Clarendon College Chess Report 2020 - 2021

Chess in education has suffered immensely in the "Pandemic Years" of 2020-2021, with the school clubs being canceled for a good proportion of this time. As a result, inter-school chess was relegated by Kids Unlimited to an online status and so there have been no local over the board inter-school tournaments for more than two years. Playing in these events is very much a central opportunity for students, a core experience a club member can aim for, with the Sewell Pavillion playing host to zonal tournaments for many years. It is a real shame that the current generation of players have missed out on so much of these critical formative chess playing experiences.

Yet our club has persisted and persevered through these tough times! Ben Naughton did a terrific job in organising an online club from second term in 2020. Arena battles were staged weekly on by those who logged in and so chess was enjoyed in a much different way. Much more emphasis was placed upon individual agency in acquiring chess learning experiences without our normal structures in place.

Worthy of note in 2021 was the achievement of two Ballarat Clarendon College chess club students. Ruari Coffey, a member of the 2016 Nationals team, won the Ballarat Club Championship A grade division - the first student ever from the school to do so. Vivaan Solanki also won the C grade division; our school effectively taking two of the three championships on offer. Vivaan then wonderfully went on to win the Pawns & Knights League outright in semester 1; cementing a place in the Bishops League for semester two. An excellent year for Vivaan! These are certainly fine achievements the school can be proud of. Ruari's fine win especially stands tall for chess students to aspire towards in the future.

In late term 4, an opportunity arose to participate in the online National Finals by Kids Unlimited. Given the lack of inter-school play under COVID 19 restrictions, it is pleasing that quite a few of our players jumped at the chance to get involved. It won't be the last time!

Whilst our numbers have been surely diminished, we remain in a strong place to rebuild chess into 2022. The resumption of face to face learning in term 4 was fantastic and enabled some our club structure to return. The Junior School sessions thrived with many close and exciting encounters. Chess book prizes were won! Some students even joined the Ballarat Chess Junior Club which enables students to push their skills even further. Graduations will undoubtedly give additional depth and growth for our senior school club into 2022. Term 4 has been a mere taste of something I can't wait to experience again more fully next year. See you all over the board in 2022!

Thank you for all of the support for chess in education – we'll be back!
Rob Bailey BCC Chess Coach

Pleasant St Primary Open 2021

On Friday the 3rd of December, the 6th Pleasant St Primary Open tournament took place at its traditional location in the library of the school. 26 students competed in 7 rounds of good fighting chess, with many drawn out close and lengthy games over the day. After two rounds, there was not a scholar's mate to be found! The tournament was a triumph for the school in the wake of COVID 19 which had suspended its club activities in 2020. Fresh from his interview with ABC Radio, Paul Dao proved too strong for the field with a picket fence 7 out 7 result. Paul's calmness and positional style served him very well and his insights into where his opponents went wrong were welcome. His leadership role for the club is certainly immense and his enthusiasm and energy for the game is infectious. He was best challenged by Abtin Feizollahi who showed attacking flair and several nice checkmating patterns to come second place overall; reinforcing his top place finish in 2019. In third was Austin Mcdonald, the Pleasant St Club Champion from Term 4 2019; returning to chess in some style to make his older brother Alistair, the winner in 2018, proud. The tournament also yielded a best girl prize to Peggy Moloney who joined the club in term 4 and competed with the top players incredibly well, notching up 4 points and finishing in a lively fifth place. Unlucky was Cooper Horsley who finished equal with Austin and battled very well but on countback had to settle for fourth - a nice steady improvement from his seventh in 2019. The club looks to be in a healthy position going forward and is hopeful to resume in 2022, where fingers crossed, interschool chess will return like a phoenix to rise once again!
Overall, a fantastic fun day of chess action - I look forward to more in 2022.

Pleasant St Primary Open 2021:
1st: Paul Dao
2nd: Abtin Feizollahi
3rd: Austin Mcdonald

Term 2 club results:
1st: Paul Dao
2nd: Callum Seakins
3rd: Harry Murphy

Term 4 club results:
1st Paul Dao
2nd Cooper Horsley
3rd: Will Brunsden / Harry Murphy

Big thanks to Travis Poyner who was assistant arbiter for the day; ensuring the tournament ran super smoothly. 


Pawns & Knights League Semester 1 2021:

1st: Vivaan Solanki
2nd: Aarnav Agarwal
3rd: Finnegan Francis

Bishops League Semester 1 2021:

1st: Alex Lock Hughes
2nd: Vishy Neralla
3rd: Ned Griffin

Kings & Rooks League Semester 1 2021:

1st: Dan Wang
2nd: Om O'Carroll   
3rd: Soham Patel 


BCC Beginners Semester 1 2021:

1st: Jimmy Zhang
2nd: Wendy Tian
3rd: Callum Elliott

BCC Advanced Juniors Semester 1 2021:

1st: Will Cartwright
2nd: Ivan Ju
3rd: Lashen Jayaweera

BCC Beginners Term 4:

1st: Joshua De Saram
2nd: Jimmy Zhang, Sasha Mckay
3rd: Nathan Soo

BCC Advanced Juniors Term 4:

1st: Ivan Ju
2nd: Rey Mukherjee
3rd: Harvey Fraser

Term 4 Bishops:
1st: Joshua Nguyen
2nd: Jerry Chen
3rd: James Nguyen

Term 4 P&K:
1st: Tony Qu
2nd: Arjun Tippur
3rd: Patrick Frost

Term 4 K&R:
1st: Joshua Cronin
2nd: Kanishk Mahasuar
3rd: Om O'Carroll

Nationals Online:
Primary: 12th from 23 schools. (Patrick Frost & Boscu Ju 4, Maggie Cai 3.5, Tony Qu 3.0)
Middle Years: 11th from 14th (Om O'Carroll 5, 10th individually) Arjun Tippur 4, Loius Zhao 3.5, Alice Lin 2.5

Chess instructor Rob Bailey brings you the latest updates with Ballarat Junior Chess tournament results and annotated games!