2015 Fletcher Morrow Tournament


Ballarat Chess Club travelled to Geelong on Sunday 9th August for the 5th annual 10 board challenge match between the two clubs. After Geelong’s narrow victory in 2014 at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute, we were hoping for revenge in 2015. The match was played at the Geelong Chess Club rooms in its usual friendly but competitive atmosphere, and Our Club did indeed triumph with an excellent score of 6.5-3.5. Seven of the players, Michael Sugrue, Rodney Jacobs, Rob Loveband, Reza Daneshvar, Patrick Cook, Andrew Wemyss, and Kevin Perrin have played in all five matches, with Michael Sugrue remaining as the only unbeaten player amongst this special group. The overall results are now 2 match wins apiece, with 1 tie, and a 26-24 board score in our favour. Before leaving Geelong, nine of the Ballarat players gathered at a local pizzeria for pizza, coffee, and celebration, adding a welcome social aspect to this important event on our competition calendar. Several of the games in the Chess Microbase have annotations, and particularly of interest is Board 1 game Michael Sugrue (Geelong) vs. Bas van Riel (Ballarat)

Ballarat Regains Fletcher Morrow Shield

Geelong Report by B.Kersten

The 2015 Fletcher-Morrow Chess Challenge saw Ballarat regain the coveted Shield from Geelong, taking the honours with a convincing 6.5 to 3.5 win against the home team. The visitors showed steady consistency across all ten boards; even the drawn matches were hard-fought, with James Watson and Patrick Cook showing gritty resolve to stave off defeat. Likewise on Board 1, Bas Van Riel weathered an early onslaught from Michael Sugrue to secure a draw, himself coming within a whisker of turning the tables:

White: Michael Sugrue (Geelong)

Black: Bas Van Riel (Ballarat)

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.O-O dxc5 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bb5+ Kf8 10.Bf4 a6 11.Bc4 Nc6 12.Qd2 Bf5 13.Rfe1 Rd8 14.Qc1 b5 15.Bd5 Nd4 16.Be4 b4 17.Bxf5 gxf5 18.Nd1

18 … b3! A bolt from the blue. White’s next move is forced. 19.Ne3 Nxe3 20.Nxd4 Nxc2 21.Nxc2 bxc2 22.Qxc2 e6 23.Rad1? Rd5 24.Ra1 1/2-1/2 To explain white’s odd last move – Bas had offered a draw after playing 23 … Rd5. Ignoring this, Michael raised his rook from d1 to play 24 Rxd5?? before noticing the parlous state of his other rook. His hand froze in mid-air. He then meekly returned the rook to d1, slid it across to a1 and himself offered a draw, duly accepted! Geelong’s only winners were Reza Daneshvar and Mio Ristic, both working hard against determined opponents – Mio’s game being the last one to finish. As the only Junior competitor in the field, Jack Smith of Geelong performed well against the more experienced Chris Segrave. Playing the black pieces, Jack uncorked a discovered attack to gain the upper hand:

18 … Nf3+! 19 Qxf3 Bxa1 and Chris had to work hard to hold on for the win. Next year Geelong travels to Ballarat, hopefully to rebalance the ledger!


The board pairings and results were as follows:

Board 1 : Michael Sugrue (Geelong) vs. Bas van Riel (Ballarat) draw

Board 2 : James Watson (Ballarat) vs. Zoran Babic (Geelong) draw

Board 3 : Barbaros Kara (Geelong) vs. Rodney Jacobs (Ballarat) 0-1

Board 4 : Rob Loveband (Ballarat) vs. Reza Daneshvar (Geelong) 0-1

Board 5 : Owen Courtis (Geelong) vs. Robert Bailey (Ballarat) 0-1

Board 6 : Patrick Cook (Ballarat) vs. Andrew Wemyss (Geelong) draw

Board 7 : Mio Ristic (Geelong) vs. Kevin Perrin (Ballarat) 1-0

Board 8 : Tim Commons (Ballarat) vs. Ben Kersten (Geelong) 1-0

Board 9 : Paul Wendrich (Geelong) vs. Michael Tausz (Ballarat) 0-1

Board 10: Chris Segrave (Ballarat) vs. Jack Smith (Geelong) 1-0

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Ballarat Geelong Challenge

In 2011 we hosted Geelong Chess Club for Round 5 of the Victorian teams tournament, and at the suggestion of Geelong President Ben Kersten, a match of 10 boards, in the spirit of the famous 1925 and 1926 matches, was arranged, with the top 4 boards counting for the teams competition. Before play commenced, we were presented with a copy of Andrew Wemyss’ splendid history of Geelong Chess Club. The original Ballarat Geelong tournaments were held at the Mechanics' Institute. The revived tourney is being held annually and the teams vie for inscribing their name on the new Fletcher Morrow Shield, donated by Bill Stokie.