Prize giving ceremony
IM Leonid Sandler presented the medals for the Andy Miitel Club Championship to Ruari Coffey, and the John Baynham Reserves title to Andrew Vincent, while John Abson came in person to present the John Abson Shield medal to winner, Vivaan Solanki.
Officially the last round of the Championships, but a number of important games were still postponed, so the Championship and Reserves titles could still have been undecided by the end of it!
Feisty Jamie Brotheridge took on veteran Kevin Perrin in a Spanish. It proved to be a complex, sharp, and lengthy game. Jamie gained a near decisive advantage before a series of time pressure mistakes by both players in the middle game complications ended with Jamie dropping a piece. There was still some drama in the game, but a final blunder handed Kevin a win.
Junior Justin Goodison faced 8-time champion Bas van Riel in a Sicilian. Bas won a pawn in the middle game and seemed to be heading for a comfortable win before Justin spotted a nice combination that regained the pawn and got him to a drawish looking endgame. Alas, Bas' experience proved too much for the youngster, as the veteran outplayed him to score the full point.
Jules Feinberg met Harrison Harrison, and once past Harrison's opening weirdness, a conventional position was reached. The players were soon into a drawn rooks and pawns ending, but Harrison showed his strength as he exploited some minor errors by Jules to win a fine game.
Paul Dao versus Scott Stewart was postponed.
Ruari Coffey and Patrick Cook had the bye and so they took the opportunity to play their postponed Round 6 game. It was an important game, since Ruari just needed a draw in this, or his other postponed game against Paul Dao, to win the title! Predictably enough, the “drawmeister” offered the Champion-in-waiting a draw after just 12 moves of a French, which Ruari happily accepted to assure himself of his first Ballarat Championship title!
In the Reserves, tough youngster Kalen Douglas took on the leader Andrew Vincent. A win for Kalen would force a play-off between the two, but it was not to be, as Andrew showed himself to be a quality player with a good victory cementing his place as Reserves Champion.
Also of note was Rory Brooker's first win in a nice game against Kanishk Mahasuar.
With the Championship reaching the pointy end, the title could easily have been decided in this round, but circumstance decided otherwise.
Defending Champion Scott Stewart met Justin Goodison in an Italian Game. Scott, in his characteristic sharp style, gave a piece for 2 pawns and a powerful pawn centre and quickly overwhelmed Justin to keep his title chances theoretically alive.
Bas van Riel took on Jules Feinberg in a topical Sicilian Najdorf. Bas won a pawn and gained 2 connected passed pawns in the early middle game, but Jules, unperturbed, gained some pressure with direct, enterprising play. Jules kept up the pressure and Bas collapsed, dropping a piece and the game.
Veteran Kevin Perrin, in his 56th championship, faced fellow veteran Patrick Cook, playing his 37th championship, in a French, Exchange variation. Kevin was distracted by administrative tasks, and Patrick offered a draw after 15 moves, as is his wont. Kevin wanted to play, and an interesting game ensued, with Patrick eventually snatching material and going on to win a nice game.
Harrison Harrison versus Jamie Brotheridge was the usual opening weirdness from Harrison, but it led to a conventional looking position. When Harrison lashed out and sacrificed a piece for just a pawn and offered a draw, Jamie surprisingly accepted.
Ruari Coffey versus Paul Dao was postponed (the circumstance mentioned earlier).
In the Reserves, the front runners Andrew Vincent, Anna Yates, and Kalen Douglas all won fine games.
The 2nd play-off game in the 'C' grade between youngster Vivaan Solanki and Gavin Varley was won in fine style by Vivaan who thus wins the John Abson shield and a place in next year’s Reserves.
Justin Goodison faced top seed and tournament leader Ruari Coffey in an Open Sicilian. Justin made Ruari work hard for a small edge from the opening, but once into the middle game the tactics favoured Ruari who finally broke through to pick up several pawns. He then traded into a winning endgame and one step closer to the Championship title.
Jules Feinberg met defending Champion Scott Stewart in an English Opening. Scott went for a Reversed Sicilian Dragon structure and the struggle remained very even until Scott spotted an opportunity to win a piece for a pawn late in the middle game. He had no trouble scoring the point from there.
Jamie Brotheridge took on veteran 8-time Champion Bas van Riel in an anti-Nimzo-Indian set up that quickly morphed into a Queens Indian Defence. Bas gained a small positional edge in the opening but could make nothing of it in the ensuing middle game as Jamie defended vigorously and accurately. The game fizzled to a draw soon after.
Patrick Cook versus Harrison Harrison was played earlier.
Kevin Perrin and Paul Dao had the bye.
Meanwhile, the postponed Round 6 game Bas van Riel versus Harrison Harrison was played during the week. Bas won a one-sided game as Harrison left his game face at home.
In the Reserves, confusion abounds as many games have been forfeits and some of those results are likely to be cancelled by withdrawals, but Andrew Vincent is well placed, with Anna Yates, Kalen Douglas, and Tom Oppenheim still in the running.
The 'C' grade play-off between Gavin Varley and Vivaan Solanki remains unresolved after a fighting draw, and so another game will be played!
Tournament leader Ruari Coffey faced Jules Feinberg in a London System, a fashionable opening since the World Champion adopted it. Ruari snaffled a pawn in the opening and gained a nice positional grip as well. He quickly converted this to a Rook and pawn ending 2 pawns to the good and had no trouble hauling in the full point.
Defending Champion Scott Stewart met feisty Jamie Brotheridge in a Morra Gambit. A “fingerfehler” by Scott on move 11 dropped a piece and he resigned on the spot! A disaster for Scott's ambition to win back-to-back titles.
Bas van Riel took on his old rival Patrick Cook, who played an Alekhine's Defence instead of his usual French! Bas appeared to be winning right out of the opening, but muffed the tactics, and both players were astonished to find Patrick back in with a chance to hold. However, Bas played the ensuing endgame with great accuracy to ensure the win.
Harrison Harrison versus Kevin Perrin was a completely weird opening that led to a very complex middle game. Kevin sacrificed a piece for a pawn and gained 2 very dangerous passed pawns for the investment, eventually converting despite imaginative resistance from Harrison.
Justin Goodison and Paul Dao had the bye and so they took the opportunity to play their postponed Rd. 7 game. Justin was White and a French Advance was played. Paul won a pawn in the middle game and his excellent technical skills enabled him to register a win.
In the Reserves, the contenders, Andrew Vincent and Anna Yates both won, while Nick Lyons was held to a draw. The title is still up for grabs!
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki, with the title in his pocket, blundered horribly to enable Gavin Varley to catch him, and these two will now play off for the John Abson shield.
The two veterans Kevin Perrin and Bas van Riel met each other in an English Opening that transposed into a Tarrasch Defence. It was an interesting positional battle, with Kevin pressing for an advantage well into the middle game. Bas defended well and Kevin lost focus, allowing Bas to put some pressure on Kevin's King. Kevin then collapsed remarkably quickly to hand Bas the full point.
Jamie Brotheridge took on top seed Ruari Coffey in a Reti that quickly became a reversed Grunfeld structure. Jamie dropped a pawn while trying to hold his position together, then disaster struck as he became too anxious in trying to force exchanges.
Patrick Cook versus Scott Stewart and Justin Goodison versus Paul Dao were postponed.
Jules Feinberg and Harrison Harrison had the bye, but 2 other games were played on the night.
Jules Feinberg versus Justin Goodison, postponed from Rd. 5, was another English Opening. Jules snatched a pawn in the opening, and soon won another as well as the exchange to have a decisive material advantage. He finished Justin off with a crisp mate.
Patrick Cook and Harrison Harrison took the opportunity to play their Rd. 9 game early. An almost conventional King's Indian Defence resulted! Both players vied for an advantage in a manoeuvring
middle game, until Harrison suddenly offered a draw! Patrick, seeing danger looming, quickly accepted.
In the Reserves, Andrew Vincent maintains his lead after defeating Anna Yates with the Black pieces. Rory Brooker pulled off the escape of the round, reaching a drawn ending after being dead lost earlier in the game.
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki maintains his lead.
Paul Dao met Jules Feinberg in a topical Sicilian Najdorf. Jules was unable to make much of the feisty Najdorf and slowly conceded small weaknesses which Paul exploited to gain his first win of the tournament.
Scott Stewart faced Kevin Perrin in an Italian. Scott opted for a slow positional approach rather than his usual sharp style. The game was an even positional struggle until an oversight by Kevin forced him into an unsound piece sacrifice. Scott efficiently cleaned up from there to stay in the race for the title.
Ruari Coffey versus Patrick Cook, and Bas van Riel versus Harrison Harrison were both postponed.
Jamie Brotheridge and Justin Goodison had the bye, so they took the opportunity to play their postponed Round 4 game.
Justin had the White pieces and after 1.e4...Jamie chose a Pirc Defence. Jamie grabbed a pawn in the opening and seemed to be cruising until he missed a nice combination by Justin that gave him a piece! Jamie resigned in disgust to hand Justin his first points of the event!
In the Reserves, Anna Yates fell again, this time to Nick Lyons, and has fallen behind the leader Andrew Vincent.
In the 'C' group Vivaan Solanki still leads despite losing to Gavin Varley.
Due to a new outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and subsequent State lockdown, the next round (at least!) and all other otb Club activities, have been postponed.
Veteran Kevin Perrin faced top seed Ruari Coffey in an English, an opening Kevin has played for decades and knows quite well. It proved to be a complex theoretical struggle with Kevin maintaining near equality for most of it. Ruari has developed into a strong player, and after declining a quite reasonable draw offer, demonstrated high-class endgame technique with a Knight dominating a Bishop to score another win.
Harrison Harrison took on defending Champion Scott Stewart, and it was a case of logic trumping faith as Harrison found himself a pawn down with major positional problems after just 7 moves. Scott went on to crush Harrison in quite entertaining and instructive fashion to stay in the race for the title.
Jamie Brotheridge met Paul Dao in a Queens Gambit Declined that morphed into something like an old Queens Indian Defence. The game featured a great deal of manoeuvring with not much to show for it, and was eventually agreed a draw.
Jules Feinberg vs Justin Goodison was postponed.
Patrick Cook and Bas van Riel had the bye.
In the Reserves, Anna Yates fell to a brilliant counterattack by Dylan Douglas, while Thomas Parker blundered and lost to Sasha Jacobs. Andrew Vincent is now in the mix courtesy of several forfeits.
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki still leads with 4 ½/5 after escaping against Christopher Cleary. Christopher, already 2 Queens up, decided that he wanted a third, only to discover to his horror that he had put Vivaan in stalemate!
Top seed Ruari Coffey took on the always dangerous Harrison Harrison who astounded us all by playing a standard King's Indian Defence! The result was a tough, lengthy positional game, with some sharp tactics thrown in for good measure. Ruari eventually emerged a rook up and finished off the game efficiently.
Defending Champion Scott Stewart faced veteran Bas van Riel in a topical Italian Game. A lively and even struggle ensued. Bas kept it tight for some time, and Scott considered offering a draw, but instead opted to sacrifice a pawn to break open the Black King's position. This proved to be a good decision, as he piled on the pressure to win a fine game against the 8-time champion.
Paul Dao met Patrick Cook in a French Defence, the latter's specialty. Patrick soon saddled Paul with a long-term positional weakness, but the youngster handled it well, and Patrick soon reverted to his old habits and offered a draw which was accepted.
Justin Goodison versus Jamie Brotheridge was postponed.
Kevin Perrin and Jules Feinberg had the bye.
In the Reserves, Anna Yates maintains her lead after a fighting draw against Tom Oppenheim, while Thomas Parker bounced back with a win over Nigel Block. Anna leads with 3 ½ /4. Thomas Parker, Nick Lyons, and Andrew Vincent are the chasing pack with 3.
In the 'C' group, more players have entered! Vivaan Solanki won again to lead with 4/4.
Prior to the commencement of play, we learned that Hossam Elgindy has had to withdraw from the tournament for health reasons. All his games are cancelled and an extra bye is created.
Bas van Riel versus Ruari Coffey was postponed, so only 3 games were played on the night.
Kevin Perrin took on Paul Dao with a Bird's Opening (1.f4...). Paul had never seen it before and struggled to find an antidote to his experienced opponents gradual positional squeeze. In a long game Kevin eventually made his trumps count.
Patrick Cook faced Justin Goodison in a Queens Gambit Declined. Justin dropped a pawn in the opening, a lethal mistake against Patrick who smoothly converted his advantage.
Jamie Brotheridge met Jules Feinberg in a non descript Queen Pawn Opening. The usually aggressive Jamie was rather cautious and was unable to gain much traction against his solid and methodical opponent. Jules reached an endgame a pawn to the good, but after Jamie regained it, a draw was quickly agreed. The 1st draw in the tournament!
Scott Stewart and Harrison Harrison had the bye.
In the Reserves, the big showdown between joint leaders Anna Yates and Thomas Parker was a fine win for Anna, who now leads outright with 3/3.
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki won again to also lead with 3/3.
In the game of the round, top seed Ruari Coffey took on defending Champion Scott Stewart in a Reti/KIA. A clever choice by Ruari to restrain Scott's attacking flair. A lengthy positional battle was the result, with Ruari eventually gaining a winning advantage in the endgame. An important result.
Hossam Elgindy was unable to attend, handing Bas van Riel a point by forfeit.
Paul Dao faced Harrison Harrison who adopted a weird defence to 1.e4. Black appeared to have over-reached on the King side by move 4!, but a quick Q-side castling resulted in an interesting, conventional middle game. Harrison snaffled a pawn with a neat tactic, and went on to make it count.
Justin Goodison met Kevin Perrin in a Scandinavian, Kevin's old favourite. Unfocused play by Kevin handed a winning advantage to Justin before he tragically fell for a mate in 1!
Jules Feinberg versus Patrick Cook was an English Opening. Jules played well and seized the initiative in the early middle game, prompting Patrick to lash out with a temporary piece sacrifice. Jules declined it, and the game reached a seemingly equal position. Patrick saw more and remarkably quickly gained a decisive advantage in the endgame and had no trouble converting.
Jamie Brotheridge had the bye.
In the Reserves, Anna Yates and Thomas Parker lead with 2/2.
In the 'C' group, Vivaan Solanki has jumped to the lead with 2/2.
The tournament got off to a flying start with all 5 championship games decisive.
Defending Champion Scott Stewart faced Hossam Elgindy in a Philidor. Scott developed rapidly and gained a nice attack. This was in his comfort zone and he quickly overwhelmed Hossam to score an excellent miniature win.
Bas van Riel met youngster Paul Dao in a French Defence. Black avoided the theoretical lines, but a feisty, unbalanced position arose after White gave the exchange for 2 pawns. After declining Paul’s draw offer, Bas went on to win a fine game.
Harrison Harrison versus Justin Goodison was the usual strange “faith” opening by Harrison. Justin held his own through most of the game before succumbing to Harrison's experience.
Kevin Perrin took on Jules Feinberg in a Sicilian. A theoretical battle ensued. Jules picked up a pawn in the middle game, before reaching a Q+R endgame and making his extra pawn count.
Patrick Cook faced his old rival Jamie Brotheridge in a Grunfeld. A highly complicated position arose, and remained so well into the middle game, with both players burning time. In a still complex position, Patrick lost on time! A shocking result and believed to be his 1st time loss in 37 championship tournaments!
Ruari Coffey had the bye.
In the Reserves, Dylan Douglas played a very nice endgame against his older brother Louis, while Kanishk Mahasuar caused the upset of the round with a fine win over Kalen Douglas.
The 2021 Ballarat Chess Club Championships, the 56th in our long history, is being played over-the-board, a great pleasure after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of our club rooms, and all our chess on-line, last year. 31 players have entered in 3 sections, and lively and competitive tournaments are anticipated.
As usual, the Championship and Reserves tournaments are round robin events, and the 'C' tournament is a Swiss event.
Only 11 players entered Section 'A', for the Andy Miitel shield, and top seed is Ruari Coffey. A strong all round player, Ruari is currently the Senior coach for our Junior Club, and has been very close to winning the championship in recent years. He has a great chance to go all the way this year.
2nd seed is defending Champion Scott Stewart. A professional chess coach, Scott is an exceptionally dangerous attacking player, with a keen eye for sharp tactics; he could well add a 3rd championship title to his portfolio.
3rd seed is veteran Bas van Riel, holder of a record 8 championship titles. Schooled in the strong Dutch chess tradition, Bas is another all round player with few weaknesses, and cannot be ruled out of contention this year.
4th seed is our resident surrealist player Harrison Harrison. His faith-based opening play handicaps him, but he has shown himself time and again to be a strong and imaginative middle game and endgame player. If he adopts some sensible openings, this could be his year.
5th seed is the extraordinary 7-time champion Kevin Perrin. He has played all 56 championships, a record that defies superlatives! Vastly experienced, and always a contender, he will have a say in this years championship.
6th seed is Patrick Cook, the “drawmaster” and Club President for the past 25+ years. Like the 3rd seed he holds a record 8 championship titles, and if he decides to rouse himself, could add another.
7th seed is Jamie Brotheridge. Feisty, aggressive, confident...Jamie is an expert in several openings and poses a danger to anyone with championship hopes. He has been close to winning the title himself, but seems to fall just short.
8th seed is newcomer Jules Feinberg. Solid and self-confident, he will score some important wins.
9th seed is Justin Goodison, offered a place in lieu of his brother Leonard who declined his automatic spot. He might be out of his depth, but benefits from professional coaching and should not be taken for granted.
10th seed is another newcomer 10year old Paul Dao, the youngest player in the field. He is only 10th seed by virtue of not yet having an ACF rating, but has shown himself to be a strong player in recent on-line competitions. Everyone will have to be careful of this youngster.
11th seed is another unrated player, Hossam Elgindy. A solid player who has shown in previous club competitions that he cannot be taken lightly, this is his 1st championship.
12 players have entered the Reserves tournament for the John Baynham shield. It is not easy to predict, but the players to watch are the Douglas brothers, Louis, Dylan, and Kalen, Tom Oppenheim, Anna Yates, and Nick Lyons.
The remaining 10 players are competing for the John Abson shield, with Vivaan Solanki and Marley Sutherland the players of note.