Solomon and Rogers share first place in the 36th Ballarat Begonia Tournament.
The Ballarat Begonia Open, held over the Labour Day weekend has seen an unusually close final (7th) round. In a dream finish, Ian Rogers had to (and did) beat Darryl Johansen to be in contention for first place, after Stephen Solomon, his main rival and leader by half a point, settled for a safe draw against Greg Canfell. These four players have dominated the tournament from the start, all playing each other. Canfell drew these games but he had excellent winning chances against Rogers in round 6. Rogers, in turn was a bit unhappy letting Solomon escape with a perpetual in a queen ending in round 5. Johansen’s quick loss against Solomon must have been a surprise.
Due to the fact that 12 players had ratings over 2000, the fight for third placing in the open section was very tight. It was ultimately shared by Michael Baron, Greg Canfell, Scott Wastney (NZ), Stewart Booth, and Dimitry Partsi, all on 5.5 points.
The second rating-group was jointly won (4.5 points) by no less than 5 players, ie. R.Voon, S.Fletcher, N.Barrow, J.Papadinis and R.McCart. The third group was won by junior Shaun Ferris (4.5) while Adel Ghobrial, Cathy Rogers and Svetozar Stojic became second with 4 points each.
Jesse Jager and Henning Meldau shared first prize in the last group with 3.5 points.
A total of 78 players had entered, the same number as last year. The introduction of the Fischer clocks for the first time, somehow did create more spare time in between the rounds. With the fantastic Ballarat weather, the activities of the Ballarat Begonia Festival, and the discounts and atmosphere at Craigs Hotel, I am sure that very few had reasons to complain, except perhaps about their own results over the board (some?!).
Kevin Perrin, the arbiter, apparently had everything under control and did make it all look easy.
Chess: The Age by Chris Depasquale 2002
To win at Ballarat you must first defeat Johansen! This catch-cry is well known in Victorian chess as Victoria's leading player, Darryl Johansen, has dominated Victoria's premier weekend event, the Ballarat Begonia Open, for as long as anyone can remember. On rare occasions that Johansen has lost a game at the tournament his conqueror has invariably gone on to win the tournament.
This year, apart from the usual suspects from in and around Melbourne, Johansen's oppostion included Australian number one Ian Rogers (NSW) and Queensland International Master Stephen Solomon. The first sign that Johansen's ship had sailed into stormy waters was when he suffered his quickest defeat for many a long year, against Solomon.
Johansen kept in touch with the leaders, but when Solomon agreed an early draw with Greg Canfell (NSW) in the final round, Johansen could no longer reach the top. His final round opponent, however, still had everything to play for.
In keeping with the catch-cry, both players who beat Johansen won the tournament. Rogers and Solomon tied for first with 6/7.