52nd Club Championships 2017

2017 Club Champion:

A Group

Round 5

Robert Bailey, languishing at the bottom of the tournament, took on Harrison Harrison in a Pirc Defence that quickly went feral. In no time at all, White gained an imposing centre. Looking to press his advantage, White sacrificed a pawn in the middle game, only to discover that he’d merely lost his edge. After a long and difficult endgame, White resigned with seconds left on his clock in an apparently lost position, only to discover that the game should be drawn!
James Watson faced Jamie Brotheridge in a Grunfeld; no surprise there. White won a pawn in the opening, picked up another in the middle game, and then polished Jamie off with precise endgame play.
Rob Loveband versus Patrick Cook was a French, Winawer. White went for a positional approach, but was then unable to resist a piece sacrifice to open up the Black King for a seemingly irresistible mating attack. Black missed the hole in the combination, but still managed to survive, and an engrossing game resulted. White prevailed after some brilliant endgame play and remains undefeated.
Peter Lumsdon met his old rival Kevin Perrin in a Scandinavian Defence. In a tough positional encounter, neither player seemed able to gain the advantage, but Peter continued to press and appeared to be gaining a decisive edge, before great tactical alertness by Kevin won a piece and his nimble Queen snuffed out Peter’s last chance. A great win by the veteran!
Heath Gooch faced Ben Naughton in a Scotch. White gained the 2 Bishops in the opening, but not much else due to stiff resistance by Black. After reaching a Rooks and pawns ending equal, Heath managed to win a pawn and gained 2 connected passed pawns, which he pushed through to win efficiently.
Rodney Jacobs versus Bas van Riel was postponed.
Meanwhile, the postponed game Harrison Harrison versus Bas van Riel from round 3 has been played. It was another weird “Harrison special”, with a very early Ra3. Simple play by Bas gained him the exchange, but Harrison never gives up, and Bas was unable to convert his advantage, eventually accepting a draw after a lengthy game.

Photos: Rob vs Pat for a difficult win, Peter fell to Kevin's tactics, and the Barnett girls continue to do well.

Round 4

Harrison Harrison took on runaway leader Rodney Jacobs in an almost conventional opening! In something resembling the Colle system, Rodney sacrificed a piece for 3 pawns right in the opening stages. A messy game ensued, with unfathomable tactics, until Black blundered his Queen in a winning position.
Top seed Bas van Riel faced newcomer Heath Gooch in a Caro-Kann. In a theoretical discussion, the game remained quite even, with Black solving all his problems. Late in the game, Bas missed something and dropped a pawn. Thereafter, Heath converted his advantage in a smooth display of technical chess.
Ben Naughton versus Rob Loveband was an open Sicilian, and proved to be a real fight! White was doing well until a few unfortunate ideas late in the middle game resulted in a rapid collapse.
Kevin Perrin met aggressive defending Champion James Watson in a Danish Gambit Declined! James couldn’t resist sacrificing a piece for a couple of pawns plus an attack. Kevin survived, despite his exposed King, and took advantage of several errors by James to record a major upset win.
Jamie Brotheridge played the English against Robert Bailey and applied a lot of pressure to Black’s position, eventually winning the exchange and making it count, to inflict more misery on the 2013 Champion.
Patrick Cook versus Peter Lumsdon was postponed.

Round 3

Rodney Jacobs met Jamie Brotheridge in a Caro-Kann. White launched into a sharp, aggressive line and a fascinating tactical shoot out was the result. After trading blows toe-to-toe, Rodney emerged a rook to the good when the smoke cleared and Jamie resigned.
Rob Loveband versus Heath Gooch was a Semi-Slav. In a theoretical duel, neither player strayed far from equality, and the game petered out to a draw.
Peter Lumsdon faced Ben Naughton in a main line Spanish. Ben avoided any opening catastrophe, but Peter’s knowledge and experience eventually gave him a material advantage which he duly converted.
Robert Bailey played Kevin Perrin in an English Opening. This was a surprise, since it is one of Kevin’s specialties, and Robert has not been known to play it. In a positional struggle, Kevin began to worry about his position and offered a draw. Robert declined, but immediately made a disastrous move, and resigned in disgust without waiting for Kevin’s reply!
Harrison Harrison versus Bas van Riel, and James Watson versus Patrick Cook ere postponed.

Round 2

Kevin Perrin faced Rodney Jacobs in a Tarrasch Defence. In a hard fought game, the 2 protagonists reached the late middle game more or less equal, but a faulty combination by Kevin left his position in ruins and Rodney pocketed the full point.
Bas van Riel met Rob Loveband and the game began as a Benoni, before quickly morphing into something like an English. Bas was unable to get much of an edge, and Rob quietly kept improving his position before profiting from unusual tactical ineptness by Bas and going on to score a big upset result.
Patrick Cook versus Robert Bailey was a Nimzo-Indian. Predictably, Patrick offered a draw impossibly early, which Black dismissed. He soon regretted that decision when a poor move gave Patrick a material advantage and firm positional grip that he never let go. White went on to score a smooth win and notch up another victim of “Patrick’s Curse”.
Heath Gooch versus Peter Lumsdon was a Scotch. After Queen swap and piece trading, a very drawish looking end game was reached. Heath had other ideas, though, and in a display of high class technique was able to put great pressure on Peter’s position, which he converted after Peter’s attempt at counter play failed.
Ben Naughton played James Watson in a Scandinavian. It was short and brutal. After donating a piece on move 7, Ben then stumbled into a mating set up and resigned on move 12!
Jamie Brotheridge took on Harrison Harrison in a non-descript Queen-pawn opening. After a great deal of piece shuffling, they reached a Rooks and pawns ending with Jamie a pawn to the good. Uncharacteristically, Jamie did not blunder it all away with a hasty move, instead he stayed focused and scored an impressive victory.

Earlier in the week, the postponed game Jamie Brotheridge versus Bas van Riel was played. In an unusual QGD/Tarrasch hybrid, Black managed to grab a pawn. Jamie kept fighting and was eventually rewarded with a hard fought draw.

Round 1

Defending Champion James Watson took on newcomer Heath Gooch in a sharp Slav Defence. A tough, theoretical battle, White eventually won a pawn in the late middle game, and won surprisingly quickly from there.
Rodney Jacobs faced Patrick Cook in a French Tarrasch. Both players went for the attack in an interesting game. Black, thinking his opponent was going for a perpetual, allowed a fatal pin and sacrifice, and Rod’s attacking prowess gave him the full point.
Harrison Harrison met Kevin Perrin and wheeled out the rare van Geet Opening (1.Nc3…). From then on the game got stranger!, with the Knight quickly moving to the K-side and the a, b, c, and d pawns all launching themselves forward! Black set up a Dutch type structure, but was overwhelmed by White’s imaginative play.
Peter Lumsdon versus Rob Loveband was a French Classical. Peter played the dangerous and dynamic Alekhine-Chatard Attack. Rob avoided the sharpest lines, and a long positional struggle ended in a draw.
Jamie Brotheridge vs. Bas van Riel and Robert Bailey vs. Ben Naughton were postponed.

Prologue

The 2017 Ballarat Chess Club Championships is the 52nd in a long line dating back to 1966, the 1st of the “modern” era. 36 players have entered in 3 sections, a fantastic turnout that bodes well for the future of chess in Ballarat.

The ‘A’ grade Championship tournament for the “Andy Miitel” Memorial Shield is a 12 player round robin. Top seed is 7 times Champion Bas van Riel. A formidably strong all-round player, anyone with title aspirations will have to find a way to deal with his deep knowledge and powerful ideas.

2nd seed is the defending Champion James Watson. Ambitious, confident, and always probing for the advantage, he is clearly a major contender for the Championship title again.

3rd seed is newcomer Heath Gooch. Not much can be said, except he is young, has had professional coaching, and tournament experience. He will have a say in the title race.

4th seed is Peter Lumsdon. A strong player who rarely blunders, Peter has been floating around at the Club for 5 decades, off and on. If results go his way, he could finally win the title that has long eluded him.

5th seed is Rodney Jacobs. Winner of the unique 4-way play-off in 2014, Rodney’s Tal-like attacking vision make him extremely dangerous and quite capable of winning another title.

6th seed is 2 time Champion Rob Loveband. A strong, flexible player with a wealth of ideas, he, too, will have say in the title race.

7th seed is the record 8 times winner Patrick Cook. One can never tell if the “drawmeister” is switched on or not. If he is, his strong, Petrosian-like positional style could gain him yet another Championship medal.

8th seed is the “surreal” Harrison Harrison. Harrison is capable of anything, both at the board and in any tournament, and after his heroics in the 2017 Begonia Open, he may well win his 1st title.

9th seed is 7-time winner Kevin Perrin, playing his 52nd!! Championship tournament. With such vast experience, and an undimmed love of chess, who would dare write off his chances for a record-equalling 8th title?

10th seed is Jamie Brotheridge. He is aggressive, knowledgable, and has been close to winning before. His chances are not negligible.

11th seed is Robert Bailey, winner in 2013. A professional chess coach and solid positional player, he could rouse enough strength to make another bid for the title.

Bottom seed is Ben Naughton, bravely making another showing in the top division after last year finishing last, he cannot be taken lightly.

The ‘B’ grade Reserves Championship for the “John Baynham” Memorial Shield is also a 12 player round robin. Tom Oppenheim, Isaac Stolk, Anna Yates, Cassandra Barnett, and Miguel Marbella, promoted from last years ‘C’ grade event, are all real contenders, and promise an exciting race for the title and promotion to next year’s Championship tournament.

The ‘C’ grade event (so new it doesn’t have a name yet) has 12 players in a 7 round Swiss, with room for new entries if required. It is full of promising youngsters who will no doubt feature prominently in future years at the Club.

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The A grade plays for the Andy Miitel Championship trophy, and the B grade for John Baynham Reserves title. Andy Miitel was a former club president who was instrumental in revitalising and reconstituting the club in the mid nineteen sixties after the club had become somewhat moribund in the early sixties. John Baynham was an important club administrator in the late sixties and early seventies.