Epilogue: Bas van Riel wins championship
So the 54th Ballarat Chess Club championship was won by Bas van Riel with 9/11, in a great display of high class chess, and great determination after his early set backs. This is Bas' 8th title victory, and he now joins Patrick Cook as the Club's “Champion of Champions”!
Ruari Coffey finished 2nd with 8/11, but might consider himself unfortunate not to be Champion himself after “going off the boil” towards the end. Patrick Cook and Harrison Harrison finished joint 3rd with 7/11.
Ben Naughton is the 2019 “Reserves” Champion after finishing with 8/10. 2 players withdrew (although the results of 1 player do count), resulting in only 10 rounds. Ben earns a place in next years 'A' group.
Kalen Douglas won the 'C' group as previously mentioned, and earns a place in next years Reserves Championship.
The last round, and just 2 games would decide the final tournament standings.
Peter Miitel took on tournament leader Bas van Riel, who needed only a draw for tournament victory. A Reti Opening, Peter found himself in a difficult position straight out of the opening, and resigned after just 18 moves, rather than face a lengthy torture.
Ruari Coffey versus Harrison Harrison was the usual weirdness from Harrison, but this time he was severely punished, finding himself 2 pieces down with no compensation after just 14 moves. He didn't survive long, with his King checkmated in the middle of the board after just 23 moves.
Caitlin Barnett met Patrick Cook in a Nimzo-Indian, Classical variation. Tactical alertness won Caitlin a pawn in the early middle game, whereupon she promptly offered a draw. The 8-time Champion had no reason to decline. After the game, Caitlin, in a reference to her 7 draws in the tournament, made the amusing comment “The draw mistress drew with the draw master”!
Jamie Brotheridge, who withdrew last week but quickly recovered from his personal issues, returned to the fray and faced Rodney Jacobs in a Slav-like game. These 2 fighters vied for an advantage, but after Rodney missed the chance to win a piece in the middle game, the game quietly ended in a draw.
Cassandra Barnett met Rob Loveband in a Queens Gambit Declined. Not much happened in the game, and the players agreed a draw in an equal middle game.
Robert Bailey faced veteran Kevin Perrin in the latter's old favourite Scandinavian Defence. In a reminder of his real strength, Kevin outplayed Rob to establish a dominant position. Rob resigned in the face of serious material loss.
In the Reserves, leader Ben Naughton took on junior Louis Douglas, and was very lucky to survive after a brilliant Queen sacrifice by Louis won a rook. Sadly, he handed it back gratis shortly after, and the game ended in a draw.
After a 2 week break for the 2nd Rapid Play tournament, the Championships resumed. Sadly, one player, Jamie Brotheridge has withdrawn, for personal reasons, but his results will count.
Kevin Perrin met Peter Miitel in an English Opening. Tactical alertness by Peter in the middle game won him a pawn, and his strong technique enabled him to convert the advantage.
Bas van Riel faced Caitlin Barnett in a Pirc Defence. Bas built up a strong initiative, and he soon won material, and eventually made it count, despite Caitlin's usual strong resistance.
Patrick Cook versus Ruari Coffey was a Queen's Gambit Declined. Patrick gained a positional edge in the middle game and in his usual fashion, used it to obtain a winning endgame and pocket the full point. A major set-back for Ruari.
Harrison Harrison versus Jamie Brotheridge was a win by forfeit for Harrison.
Rodney Jacobs versus Cassandra Barnett, and Rob Loveband versus Robert Bailey were postponed.
Meanwhile, a number of postponed games have been played.
Ruari Coffey versus Caitlin Barnett began as an English, but quickly transposed into Caitlin's favourite Benoni Defence. Caitlin daringly sacrificed a piece in the middle game to obtain 3 connected passed pawns on the Queen side, but fell to a King side mating attack before she could make them count.
Bas van Riel, returned from overseas, has played his 3 postponed games.
Bas van Riel versus Robert Bailey was a Sicilian Najdorf. A tough, theoretical duel, Bas eventually prevailed in a Rook and pawn endgame.
Bas van Riel versus Rodney Jacobs was a Spanish, Schliemann variation, a home cooked special from Rodney. In a wild game, Rodney obtained a massive material advantage, and seemed on track for a big win, before overlooking a mate and crashing to defeat.
Ruari Coffey versus Bas van Riel was another Pirc Defence. Ruari avoided main theory, and after a series of imprecise moves, found himself a double exchange down. He never recovered, and Bas went on to defeat his main rival in the tournament.
So with 1 round to go, Bas van Riel now leads with 8/10, followed by Ruari Coffey and Harrison Harrison on 7/10. Ruari and Harrison meet in the last round, and a Bas versus Ruari or Harrison play-off is still possible!
The Reserves is still unclear, but Ben Naughton has the best chance, leading with 7.5/9, followed by Peter Wang and Sean Macak on 6.5/9 and Kiki Dunn on 5.5/8.
The 'C' grade, for the John Abson Shield, has been won by Kalen Douglas (see Kevin Perrin's excellent
Only 3 games in the Championship were played on the night. Cassandra Barnett met Harrison Harrison who defended with an almost conventional Old Indian. In a positional game, Cassandra could make no headway against Harrison's strong play and Black went on to win comfortably.
Caitlin Barnett fared better against Peter Miitel in a Benoni-like structure, maintaining material equality until a draw was agreed after 18 moves. White may even have had an edge at the end.
Jamie Brotheridge met Patrick Cook in an Alekhine Defence. White seemed unprepared, and quickly drifted into an awkward position which Black smoothly exploited to gain a decisive material advantage. Patrick wrapped up the full point shortly after.
Rob Loveband versus Kevin Perrin was played earlier. Robert Bailey versus Rodney Jacobs, and Ruari Coffey versus Bas van Riel were postponed.
The Reserves is somewhat confused, with the title still up for grabs. Ben Naughton leads with 6.5/8, followed by Kiki Dunn on 5.5/7, Peter Wang and Sean Macak on 5.5/8, and Tom Oppenheim on 5.5/9.
Kevin Perrin met the qualifier Caitlin Barnett in a Pirc Defence. Caitlin showed good, solid chess against
her experienced opponent, and was rewarded with a well fought draw.
Miitel faced tournament leader Ruari Coffey and essayed the Reti. It was a short, sharp game, with Peter
offering a draw after 15 moves that Ruari surprisingly accepted.
met his tormentor from last year, Cassandra Barnett, and played an English Opening. Patrick showed his
best qualities, gaining material early, and playing precisely thereafter to haul in the full
Harrison Harrison versus Robert Bailey was a sort of weird reversed King's Indian. White gained some
King-side pressure before offering a draw on move 20, to Rob's surprise, who happily
Bas van Riel versus Jamie Brotheridge, and Rob Loveband versus Rodney Jacobs were both played
Meanwhile, 2 postponed games were played during the
week. Cassandra Barnett played her sister Caitlin Barnett.
Caitlin's offer of a Benoni was sidestepped by Cassandra and a careful manoeuvring game was the result.
It never strayed from equality, and was eventually agreed a
Patrick Cook faced
his oldest rival Kevin Perrin in their 35th
Championship tournament game! In a Dutch Defence, Patrick
gained a material and positional grip early, and went on to crush his hapless opponent.
(The score? 17
wins, 11 draws, 7 losses in Patrick's favour.)
In the Reserves, Ben
Naughton and Kiki Dunn lead with 5.5/7, with Sean Macak, Tom Oppenheim, and Peter Wang following
on 4.5/7. All these players have a postponed game.
In the 'C' group, Dylan Douglas
maintains the lead on 5.5/7, ahead of Michael Schreenan and Dan Wang on 5.
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.
The games begin.
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.
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.
met Cassandra Barnett in a Reti Opening. The game never strayed far from equality, and duly ended in a
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.
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
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.
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
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
Round 3 was a dramatic night of chess, with all played games decisive, and some important to the
Harrison Harrison took on top seed Bas van Riel. It was a typically surreal opening by Harrison that
seemed to bamboozle Bas who resigned after just 13 moves when he realised that he could not prevent the
loss of a piece and pawn. Rodney
Jacobs faced Peter Miitel in a French Tarrasch. Rodney built up a good position, winning a pawn in the
process, but burnt a lot of time in trying to find a winning continuation, and under pressure allowed his
advantage to slip, and somehow even managed to lose! Rob Loveband met
Caitlin Barnett in a Pirc Defence. With sensible, logical play Rob gained an edge and soon cashed in,
winning the exchange and going on to a smooth victory. Robert Bailey versus
Ruari Coffey was a Sicilian Najdorf that quickly transposed to a Richter-Rauzer. A feisty game, full of
tactics, and when the smoke cleared, Ruari emerged with a Bishop for 3 pawns and soon converted to a
Cassandra Barnett faced Jamie Brotheridge in a Semi-Slav. A tactical miscalculation in the early middle
game by Jamie shed a piece, and he never recovered in the face of precise play by Cassandra.
Patrick Cook versus Kevin Perrin was
postponed. Meanwhile, the round 8 game Bas
van Riel versus Jamie Brotheridge was played in advance. Another Open Sicilian, with both players
striving for the advantage after castling on opposite wings. In a moment of inattention, Bas resigned,
thinking he was getting mated. In fact he could escape, and may even have had a slight edge! A disastrous
week for the top seed. In the Reserves, Sean Macak and Ben Naughton
had good wins to jointly lead on 2.5/3, followed by Peter Wang on 2/3.
Veteran Kevin Perrin met Cassandra Barnett in his old favourite English Opening. In a reprise of his best years, Kevin quietly and determinedly ramped up the positional pressure until Cassandra cracked and resigned after major material losses.
Jamie Brotheridge faced Robert Bailey in an Open Sicilian. In a sharp and lively game, Jamie launched a direct attack on Black's King and Robert resigned after getting lost in the tactical complications.
Ruari Coffey took on Rob Loveband in a closed line of the French Tarrasch. Rob won a pawn in the early stage, but it was advanced and vulnerable. Neither player could make much of the position and a draw was agreed.
Caitlin Barnett met Rodney Jacobs who launched into the ultra-aggressive Albin Counter Gambit. He found Caitlin well prepared and she kept the extra pawn throughout a tough, well played game. Rodney thought himself fortunate to hold a draw.
Peter Miitel faced Harrison Harrison and showed a hint of his former power, rapidly building a dominating position. Harrison is nothing if not slippery and inventive, and after Peter missed some tactical ideas, Harrison pocketed the point.
Bas van Riel faced his old rival Patrick Cook in an off-beat French. An interesting, even, positional game resulted, with Patrick eventually confident enough to offer a draw (as usual!). However, Bas found a clever idea that surprisingly quickly led to a winning game.
In the Reserves, hot favourite Sean Macak found Justin Goodison to be a handful and was lucky to draw, while Peter Wang defeated Chantelle Barnett to seize the lead.
Bas van Riel met Kevin Perrin in a main line Spanish and a real strategic battle with tactical nuances was
the result. The game showed all Bas' strengths: he kept the initiative throughout, and grabbed his chances
when they arose to score a good win.
Patrick Cook faced Peter Miitel in a Semi-Slav. These two old rivals played carefully and agreed a draw
after just 16 moves.
Harrison Harrison took on Caitlin Barnett in her debut in the Championship. White played a typically
bizarre invention in the opening, but strong middle game play gave him a winning endgame, before a
horrible blunder dropped a rook and pawn, resulting in Harrison's immediate resignation.
Rodney Jacobs versus the fast rising Ruari Coffey was a French, Tarrasch variation. A great fight ensued,
with both players trying for the advantage. Late in a complex middle game, Rodney's sense of danger
deserted him, and Ruari pounced to score an important win.
Rob Loveband faced Jamie Brotheridge in a Caro-Kann. Rob wheeled out an off-beat line and proceeded
to demolish the hapless JB in the game of the round!
Robert Bailey met Cassandra Barnett in a Sicilian. Rob tried an unusual line of the Morra Gambit, but
gained nothing, and the game fizzled to a draw.
In the Reserves, the important pairing Tom Oppenheim versus Sean Macak was a Sicilian Najdorf, with
Sean prevailing in an interesting battle; while Chantelle Barnett fell surprisingly easily to Ben Naughton
in a Reti Opening.
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.
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.