Jan 14th 7:30pm @ BMI

Casual chess will be played and we can get used to implementing Covid safe practices on this first night of Club Chess for 2021.

Come along and have some fun!

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Blitz No.1 Jan 21 @ BMI

The Ernie Greenhalgh Blitz Tournaments of 2021 is a Grand Prix cycle of five, 7 round tournaments of 5 minutes and 5 second increment, 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!

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Chess Coaching 2021

The Term 1 Chess Coaching sessions are due to commence on 28 January 2021. We welcome enrolments from any junior chess player whether they have been part of the program previously or not.

Term Dates:
Term 1 - 28th January 2021 – 1st April 2021
Term 2 - 22nd April 2021 – 24th June 2021
Term 3 - 15th July 2021 – 16th September 2021
Term 4 - 7th October 2021 – 9th December 2021

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2021 Preview

We are planning for a more ‘normal’ 2021 with expectation that our regular face to face meetings at the BMI will resume. At this stage we expect meetings at the BMI to resume on Thursday 14th January. Rob has posted an interim calendar of events for the year on the website. Check this regularly for any updates. We are looking ahead positively and with enthusiasm, but if circumstances change then we now have a fall back position online. We are aiming to meet physically at the BMI on Thursday nights and online via on Monday nights.

The Ballarat Junior Chess Club coaching sessions will resume at the BMI at 6.00pm on Thursday 28th January with Jasan and Ruari as coaches. Registrations are now open at and we hope to be able to regain the momentum we had built before we had to move online. If that is the case then we will look to expand the program.

At this stage we are planning to hold the 2021 Begonia Open tournament in March at the Ballarat Tech School in a similar manner as we did this year. We have already received entries including one from a grandmaster. Further details are on the club website.

The committee is hopeful of staging some Allegro Tournaments on Sundays at the BMI throughout the year. More details on that a bit later.

Finally, I wish chess players and their families all the best for Christmas and the Holiday period and especially a Happy and Healthy New Year.


Kevin Perrin

2020 Review

It has been quite an amazing year for everyone including our club. We have experienced life under the massive influence of the Covid-19 global pandemic which included travel restrictions, lockdowns and even a curfew for some of our members based in Melbourne. The club however has continued to function actively and quite incredibly has flourished during this period. We will finish the year with 68 online members which is over 50% more than we had at the start of the year!

The club has welcomed a number of new online members many of whom are located in and around Ballarat. Some are more remote and include a few who were regulars at the club before they moved away. We recognise that playing chess online is not the same and it does not suit all our members. We are looking forward to returning to the BMI and meeting some of our new members across the board over the coming months.

Following the curtailment of face to face meetings in mid-March we have been able to offer members an array of activities online and even some additional regular activities on a Monday night in addition to the Thursday evening sessions.

The first 6 rounds of the Spielvogel Memorial Tournament were played at the BMI before it was abruptly truncated. The result was a tie for first between Simon Rutherford and Bas van Riel with the Reserve section being won by Justin Goodison.

In January this year we re-launched the Ballarat Junior Chess Club which included a new Junior Coaching program under the guidance and direction of Simon Rutherford, Jasan Barnett and Ruari Coffey. This rapidly expanded to 16 students before Covid-19 forced the sessions online and caused a reduction in numbers.

The 2020 Begonia Open was the last of the major chess tournaments played in Australia before government restrictions caused cancellations nationwide. We received 132 entries and the result was a 4 way tie for first between GM Zong-Yuan Zhao, GM Moulthun Ly, IM Mark Chapman and Jesse Jager. Ballarat players to win rating prizes were Scott Stewart, Harrison, Sean Macak and Ben Naughton.

The Teters Memorial Tournament was the first classic time control event played online and resulted in a win to Garry Voigt and for Leonard Goodison in the Reserve section.

Garry Voigt then demonstrated his good online form with an impressive win in the Koelle Tournament and the Douglas brothers Dylan and Kalen shared first place in the Reserve section.

A regular feature of our annual program has been inter-club matches. This year 4 matches were played online against Box Hill where we scored 10 wins to 38 losses, Canterbury Juniors 11/21, Bendigo 7.5/2.5 and Geelong 3/7. Then there was the international league matches in which we did quite well and even managed to win some but were generally under manned since the timing was not always convenient for many of our members.

Two lectures by FM Simon Rutherford on ‘The 2 Bishops’ and ‘Carlsen’ were held during the year and they were well attended and enjoyed by members.

The AGM was successfully held online via Zoom on 10th September. It was well attended and Scott Stewart agreed to join the committee. Following his relocation to Ballarat after lockdown and curfew in Melbourne, he showed what a valuable club member he was by offering to organise the International League matches on which added an international dimension to club activities for the first time ever. This encouraged our overseas member Arthur Koelle to join us for a few games. Scott also volunteered to join the Begonia Committee.

The Annual Club Championships are the premier intra-club activity each year. This year they were held online with the usual A, B & C grade sections, but a new Associates section was added to cater for online members. A tie for first place in the A grade between James Watson and Scott Stewart was resolved in favour of the latter in a play-off game. Other winners were B grade Leonard Goodison, C grade Lewin Blanch and Associates Nigel Barrow. Nigel now lives in Bendigo but was a club member when he won our B grade section in 1991. This year’s A grade division included 9 previous champions out of the 12 competitors. It was great to ‘see’ former locals George Maksacheff, Joel Beggs, James and Scott back competing at our highest level along with Bjorn Lategan and Patrick Lenne in the B grade.

5 Blitz and 3 Rapid events were held throughout the year and both resulted in wins for our top rated player FM Simon Rutherford. Whenever Simon is able to compete in events at the club the competition rises to another level, so we hope he can join us again for some events in 2021.

The Victorian Country Championship was held at Geelong in early December was one of the first face to face events held in Victoria after the government restrictions were eased. Six local players competed with Sean Macak and Ruari Coffey being the best of the local players. It was pleasing to see one of our new members Franco (Nando) Espinoza competing in his first over the board event for the club.

The Jasan Barnett inspired Triathlon tournament was the final event of the year and the first time that players were able to resume more or less normal chess playing conditions in Ballarat. James Watson claimed his second Gold medal with a picket fence and we were delighted to see our hard working Secretary Anna Yates win the Silver medal for her first win in a club event.

The Club Website has become the hub for all club related matters. It communicates details of our activities, posts results, games, photos and a wealth of details including our historical club information. We should all be very grateful for what our webmaster Rob Loveband is building and what the website has provided us with throughout 2020. Thanks to Bas as well for his continual work on building the club history section and to Patrick for his insightful tournament reports. Rob has also managed to attract over 120 followers on the club Facebook page.

During the year we had two new very young members join the club and compete in our events to the amazement of onlookers. Firstly there was 9 year old Paul Dao who moved to Ballarat with his family from Newcastle and taught many of us oldies a lesson or two online. Based on his recent results he is already a very highly rated player. Then there was 5 year old Berkin Stewart (Scott’s son) who played some games in the Triathlon and handled himself like he had been playing for years. Watch out for Berkin if you are drawn to play him. I hear that his 3 year old brother Darel is very adept in moving his father’s queen around the chess board and he already knows the difference between checkmate and stalemate! With our current club champion providing the coaching I can foresee that the Miitel, Barnett, Yates and Douglas names may not be the only family ones on club honour boards in the future.  

Thank you to the Tournament Committee of Jasan, Ruari and myself for getting us through the year’s events both physical and online. Jasan in particular has been a very hard worker during the year.

Members were saddened to hear about the death of our much loved and respected member Michael Schreenan in May this year. He had a presence at the club that made him a very likeable and lively personality, even though his disabilities precluded him from participating in a more traditional fashion. He has been and will be missed at the club.

We bid farewell to Ben Naughton who is relocating to Townsville and we wish him all the best and hope to see him at a future Begonia Open tournament. Ben has been a well-liked member, has won the reserve championship and been a member of the Begonia committee for several years.