56th Club Championships 2021

A Group

Round 7

The two veterans Kevin Perrin and Bas van Riel met each other in an English Opening that transposed into a Tarrasch Defence. It was an interesting positional battle, with Kevin pressing for an advantage well into the middle game. Bas defended well and Kevin lost focus, allowing Bas to put some pressure on Kevin's King. Kevin then collapsed remarkably quickly to hand Bas the full point.
Jamie Brotheridge took on top seed Ruari Coffey in a Reti that quickly became a reversed Grunfeld structure. Jamie dropped a pawn while trying to hold his position together, then disaster struck as he became too anxious in trying to force exchanges.

Patrick Cook versus Scott Stewart and Justin Goodison versus Paul Dao were postponed.
Jules Feinberg and Harrison Harrison had the bye, but 2 other games were played on the night.

Jules Feinberg versus Justin Goodison, postponed from Rd. 5, was another English Opening. Jules snatched a pawn in the opening, and soon won another as well as the exchange to have a decisive material advantage. He finished Justin off with a crisp mate.
Patrick Cook and Harrison Harrison took the opportunity to play their Rd. 9 game early. An almost conventional King's Indian Defence resulted! Both players vied for an advantage in a manoeuvring
middle game, until Harrison suddenly offered a draw! Patrick, seeing danger looming, quickly accepted.

In the Reserves, Andrew Vincent maintains his lead after defeating Anna Yates with the Black pieces. Rory Brooker pulled off the escape of the round, reaching a drawn ending after being dead lost earlier in the game.

In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki maintains his lead.

Round 6

Paul Dao met Jules Feinberg in a topical Sicilian Najdorf. Jules was unable to make much of the feisty Najdorf and slowly conceded small weaknesses which Paul exploited to gain his first win of the tournament.
Scott Stewart faced Kevin Perrin in an Italian. Scott opted for a slow positional approach rather than his usual sharp style. The game was an even positional struggle until an oversight by Kevin forced him into an unsound piece sacrifice. Scott efficiently cleaned up from there to stay in the race for the title.
Ruari Coffey versus Patrick Cook, and Bas van Riel versus Harrison Harrison were both postponed.
Jamie Brotheridge and Justin Goodison had the bye, so they took the opportunity to play their postponed Round 4 game.
Justin had the White pieces and after 1.e4...Jamie chose a Pirc Defence. Jamie grabbed a pawn in the opening and seemed to be cruising until he missed a nice combination by Justin that gave him a piece! Jamie resigned in disgust to hand Justin his first points of the event!
In the Reserves, Anna Yates fell again, this time to Nick Lyons, and has fallen behind the leader Andrew Vincent.
In the 'C' group Vivaan Solanki still leads despite losing to Gavin Varley.

Due to a new outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and subsequent State lockdown, the next round (at least!) and all other otb Club activities, have been postponed.

Round 5

Veteran Kevin Perrin faced top seed Ruari Coffey in an English, an opening Kevin has played for decades and knows quite well. It proved to be a complex theoretical struggle with Kevin maintaining near equality for most of it. Ruari has developed into a strong player, and after declining a quite reasonable draw offer, demonstrated high-class endgame technique with a Knight dominating a Bishop to score another win.
Harrison Harrison took on defending Champion Scott Stewart, and it was a case of logic trumping faith as Harrison found himself a pawn down with major positional problems after just 7 moves. Scott went on to crush Harrison in quite entertaining and instructive fashion to stay in the race for the title.
Jamie Brotheridge met Paul Dao in a Queens Gambit Declined that morphed into something like an old Queens Indian Defence. The game featured a great deal of manoeuvring with not much to show for it, and was eventually agreed a draw.
Jules Feinberg vs Justin Goodison was postponed.
Patrick Cook and Bas van Riel had the bye.
In the Reserves, Anna Yates fell to a brilliant counterattack by Dylan Douglas, while Thomas Parker blundered and lost to Sasha Jacobs. Andrew Vincent is now in the mix courtesy of several forfeits.
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki still leads with 4 ½/5 after escaping against Christopher Cleary. Christopher, already 2 Queens up, decided that he wanted a third, only to discover to his horror that he had put Vivaan in stalemate! 

Round 4

Top seed Ruari Coffey took on the always dangerous Harrison Harrison who astounded us all by playing a standard King's Indian Defence! The result was a tough, lengthy positional game, with some sharp tactics thrown in for good measure. Ruari eventually emerged a rook up and finished off the game efficiently.
Defending Champion Scott Stewart faced veteran Bas van Riel in a topical Italian Game. A lively and even struggle ensued. Bas kept it tight for some time, and Scott considered offering a draw, but instead opted to sacrifice a pawn to break open the Black King's position. This proved to be a good decision, as he piled on the pressure to win a fine game against the 8-time champion.
Paul Dao met Patrick Cook in a French Defence, the latter's specialty. Patrick soon saddled Paul with a long-term positional weakness, but the youngster handled it well, and Patrick soon reverted to his old habits and offered a draw which was accepted.
Justin Goodison versus Jamie Brotheridge was postponed.
Kevin Perrin and Jules Feinberg had the bye.
In the Reserves, Anna Yates maintains her lead after a fighting draw against Tom Oppenheim, while Thomas Parker bounced back with a win over Nigel Block. Anna leads with 3 ½ /4. Thomas Parker, Nick Lyons, and Andrew Vincent are the chasing pack with 3.
In the 'C' group, more players have entered! Vivaan Solanki won again to lead with 4/4.

Round 3

Prior to the commencement of play, we learned that Hossam Elgindy has had to withdraw from the tournament for health reasons. All his games are cancelled and an extra bye is created.
Bas van Riel versus Ruari Coffey was postponed, so only 3 games were played on the night.
Kevin Perrin took on Paul Dao with a Bird's Opening (1.f4...). Paul had never seen it before and struggled to find an antidote to his experienced opponents gradual positional squeeze. In a long game Kevin eventually made his trumps count.
Patrick Cook faced Justin Goodison in a Queens Gambit Declined. Justin dropped a pawn in the opening, a lethal mistake against Patrick who smoothly converted his advantage.
Jamie Brotheridge met Jules Feinberg in a non descript Queen Pawn Opening. The usually aggressive Jamie was rather cautious and was unable to gain much traction against his solid and methodical opponent. Jules reached an endgame a pawn to the good, but after Jamie regained it, a draw was quickly agreed. The 1st draw in the tournament!
Scott Stewart and Harrison Harrison had the bye.
In the Reserves, the big showdown between joint leaders Anna Yates and Thomas Parker was a fine win for Anna, who now leads outright with 3/3.
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki won again to also lead with 3/3.

Round 2

In the game of the round, top seed Ruari Coffey took on defending Champion Scott Stewart in a Reti/KIA. A clever choice by Ruari to restrain Scott's attacking flair. A lengthy positional battle was the result, with Ruari eventually gaining a winning advantage in the endgame. An important result.
Hossam Elgindy was unable to attend, handing Bas van Riel a point by forfeit.
Paul Dao faced Harrison Harrison who adopted a weird defence to 1.e4. Black appeared to have over-reached on the King side by move 4!, but a quick Q-side castling resulted in an interesting, conventional middle game. Harrison snaffled a pawn with a neat tactic, and went on to make it count.
Justin Goodison met Kevin Perrin in a Scandinavian, Kevin's old favourite. Unfocused play by Kevin handed a winning advantage to Justin before he tragically fell for a mate in 1!
Jules Feinberg versus Patrick Cook was an English Opening. Jules played well and seized the initiative in the early middle game, prompting Patrick to lash out with a temporary piece sacrifice. Jules declined it, and the game reached a seemingly equal position. Patrick saw more and remarkably quickly gained a decisive advantage in the endgame and had no trouble converting.
Jamie Brotheridge had the bye.
In the Reserves, Anna Yates and Thomas Parker lead with 2/2.
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki has jumped to the lead with 2/2.

Round 1

The tournament got off to a flying start with all 5 championship games decisive.
Defending Champion Scott Stewart faced Hossam Elgindy in a Philidor. Scott developed rapidly and gained a nice attack. This was in his comfort zone and he quickly overwhelmed Hossam to score an excellent miniature win.
Bas van Riel met youngster Paul Dao in a French Defence. Black avoided the theoretical lines, but a feisty, unbalanced position arose after White gave the exchange for 2 pawns. After declining Paul’s draw offer, Bas went on to win a fine game.
Harrison Harrison versus Justin Goodison was the usual strange “faith” opening by Harrison. Justin held his own through most of the game before succumbing to Harrison's experience.
Kevin Perrin took on Jules Feinberg in a Sicilian. A theoretical battle ensued. Jules picked up a pawn in the middle game, before reaching a Q+R endgame and making his extra pawn count.
Patrick Cook faced his old rival Jamie Brotheridge in a Grunfeld. A highly complicated position arose, and remained so well into the middle game, with both players burning time. In a still complex position, Patrick lost on time! A shocking result and believed to be his 1st time loss in 37 championship tournaments!
Ruari Coffey had the bye.
In the Reserves, Dylan Douglas played a very nice endgame against his older brother Louis, while Kanishk Mahasuar caused the upset of the round with a fine win over Kalen Douglas.

Prologue

The 2021 Ballarat Chess Club Championships, the 56th in our long history, is being played over-the-board, a great pleasure after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of our club rooms, and all our chess on-line, last year. 31 players have entered in 3 sections, and  lively and competitive tournaments are anticipated.
As usual, the Championship and Reserves tournaments are round robin events, and the 'C' tournament is a Swiss event.

Only 11 players entered Section 'A', for the Andy Miitel shield, and top seed is Ruari Coffey. A strong all round player, Ruari is currently the Senior coach for our Junior Club, and has been very close to winning the championship in recent years. He has a great chance to go all the way this year.
2nd seed is defending Champion Scott Stewart. A professional chess coach, Scott is an exceptionally dangerous attacking player, with a keen eye for sharp tactics; he could well add a 3rd championship title to his portfolio.
3rd seed is veteran Bas van Riel, holder of a record 8 championship titles. Schooled in the strong Dutch chess tradition, Bas is another all round player with few weaknesses, and cannot be ruled out of contention this year.
4th seed is our resident surrealist player Harrison Harrison. His faith-based opening play handicaps him, but he has shown himself time and again to be a strong and imaginative middle game and endgame player. If he adopts some sensible openings, this could be his year.
5th seed is the extraordinary 7-time champion Kevin Perrin. He has played all 56 championships, a record that defies superlatives! Vastly experienced, and always a contender, he will have a say in this years championship.
6th seed is Patrick Cook, the “drawmaster” and Club President for the past 25+ years. Like the 3rd seed he holds a record 8 championship titles, and if he decides to rouse himself, could add another.
7th seed is Jamie Brotheridge. Feisty, aggressive, confident...Jamie is an expert in several openings and poses a danger to anyone with championship hopes. He has been close to winning the title himself, but seems to fall just short.
8th seed is newcomer Jules Feinberg. Solid and self-confident, he will score some important wins.
9th seed is Justin Goodison, offered a place in lieu of his brother Leonard who declined his automatic spot. He might be out of his depth, but benefits from professional coaching and should not be taken for granted.
10th seed is another newcomer 10year old Paul Dao, the youngest player in the field. He is only 10th seed by virtue of not yet having an ACF rating, but has shown himself to be a strong player in recent on-line competitions. Everyone will have to be careful of this youngster.
11th seed is another unrated player, Hossam Elgindy. A solid player who has shown in previous club competitions that he cannot be taken lightly, this is his 1st championship. 

12 players have entered the Reserves tournament for the John Baynham shield. It is not easy to predict, but the players to watch are the Douglas brothers, Louis, Dylan, and Kalen, Tom Oppenheim, Anna Yates, and Nick Lyons.

The remaining 10 players are competing for the John Abson shield, with Vivaan Solanki and Marley Sutherland the players of note. 

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The A group plays for the Andy Miitel Championship trophy, the B group for John Baynham Reserves title, and the C group for the John Abson Tournament title, renamed in 2019. Andy Miitel was a former club president who was instrumental in revitalising and reconstituting the club in the mid nineteen sixties. John Baynham was an important club administrator in the late sixties and early seventies, and John Abson was a stalwart of the club until health issues recently hampered his attendance.