Ballarat Chess Club History

Perrin Era

The founding meeting of the current Ballarat Chess Club occurred in 1964. It was held in the home of the first president, life-member Andy Miitel. For several years, Andy’s house was the venue where the weekly club evenings were held, for which he received the princely sum of 4 pounds (?) for the wood, needed for heating. S.Jacobs was the father of Rod Jacobs (most recent life member of the club). Rod joined the club in 1967, and won the 2019 Spielvogel tournament, just completed at the time of writing. Don Maciulaitis left Ballarat for Melbourne two years later, to become one of the stalwarts of the Melbourne chess scene, mostly as an administrator.

Here are the minutes of that first meeting in 1964, marking the revitalization of the club:

Minutes of General Meeting held at 7 Urquhart Street, Ballarat on 1st October, 1964.

Present were: J. Brown, A. Cimera, C. Crompton, J. Cook, L. Gunn, J. Holmes, S.Jacobs, D. Lee, A.Miitel, D.Maciulaitis, A. McPherson, A.Solomon, I. Sharp, Mrs. L.Taube, G.Williams, C. Holmes.
Mr. Miitel was chosen as chairman and the meeting proceeded under his direction. The following office-bearers were elected: President- A. Miitel Vice President- J. Cook Secretary- J. Holmes Assistant Secretary- C.Crompton Treasurer- D.Maciulaitis. Election of Captain and Vice Captain was deferred to the next general meeting.
A set of rules were drawn up and adopted by the members as the official rules of the club. These were to be typed and displayed on a notice board together with a list of the club’s office-bearers. Mr Maciulaitis to attend.
Now that the club was established with elected office bearers and a set of rules, the representatives of the old club, Messrs. Gunn, Cook and Crompton, officially handed over the assets of that of that club. These included 6 Chess sets, 6 boards, 3 clocks and a number of chess books. Mr Cook promised to bring a cupboard to store these items. Bank balance of £11.1.-. and cash 1.9.9. was also handed over. It was decided that the name of the club should remain “The Ballarat Chess Club” and would in actual fact be a continuation of the old club which had gone into recess in 1962. The president, Mr. Miitel, thanked the officials of the old club for the Chess sets etc and said that they would be a great start to the young club. Mr. Gunn replied that he was very pleased to see a Chess Club in existence again in Ballarat and wished it every success. Mr. Cook and Mr. Crompton endorsed his comments. It was decided that the annual subscription was to be 5/- per adult member and 2/- per junior member. A playing fee of 2/- per adult member per night was to be paid to the treasurer to the Treasurer. Members who were attending schools were to be exempt from this fee.
Every member was asked to enquire of a room suitable for use as a club room and a decision to rent one was deferred to a later meeting. In the meantime Mr. Miitel offered his home for use as a club-room. In a vote of thanks, Mr. Cook proposed that the club pay Mr. Miitel £4 to pay for wood used during club nights. This was accepted.
It was decided that meetings of the club were to be held on Thursday nights. It was decided to purchase a quantity of score-books and score-sheets together with one dozen CHESS MADE EASY booklets to encourage learners. Mr. Cook said he would attend. It was decided that advertisements where to be placed in the Ballarat Courier to attract more members. Mr. J. Holmes to attend. It was decided to have the clocks overhauled as they have been inactive for quite a time. Mr.Maciulaitis to attend.
As there was no other business, the meeting was closed and the date of the next general meeting was fixed at the 1st Thursday of March 1965.

Club Meeting held 19th Nov 1964.

Members present: Andy Miitel, John Ooi, Frank Brown, Arthur Solomon, Don Macuilaitis, John Holmes.
It was decided that one more advertisement would be placed in the paper before Christmas. After Christmas a concentrated effort would be made to attract members.
No reply yet from the Castlemaine Club.
                                                                                                            J.Holmes, Secretary.

4/2/1965. Meeting

12 members present, incl Rodney Jacobs. A lightning tournament was held for the evening, this being won by Andy Miitel.

11/2/1965. Meeting

13 members present. First evening of Swiss tournament


Perrin Era continued...

So, in the mid-1960's, this fresh group of energetic chess enthusiasts, led by new President Andy Miitel, reconstituted the Club and separated it from the Mechanics Institute — although they later returned to meet in its rooms. A new Championship was instituted in 1966 and won by Andy Miitel (the Championship Shield is now named after him). This Championship has been played annually ever since and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. Remarkably, one player, Kevin Perrin, has competed in all 50 tournaments, winning a total of seven (to date). The Club acknowledged this extraordinary achievement with the presentation of a special medallion to Kevin before the commencement of play in last year’s championship.

The Club’s new committee was very active, organising events in the Victorian Rural Chess League (which still arranges the Victorian Country Chess Championship), inter-club challenge matches against other Victorian country clubs, as well as Club tournaments. The decision was also made to organise a new weekend tournament over the Victorian Labour Day long weekend in March, to coincide with the Ballarat Begonia Festival. And so, the Ballarat Begonia Tournament was born.

1982 Begonia: Courier Article

Ballarat Chess - 1991-’93. Chess column by Bas van Riel in The Ballarat Courier

Article 1: 30/4/91

Article 2: 21/5/91

Article 3: 4/6/91

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