2011 Spielvogel Memorial

2011 Champion: Rob Loveband

13 players entered the first major event for the year, the Nathan Spielvogel Memorial, named in honour of a key player and administrator of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Rob Loveband took the honours this year, conceding only a 1/2 point to Jamie Brotheridge.

Round 1

John Abson faced the Club Champion Joel Beggs in a Ruy Lopez. An open battle, Black won the exchange and a pawn in the middle game, and then a piece to be a rook up. Typically of his aggressive style, White finished off his opponent with a snappy mate.
Patrick Cook took on Chris Segrave in a Catalan. A long positional struggle, White kept the initiative throughout, before winning a piece for pawn and made no mistake in hauling in the full point.
Michael Schreenan met Kevin Perrin in an Open Sicilian. Black won a piece for pawn in the middle game, and later a second piece to prompt White’s resignation.
Peter Miitel played promising junior James Watson in a Queens Gambit. White won a pawn from the Opening and never let go of his grip on the game. Experience and superior technique proved the difference.
Tom Oppenheim faced the always dangerous Jamie Brotheridge in another Open Sicilian. Black won a piece for a pawn early, but White fought back to be the exchange up late in the middle game. Clever and determined play gave Black the edge again, before the tactics allowed White a spectacular mating attack which he executed superbly. A big first round upset.
2010 Reserves Champion Boris Skontra faced Ben Barclay in a Queen Pawn Opening. The two exchanged Queens and pieces to quickly reach an unusual end game with rooks and all the pawns still on the board! White broke the symmetry by winning a pawn, but Black didn’t panic and the game was agreed drawn.
Rob Loveband, away for this round, was given the bye.

Round 2

A very disappointing turnout for round 2, with more forfeits than actual played games!
Rob Loveband faced Peter Miitel in a Benko Gambit. White declined the pawn, but Black found a way to sacrifice it anyway. White kept it and built up a strong positional edge in the middle game. Black, disappointed, resigned when about to lose a second pawn for no compensation.
Tom Oppenheim, the giant killer from round 1, met Patrick Cook in a Closed Sicilian via an invitation to an Alekhine or a Pirc. Black calmly picked up two pawns early, then gained a piece before White resigned when faced with loss of his Queen as well.
Jamie Brotheridge versus Boris Skontra, Ben Barclay versus John Abson, and Chris Segrave versus Michael Schreenan were all forfeits for White.
James Eldridge had the Bye.
Joel Beggs and Kevin Perrin had 0 point byes, having advised that they would be absent.

Round 3

A slight improvement on last round with four games actually played.
The highlight was the top of the table clash between Patrick Cook and Rob Loveband. An Open Catalan, the advantage swung several times during the game. Black gained a strong grip on the position from the opening, but White escaped his problems with some clever tactics in the middle game. Undeterred, Black continued with an attack that had White squirming until he grabbed another opportunity to be a piece and pawn ahead, but still under pressure. White then missed the best continuation and was forced to give up Queen for Rook and an unusual ending of Rook and two pieces versus Queen and piece with several pawns each was fought. Black played better and forced home his advantage in a great game.
Jamie Brotheridge met young James Watson in a Queens Gambit Declined and was typically ruthless after winning Rook for pawn in the middle game.
Chris Segrave took on Tom Oppenheim in a Queens Gambit Chigorin. White won a piece for pawn early in the middle game and kept it throughout the game, surviving Blacks inventive efforts to regain the piece. Black resigned when he reached a lost end game.
Michael Schreenan versus Boris Skontra was a 0-0 result after neither player showed up.
Ben Barclay faced Kevin Perrin in a Sicilian Dragon. White played well to keep things even in the opening and kept his cool in the face of Blacks rapid Queen-side expansion in the middle game. Experience eventually told, and Black was able to exploit Whites exposed King in the endgame.
Joel Beggs had a 0 point bye.
Sadly, John Abson and Peter Miitel have withdrawn from the event.

Round 4

Tournament leader Rob Loveband faced Chris Segrave in a Caro-Kann Defence. Black found himself in a cramped position very early and White picked up a pawn in the process. White increased the pressure and snared the Black Queen, prompting immediate resignation.
Kevin Perrin took on Patrick Cook in an exchange French. Despite it’s drawish reputation, both players manoevered  in an attempt to gain an advantage, but without success and the players finally accepted a draw.
Ben Barclay met Jamie Brotheridge in a Closed Sicilian. Black’s aggression won him a piece early on, and after trading Queens, he piled on the pressure to win another piece to have an easy win.
Joel Beggs, back after 2 weeks away, tried the Grob!! (1. g4 ?!) against Tom Oppenheim. Black was unfazed and calmly responded with sensible play to have good attacking prospects. Whites position became increasingly dangerous and Black finished the game with a superb combination to register another major upset.
James Watson met Michael Schreenan who sprang the Albin Counter Gambit via an odd move order. The game was well balanced throughout until White misplayed a drawish endgame and was polished off in flawless fashion.
Sadly, Boris Skontra became yet another withdrawal from the tournament.

Round 5

The top of the table clash was Jamie Brotheridge versus Rob Loveband in a Slav. A full-blooded positional struggle with even chances for both players well into the middle game ensued. Late in the game, White won the exchange, but Black had compensation and the game was eventually agreed a draw late in the night.
Patrick Cook faced Michael Schreenan in a Chigorin after White wisely sidestepped Black’s Albin-Counter Gambit. White laboured to gain an edge, but was able to saddle Black with a major pawn weakness on the Queen-side. Black subsequently played into White’s hands by swapping down to a pawn ending that proved completely lost despite the even material.
Tom Oppenheim took on Kevin Perrin in another Slav. White could not repeat last weeks heroics and dropped a piece very early in sharp play and resigned.
Chris Segrave met Ben Barclay in another Chigorin. The game proved to be an interesting positional struggle with White eventually getting on top before blundering a rook. Black made the most of his gift to register a good win in the end game.
James Watson faced Club Champion Joel Beggs in a Tarrasch Defence. White had his chances early, but was unable to withstand a typical Beggs attack that overwhelmed his King.

Round 6

Kevin Perrin faced tournament leader Rob Loveband in a Caro-Kann Defence. White tried to disrupt Black’s solid position with an interesting sacrifice of Knight for two pawns. The Black King was displaced and his pieces took some time to get into the game, but with a long and patient display of defensive technique, Black carried the day.
Jamie Brotheridge took on his nemesis Patrick Cook in a Slav. Once into the middle game White set about trying to gain an edge, but at the point where he appeared to be getting on top, Black found a marvelous tactical resource that won the game outright.
Michael Schreenan versus Ben Barclay was a Ruy Lopez. Sharp play led to Black picking up Queen for just a piece and the game didn’t last long thereafter.
Club Champion Joel Beggs met Chris Segrave who adopted the “suspect” Owens Defence (1..b6) . Black had a bad position after just six moves. White piled on the pressure to reach an end game with a piece for two pawns advantage. To Black’s credit he had not despaired and had a couple of dangerous looking passed pawns as compensation. It proved insufficient however against White’s superior technique.
Tom Oppenheim, the tournament surprise packet, took on junior James Watson with a King’s Gambit! to dramatic effect. Black resigned after just 10 moves, thinking, erroneously, that he was losing his Queen.

Last Round: 7

Tournament leader Rob Loveband took on Tom Oppenheim in a strange Queen’s Gambit/Nimzo-Indian hybrid. White won a piece very early and ruthlessly and confidently converted to a win, thus winning the tournament outright.
Ben Barclay faced Patrick Cook in a Pirc Defence and held his own for quite some time in a lengthy game, but Black applied all his technical experience to win an interesting endgame.
Kevin Perrin met Jamie Brotheridge in a French via an unusual move order. In a long manoevering game in which the first exchange was not until the 17th move!! A complex, crowded middle-game was reached. Black lost the exchange in the tactics and could not hold the endgame.
Michael Schreenan versus Joel Beggs was a French/Pirc hybrid?! In which Black took risks early with eccentric Opening play. Razor sharp tactics, the hallmark of our current champion, gave Black a material advantage, patient defence held off White’s attack, and the material advantage decided the game.
Chris Segrave met fast improving youngster James Watson in a sort of delayed Larsen! Black picked up three pawns in the opening/early middle game and was poised to win a piece when the game was adjourned.


From Australian Dictionary of Bibliography

Nathan Frederick Spielvogel (1874-1956), teacher, writer and historian, was born on 10 May 1874 at Ballarat, Victoria, son of Newman Frederick Spielvogel, pawnbroker, and his wife Hannah, née Cohen. Newman, an Austrian, and Hannah, a Prussian, were typical of the strong Jewish community on the Ballarat goldfields. Nathan attended Dana Street State School and trained there in 1892-95 as a pupil-teacher. He taught at several schools in the Wimmera, including Dimboola (1897, 1899-1907).

A small man, with sharply chiselled features, a wide forehead, big ears, warm eyes, a jutting chin and a beard that became golden, Spielvogel was adventurous and imaginative. In 1904 he spent his savings of £120 on a six-month journey through Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Britain. He had begun his writing career in 1894 with a Christmas story for the Ballarat Courier, to which—with the Jewish press, the Bulletin, the Dimboola Banner and other newspapers—he contributed regularly under such pen names as 'Genung', 'Eko', 'Ato' and 'Ahaswar'. From the early 1920s he wrote a humorous piece each month for the Teachers' Journal, but was probably best known for his first book, A Gumsucker on the Tramp (1906). It sold 20,000 copies. He also published The Cocky Farmer (1914), A Gumsucker at Home (1914), Old Eko's Note-Book (1930) and a volume of poetry called Our Gum Trees (1913).

He loved a beer (not lager) and around 1908 dined every Thursday at Fasoli's café, Melbourne, with writers and artists such as E. J. Brady, Norman Lindsay, Hal Gye, C. J. Dennis and Louis Esson. Later he was close to J. K. Moir, Victor Kennedy and R. H. Croll of the Bread and Cheese Club. Croll thought him 'offensively Australian' yet proudly Jewish, a conjunction that rent Spielvogel in 1901 when his love for a Gentile conflicted with a promise to his mother not to marry out of the faith. He remained steadfast and on 6 September 1911 at the Great Synagogue, Hyde Park, Sydney, married Jessie Muriel, daughter of Henry Harris, publisher of the Hebrew Standard.

After further postings to other Victorian schools, Spielvogel returned to Ballarat to be headmaster of Dana Street in 1924-39. Inspiring, sympathetic and methodical, he was immensely popular: a phalanx of pupils usually escorted him into the grounds. As president of the revived Ballarat Historical Society (1933-56), he developed a passion for local history. He published vignettes of early Ballarat life and a popular monograph, The Affair at Eureka (1928). After retirement he was largely responsible for managing the local museum and for placing plaques and monuments at historic sites. His broadcasts and press releases increased historical awareness.

Spielvogel was president of the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation, the Mechanics' Institute, the Teachers' Institute and Dana Street Old Scholars' Association. Strongly patriotic during World War I, he became chairman of the Dads' Association in World War II. A sharp mind lay behind his lifelong interest in chess: he was secretary (1894) and president (1939) of the Ballarat club and represented Victoria in 1921 and 1925. He was instrumental in sustaining the Ballarat synagogue between 1941 and 1953 and wrote Jewish stories with a tenderness and strength that drew from Judah Waten the remark that Jewish literature in Australia began with him. Spielvogel died on 10 September 1956 at Ballarat and was buried in the old cemetery. His wife and their three sons (all of whom had married out of the faith and in his absence) survived him.