th seed is Jamie Brotheridge. Aggressive, ambitious, and determined, he has yet to turn these qualities into a title win, but can't be ruled out.
10th seed is Peter Miitel, returning after a long break from chess. Winner of 2 titles, and once possessed of the best technique in the Club, if he can scrape off the rust, he might be a possibility.
11th seed is Cassandra Barnett, back after her debut last year, she is dangerous and will have a say.
12th seed is Caitlin Barnett, taking her spot after an imposing victory in last years Reserves tournament.
So an interesting field, with 7 former Champions among them, promises an exciting event.

The 2019 “John Baynham Memorial” Reserves Championship is also a 12 player round robin, headed by Sean Macak who was unlucky to miss out on the 'A' group. Sean is favoured to win, but challengers abound with Kiki Dunn, Tom Oppenheim, Ian Boyle, Ben Naughton, et al in the field.

The 'C' group will have the remaining entries in a Swiss tournament of a maximum 9 rounds. Dylan Douglas, Michael Schreenan, Kalen Douglas, and Dan Wang are the main contenders.

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Congratulations Gabriela and Manuel!

Kevin enquired after our two new members, Gabriela and Manuel, who were starting their family in Ballarat, and got this nice reply: "We are both well and happy because our baby is with us and healthy. Enjoying this new adventure and learning every day. Unfortunately, we can't make it this time as well as we are quite busy and catching up with work at the moment. We hope we can go back and play within the next two months but thanks for reaching out..."
I wonder what the baby's name is? Perhaps 'Eduardo' after Venezuela's first and highest rated GM, Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli?
Look forward to seeing them back at the club when they can!

Time Handicap results

Time Handicap results: Equal 1st on 4.5 points were Ruari Coffey, Rod Jacobs, Sean Macak and Peter Wang. Equal 5th on 3.5 points were Patrick Cook, Harrison and Dan Wang.Equal 8th on 3 points were Tom Oppenheim and Leonard Goodison (3 out of 3, absent second week). There were 26 players in total.

Club Championships

NB: Last minute change to B group pairings as two Goodison boys and Anna will be away -

Round 1 pairings for the A and B groups are up now and should stay as they are - barring any last minute changes if players are unable to join.

As it is a round robin, please think ahead to any rounds you will be away and organise with your opponent to play games at another time before the end of the tournament. (See the yearly schedule for actual dates.)

C Group will be a maximum of 9 rounds, with two half point byes available except for the last two rounds - so if you need to miss a couple of weeks that's fine.

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Club Championships

Over the next two weeks, please register your interest in playing in the club championships (A, B and C Levels) to the Director of Play, Kevin Perrin. Entry is free, the event is rated with the ACF, and it will run over 11 sessions, with a two week break towards the end (see the yearly schedule for dates.)

Many Club Champions first won in the Reserves before going on to make it in the A Grade, so keep working to be in the top 12 rated players in the club so you can have a shot at being the Club Champion. The current Champion, Heath Gooch, will not be participating and the top seed is likely to be Bas van Riel. Caitlin Barnett, being the 2018 Reserves winner, automatically gets a seat in the main event.

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Champions!

Congratulations to Chess Champs Leonard Goodison- 2019 U12 Rapid Play Champion of Victoria!!!🏆 and Justin, 3rd in the U11s 🏆

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Blitz and Time handicap

4th April Blitz #2 - Jamie and Harrison 5.5 of 7

11th and 18th April - Time Handicap tournament -format and rules available here.

Warm up with chess - Winter is coming!

Ballarat Mechanics Institute - Thursdays from 6:30pm Read More

Club Championship rules 2019

The Club Championship is the major tournament played over 11 weeks, starting 25th April and concluding on 27th June. There has always been healthy debate about the details of the rules, and revisions are made to try to keep up with the changing playing environment, and to best accommodate our members' needs.

Have a look at the recent proposed changes made to the Club rules relating to all of our tournaments over the year. The changes will be considered at the meeting on 18th April at 7:30 p.m. The full document is here.

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Coffee and Chess

Homeground on Sturt St next to BMI and Frangos up from Myers both now have chess sets donated by BCC, available for use by patrons - have a coffee and a game! Above, Kevin and grandson, Monty, enjoy a game in the sun.

Time Handicap rules and format

29/3/19: Interschool tournament at Ballarat Clarendon College

ChessKids hold tournaments for schools throughout Victoria over the year, and the the first one was run successfully at College at the end of March. 38 open secondary, 45 middle year, and 82 primary students filled the Sewell Pavillion with the sound of thinking and the tap of chess clocks. Chess in Ballarat is growing fast! The Tornelo results page can be accessed here.. Tornelo

In the senior division, Ballarat Chess Club players dominated with Sean Macak (Mt Clear College), coming through unscathed with a perfect 7 point score, followed by Louis and Dylan Douglas (College) on 5.5. College's team took the group medal, with their top four players scoring 21 points, only 1 point ahead of the Mt Clear team.

In the middle year section, College overwhelmed Mt Clear, Trinity Colac and Bacchus Marsh Grammar, with Ballarat Chess Club player Kalen Douglas being one of 4 players with perfect scores. The teams gold and silver both went to College teams.

In the largest section, the primary school level, our two club players, Justin and Leonard Goodison (Mt Blowhard) took gold and silver respectively, and their team, including Cameron Frame, earned the Teams medals. Justin was the only player on a perfect score.

Mt Clear won the silver team medal, Deegan looking dapper in his top hat, Yuri departs stage right.

Spielvogel Memorial Winner: Rod Jacobs - undefeated

Rodney Jacobs had rampaged through the first 6 rounds, and the only question was whether the “drawmeister” Patrick Cook could stop him. And stop him he did, in a careful manoeuvering game that ended in a draw. Jamie Brotheridge had meanwhile demolished a careless Kevin Perrin in an effort to profit from any slip by Rod. Rob Loveband defeated Sean Macak, making it clear that his dreadful start to the tournament was an aberration. Peter Wang couldn't cope with Harrison Harrison; Ruari Coffey brushed aside Dan Wang; Bas van Riel defeated an in-form Ben Naughton; and Andrew Wang fell to new member John Acxel. Several juniors started the tournament quite well, but were unable to maintain the pace : Tom Oppenheim took down Dylan Douglas, while Leonard Goodison disposed of Dylan's brother Kalen. So, Rodney Jacobs won the Spielvogel Memorial tournament for the first time, with Jamie Brotheridge 2nd, and Harrison Harrison, Rob Loveband, and Ruari Coffey sharing 3rd with 5 points.

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Begonia Open and U1200

We have a winner!

Two actually! GM Moulthun Ly and IM Stephen Solomon share first prize with 6 out of 7 in this year's Begonia Open. The new U1200 had 60+ participants and was won by Nathan Kong and Mohan Thandi.
Big thanks to Bill, Mike & Ruby, Eef, Josephine & Jason, Tom and all others who did a stint on the phones or canteen! Much appreciated!

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Spielvogel Memorial

Round 5 sees Rodney Jacobs consolidate his lead, undefeated, now a full point ahead of the pack. He will have to defeat Harrison in Rd 6 to hold his position - Harrison just had a great tournament at the Begonia Open, being the Club's top scorer. Rod will have his work cut out for him!

Round 6 on Thursday - all welcome. Come early for casual chess from 6:30 pm on!

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Recognise these faces?

The weekend of the 53rd Ballarat Begonia Open Chess Tournament is approaching fast! 37 years ago the members above were preparing for the big day, much as we do today; the committee meets regularly throughout the year, players and arbiters are contacted, venue and accommodation booked, amongst the myriad of details that have to be taken care of. Read the article here.

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Update! 2019 Schedule

17 January - Blitz #1 - 7 rounds of 5 minute chess. Speed up to start the year.

24 January and 31 January: Rapid Play 1, 25mns + 10 secs, 1 section: 7 round Swiss

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Australian Open Chess Championship 2019

8 current Ballarat Chess Club players participated in the Australian Open Chess Tournament held in Ashwood at the Box Hill Chess Clubrooms over the period between Christmas and the New Year. Bas, Patrick, Rob and Ruari played in the Open section, while Ben, Sean, Leonard and Justin participated in the Minor section. In the Open section, Ruari scored highest with 5 points and took out =1st in the U1800 section! In the Minor, Sean scored 5.5 followed by Leonard on 5 - a great result! Young minds dominated at all levels, challenging veterans and each other in both sections. There were no easy points to be had and draws were seldom accepted - it was to the death!! For the full results see the Open web site. There is a game database here for Ballarat players' games.

Some more pictures from the tournament

Australian Junior Championship 2019


Leonard and Justin Goodison will be competing in the Australian Junior Chess Championships in Sydney, to be held at Trinity Grammar School pictured above. Monday 14th to Tuesday 22nd, it's a long tournament but with a variety of activities to take part in. More information and entry can be found at the official web site here.

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Ballarat Chess returns

17 January - Blitz #1 - 7 rounds of 5 0 chess. All welcome.

24 January - Spielvogel Memorial Rd 1 begins.
Always hotly contested -last year Patrick won, followed by Ruari a half point behind.

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