50th Begonia Open in 2016, March 12-14

50 Year Celebratory Tournament

Bobby Cheng, Kanan Izzat and Nigel Short, tired but with trophies in hand!

The committee with Nigel Short: Rob Loveband, Patrick Cook, Anna Yates, Kevin Perrin, Chris Segrave, Bjorn Lategan (absent) - tirelessly working to ensure a top class tournament in Ballarat.

Over 150 players descended upon Ballarat Clarendon College to compete in the 50th Ballarat Begonia Open for the coveted Kevin J. Perrin Trophy. Top players vied for points to go up the field to compete against GM Short, GM Illingworth and 2015 Open winner, IM Izzat. Midfield players could be seen checking the rating groups to see how many points they needed to secure one of the generous rating group prizes and special prizes. There was a constant stream of people moving between the playing arena and the Commentary Room manned by GM Ian Rogers. Younger players competed in the Chess Kids tourney and got a taste of what it will be like for them to compete in Australia's premier regional tournament.

Feedback from players included comments about how valuable they found the commentary and analysis, in particular when Nigel went over his last two games against Max and Kanan, with Ian.

The possibility of taking a half point bye was appreciated by many, turning the gruelling 3 game Sunday schedule into a fun day with an evening break.

Players blogged and reported on the tournament far and wide: ChessChat forum got results posted, and Leonid Sandler (one of the few to not be beaten by Nigel Short) even got information posted on the premier Russian Chess site chess-news.ru. (see some nice photos there too!)

Kevin Perrin, Patrick Cook, Chris Segrave and Anna Yates were busy before, during and after, taking care of the myriad of problems that need attention.

Philip Drew and Rob Loveband worked hard with the digital boards and web site to keep the delayed live feed going, and the Arbiters, Gary Bekker, Jamie Kenmure and Bjorn Lategan were kept running with the inevitable stream of questions and requests for this and that.

The canteen helpers put in long hours and we thank them all for their efforts, some people even doing two shifts! Players expressed their appreciation at not having to go out to eat, especially if a game had gone over time, leaving them with only 20 minutes between rounds.

Sue Ryan could be seen flitting around taking photos which were printed and posted around the room for all to see on the day. Mio Ristic also took some great shots, unobtrusively moving around the arena between games. Photos are on the News page.

Kevin Perrin hosted Nigel Short and was often seen whisking Nigel off to meals and sightseeing in between putting in a pretty good effort over the boards, and managing the logistics of putting on the tournament!

Check out GM Roger's report, the prize list, the games, the final results and more photos on the tabs above.

Read the 50 Moves Tournament Report here to get an idea of the tournament - it's prefaced by Doug Hamilton's piece on chess in Ballarat.

The Ballarat Courier ran an article on 5th of March which you can view here.

Ballarat Chess Club Inc appreciates the support of our sponsors

Major Sponsor: PPT Financial

PPT Financial


Our sponsor, Chess Kids, held a Training Workshop on Sunday and a Rapid Play Tournament and analysis on the Monday.


Valued Sponsor: RexNoir
Chess Lovers' Products
Valued Supporters:
Ballarat Clarendon College, Frangos Restaurant,
Lake Inn Ballarat, 50 Moves, Chess Australia


Ballarat Chess Club Inc.
Box 1242
Ballarat Mail Centre Vic 3354
Patrick Cook   
Kevin Perrin     

03 5331 6658
0455 874 779
03 5331 3711
0418 533 517




Begonia 2016 Games


Top four boards via Chess24


Some of the prize winners photos

Winners, Bobby Cheng, Kanan Izzat and Nigel Short

Arthur Koelle happy with the only bottle on offer. Bas van riel with a boring cheque!

Kevin Sheldrick and Michael Tausz with the DVD upset prizes

Werner Doblies, tired but happy?

The committee for the 2016 BEGONIA OPEN is very pleased to announce that a Brilliancy Prize has been added to the already extensive list of prizes for the 50th anniversary event.

The Brilliancy Prize is generously being provided by Chess Australia Pty Ltd. International Master Leonid Sandler (Director of Chess Australia) and is a Mini Chess Library which has been awarded by the panel chaired by International Master Robert Jamieson. The winner is GM Nigel Short.

Photos from the weekend - by Mio Ristic & Sue Ryan

GM Rogers' Report

The Begonia Open, which coincides with the Begonia Festival held on the second weekend in March each year in Ballarat, began in 1967 as a small club tournament but was thrown open to the professionals two years later and has attracted some of Australia’s best players ever since.

As part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Australia’s second-oldest Grand Prix tournament – predated only by the Doeberl Cup – the organisers invited an overseas star, Nigel Short, who had visited Ballarat two years earlier as part of Garry Kasparov’s FIDE Presidential campaign but was now competing in Australia for the first time. To please Short, the tournament was also not FIDE rated for the first time in many years.

Below: GM Nigel Short v GM Max Illingworth

Thanks in part to Short’s presence and also to hard work by the organisers, the 2016 edition of the Begonia Open attracted a record 147 players, including multiple past winners, current Australian Olympians and one player, Kevin Perrin, who had attended all 50 editions of the tournament.

The Tournament organisers: Patrick Cook, Rob Loveband, Anna Yates, Kevin Perrin and Chris Segrave. Bjorn Lategan was called away.

In addition, an attractive book covering the history of the tournament was produced by Patrick Cook – Ballarat Begonia Chess Tournament 1967 – 2016. While far less ambitious than Bill Egan’s remarkable tome on the Doeberl Cup, Cook’s book contains contains contributions about the tournament from many Australian greats – most notably a typically humorous piece from Guy West – as well as including multiple never-before-published games.

Over the years, Darryl Johansen has been the dominant figure at the Begonia Open, winning twice as many titles as any other player. As such, it is fitting that the book includes many fine Johansen games, annotated by the Melbourne GM.

The 2016 event was won by the favourite, although Short’s path to victory was not entirely smooth. After drawing with veteran Leonid Sandler in the second round, Short’s ambition of winning a chess tournament on every continent appeared to be hanging by a thread.

However the top seeded Englishman and former World Championship challenger then strung together a run of four consecutive wins – all of them in swashbuckling attacking style – to take the lead after which a final round draw was enough to give Short victory on tiebreak over Australian Champion Bobby Cheng and Azeri Kanan Izzat.

Throughout the event Short was undoubtedly the star, with the following amazing game – which he personally explained to a large crowd in the commentary room after the last round concluded – taking the tournament’s brilliancy prize.

Ballarat Begonia Open 2016

White: N.Short

Black: K.Izzat

Opening: Caro-Kann

Leading final scores: =1.Short(Eng), Izzat(Aze), Cheng(V) 6/7;

=4.Zhao(N), Illingworth(N), McClymont(Q), Ikeda(ACT), Wallis(V), Rujevic(V) 5.5.


The book, Ballarat Begonia Chess Tournament 1967 – 2016, is available for $25 via www.begoniaopen.com

We have compiled a book to commemorate the rich history of the tournament which will be available at the tournament.If you would like a copy of the 50th Begonia History Book, you can order online now for $25 which includes postage

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