Ballarat Chess Club History
The Nathan Spielvogel Era
After the references to chess activities in Ballarat stopped in the Australasian in 1872, the Ballarat Directory for 1875 reported that chess and draughts were listed among the activities of the Mechanics Institute.
Nathan Spielvogel noted in his compilation of the History of the Mechanics Institute, that in 1880 a chess club was formed and a room was set aside three nights a week for the exclusive use of the chess club members.
With the club meetings at the Mechanics Institute in 1865, 1875, 1885 and 1895 it seems the Institute’s record would be a good source of information for further researches.
A publication by E.I Rosenblum in 1926 briefly described the Ballarat Chess Club and some of its more notable members. T. Taylor and W. Tullidge played in Interstate matches. Lampe played in the 1888 Congress. It also mentioned that the club was revived on 12/12/1892 (N. Spielvogel) for 8 years.
The club’s best result during those years was a drawn match against an almost full- strength Melbourne Chess Club in 1894 (BvR. any reporting?).
Amongst its strongest players were J. Armstrong (3rd in the 1915 Victorian Championship and an Interstate player), N. Spielvogel (4th in the 1918 Victorian Championship and an Interstate player), and probably the best of them all Herbert Lockett, but business commitments kept him away from chess.
(The final reference for the 1800s is in the Australian Chess Annual for The Annual noted that “this is a club within the circle of members of the Ballarat Mechanics Institute and there is play daily”.)
After 1900, the Club faded away but it was reformed and very active in the mid-1920's, with an enthusiastic committee led by President J.C. Fletcher and Secretary N.F. Spielvogel. A Championship was played in 1924, which was won by a young Ernest Greenhalgh. The famous Ballarat versus Geelong matches were played in 1925 and 1926; this was no mean feat in an age long before mass transportation. In 2011, the Clubs revived the practice and now hold an annual Challenge match over 10 boards. In fact, the 2014 match was played in the very same room as that first historic match.
“ A very grave act of discourtesy, not to say tyranny, was perpetrated last night at the Mechanics’ Institute chess-room. Mr. Fisher, the well-known intercolonial chess-player, an old Ballarat citizen, now of Melbourne, had come by appointment with the Mechanics’ players, to play all the tables at once, giving each opponent a knight. Before the play was finished, a member of the committee, Mr. Rawlings, came into the room and put out the gas, saying he would not permit the play to continue beyond the usual hours. The room was full of members of the institute, all of whom took a great interest in the match, and several gentlemen offered to pay for any extra gas that might be consumed, fortifying their word by relighting the gas. Mr. Rawlings then ordered the gas to be turned off at the meter and the match was thus irretrievably broken up. An appeal was made that the small courtesy of permitting the match to continue ought to be conceded, but the appeal was rejected. We certainly think that, seeing that billiards, with some not perfectly desirable accompaniments, are permitted by the committee till midnight, the more innocent and more educative game of chess under such exceptional conditions as those of the match last night, should not have been prohibited; and we presume that the members of the Institute will have something further to say upon the matter at the proper time. What Mr. Fisher’s report will be to the Melbourne Athenaeum and chess players generally in that city, we leave to the evolution of events.”
The tournament of' the Melbourne Chess Club, which has been in progress for some time past, was brought to a conclusion in the club's rooms in the "Victoria Coffee Palace, on Monday evening. The two final players were Mr. C. N. Fisher and Mr. A. Burns, who competed for the chess championship of the Colony. The result was a victory for Mr. Fisher, who thus became the winner of the silver challenge cup. Mr. Fisher won every game which he played in the tournament, and Mr. Burns lost two games. Thus for the first time for years the championship has passed from Mr. Burns. The cup has to be won twice before becoming the property of any player.
Among the many clubs and amusements in Ballarat, not the least intellectual and refined is the Ballarat Chess Club in connection with the Mechanics’ Institute. It is the only chess club in Victoria outside Melbourne, and its promoters and officers deserve great praise for the energy and enthusiasm displayed in thus bringing the “ King of games ” to the front. The club has been formed but nine months, but still it has on the rolls over 30 subscribing members, all trying to bring more members, and all working for the interest of the game. The club has just concluded an interesting handicap tourney the first of a series of monthly tournaments, which was won by Mr Lockett; Mr Abrahams close up second. Another tournament commences this day, and among the list of entries are some of the best players in the district. The following handicaps have been declared:
Scratch—Lockett, Lampe. Pawn and move—Clarke, Abrahams, Brestow. Pawn and two moves—Crowe, Showman, Archer, Boake. Knight—Richards, N. F Spielvogel. Knight and move—Barker. Rook—S. Spielvogel, Knight.
The Ballarat Chess Club on Monday visited Learmonth to play a match with the local club. The Ballarat representatives—Messrs Power, Spielvogel (2), W. F. Gordon, and S. Mitchel —gained an easy victory, winning nine games out of 10. The tenth game resulted in a draw. The visitors were hospitably treated, and returned to Ballarat greatly pleased with their outing.
BALLARAT CHESS CLUB.
The annual meeting was held last week at the Mechanics’ Institute, when 12 members were present, with Mr J. L. Archer (the president) in the chair. The yearly report read by the secretary showed that the club was advancing. It mentioned that the chess congress of the Victorian Country Chess Association, which should have been held in Ballarat last Easter, fell through because of the rather awkward way in which arrangements had been planned. The executive of the Chess Association being in Bendigo and the affair to take place at Ballarat caused a lack of energy and enthusiasm. It is hoped to accomplish the matter next year. The treasurer furnished a statement of receipts and expenditure, showing 20 financial members, with the result that after paying prizes, trophies, and chess magazine, a balance of £2 5s remained in hand. All present wore pleased with the manner in which the club is progressing, and the election of officers for the ensuing year was proceeded with, resulting as follows:—President, Mr J.I. Archer (re-elected); vice-presidents, Messrs J. Rickard and A. W. Crowe (re-elected); treasurer, Mr R. R. Clarke (re-elected); secretary, Mr T. P. Jordan; committee (after a ballot), Messrs C. Gordon, H. Lockett, P. J. Brannagan, P. H. Lampe, and S. Spielvogel.The members hope to hold a chess club dinner at the conclusion of the tourney for the president's prize.
Mr S. Spielvogel (the brother of Nathan Spielvogel) was born in Ballarat, on 14th November, 1875. Before learning the game of draughts he was well known as a chess player, having won the gold medal of the Ballarat Chess .Club in 1894. When the Ballarat District Draughts Association was formed, about 3 years ago, he commenced the study of the game in earnest. In 1895, while secretary of the Ballarat City Draughts Club in association matches, he made 98 points out of a possible 100, having played 54 games of which he won 52, lost 1 and drew 1. The Ballarat City Draughts Club won the premier ship for that year. Mr Spielvogel is a great enthusiast in both chess and draughts, and is the life and soul of these games in the Ballarat district.
Also in 1925, the Club was visited by 12-time Victorian State Champion, Gunnar Gunderson, who gave a simultaneous exhibition, scoring 7.5-4.5; Nathan Spielvogel defeated him, while Ernest Greenhalgh held him to a draw. In the same year, the Club defeated a visiting team from Melbourne Chess Club.
The Ballarat versus Geelong and Melbourne Matches 1925-1926
Ballarat plays Geelong. From "The Ballarat Courier" 26 April 1925
"Strategist met strategist yesterday afternoon and evening when the chess club of the Mechanics Institute met players of the Geelong Institution in the rooms of the former body. It is some considerable time since the game has been locally played in an inter-city sense, and a great deal of interest centred in it. On Wednesday evening the visitors arrived and were met at the station by Ballarat players. The match commenced yesterday and at the end of the afternoon Ballarat were holding the fort with a substantial majority.
However, a truce was called about 6pm and during a brief armistice, the opposing sides fraternised over an excellent dinner at Brazenor’s Alexandria Café. Mr. H.G. Morrow (President of the Mechanics Institute) presided when the time came around for toasts. He admitted that his knowledge of chess was limited. In fact as far as chess was concerned he appealed for mercy with Messrs.Fletcher and Spielvogel (president and secretary of the Ballarat club). He had much pleasure in bidding the visitors welcome. The visit meant a revival of chess and he predicted a big future for the game as far as Geelong and Ballarat were concerned. It was a great and elevating social pastime. To him it was refreshing to learn the hold it had upon the men of Geelong.
Mr. J.C. Fletcher said that the more one knew of a subject the less one could say about it. He expressed pleasure at the large number of players who had come from Geelong. He trusted Ballarat would give Geelong a return match.
Mr. N.F. Spielvogel also welcomed the visitors. He was grateful he had learned what he knew of the game when a young man. He had played solo poker and auction but chess could beat the lot. A man could play it on his own without wasting time. Chess was a worldwide language and as far as the state of Victoria was concerned, he was never in a town where chess was not played. A Town v Country match should be played about September next, just as it was played about 1894. Or rather, he should say the intention of ’94 had proved abortive. It was pleasing to know there would be a return match.
Mr. Fallow (Captain of the visiting team) said Ballarat was a city where history was made and at the present time history was in the process of being made once more. Nothing similar to the present fixture had previously occurred between Geelong and Ballarat. He trusted this was but the first of many such matches and he looked forward to the return. Melbourne players would soon be visiting Geelong and there was no reason why matches should not be played by the three clubs and become seasonal events.
Mr. Sadeston spoke of the time when in the ‘70’s, the Geelong club had been formed with the late Sir Graeme Berry as president, and Melbourne sent their players to the matches then. His first game had been against Prof. Andrews and he won. Ballarat’s entertainment had been right royal and he hoped Geelong would be given the opportunity later on to reciprocate.
Mr. W.C. Little, in proposing the toast of the president, trusted that the movement would grow strongly.
Mr. H.G. Morrow responded and paid a tribute to the secretary (Mr. H.C. Batten), whom he said had done excellent work towards guaranteeing the success of the visit. He was apparently untiring. At the conclusion players adjourned to continue the match.
In about an hour H. Gordon scored first win for Ballarat. J. Hall won the next game, and T. Rauch won the third one. At the adjournment Gardiner (Ballarat) was leading 3.5 – 1.5. On resumption, the four top tables were all scenes of exciting play. Positions became intricate, requiring very careful watching to analyse.
At the top board Fletcher had valuable extra pawns in exchange for a piece. He pressed hard with these pawns and won.
At the second board Sabeston and Spielvogel (curiously enough both ex-headmasters from Wangaratta) had a strenuous fight which looked like a draw, but Spielvogel at last found a weak spot and drove it home, and won.
A long struggle took place at number three board between Odlum and Fallow. After over four hours of attack and counter-attack the game resulted in an honourable draw.
Another four-hour game was played at the fourth board between Greenhalgh and Fitzpatrick. It finished in a race for queen, and Greenhalgh got there first and won. The game at board six between C. Gordon and F. Glover looked very even, but the Geelong man worked up a good attack and won. H. Gordon won two games in good style from Dann, and Hall also showed good form by winning the two from Synot.
Rauch, of the Ballarat team helped to swell the score by winning two games gallantly from Hall. W.C.Little played well but found Holland too tough, and had to be content with one draw and a loss.
Dr. Wallace was the only Geelong man to secure two wins, though Martin gave him a good go in the second game. F Webb, at the eleventh board, playing very carefully wore his opponent, Nichterlein, down and won both games. The Geelong team, though defeated, proved themselves worthy foemen, and when playing on their own ground will certainly give Ballarat’s chosen men much more trouble."
J.C. Fletcher 1 R. Hitcher 0
N.F. Spielvogel 1 R. Sabeston 0
T.R. Odlun 0.5 L. Fallow 0.5
R.W. Greenhalgh 1 T. Fitzpatrick 0
C. Gordon 0 F. Glover 1
H. Gordon 2 T. Dann 0
J. Hall 2 M. Synot 0
T. Rauch 2 F.S. Hall 0
W.C. Little 0.5 G. Holland 1.5
B. Martin 0 Dr. Wallace 2
F. Webb 2 N. Nichterlein 0
Ballarat 12 Geelong 5
The Ballarat Courier 7th Sept 1925.
Ballarat plays Geelong.
Ballarat easily defeated Geelong in the return chess match on Saturday evening in Geelong. Of seven games played, Ballarat won five, drew one and lost one. Details:-
Greenhalgh 1 Hitchens 0
Odlum ½ Fitzpatrick ½
Spielvogel 1 Falls 0
Fletcher 1 Glover 0
Rauch 1 Wallace 0
Hall 0 Dann 1
Little 1 Synoit 0
The visitors were entertained at dinner on arrival. Mr.D.McLennon, president of the Geelong Mechanics' committee welcomed the Ballarat players, and Mr.Fletcher responded.
The Ballarat Courier 24th May 1926
Ballarat plays Geelong.
Ballarat defeats Geelong
On Saturday afternoon and evening at the club room in the Mechanics' Institute the annual match between the Ballarat and Geelong chess clubs was played. Unfortunately, Geelong brought only seven players instead of a dozen. At table one Odlum defended with a Sicilian against Keage. His defense was very sound but his opponent was stubborn, and it was only after three solid hours that Odlum secured a victory.
At table two Greenhalgh met the Geelong Keeleway, Fitzpatrick. The Ballarat man secured a good opening, and had a win in sight when he made an inexplicable blunder, and allowed his opponent to queen a pawn. This won the game for Geelong.
Fallow met Fletcher at board three and opened with an eerie-weird move known as the Geelong gambit. Fletcher was not disconcerted, but playing strongly secured a victory.
Spielvogel played a Vienna against Adams. He smartly won a pawn on the 6th move and another on the 15th move. He consolidated his pieces, and checkmated his adversary on the 40th move.
Wallace quickly secured his position against Webb, and at dinner adjournment the game looked bad for Ballarat. But Webb is best when he is hardpressed and by some clever strategic play secured a good draw.
Lancaster played Synot, and after some give and take got the advantage and had the honor of scoring first win for Ballarat.
Campbell played Robins. For a while the game was very level but Campbell took advantage of a weak move of his enemy and won a great game.
Wins Draws Wins
1 Odlum 0 Keage 0
0 Greenhalgh 1 Fitzpatrick 1
1 Fletcher 0 Fallow 0
1 Spielvogel 0 Adams 0
0 Webb 1 Wallace 0
1 Lancaster 0 Synot 0
1 Campbell 0 Robins 0
5 2 1
The visitors were entertained at dinner and supper. At the former the chair was taken by Mr. N.F.Spielvogel, President of the club and at the dinner by Mr. R. McGregor, President of the Mechanics Institute. A short toast list was given was given on each occasion.
The Ballarat Courier April 4th 1925.
The season was opened by the newly formed Mechanics' Institute Chess Club on Saturday night, when a match was played between teams chosen by the president and the secretary. At no.1 table Fletcher and Spielvogel had a great struggle. The latter won a pawn early in the game, but Fletcher playing very well managed to secure a draw. At the second table Odlum won both games from McKay, while at table 3, C.Gordon won both games from Lancaster. At table 4 a prolonged struggle was fought between Little and Webb. At the call of time the first game was not finished and was adjudicated in favor of Little. At table 5, Hall won his two games from Hassell. At table 6, Rees had a piece from Martin but just at adjournment time he lost his queen and the game.
The results were:
Wins Draws Wins
- Fletcher, J.C. 1 Spielvogel, N.F.-
2 Odlum, T. 0 McKay, G. 0
- Lancaster, A. 0 Gordon, G. 2
1 Little, C. 0 Webb, F. 0
2 Hall, J. 0 Hassell, T. 0
1 Martin, E. 0 Rees, W. 0
6 1 2
The Ballarat Courier July 20th 1925.
Melbourne versus Ballarat.
A team from the Melbourne Chess Club will visit Ballarat in August to play the local club. In preparation for this important match team matches will be played each Saturday night in the club room. All members should play in these as the team will be chosen from the most successful players
The two winter tournaments are now concluded. The Major Tournament which was not a championship as reported in the Metropolitan Press, was won by Greenhalgh, who won six out of seven, losing only to Fletcher. Fletcher, Odlum, and Spielvogel tied for second place, each losing one game and drawing two games. The Minor Tournament resulted in a tie between Webb and Lancaster. They played a match to decide and Webb won. He becomes an A player now.
A proposal has been made to play a series of correspondence matches against some NSW club.
Mr Rauch's class for beginners has not started operations, so there is yet time to hand names in the Library at the Mechanics' Institute.
The Ballarat Courier Aug 31st 1925.
Ballarat defeats Melbourne.
On Saturday night a team from the Melbourne Chess Club visited Ballarat and played a match at the Mechanics Institute against the local club. The match commenced at a quarter to eight and was finished at ten fifteen.
At board 1 Greenhalgh played Berman. He opened strongly, and quickly gained an advantage which he pressed home and secured victory.
At Board 2 Spielvogel found Keage a very cautious player, who watched very carefully. Spielvogel gained a pawn and had the better position, but through a weak move lost the pawn again and a draw was agreed on.
At Board 3 Odlum played Pearce, and soon got a strong position, gaining a good win.
At Board 4 Rauch and Biggs had a merry little game, which resulted in a draw.
At Board 5 Hall met Rev.Brain. After some steady play Hall sacrificed a piece for a mating position and won.
At Board 6 Lancaster met Colville. He played rather impulsively and got into a bad position and was forced to resign.
The match resulted in a win for Ballarat: 3 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss.
The visitors were entertained at supper at the Wattle Palais. Mr.McGregor, President of the Mechanics Institute was in the chair.. He proposed the health of the visitors, and said that chess must be a great cementer of friendships. He condoled with the losers and cordially hoped that they would be the losers in the return match.
Mr.N.F.Spielvogel spoke to the toast. He said the result was of little importance, but the match and similar matches must stimulate interest in the great game.
Mr.Biggs, humourously responded to the toast. He said they had one or two other players in the Melbourne Club. He knew all about Ballarat chess now and when the return match came there would be a different story.
The Ballarat Courier 27th May 1925.
Visit of Mr.Gunderson. Simultaneous Exhibition.
Members of the recently formed Mechanic's Institute Chess Club considered themselves highly favored when the Secretary (Mr.N.F.Spielvogel) received a reply from Mr.G.Gunderson accepting an invitation to visit Ballarat. Mr.Gunderson for several years was the chess champion of Victoria, and it was realised that exhibition games by him would be very beneficial to the club, particularly to those members who have taken the game comparatively lately. Instead of playing match games against one or two leading players Mr.Gunderson expressed his desire to give an exhibition of simultaneous chess, stating that if the club wished it, he would engage a dozen or more players at the one time. The strain which such a display entails can well be realised for concentration of thought is one of the essentials to successful chess.
Play commenced at half-past 7 o'clock, twelve boards being arranged in the smoke room of the Institute in parallel rows of six each. These were so placed that Mr. Gunderson could pass along the six boards on one side of the room, and then along to the other six without having to do undue walking from end to end of the room. Throughout the exhibition he was on his feet, so that the physical tax was no slight one. This combined with his having to adjust his mind to the state of the game at board after board, and move his pieces rapidly while his opponents had ample time to think out their respective moves, added to the severity of his task.
The Ballarat players in the order of which they sat were: Messrs. J.C.Fletcher, E.Martin., E.Greenhalgh, W.Pickford, H.Gordon, T.R.Odlum, A.Pascoe, F.Rauch, J.Hall, N.F.Spielvogel, F.Webb, and C.Gordon. Arrangements had been made for a number of spectators to witness the play, and they were greatly interested in the proceedings.
Play had been in progress for an hour and three quarters, before the first result was made known, the visitor claiming first win against Rauch. Five minutes later he had his second, checkmating Pascoe with the rooks in parallel files. At 20 to10 H.Gordon failed to keep his opponent's queen at bay, and lost. Five minutes later Gunderson proclaimed his game against Pickford a draw. The visitor had made an obvious error early in the game, and lost his queen, but by fine play he recovered from that disadvantage, and the game closed with each player having five pawns to support his king. Pickford, who is one of the latest members to take to the game, was warmly congratulated upon his effort. Webb was beaten at 10 o'clock. Fletcher was the first winner for the night amongst the locals. He had all the worse of the attack, being for some time on the defence. But after some time he succeeded in turning the tables on Gunderson and win in the end game. Gunderson opened with pawn to king 4, and Fletcher responded with an irregular opening.
Soon after the visitor resigned to Hall and made a draw with Greenhalgh. The next announcement was the defeat of C.Gordon followed by that of Martin. That left only Odlum and Spielvogel playing, but the end soon came, Odlum getting a draw and Spielvogel a win.
C.Gordon 0 Gunderson 1
J.Hall 1 Gunderson 0
E.Greenhalgh ½ Gunderson ½
E.Martin 0 Gunderson 1
W.Pickford ½ Gunderson ½
J.C.Fletcher 1 Gunderson 0
N.F.Spielvogel 1 Gunderson 0
F.Rauch 0 Gunderson 1
H.Gordon 0 Gunderson 1
T.R.Odlum ½ Gunderson ½
A.Pascoe 0 Gunderson 1
F.Webb 0 Gunderson 1
Prior to the start of play Mr.J.C.Fletcher, president of the club, received Mr.Gunderson, and expressed the pleasure which the members felt at his having come to Ballarat. Mr.Gunderson briefly responded. At the end of play a hearty vote of thanks was passed to him at the motion of Messrs.N.F.Spielvogel and T.R.Odlum.
Mr.Gundesrson said that he was amply repaid for his visit if it served to stimulate chess in Ballarat.
At the close of the evening Mr.Gunderson was entertained at the Wattle.
Minutes of the inaugural meeting of the Ballarat Chess Club held at the Mechanics Institute,
Ballarat on the 7th of March 1946.
Mr Spielvogel was elected to be the chair. Mr Spielvogel be elected President. Major Perdue be elected Vice-President Mr Douglas be elected Secretary-Treasurer.
The President called for a show of hands of those present who were always willing to become members of The Mechanics Institute, explaining that unless this condition were fulfilled, it would be an impossible for the person concerned to attend regularly. The vote showed that almost all present were willing Mr Glenn suggested that the championship be run in two divisions the runners-up the Venus of the section to play off.to become members not already so.
The President suggested that a night be set aside for meetings. After discussion Friday nights were considered most suitable and the members present agreed with the president that the opening night be Friday the 8th of March 1946. Start at 7:30.
Subscriptions were collected from those present: Messrs. N. Spielvogel, Archdeacon Best, Maj. Perdue, A. Best, A.P. Douglas, W.W. Spencer, Hall, L.M.Gunn, Restarick, T.H. Trengrove, F.Donaldson, A. Hyatt, J. Zuinlan (?), T.Hudson, J. Cook, R. Wilson.
Archdeacon Best moved that the Secretary buy a bound minute book. The President and Vice- president addressed the meeting and moved a vote of thanks to Mr Spencer for his enthusiastic work in getting the club formed. Carried with acclamation.
Mr Hall addressed the meeting and recalled previous chess clubs formed in the Institute. The President adjourned the meeting so that the members could play chess at 8:45 p.m.
At the annual meeting of the Ballarat Chess Club on the 14th of March, 1949, Mr N. Spielvogel was elected President. Mr Purdue said that Mr Spielvogel had held the club together over the years, and he hoped that he would be spared for many years to remain in office. Carried with acclamation.
Mr Glenn suggested that the championship be run in two divisions, the winners of the sections to play off.
The Argus Tue 15 Nov 1949, Page 11
The Ballarat Chess Club's annual championship tournament was won by Mr R. Wilson, who won 14 and lost 4 of the l8 matches he played. Runner-up was Mr J. Purdue and third Mr R.
Eldridge. Mr Wilson received a gold medal.
The minor tournament winner was Mr A. A. Turner, with Mr L. Gunn runner-up.
The 4th annual report of the Ballarat chess club the 21st of April 1950.
Once again this year those members who have attended our regular Friday night meetings have enjoyed the friendship and play.
Attendances, this year, have been slipping from the very high standard set in the past, which is to be regretted. Again this last year we have been fortunate in having the corporation of the Mechanics Institute in making available this room and equipment. And to whom our best thanks are due.
The Major tournament, this year, was won by Mr Wilson, who beat Messrs. Perdue and Glenn by 5 and 6 points, respectively. Mr Turner headed Mr Gunn in the Minor Championship, and the congratulations of the Club are proffered to the winners. d within the Club, it is a matter for regret that attempts to contact other country clubs with the thought of competition have ended in failure.
The annual meeting of the Ballarat Chess Club on 21st of April 1951.
Mr Perdue moved that Mr Spielvogel be re-elected with appreciated remarks on the excellent record of Mr President. Mr Glenn seconded and supported these remarks and added that there was likelihood of many good new players joining the club.
Regarding Championships, Mr Perdue suggested that the championship should take a shorter time. Other members seemed to think that the tournament could not be too abbreviated. Mr.Cook suggested that because of the credit balance we should obtain a chess clock.
The annual meeting was held at the Mechanics Institute on April 17th 1953, when Mr O. Glenn was elected President and L.M. Gunn in his absence was elected Secretary. It was decided to hold a District Championship during the winter months. This commenced in June and extended until the end of the year. An elimination contest was played, leaving 8 players to play off for the Championship and those eliminated played off for a Minor Championship.
The result of the Championship was as follows: J. Lesins 8.5; A.Shuya 8; R.Wilson 7; J. Melderis 6.5; W. Adams 5; J. Licis 4.5; E. Bauers 2.5; Aldridge withdrew.
The Minor Championship result was: O. Glenn 8.5; L.Gunn 7; J.Perdue 6.5.
At the beginning of the season a match was arranged against the Venta (=Latvian M’bourne club; via Teters? ed.BvR) club and played at the YMCA on a Saturday afternoon. It resulted in a win for the Ballarat Club. Most members of the Venta Club joined forces with the Ballarat Club and met regularly at the Mechanics Institute.
During the year Mr Arthur Teters joined the club and played in the Australian Open Championship held at Melbourne over the Christmas holidays, and he succeeded in becoming joint holder of the Australian Championship. A very good performance and one which the club wishes to congratulate him on obtaining against strong players.
*ed BvR. This is factually incorrect. It probably refers to another Latvian, Karlis Ozols, who jointly won in M’bourne in 1957. Why was this entered into the minutes of 1953 though, one wonders...?