58th Begonia Open 2024

Report by Patrick Cook, Club President

Ballarat Chess Club once again hosted our annual Open chess tournament over the Labour Day long weekend 9-11 March, 2024. This was our 58th consecutive tournament, dating back to 1967, and represents a truly remarkable achievement for a provincial Australian chess club. The past few years have seen record entries every year, and 2024 was no different, with 224 players entering, including a very satisfying 27 locals.

Top seed was world class English GM Gawain Jones, with GM's Zong-Yuan Zhao and Daryl Johansen, and WGM Julia Ryanova returning. 5 IM's, 9 FM's, 1 WFM, and numerous Candidate Masters rounded out the F.I.D.E. Titled players. Prizemony was also at a record level of nearly $13 000, thanks to generous support from our sponsors PPT Finance, Northern Star Chess, Federation University, and Friends of Begonia. In addition Box Hill Chess Club contributed special cash prizes for the top scoring Box Hill players. Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse once again offered a 10% discount to players over the weekend.

This year we engaged 5 Arbiters to cope with the numbers, headed by chief Arbiter IA Peter Tsai, assisted by Anna Yates, Bjorn Lategan, Nigel Barrow, and David Koetsier. Once again, we had 10 DGT boards, 4 of our own and 6 generously provided by Box Hill Chess Club, enabling widespread live coverage of the top games. Mike Goodison ensured there were no technical glitches. Our old friend GM Ian Rogers, assisted by WFM Cathy Rogers, once again provided high quality live commentary on site. David and Sabrina Koetsier of Chess Life Academy in Adelaide, again brought their book stall and a busload of ambitious juniors to the tournament, with Sabrina taking numerous professional quality photographs throughout the event.

The opening ceremony was graced by ACF President Gary Wastell, who announced the award of the Koshnitsky Medal to long time Ballarat Chess Club President Patrick Cook for his services to Chess administration. Chess Victoria President IM Leonid Sandler presented the medallion. Remarkably, this is the second time a Ballarat official has received this most prestigious award, after Kevin Perrin in 2002.

As usual, the chess was fiercly contested, with numerous upset victories by hungry youngsters over more established players, most notably on Board 5 in Round 2, when 14-time “Begonia” Champion GM Daryl Johansen was defeated by 9 year old Reyaansh Chakrabaty. A world class upset!! After 7 rounds of fighting chess, GM Gawain Jones and IM James Morris emerged as outright winners on 6.5/7 points. These 2 classy players had fought each other to a draw in a long game in Round 4. This was James' 6th “Begonia” victory, putting him right up with legendary multiple winners from the past. GM Zhao and IM David Cannon followed on 6/7 Ballarat prides itself on the generous spread of guaranteed prizemoney, and there were numerous winners in the lower rating groups, as well as other special prizes. The best female prize was shared by WGM Ryanova and WFM Nguyen Giang with 4.5/7. Top scoring Box Hill player was FM Luis Chan on 5.5/7 The best local player was Scott Stewart on 4.5/7, with local junior Justin Goodison doing well to share Group 3 on 4/7. Once again, we had a special Ironman prize for the lowest rated player to score 3/3 on day 2, a tough call in an intense tournament. No less than 10 players achieved this, with Benny Chan winning the prize. So, another very successful “Begonia” Open chess tournament has been completed, in no small measure due to the quietly efficient activities of our Tournament Manager Kevin Perrin, who, incredibly, has been involved in one way or another in all 58 events!

Dr Peter Tsai, Chief Arbiter

Stephen Solomon (Vic) Phillip Foenander (Limerick Ireland) and his friend and former fellow club member GM Gawain Jones

IM Leonid Sandler (President of Chess Victoria) talks to Patrick Cook

Gary Wastell (President of Australian Chess Federation)

KP & PC with their Koshnitsky medals 2002 and 2024


2024 Ballarat Begonia Prizes

Prizes presented by Peter Stickland, Ballarat Chess

IM James Morris and GM Gawain Jones, 2024 1st Prize Winners

IM Cannon,David and GM Zhao,Zong-Yuan, Equal Third

CM Li,Tedric Group 1, Equal First

FM Chan,Luis, Box Hill CC Top Adult

Ross Jackson, Unrated Group Winner

Benny Chan, Iron Man prize

Akok,Benjamin left, Goodison,Justin centre, Zhao,Lucas right, Group 3 Equal First

Best Ballarat Player, Scott Stewart

Pairings and results

Results Vega - Full Screen here!

Top 10 boards

Full Screen: https://view.livechesscloud.com/#d19960e4-e61b-40d7-a6a5-3d7cd68eb66a

Historical Games database


Paul Powers Chess Vic Reports

Click on the link to open the PDF file

Rounds 1-2

Rounds 3-5

Rounds 6-7


Ballarat Begonia Open 2023

Great Photos by Sabrina Koetsier

Also see these in Facebook at https://www.flickr.com/photos/144923941@N08/albums/72177720315297196/

Some photos from Bas