Begonia Open

Every March

Country Chess

VRCL Championship

Ballarat Chess Club - chess for everyone!

Spielvogel Memorial

The first major tournament of the year will start on the 7th of February at the CLub. Please express your interest in participating, to one of the members of the tournament committee: Rob Loveband, Jasan Barnett, Ben Naughton, Rob Bailey or Bas van Riel. Read More

Rapid #1

23 players showed up for the 1st Rapid Play tournament of the year. A good turnout so early in the season. Harrison Harrison won undefeated with 5.5/6, conceding a draw to Kevin Perrin in the last round. Patrick Cook scored 5/6, losing to Harrison in round 5, while Kevin Perrin finished with 4.5/6. Ruari Coffey, Justin Goodison, and Sean Macak ended on 4.

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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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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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Ballarat Chess 1991-’93 Chess column by Bas van Riel in The Ballarat Courier.

From April 1991 until March 1993, Bas wrote a fortnightly chess column for the Ballarat Courier. It was a reflection of the many aspects of chess, which fascinated him during that period. Because he was deeply involved in the local chess scene, his reports invariably included the activities of the Ballarat Chess club on a regular basis. In its totality, his contributions present a detailed historical snapshot of the Club in those years. Included are reports of the Begonia Tournaments, the Country Victoria Championships and the Ballarat Club Championships, Interclub competitions, school-chess, and about the people involved.
Bas has kept all the newspaper clippings throughout the years, and he has now scanned them with the main focus on local content. The scans combined are now part of the History project of the Ballarat Chess Club (in progress).

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Today's Puzzle

(If using an iPad, work out the answer and check by hitting the hint button - uses Java so better on a PC)


2019 Programme Updated

After consulting with members at the AGM, convening a committee and consulting committee members opinions on the first draft, a second and hopefully final draft has now been published on the Programme page. We tried to avoid holding major tournament games during school holidays, tried to include a simul or lecture, and broke up the long championship schedule with a blitz in the middle. Probably not perfect, but we're working on it!

Ballarat Junior Chess page updated with 2018 news.

Are you in the News? Clarendon, Mt Pleasant, Buninyong and Mt Clear news....

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 New to Chess?

A great site for learning the basics from a cool video, improving your chess with puzzles, and playing against QWERTY the chess computer, check out

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Join the league, climb the ladder

Come a little early and play a 15min League game

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Cassandra Barnett has resuscitated the Chess Chatter Newsletter and you can read it here! Submissions accepted gratefully, send to -

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