Chess Report 2018 by Rob Bailey
What a fine consistent year it has been for Clarendon's chess club. Reflecting upon 2018 reveals many positive learning experiences and satisfying achievements for our ever large and diverse contingent of players. Most notably we will remember 2018 as the first time that the school has qualified for all three divisions of state finals (Open Secondary, Middle Years and Primary) making it very much a landmark year for competitive play.
Clarendon was host to the first inter-school tournament in March. Buninyong Primary won the primary division by a mere half point from Clarendon. Om O'Carroll, Jake Frka, Brandon Ling, Zachary Spencer, Oliver Finch and Vishnu Neralla all performed well with 5/7. The Open Secondary division was a clash of the titans’ affair with Bacchus Marsh Grammar. Clarendon won convincingly with a score of 24.5-16. Leading the campaign was experienced National Finalist Ahnaf "the Naf" Chowdhury. The 'Naf' scored an impressively dominant 7/7, leading the OS team cheerfully into the state finals. The MY team placed second and was led by brother Anber who as top scorer with 5.5/7, finished 6th place individually.
The second major interschool event of the year was also held at Clarendon in June. In the Open Secondary division, Clarendon marched to a second victory over Geelong Grammar with a near perfect result of 27 out of 28 points. Liu Yang, George Yang and Sam Duthie all scored 7/7. In the Middle Years, Clarendon took out first place from St Pats and Mt Clear Secondary College in a wonderful result. Dylan Douglas, Nathan Ling, Kalen Douglas and Raine Liu all shined brightly with 6 wins each.The middle-years competition also saw the return of Sean Macak who had a splendid tournament, winning it outright individually with 7/7. The primary division was closely fought with Mt Blowhard Primary winning by half a point in one of the true romantic chess stories of the year. Confident JS rising star Kanishk Mahasuar scored 5 in a team that placed 3rd; still chasing its state finals qualification.
The key tournament for Clarendon's primary team was a successful chess adventure to a cold wintery Macedon in August to support perennial rivals Candlebark. A small super team consisting of Om O'Carroll, veteran Oliver Finch, Jake Frka, Kanishk Mahasuar and Vishnu Neralla put in a stellar performance to finish equal first with hosts Candlebark, ensuringqualification to state finals for the third year in a row. A Middle Years team also played extremely well on this day, winning by a clear point to make our player quotient for state finals 8. Kalen Douglas was the leading player for the team with 5. Josh Cronin 4.5, Soham Patel, Anber Chowdhury and Eric Chen 4.0. A terrific day!
The team in the Open Secondary State Finals consisted of "the Naf", Louis Douglas, Mansimran Loyal, Liu Yang, Zachary Ciaveralla, Jacky Chen, George Yang and Sam Duthie. All players found the competition very tough and challenging but battled valiantly to finish 17th place from 29 schools. Ahnaf and Louis scored 5/9 whilst Manny and Yang each bagged 4.5/9.0, effectively tripping over each other in the attempt to hit the 1000 performance rating. The gap to finishing in the top 10 and Nationals qualification was just 2.5 points!
The calculated attack of Clarendon primary team on the state finals was sadly compromised by the shock loss of rising star Om O'Carroll and the unavailability of highest rated player Jake Frka. Play-off matches were set up to decide their spots, creating excitement and competitive spirit. The final team was led by Oliver Finch with Kanishk Mahasuar, Louis Zhao, Vishnu "Vishy" Neralla and James Nguyen. The emboldened new team played excellently to finish 18th place from 50 schools, two places higher than last year; a 3.5 gap from Nationals qualification. Vishnu and Kanishk thrived and flourished on the day, scoring 5.5/9.0 both equalling the highest ever primary player score by Branden Pham and Ned Blenkiron in 2016.
The Middle Years State Finals in October was very satisfying to play, with the team finishing 16th from 24 schools. Soham Patel, Kalen Douglas, Anber Chowdhury, Dylan Douglas, Raine "the Professor" Liu, Jack Timms, Josh Cronin and Nathan Ling took on the competition with chessic vigour and wilful honesty. Soham put in an excellent performance with five wins in a row, taking out two Melbourne High players on the way. All players had a game scored to take away as a memory of the day. One of the highlights was a miniature played by Anber Chowdhury and is featured at the end of the report. Play it out for yourself to see the beautiful smothered mate!
There were also two friendly matches in 2018. The senior school club took on the relatively new club at Saint Pats in an amiable afternoon social match, whilst the primary team met Buninyong PS, a relationship which hearkens back to a tradition first started in 2012. Clarendon were the humble victors in both events and we hope to conduct more such matches in the future.
A small team of Clarendon's female players were also able to compete in the Lauriston Girls Cup this year; playing against some of the best girls in the state. Om O'Carroll took this opportunity by the proverbial crown and scored 6, finishing 3rd individually and helping the team finish a very credible and excited 4th overall. Aiko scored 4.5, Amrit, Anushka and Chloe got 4.0 whilst Julienne scored 3.5, Dhanya 3.0. Hopefully we will do this again in 2019!
After three full years of chess at the JS, our player ranks boast remarkable depth, with many players looking to make the transition to the senior school club next year to further bolster the primary ranks. The prep-yr 2 club on Wednesdays has always operated at capacity and it has been a true pleasure to witness its growth and observe the students learning Adeline Tran and William Cartwright demonstrated fine skills early and were a joy to teach. These players have already made their way into the Thursday group and certainly represent the future of our club. Thank you to all parents and teachers who continue to support the role of chess in education! See you over the board in 2019!
Anber Chowdhury (760) vs Ebel Korah (1040) (MY State Finals 2018 R1)
1. e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Nf6 5. 0-0 g6 6. Nd5!? Nxe4? 7. Re1 Ng5?? 8. Nd6#(checkmate)
JS Beginners Semester 1:
JS Beginners Semester 2:
1st: Judd Quinlan
2nd: Hannah Zhao
3rd: Saesha Rana & Nethu Liyanapathirana
JS Semester 1:
1st: Kanishk Mahasuar (A rising star in Junior chess!)
2nd: Marley Sutherland (A regular at the Ballarat Chess Club)
3rd: Julian Porteous & Henry Prior
JS Semester 2:
1st: Kanishk Mahasuar
2nd: Louis Zhao, Will Luo
3rd: Bosco Ju & Henry Prior
Pawns & Knights Semester 1:
1st: Om O'Carroll
2nd: Thomas Lin
3rd: Jessan Salazar
Pawns & Knights Semester 2:
1st: Paida Ndoro & Nathan Ling
2nd: Raine Liu & Afif Chowdhury
3rd: James Nguyen
Rooks & Kings Semester 1:
1st: Ahnaf Chowdhury
2nd: Mansimran Loyal
3rd: Tom Playsted
Rooks & Kings Semester 2:
1st: Ahnaf Chowdhury
2nd: Sam Duthie
3rd: Soham Patel