News: 2019

Round 7

Rodney Jacobs faced his old rival, veteran Kevin Perrin, and once again Kevin showed his versatility by adopting a Modern Defence that quickly transposed to a main line Pirc Defence. In a tough, complex middle game, Black suddenly threw away a piece for nothing and promptly resigned.
Jamie Brotheridge took on Peter Miitel in a French Tarrasch. Peter, betraying an unfocused mood, offered a draw on move 16, 18, and again on move 25, before resigning in a position that seemed to be still playable.
Robert Bailey met Patrick Cook in another French, this time the Advance variation, and offered the Milner-Barry Gambit. Patrick grabbed the pawn and set about making it count. Robert stayed afloat and in a Queen and pawns endgame Patrick lost the thread and in desperation offered a draw. Rob, short of time and not realising that he had a mate on the board, accepted!
Rob Loveband versus Harrison Harrison was a sort of Modern Defence. Rob won the opening battle, and gained an apparently decisive material advantage in the middle game. Slippery as ever, Harrison created enough problems for Rob in the endgame that he was able to escape with a draw.
Ruari Coffey versus Caitlin Barnett was postponed. Cassandra Barnett versus Bas van Riel was played earlier.

In the Reserves, Ben Naughton and Kiki Dunn lead with 5, Sean Macak is just half a point behind.

In the 'C' group, Dylan Douglas still leads on 5.5, ahead of Michael Schreenan and Dan Wang on 5.

Welcome Young Jose

A record for the youngest Ballarat Chess Club member has been set! Jose Echeverria, no doubt named after Cuban World Champion Jose Capablanca, visited on Thursday evening with parents, Manuel and Gabriel, to check out the competition. Patrick can be seen below holding Jose aloft and no doubt thinking - 'oh no, another strong young player on the way!'

Michael is a quinquagenarian!

Long standing Ballarat Chess Club member, and current leader of the C Group in the Championships, Michael Schreenan hit the big "Five Oh" last week. He celebrated his birthday with family and friends, including a contingent from the club. Anyone who has played Michael knows that he is to be approached only with extreme care - his chess is sharper than ever! Congratulations, Mick, live long and prosper!

Round 6

Veteran Kevin Perrin faced runaway tournament leader Ruari Coffey, and essayed his old favourite English Opening. The game was very even throughout, prompting Kevin to offer a draw several times, but Ruari preferred to play, and late in the game showed superb endgame technique to put Kevin in zugzwang and score yet another win.
Caitlin Barnett met aggressive Jamie Brotheridge and challenged him in his favourite mainline Grunfeld, Exchange variation. Unafraid of reputation, she played a strong game and held her more experienced opponent to a draw. A good result for the 'A' group newcomer.
Peter Miitel met Cassandra Barnett in a Reti Opening. The game never strayed far from equality, and duly ended in a draw.
Patrick Cook took on Rob Loveband in a Queen's Gambit Declined. After a sleepy opening stage, Patrick predictably offered a draw. Rob played on, and the game sprang to life, with Rob finding a way to win the exchange. Patrick had some compensation and was soon fighting for the advantage. Late in the endgame a draw was agreed in an unbalanced but equal position.
Harrison Harrison faced Rodney Jacobs and wheeled out more of his surrealist opening madness. Uncharacteristically, Harrison offered a draw after 15 moves!, and several more over the next few moves before settling down. The game eventually hinged on Rod's far advanced passed pawn that appeared to give him a stranglehold on the position. Always inventive, Harrison found ways to stay in the game, and then took advantage of Rod's time trouble errors to score an impressive win.
Bas van Riel versus Robert Bailey was postponed. Meanwhile, several more games have been played in advance. Cassandra Barnett met Bas van Riel in their Rd. 7 game, but was unable to cope with the top seeds strength and experience. From Rd. 8, Rodney Jacobs met Rob Loveband in a French Tarrasch. The game was quite even until late in the middle game, when Rob fatally weakened his King position and Rod piled in for a trademark victory. From Rd. 9, Rob Loveband faced Kevin Perrin in a Scotch! The game never strayed from equality and the pawn ending was agreed drawn.

In the Reserves, Peter Wang pounced on another tactical blunder by tournament favourite Sean Macak to score a big win, while Anna Yates scored a good win against disappointing Chantelle Barnett. Ben Naughton and Kiki Dunn have 4/5, Peter Wang 4/6, Anna Yates and Sean Macak 3.5/6.

In the 'C' group. Dylan Douglas continues to lead on 4.5/5, from Michael Schreenan on 4, and Kalen Douglas on 3.5.

Blitz #3: Go Ruari!

34 players squeezed into the venue for a fun night of skittles - re-scheduled to coincide with the Comedy Festival event due to noise concerns. Patrick was leading the field undefeated after brushing aside Rod and Rob L, until the last round when he met Ruari who was a half point behind. Ruari showed his mettle to defeat Patrick and take the honours for the night on 6 of 7 points. Leonard, Louis and Sean all scored 5 points, punching above their weight!

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Round 5

Harrison Harrison faced veteran Kevin Perrin and played his usual Surrealist opening moves. Kevin won the exchange early and seemed on track for a win, until he fell for a trick that handed Harrison the game. Rodney Jacobs met Patrick Cook who surprised his opponent with an Alekhine Defence. Rodney side-stepped the sharpest lines, and the game remained more or less even until Patrick went for an interesting idea in search of a clearer position. There was a big hole in it, and Rodney won a piece and the game shortly after. Rob Loveband, 2nd seed, versus Bas van Riel, top seed, was an important encounter in an Open Sicilian. The game was dynamically even well into the middle game, and became quite complicated until Bas won an important pawn, gaining a deadly passed pawn that he pushed through to score a decisive win. Robert Bailey took on Peter Miitel in a French, Advance variation. Peter offered a draw as early as move 8, and again on move 13, and no doubt Rob regretted declining, since he promptly blundered Queen for Knight and Peter quickly wrapped up the full point. Jamie Brotheridge versus Ruari Coffey was another full blooded Open Sicilian. Jamie won a pawn in the early middle game, and another later on. Shortly after, his radar seemed to go awry, and he dropped 2 pieces for a rook and resigned, perhaps a bit prematurely, to hand Ruari another lucky win. Cassandra Barnett versus Caitlin Barnett was postponed. So, going into the “rest round”, Ruari maintains a handy lead at the top of the standings. In the Reserves, Ben Naughton faced favourite Sean Macak who built up a winning position, before blundering to hand Ben an important win. Kiki Dunn has quietly made his presence felt with a victory over early leader Peter Wang, and Ben and Kiki now lead, with Sean half a point back. In the 'C' group, Dylan Douglas leads with 4.5/5, followed by Michael Schreenan on 4 and Kalen Douglas on 3.5.

Round 4

Kevin Perrin met Jamie Brotheridge in the veterans' old favourite English Opening. An interesting Kingside attack by Kevin caused Jamie to tangle up his position and squander 2 pawns. He dropped the exchange as well in the late middle game to hand Kevin a nice win. Patrick Cook took on Harrison Harrison and set up a Classical King's Indian structure against Harrison's weird play. Harrison shed a pawn in the early middle game and Patrick went on to a smooth positional win in a reprise of his best years. Ruari Coffey faced Cassandra Barnett who played the rarely seen Czech Benoni. Ruari seemed to struggle with it, and Cassandra won the exchange in middle game play. Ruari resisted and gained a couple of passed pawns as compensation, which he eventually used to turn the tables and gain a fortunate win. Peter Miitel met Rob Loveband and surprised everyone by playing Larsen's Opening, usually the sole province of Patrick Cook. Peter showed how classy his technique can still be, and gave Rob no chance for an edge, and the game quietly slumbered to a draw. Caitlin Barnett versus Robert Bailey was a Semi-Slav. Caitlin played with ambition, and sacrificed a piece for 2 passed pawns early on. It shouldn't have been enough, and for most of the game it looked like Rob would grind to a win, but Caitlin resisted and was rewarded with a draw when she reached an ending of Rook versus Rook and Knight. Bas van Riel versus Rodney Jacobs was postponed.

Ballarat Bendigo match - Barrow - van Riel

The annual match between Bendigo and Ballarat was held in the BMI on Sunday. Bendigo fielded a team of 6 players, leaving a few of our players without a dance partner, but the match went ahead. Board one, Rob L played Nigel and trailed until he forked a queen and rook, going up the exchange. Short of time, he blundered a winning position, giving Bendigo the full point. Board two, Leah played Ruari and the longest game of the match played out to a draw, with Ruari unable to convert his pawn advantage to a win. Board three saw David make incremental improvements against Rod, until he threatened to queen a pawn after swapping queens. Board four was over before it started, 18 moves, 2 pieces and a pawn each off the board, and Patrick offered 85 yr old veteran, Ken (rated 1165), a draw - he accepted the gift, the deciding 1/2 point. Kevin and Jamie on boards 5 and 6 made quick work of their less experienced opponents, bringing in the points and saving our club from a loss. Final result 3 vs 3, another draw.

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C.M. Fisher (1845-1890), the overlooked giant of Ballarat’s chess history.

Charles Marshall Fisher was undoubtedly the strongest and most distinguished chess-player who has lived and played chess in Ballarat, ever. According to conflicting records, he was born in either Creswick or in the Goulburn area, where his family reportedly owned a farm-station, the Woodstock. The family moved to Ballarat in 1860, where Charles found work in a local foundry for the next 10 years. In those years, he became a very keen and strong chess-player. Around 1875 Fisher was believed to be one of the three strongest players of Australia, together with Andrew Burns and Louis Goldsmith, if not the informal best, after he defeated the latter by 6.5-5.5 points in a match in 1875. When the (second) Ballarat Chess Club was formalised in 1865, Fisher became its first secretary/treasury, at only twenty years old. In the following year he won the first Ballarat Chess Club championship, and in the year after he became the president of the club.

In 1871, Fisher left Ballarat to start a career in stockbroking in Melbourne and Sydney. He soon become very busy and wealthy, but he still remained very involved in chess as a player, administrator and editor. In 1884, he returned to Ballarat as the celebrated son of Ballarat to play a simul in the Mechanics Institute. It was famously reported in the Ballarat Courier. When Fisher suddenly died in 1890, while on an extended stay in Europe, at least two newspaper eulogies were published, describing various aspects of his colourful life, and compilations from a private letter of the last months before his death. Remarkable is a statement in the Adelaide Observer saying that Fisher was called the Kolisch of Australia, because he was similar to the unofficial chess world-champion in 1867, Ignaz Kolisch in chess qualities, age and in personality, so it seems.

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Championship Prologue

The 2019 Ballarat Chess Club Championship is the 54th of the modern era, a record stretching back to 1966 when the old Club was revived and reconstituted. The number of entries is once again well over 30 players and so 3 tournaments will be held.
The 'A' group for the “Andy Miitel Memorial” shield is a 12 player round robin.
Top seed is Bas van Riel, a formidable all round player with 7 titles to his name, he will be hard to stop.
2nd seed is our Webmaster, Rob Loveband. Imaginative, unafraid of reputations, and with 3 titles to his name, he could easily add another.
3rd seed is Ruari Coffey. He has made rapid progress over the past year and could go all the way in this event.
4th seed is Rodney Jacobs, winner in 2014. With a very sharp style, and deeply prepared openings, he is certainly a contender.
5th seed is our President Patrick Cook, playing his 35th Championship tournament. Armed with a solid positional style, excellent endgame technique, and a record 8 titles to his name, he can't be ruled out.
6th seed is Harrison Harrison. Bizarre in the opening, creative in the middle game, and precise in the endgame, if he gets it right this could be his year.
7th seed is Robert Bailey, a professional chess coach, very knowledgeable, and the 2013 winner, he is a possibility.
8th seed is our incomparable Treasurer Kevin Perrin. He has played in all the Championships (!!) and has 7 titles to his name. Experience counts...
9th seed is Jamie Brotheridge. Aggressive, ambitious, and determined, he has yet to turn these qualities into a title win, but can't be ruled out.
10th seed is Peter Miitel, returning after a long break from chess. Winner of 2 titles, and once possessed of the best technique in the Club, if he can scrape off the rust, he might be a possibility.
11th seed is Cassandra Barnett, back after her debut last year, she is dangerous and will have a say.
12th seed is Caitlin Barnett, taking her spot after an imposing victory in last years Reserves tournament.
So an interesting field, with 7 former Champions among them, promises an exciting event.

The 2019 “John Baynham Memorial” Reserves Championship is also a 12 player round robin, headed by Sean Macak who was unlucky to miss out on the 'A' group. Sean is favoured to win, but challengers abound with Kiki Dunn, Tom Oppenheim, Ian Boyle, Ben Naughton, et al in the field.

The 'C' group will have the remaining entries in a Swiss tournament of a maximum 9 rounds. Dylan Douglas, Michael Schreenan, Kalen Douglas, and Dan Wang are the main contenders.

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Congratulations Gabriela and Manuel!

Kevin enquired after our two new members, Gabriela and Manuel, who were starting their family in Ballarat, and got this nice reply: "We are both well and happy because our baby is with us and healthy. Enjoying this new adventure and learning every day. Unfortunately, we can't make it this time as well as we are quite busy and catching up with work at the moment. We hope we can go back and play within the next two months but thanks for reaching out..."
I wonder what the baby's name is? Perhaps 'Eduardo' after Venezuela's first and highest rated GM, Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli?
Look forward to seeing them back at the club when they can!

Time Handicap results

Time Handicap results: Equal 1st on 4.5 points were Ruari Coffey, Rod Jacobs, Sean Macak and Peter Wang. Equal 5th on 3.5 points were Patrick Cook, Harrison and Dan Wang.Equal 8th on 3 points were Tom Oppenheim and Leonard Goodison (3 out of 3, absent second week). There were 26 players in total.

Club Championships

NB: Last minute change to B group pairings as two Goodison boys and Anna will be away -

Round 1 pairings for the A and B groups are up now and should stay as they are - barring any last minute changes if players are unable to join.

As it is a round robin, please think ahead to any rounds you will be away and organise with your opponent to play games at another time before the end of the tournament. (See the yearly schedule for actual dates.)

C Group will be a maximum of 9 rounds, with two half point byes available except for the last two rounds - so if you need to miss a couple of weeks that's fine.

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Club Championships

Over the next two weeks, please register your interest in playing in the club championships (A, B and C Levels) to the Director of Play, Kevin Perrin. Entry is free, the event is rated with the ACF, and it will run over 11 sessions, with a two week break towards the end (see the yearly schedule for dates.)

Many Club Champions first won in the Reserves before going on to make it in the A Grade, so keep working to be in the top 12 rated players in the club so you can have a shot at being the Club Champion. The current Champion, Heath Gooch, will not be participating and the top seed is likely to be Bas van Riel. Caitlin Barnett, being the 2018 Reserves winner, automatically gets a seat in the main event.

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Champions!

Congratulations to Chess Champs Leonard Goodison- 2019 U12 Rapid Play Champion of Victoria!!!🏆 and Justin, 3rd in the U11s 🏆

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Blitz and Time handicap

4th April Blitz #2 - Jamie and Harrison 5.5 of 7

11th and 18th April - Time Handicap tournament -format and rules available here.

Warm up with chess - Winter is coming!

Ballarat Mechanics Institute - Thursdays from 6:30pm Read More

Club Championship rules 2019

The Club Championship is the major tournament played over 11 weeks, starting 25th April and concluding on 27th June. There has always been healthy debate about the details of the rules, and revisions are made to try to keep up with the changing playing environment, and to best accommodate our members' needs.

Have a look at the recent proposed changes made to the Club rules relating to all of our tournaments over the year. The changes will be considered at the meeting on 18th April at 7:30 p.m. The full document is here.

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Coffee and Chess

Homeground on Sturt St next to BMI and Frangos up from Myers both now have chess sets donated by BCC, available for use by patrons - have a coffee and a game! Above, Kevin and grandson, Monty, enjoy a game in the sun.

Time Handicap rules and format

29/3/19: Interschool tournament at Ballarat Clarendon College

ChessKids hold tournaments for schools throughout Victoria over the year, and the the first one was run successfully at College at the end of March. 38 open secondary, 45 middle year, and 82 primary students filled the Sewell Pavillion with the sound of thinking and the tap of chess clocks. Chess in Ballarat is growing fast! The Tornelo results page can be accessed here.. Tornelo

In the senior division, Ballarat Chess Club players dominated with Sean Macak (Mt Clear College), coming through unscathed with a perfect 7 point score, followed by Louis and Dylan Douglas (College) on 5.5. College's team took the group medal, with their top four players scoring 21 points, only 1 point ahead of the Mt Clear team.

In the middle year section, College overwhelmed Mt Clear, Trinity Colac and Bacchus Marsh Grammar, with Ballarat Chess Club player Kalen Douglas being one of 4 players with perfect scores. The teams gold and silver both went to College teams.

In the largest section, the primary school level, our two club players, Justin and Leonard Goodison (Mt Blowhard) took gold and silver respectively, and their team, including Cameron Frame, earned the Teams medals. Justin was the only player on a perfect score.

Mt Clear won the silver team medal, Deegan looking dapper in his top hat, Yuri departs stage right.

Spielvogel Memorial Winner: Rod Jacobs - undefeated

Rodney Jacobs had rampaged through the first 6 rounds, and the only question was whether the “drawmeister” Patrick Cook could stop him. And stop him he did, in a careful manoeuvering game that ended in a draw. Jamie Brotheridge had meanwhile demolished a careless Kevin Perrin in an effort to profit from any slip by Rod. Rob Loveband defeated Sean Macak, making it clear that his dreadful start to the tournament was an aberration. Peter Wang couldn't cope with Harrison Harrison; Ruari Coffey brushed aside Dan Wang; Bas van Riel defeated an in-form Ben Naughton; and Andrew Wang fell to new member John Acxel. Several juniors started the tournament quite well, but were unable to maintain the pace : Tom Oppenheim took down Dylan Douglas, while Leonard Goodison disposed of Dylan's brother Kalen. So, Rodney Jacobs won the Spielvogel Memorial tournament for the first time, with Jamie Brotheridge 2nd, and Harrison Harrison, Rob Loveband, and Ruari Coffey sharing 3rd with 5 points.

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Begonia Open and U1200

We have a winner!

Two actually! GM Moulthun Ly and IM Stephen Solomon share first prize with 6 out of 7 in this year's Begonia Open. The new U1200 had 60+ participants and was won by Nathan Kong and Mohan Thandi.
Big thanks to Bill, Mike & Ruby, Eef, Josephine & Jason, Tom and all others who did a stint on the phones or canteen! Much appreciated!

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Spielvogel Memorial

Round 5 sees Rodney Jacobs consolidate his lead, undefeated, now a full point ahead of the pack. He will have to defeat Harrison in Rd 6 to hold his position - Harrison just had a great tournament at the Begonia Open, being the Club's top scorer. Rod will have his work cut out for him!

Round 6 on Thursday - all welcome. Come early for casual chess from 6:30 pm on!

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Recognise these faces?

The weekend of the 53rd Ballarat Begonia Open Chess Tournament is approaching fast! 37 years ago the members above were preparing for the big day, much as we do today; the committee meets regularly throughout the year, players and arbiters are contacted, venue and accommodation booked, amongst the myriad of details that have to be taken care of. Read the article here.

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Update! 2019 Schedule

17 January - Blitz #1 - 7 rounds of 5 minute chess. Speed up to start the year.

24 January and 31 January: Rapid Play 1, 25mns + 10 secs, 1 section: 7 round Swiss

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Australian Open Chess Championship 2019

8 current Ballarat Chess Club players participated in the Australian Open Chess Tournament held in Ashwood at the Box Hill Chess Clubrooms over the period between Christmas and the New Year. Bas, Patrick, Rob and Ruari played in the Open section, while Ben, Sean, Leonard and Justin participated in the Minor section. In the Open section, Ruari scored highest with 5 points and took out =1st in the U1800 section! In the Minor, Sean scored 5.5 followed by Leonard on 5 - a great result! Young minds dominated at all levels, challenging veterans and each other in both sections. There were no easy points to be had and draws were seldom accepted - it was to the death!! For the full results see the Open web site. There is a game database here for Ballarat players' games.

Some more pictures from the tournament

Australian Junior Championship 2019


Leonard and Justin Goodison will be competing in the Australian Junior Chess Championships in Sydney, to be held at Trinity Grammar School pictured above. Monday 14th to Tuesday 22nd, it's a long tournament but with a variety of activities to take part in. More information and entry can be found at the official web site here.

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Ballarat Chess returns

17 January - Blitz #1 - 7 rounds of 5 0 chess. All welcome.

24 January - Spielvogel Memorial Rd 1 begins.
Always hotly contested -last year Patrick won, followed by Ruari a half point behind.

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