2017 Spielvogel Memorial

2017 Champion: Harrison Harrison

Spielvogel Rd 7 - Harrison takes the prize

Although not all games were completed on the night (Ruari vs Kevin adjourned around 11:30 and Rod vs Jamie was postponed), after Harrison turned a losing position into a winning one against Rob L, he achieved the admirable score of 7 out of 7! A remarkably enterprising player, Harrison's games are never boring. Congratulations on a great performance!

Spielvogel Rd 6

After a classic opening where 3 of 4 of the first moves were made by the same knight, Harrison settled down to castle and consolidate, waiting for Ruari to create his own weaknesses. This duly occurred after black's matriarch found herself attacked and left an unprotected central pawn to fall, signalling the beginning of the end. The black queen was eventually snared and although black improved his position for the next 20 moves, nearly attaining equality, one poor bishop move saw the deck of cards collapse. Harrison now has an unassailable lead and is the 2017 Spielvogel Memorial Champion! Congratulations! In other games, Chantelle showed patience and thoughtfulness to turn a drawn endgame into a win - resourcefulness reflected in her and sister Caitlin's March rating rises. Patrick’s first 40 moves earned him a single pawn advantage against Rod, and by making his knight better than Rod’s bishop, with careful footwork he marched his h pawn home for a win in 57 moves. Rob L was lucky to find a win against Rob B after a very even game, both players missing chances. Miguel's fighting spirit gave Kevin a challenge but his experience was enough to garner the point.

Round 5

Tournament leader, Harrison, took his 5th scalp, Rod's, on Thursday evening, increasing his lead to a full point.

The big upset of Rd 5 though, was Ruari Coffey overwhelming James Watson and surging ahead to second place on the ladder. James had a moment of madness on move 50 which cost him the game.

Rob Bailey and Patrick Cook didn't want to play chess and drew in 17 moves, while Jamie Brotheridge vs Rob Loveband was a crowded, complicated game, ending well for Black, with 7 of his pawns still on the board. Caitlin and Miguel have won enough games to bring them well into the top half and will have some challenges ahead.

Round 4

The game of the night, Harrison vs James W., hasn't made it onto ChessMicrobase as yet, so we are still a little in the dark about how Harrison was able to defeat James. I did see towards the end that James took a good 20 minutes to try to think out a possible win in a Bishop and double passed pawns vs Rook, and sacked his Bishop to try to give his pawns on both sides of the board a run down to Queen. However, Harrison had time to get his pieces in place to cover all potential queening squares and secure the point.

Rod overwhelmed Kevin in another hard game for Kevin. Rod's incessant encroachments on Black's castled king side eventuated in the White h pawn breaking up Black's defences and making life untenable. All other games went more or less as expected.

Round 3

Kevin and James' game finished at around 11:30 after a tense, see-saw in the balance of power tipped to Black's side as Kevin relinquished a hard fought pawn and R vs B advantage to stave off mate. Harrison gave up 2 Queens to Cassandra over the course of their game; looking slightly bleary eyed, Harrison still managed to eke out a win with a one pawn advantage. Rod dispatched Isaac for a comparitively early night, while Patrick had no qualms about capitalising on Rob L's lacklustre play, and in response to Rob's draw offer he found an devilish Knight move forcing Rob's resignation. Rob B took the point from Sue, as did Ruari from Michael, while Dad-Jasan defeated slightly more highly rated Daughter-Caitlin. The Douglas trio made a late appearance but were shuffled into the draw by our obliging arbiter, James E who is not playing the tournament. Bas, last year's winner, dropped in to check out the action.

Pairing change

Round 1 games are now complete; Rob L defeated Tom but Isaac held Jamie to a draw. This has resulted in a change in the predicted pairings for Round 3 which are now up.

Round 2

23 players arrived ready to exercise their mental muscles on Thursday night. An overseas visitor popped in to purchase a Begonia history book signed by the editor, Patrick Cook, and James Eyre returned to take up the arbiter's reins and get the tourney back on track. The pairings threw up some tough games; Kevin was able to successfully prove that a Rook and and a Bishop (and an extra pawn) beats 2 of Patrick's Bishops; Rod and Rob L fought to a standstill draw; Jamie was unable to turn a material advantage into a win against Harrison whose nimble play earned him the point; Rob B was unable to punish James W for castling late and his reluctance to sac a piece in the centre early cost him the initiative and eventually the game. Cassandra notched up her second point, Ruari, Sean and the Goodison boys all late entries, joined the fray. The Barnetts were out in force - only Chantelle was left without a point as she gave it to Dad. Young Nick Ruyg took a half point bye as Cody was a no-show, and Tom was defeated by Sue - not sure what happened there! Miguel has returned - welcome back!

Round 1

The Spielvogel Memorial kicked off with 18 players, but with more in the wings starting in Round 2. School holidays are not quite over and we expect numbers to increase as the year goes on. We have several new players in the field which should keep the old guard on their toes.

Jasan stepped in as arbiter in lieu of James E who is still away. Results will be posted when we have final numbers for the tourney.


All pairings for next round are tentative only

Enter your games at Chessmicrobase


From Australian Dictionary of Bibliography

Nathan Frederick Spielvogel (1874-1956), teacher, writer and historian, was born on 10 May 1874 at Ballarat, Victoria, son of Newman Frederick Spielvogel, pawnbroker, and his wife Hannah, née Cohen. Newman, an Austrian, and Hannah, a Prussian, were typical of the strong Jewish community on the Ballarat goldfields. Nathan attended Dana Street State School and trained there in 1892-95 as a pupil-teacher. He taught at several schools in the Wimmera, including Dimboola (1897, 1899-1907).

A small man, with sharply chiselled features, a wide forehead, big ears, warm eyes, a jutting chin and a beard that became golden, Spielvogel was adventurous and imaginative. In 1904 he spent his savings of £120 on a six-month journey through Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Britain. He had begun his writing career in 1894 with a Christmas story for the Ballarat Courier, to which—with the Jewish press, the Bulletin, the Dimboola Banner and other newspapers—he contributed regularly under such pen names as 'Genung', 'Eko', 'Ato' and 'Ahaswar'. From the early 1920s he wrote a humorous piece each month for the Teachers' Journal, but was probably best known for his first book, A Gumsucker on the Tramp (1906). It sold 20,000 copies. He also published The Cocky Farmer (1914), A Gumsucker at Home (1914), Old Eko's Note-Book (1930) and a volume of poetry called Our Gum Trees (1913).

He loved a beer (not lager) and around 1908 dined every Thursday at Fasoli's café, Melbourne, with writers and artists such as E. J. Brady, Norman Lindsay, Hal Gye, C. J. Dennis and Louis Esson. Later he was close to J. K. Moir, Victor Kennedy and R. H. Croll of the Bread and Cheese Club. Croll thought him 'offensively Australian' yet proudly Jewish, a conjunction that rent Spielvogel in 1901 when his love for a Gentile conflicted with a promise to his mother not to marry out of the faith. He remained steadfast and on 6 September 1911 at the Great Synagogue, Hyde Park, Sydney, married Jessie Muriel, daughter of Henry Harris, publisher of the Hebrew Standard.

After further postings to other Victorian schools, Spielvogel returned to Ballarat to be headmaster of Dana Street in 1924-39. Inspiring, sympathetic and methodical, he was immensely popular: a phalanx of pupils usually escorted him into the grounds. As president of the revived Ballarat Historical Society (1933-56), he developed a passion for local history. He published vignettes of early Ballarat life and a popular monograph, The Affair at Eureka (1928). After retirement he was largely responsible for managing the local museum and for placing plaques and monuments at historic sites. His broadcasts and press releases increased historical awareness.

Spielvogel was president of the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation, the Mechanics' Institute, the Teachers' Institute and Dana Street Old Scholars' Association. Strongly patriotic during World War I, he became chairman of the Dads' Association in World War II. A sharp mind lay behind his lifelong interest in chess: he was secretary (1894) and president (1939) of the Ballarat club and represented Victoria in 1921 and 1925. He was instrumental in sustaining the Ballarat synagogue between 1941 and 1953 and wrote Jewish stories with a tenderness and strength that drew from Judah Waten the remark that Jewish literature in Australia began with him. Spielvogel died on 10 September 1956 at Ballarat and was buried in the old cemetery. His wife and their three sons (all of whom had married out of the faith and in his absence) survived him.