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.
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.