55th Begonia Open Chess Tournament 2021

157 winners get to play chess over the board!

Ballarat Chess Club hosted its 55th “Begonia” Open chess tournament over the long weekend of 6th-8th March, 2021. The organising committee of Kevin Perrin, Anna Yates, Rob Loveband, Patrick Cook and Scott Stewart met throughout the year to plan the tournament, and a special thanks is due to them for their efforts.

Covid restrictions meant that spectators and family were not generally able to enter the venue, with event organisers having to keep numbers inside under the 200 mark. Kevin mostly, but others in the committee too, manned the door to inform visitors and help with QR code check-ins on the Services Victoria app.

Players went straight to their tables and played their games, with everything sorted by the able arbiters, Peter Tsai, Bjorn Lategan and Nigel Barrow.

GM Ian Rogers and Cathy ran the highly popular commentary and analysis room for players who had finished their games, and even analysed young players' games for them before the games of the big guns took precedence.

David and Sabrina managed their book stall and also supported many of the younger players they coach, while Sabrina took lots of photos at the start of the round. Thank you for donating the books for some of the special prizes! Anna Yates made up the 'upset' prizes and provided the trailer for moving things.

Mike Goodison helped operate the DGT boards with Rob Loveband, and apart from some minor glitches due to the power outage, the delayed live-streaming and live feed to Ian went smoothly. Pearl from Northern Star provided some much needed support with pgn files - thanks Pearl!

Ballarat Club members Bill Coutts, Tom Oppenheim, Bas van Riel, Ruari Coffey, Harrison Harrison, Jamie Brotheridge, Denise Lim from Melbourne, and Anthony Fikh from Sydney, all pitched in to help the committee team moving chairs and tables between the BMI and back - a big Thank You to them!

Once again, the tournament was generously sponsored by PPT Financial, with additional support from Northern Star Chess, Federation University, and Friends of the Begonia Tournament. 

GM Daniel Fernandez, GM Justin Tan, Patrick Cook, GM Darryl Johansen, GM Temur Kuybokarov, IM James Morris - joint winners of the Begonia Open Chess Tournament 2021

Some of the Group A ratings prize winners, Tejas Datar, Ryder Testolin, Nicholas Ilic, Anthony Fikh, Sally Yu and Alistair Anderson

Group B joint winner Ruari Coffey from Ballarat

Group C joint winner, Paul Dao also from Ballarat, and Nethaji Rathinalingam

From the local Courier

From Chris Depasquale

Begonia Open 2021 wrap up by Kevin Perrin

The Begonia Open 2021 chess tournament was completed last weekend. The committee was delighted to be able to present our 55th consecutive event and appreciated the support received from Victorian and Interstate players who travelled to Ballarat. We finished with a record entry of 157 players which included 5 Grandmasters and 4 International Masters. Many of this year’s competitors had not played in a serious classical tournament since the same event a year ago.

The outright prizes were mainly taken by the GM’s, but IM James Morris managed to edge out Zong-Yuan Zhao to share in a 5 way tie for first place with Temur Kuybokarov, Justin Tan, Daniel Fernandez and Darryl Johansen on 6 points. The latter completed an amazing 14th win of the tournament, some 15 years after his previous victory, whilst James recorded his 5th win. 19 players shared the rating prizes and details are shown on the attached list. The full tournament results and various reports are available on this page, and there are some photos and games from the tournament here as well. Quite a few players were competing in their first major event including some aged 10 years or under. One of those was Paul Dao from the Ballarat Club who scored 4 points to finish equal first in his rating group whilst his coach Ruari Coffey did the same in his rating group.

Thanks to all the players and families who travelled to Ballarat for the tournament, especially those family members who were required to not even enter the building due to Covid related capacity restrictions. In what is now an integral part of the tournament, Ian and Cathy Rogers provided an invaluable and very enjoyable games commentary. Not only does Ian provide expert comments on the games in progress but he gives an insightful look into the global chess scene along with historical anecdotes as well. A disruption to power in the central Ballarat area on Monday morning looked like being a major issue but fortunately supply was restored after 20 minutes. The Arbiter team of IA Peter Tsai, Nigel Barrow and Bjorn Lategan worked together very well and managed to sort out any issues which arose in a very efficient manner.

A big thank you to our sponsors, PPT Financial, Federation University, Northern Star Chess and the Friends of the Begonia Tournament for their generous support. Special thanks also to David and Sabrina Koetsier from Chesslife for bringing a team of players from SA and for providing special book prizes and to Sabrina for her amazing photography.

Putting on a National event of this calibre is a major task for a small regional country chess club so the efforts of the tournament committee comprising of Anna Yates, Patrick Cook, Rob Loveband, Scott Stewart and myself along with other members of the Ballarat Chess Club should be acknowledged.

We welcome any comments or suggestions for improvement of future events from players who competed as well as those who were unable to or chose not to this year.

Best wishes

Kevin Perrin

Tournament Manager

Darryl Johansen interview in German Chess Magazine

Prize List


Vega - Full Screen here!


Photos by Sabrina Koetsier

Australia's best regional tournament

Ballarat Chess Club Inc appreciates the support of our sponsors

Major Sponsor: PPT Financial

PPT Financial

Valued Supporters:

Friends of Begonia Tournament
Thank you!


Ballarat Chess Club Inc.
Box 1242
Ballarat Mail Centre
Vic 3354
Patrick Cook
03 5331 6658
0499 255 240
Kevin Perrin
03 5331 3711
0418 533 517