Chess - The Age June 2022
Club Championship Prologue
The 2022 Ballarat Chess Club Championships is the 57th in our long modern history, and as has been the case in recent years, is in 3 sections. The 'A' group for the Andy Miitel Memorial has 11 players competing in a round robin event, while, in a departure from recent practice, the 'B' (Reserves) for the John Baynham Memorial, and the 'C' for the John Abson tournament, will be a combined 9 round Swiss, with the 'Reserves' title going to the highest scoring player, and the'C' title going to the highest scoring player rated 700ACF or below.
Top seed in the Championship is 2-time Champion Scott Stewart. Scott is head coach in our Junior Club, runner-up last year, and Champion in 2020. An exceptionally dangerous attacking player, with an eye for sharp tactics, he is deservedly favourite to add another Championship title this year.
2nd seed is veteran 8-time Champion Bas van Riel. Schooled in the strong Dutch chess tradition, he is a strong all round player, who last won as recently as 2019, and definitely cannot be counted out of contention.
3rd seed is youngster Paul Dao, playing just his 2nd Championship tournament. Hugely talented and winner of last years Country Victorian Championship (Reserves) title, he is a genuine contender for the title.
4th seed is our Club President, 8-time Champion Patrick Cook, playing his 38th Championship tournament. The “drawmaster” is a solid positional player, and difficult to beat. If he is in form and plays with ambition, he could add another title to his haul.
5th seed is Julian Feinberg. A veteran of the 1970's Waverley Chess Club, Jules is another solid positional player who can beat anyone on a good night.
6th seed is our Treasurer, and the doyen of Ballarat Chess, 7-time Champion Kevin Perrin, playing his 57th Championship tournament, an extraordinary record. With vast experience, and an undying love of our game, he is always a contender, despite his last title win being in 1989, before half the field were even born!
7th seed is Om O'Carroll, another talented junior, who is already coaching beginners in our Junior Club. Also a strong positional player, she is ever ready to pounce on any mistake by her opponent, and is another genuine contender for the title.
8th seed is Jamie Brotheridge. A veteran of many Championship tournaments, Jamie is a feisty, aggressive player well armed with ideas in the opening, and capable of defeating anyone in the field.
9th seed is Peter Stickland, new to the Club and bravely stepping into the heat of the Championship battle with the aim of improving his play.
10th seed is another newcomer Vipin Jyani. His seeding is a rating aberration, since he has already shown himself to be a very strong player in earlier competitions.
11th seed is Angus Blenkiron, also playing his 1st Championship. Angus' seeding is even more of an aberration, due to his not yet having an ACF rating. Already a respected coach in our Junior Club, he is another strong 1st time entry in the event.
So, with 4 former Champions and a swag of ambitious newcomers and youngsters, an exciting Championship tournament is in store.
The Reserves tournament also has many newcomers, but the experienced trio of Tom Oppenheim, Anna Yates, and Nigel Block are the players to watch, while in the 'C' group newcomers Xavier Demmert and James Emselle are a real chance.
To all members and chess players
After a busy first quarter of activities, we are about to start the club championships and term 2 of junior chess coaching. These events both start on Thursday 28th April at the BMI.
The club championships are our major internal event of the year and will be conducted over 3 divisions to cater for all levels of players. The A grade and B grade sections are restricted to a maximum of 12 players each and these divisions are for the higher rated players. They will be conducted as round robin events whilst the C grade section will be a swiss style tournament. That allows greater flexibility for players who are not available each week and is also an introductory level event to encourage newer players and juniors to compete. The C grade will be held over 7 to 9 weeks depending upon the number of entries received.
The round robin format for A & B grades provides an opportunity for players to catch up an unplayed game if they are absent for a week. To assist with smooth running of these tournaments please advise me by email or text message if you will be absent on a Thursday so as I can alert your scheduled opponent. The player who requests the deferral is then obliged to make arrangements for a catch-up game or else a forfeit will have to be awarded at the end of the tournament.
All financial members plus juniors attending the coaching sessions are eligible to compete. There are no entry fees and prizes will be awarded for each division. The players in the A and B grade sections will be based on the most recently available ACF ratings. As usual the prior year B grade champion who was Andrew Vincent has earned the right to participate in the A grade and Vivaan Solanki last year’s C grade champion has also earned the right to play in B grade this year.
This week will be a free night for social games of chess with no formal activities planned. There will be an Allegro tournament with free entry to club members at 1.30pm at the BMI this Sunday provided we receive indications of participation from at least 8 players. If you would like to play in that event, please advise me by return email or at the club this week.
Apart from the above activities the club is looking forward to hosting Bendigo Chess Club for the annual Barrow-van Riel annual chess challenge match on Sunday 22nd May. Last year we were victorious, but they are far stronger this year since our current club champion Ruari Coffey has relocated to Bendigo with his new employment. We thank Ruari for his wonderful contribution to our club at all levels of competition and administration and wish him all the best for his future.
If any member of the club would like to be involved with our junior coaching sessions, then please advise head coach Scott Stewart (0410 052 134) or myself as this would assist in handling the enthusiastic youngsters wishing to learn and play our great game. At present we are having to restrict participation of children in the coaching program.
In relation to Covid matters, today the Government announced that virtually all regulations which have impacted the club and the BMI have changed. The vaccination mandate has been removed along with the QR code check-in requirement. Wearing a face mask is optional as well.
If you wish to renew your subscription, then further details on making payments can be located on the club website at https://www.ballaratchess.com/fees.html or payment can be made to me on a Thursday night at the BMI.
Please contact club President Pat Cook on 0499 255 240 or me if you have a query with any club matter. I am looking forward to the club championships and hope that many of the members we have not seen for a while will join us for this premier event.
Kind regards Kevin Perrin Treasurer 0418 533 517
Time Handicap tournament
The 2022 Nathan Spielvogel Memorial, the first Classical event for the year, had an excellent entry of 42 players, although a good many of them did not complete the 7 rounds. Top seed was our Club Champion Ruari Coffey, ahead of Scott Stewart. These 2 players were in fact the joint defending champions from last year. The next three seeds were the veteran trio of Bas van Riel, Patrick Cook, and Kevin Perrin, ahead of a gang of ambitious and fast improving youngsters.
Round 1 went according to expectations, but Round 2 saw the first upsets when Bas van Riel could only draw against up-and-coming youngster Om O'Carroll, and Angus Blenkiron crushed Patrick Cook, finishing with an elegant Queen sacrifice for a mate. The top 2 seeds continued on their merry way in Round 3, and were joined by Angus Blenkiron on 3/3. Om O'Carroll continued to impress with a win over experienced Jamie Brotheridge, while Patrick Cook appeared lost to a fearsome attack by Peter Stickland, before he scrambled to a draw. The defending champions established their dominance in round 4 when Angus Blenkiron fell to Scott Stewart, and Ruari Coffey dispatched Om O'Carroll. Also of note was Bas van Riel's defeat by Paul Dao. Ruari Coffey took a half point bye in Round 5, but having moved (defected?) to Bendigo Chess Club, he was unable to finish the tournament. We wish him well! This left the path open to Scott Stewart who duly won against Jules Feinberg. Paul Dao was defeated by Angus Blenkiron, who kept in range. The veteran 8 times Club Champions, Patrick Cook and Bas van Riel fought an interesting draw.
In Round 6, Om O'Carroll could not stop Scott Stewart who thus guaranteed at least =1st. Angus Blenkiron kept in range with a win over Bas van Riel, Jamie Brotheridge lost to his old rival Patrick Cook, and Jules Feinberg was beaten by Paul Dao. Scott Stewart had little trouble in brushing aside Patrick Cook in Round 7 and thus won the 2022 Spielvogel Memorial with an imposing score of 7/7.
Angus Blenkiron was a well-earned 2nd with 6/7, and Paul Dao 3rd with 5/7. A swag of players finished with 4/7 in a strong and enjoyable event.
Quite amazingly the Reserve section resulted in a tie between 3 of our newer members, Peter Stickland, Julian Laffey and James Emselle. They are all rated under 1000 and scored 3.5 points each. Congratulations to them, and they will share the $75 prize.
Ballarat Players in the news
Congratulations to Paul Dao with his new rating of 1620 making him Number 1 in Victoria and 4th in Australia for U/12's and 9th in Australia for U/14. Congratulations to Om O'Carroll with 1442 is Australia 9th strongest Female U/20 and Australia's 14th strongest active Female player. Congrats to Nigel Block on coming 4th in Australia's top improving chess players list with a gain of 123 points to reach 782 points. Well done to Ballarat Chess Club boasting 4 players on Australia's most active chess player list with Patrick (18) Paul (18) Kevin(16) and Jamie (16)
Vale Peter Miitel 1964-2022
It is my sad duty to report that past Club member and 2-time Champion Peter Miitel passed away on Friday 25 February 2022. He had been in poor health for several years. Peter first came to the Club in the 1970's with his father, the then President Andy Miitel, and was a regular player in the following decades. At his best he possessed the finest chess technique of anyone in the Club, and showed it by winning the Club Championship in 1990 and 1991 and the Spielvogel Memorial in 2010. The Club extends its condolences to his family and friends. His contribution to our Club will be long remembered.
Patrick Cook, President, Ballarat Chess Club
Ballarat Chess Club hosted the 56th “Begonia” Open chess tournament over the Labour Day long weekend of 13, 14, & 15 March 2022. 56 consecutive tournaments is a remarkable achievement for any chess club, and is in no small measure due to our Treasurer Kevin Perrin, who once again was the Tournament Manager. Kevin has been involved with all of them in one way or another! Simply amazing. Last year, we had a record 157 entries, but 2022 set an even bigger record of 173 players, including four GM's, one WGM, three IM's, and three FM's, plus a smattering of CM's. Fourteen of our Club members entered, although one had to withdraw after the first day. Overall victory with 6/7 was achieved by GM Temur Kuybokarov, GM Zong-Yuan Zhao, and FM Domagoj Dragicevic. It was Temur's second title, Zong-Yuan's third, and Domagoj's second. 5 players finished a half point behind.
To all members and chess players
The New Year is off to a flying start for the chess club at the BMI with Blitz and Rapid Play events already completed. Ruari Coffey has continued his great form from 2021 by winning both those tournaments in very convincing fashion. We have been pleased to welcome a few new members along, as well as many of the older familiar faces.
This Thursday will see the start of our first 7 round classic event for the year when the Spielvogel Memorial tournament gets underway. There will be prizes awarded for the winner as well as the highest scoring player in the lower half of the field. The tournament will run over 7 weeks with games being played at a 90 minute plus 30 second per move time control. To help players who may have to miss some weeks, there are half-point byes available in the first 5 rounds, just advise me in advance. Even if you can only manage a few games, players are encouraged to come along by 7.20pm on any Thursday so that they can be included in the pairings. We try to be flexible to encourage participation.
The Spielvogel is an excellent way of getting ready for our biggest external event of the year and the second largest weekend tournament in Australia. The 2022 Begonia Open will be held over the long weekend in March. Last year we attracted 157 entries and numbers are looking good for this year. We have 4 Grand Masters, 2 International Masters and our first visiting Women’s Grandmaster entered already. I have attached some details of that tournament and we encourage locals to play or at least come along to enjoy the spectacle. If anyone is having trouble affording the entry fee then have a word with me since the club may be able to assist. The committee will need some extra help over that weekend so if anyone can offer a few hours to help as a door marshal or another task then please let me know.
The Junior Chess Coaching sessions for Term 1 restarted at 6.00pm last Thursday and pleasingly they have attracted record numbers. There were 23 enthusiastic young players along last week under the guidance of coaches Scott Stewart, Rob Bailey, Angus Blenkiron and Om O’Carroll. There is still space for others and 2 more students have enrolled this week. If you know of a youngster wishing to learn or improve then send them along or put them in contact with us. For adults looking for help then private coaching sessions can be arranged.
I look forward to catching up with you at the BMI shortly.
0418 533 517