57th Club Championships 2022

2022 Club Champion: Scott Stewart

A Group
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Epilogue

While the Championship title was decided in Round 11, there was still the matter of some postponed games and the Reserves and 'C' grade titles to be determined.
2 of the unplayed games were duly played! Vipin Jyani versus Peter Stickland from Round 10 was a London System that proved to be a tough and absorbing game that ended in a draw after 39 moves.
Jamie Brotheridge versus Kevin Perrin from Round 9 was a Spanish. Kevin gained an advantage in the late middle game with sprightly play, but slipped in the subsequent tactics and fell to a painful defeat that left him in last place for the tournament!
2 games, Vipin Jyani versus Scott Stewart from Round 5, and Angus Blenkiron versus Vipin Jyani from Round 11 were annulled.
The play-off game Michael Leckie versus Xavier Demmert  to decide the Reserves and(!) the 'C' grade Championships was also played. The two met in Round 4 of the Teters Memorial, and it was agreed that the game would also count as their Championship play-off. Surely a unique occurrence in the Club's history! The game was suitably dramatic, with Xavier snatching victory from a difficult position to win the John Baynham Memorial “Reserves” Championship 2022. Congratulations. This meant that James Emselle, as the next highest scoring eligible player, wins the John Abson 'C' grade Championship 2022. Congratulations also.

Scott Stewart with the Trophy.

Michael Leckie plays Xavier Demmert (on right). Patrick presents medal to James Emselle (right)

Round 11

The last round of the Championship, and the title race is still theoretically open!

Earlier in the week, Scott Stewart played his postponed Round 4 game versus Om O'Carroll. Om played a Sicilian and Scott went for the rare Wing Gambit. Om grabbed the pawn, but soon found herself seriously behind in development. This enabled Scott to quickly ratchet up the pressure, and he soon overwhelmed Om in a brutal display of power chess. It also put Scott on the verge of tournament victory.

Jamie Brotheridge took on Scott Stewart in a Sicilian. Jamie was careful, Scott was cautious, and the result was a short, painless draw, handing Scott his 3rd Ballarat Chess Club Championship.
Kevin Perrin met Paul Dao, who was still theoretically in with a chance at the start of play. Kevin tried an old line of the French, but his play was a bit too careless and loose, and Paul soon had a material advantage which he efficiently converted to a win.
Bas van Riel faced Om O'Carroll in another Sicilian. It was a tough positional struggle that went long into the night. Bas tried hard to break through, but Om resisted and was rewarded with a draw.
Peter Stickland versus Julies Feinberg was a Morra Gambit. Jules accepted the pawn and simply kept it, fending off all Peters inventive attempts to justify the sacrifice. Jules soon had a decisive material advantage, and finished the game with a clever mate.
Angus Blenkiron versus Vipin Jyani was postponed.
Patrick Cook had the bye.

A few games have not yet been played, but they have no bearing on the outcome. So Scott Stewart has won the 2022 Andy Miitel Memorial Championship title undefeated (so far!). Congratulations.

In the Reserves, Xavier Demmert won to order against Anna Yates to tie with Michael Leckie, and they will now play off for the 2022 John Baynham Memorial Reserves title.

Round 10

The tournament is nearing the finale, and for at least three players, the remaining games are crucial to their chances.
Paul Dao took on the always dangerous Jamie Brotheridge in a Sicilian Dragon. Early in the middle game, Jamie offered a tacit draw with a repetition of moves. Paul played on and managed to win a pawn, but Jamie held his nerve and eventually regained the pawn, whereupon a draw was agreed.
Scott Stewart faced Bas van Riel in a Classical Pirc Defence. A very complex game ensued, with both players manoeuvring for the advantage. It all ended suddenly when Bas discovered to his dismay that his Queen was trapped.
Om O'Carroll met Angus Blenkiron in a Closed Sicilian and another manoeuvring game was the result. Om carefully and patiently gained the upper hand before reaching an endgame with 2 connected passed pawns on the Queenside. Angus kept fighting and soon had a passed pawn of his own which he pushed through first to win a dramatic game.
Julian Feinberg versus Patrick Cook was an English Opening in which Patrick uncharacteristically went for sharp play. In a wild and murky position, he seemed to gain an advantage but missed some important nuances and it was Julian who emerged from the fog with a decisive advantage.
Vipin Jyani versus Peter Stickland was postponed.
Kevin Perrin had the bye.
Meanwhile, the postponed Round 9 game Patrick Cook versus Vipin Jyani was played. A Queens Gambit Declined, it showed Patrick at his best with subtle positional play. He was in the process of forcing a repetition when he spotted a nice tactic that won the exchange, and soon after he liquidated to a winning pawn ending.
No games were played in the Reserves and the title is still undecided.

Round 9

The new top rated player Angus Blenkiron met top seed Scott Stewart in an important clash. It began as a Bird's Opening (1.f4...), but quickly transposed to a Closed Sicilian where the early running was with Angus. In the middle game melee, he bungled the tactics, giving Scott 2 Bishops for a Rook. Thereafter Scott was patient, relentless, and accurate, and not even the collapse of the table! could save Angus from defeat.
Bas van Riel versus Paul Dao was another important game, between the oldest player and the youngest player! A Queens Gambit Declined, it was a positional struggle that quietly reached a rook and pawn endgame where Bas failed to grab his chance for a probably winning advantage, opting instead for a pure pawn ending that proved to be drawn.
Pater Stickland took on Om O'Carroll in a Morra Gambit. Peter went straight for Om's throat, sacrificing a piece in the Opening for some dangerous threats. Om had great difficulty in developing her pieces in the face of Peter's relentless pressure, and she collapsed after he sacrificed a 2nd piece! for a brilliant attack. An excellent 1st win for Peter.
Patrick Cook versus Vipin Jyani and Jamie Brotheridge versus Kevin Perrin were postponed.
Julian Feinberg had the bye.
2 postponed Round 8 gamess were also played during the week. Scott Stewart met Peter Stickland in a Sicilian Dragon. Peter has shown himself to be an inventive attacking player and conjured up numerous threats which Scott handled comfortably, before reaching an easily winning rook and pawn endgame.
Paul Dao versus Angus Blenkiron was another Closed Sicilan, with the players trading blows, until Angus once again missed a tactical shot and dropped a piece. Paul was relentless and efficient in hauling in the full point from there.
In the last round of the Reserves, Julian Laffey was demolished in just 15 moves by Michael Leckie, while Xavier Demmert versus Anna Yates was postponed. Thus, Xavier must beat Anna to force a play-off with Michael for the 2022 John Baynham Memorial Reserves title. Even if he fails, Xavier would still win the 2022 John Abson 'C' grade title!

Round 8

The 2nd oldest player in the field, Kevin Perrin, faced the oldest player Bas van Riel in a Sicilian that suddenly lurched into an off-beat line of the venerable King's Gambit! Bas eventually grabbed the offered pawn and kept it throughout a tough, complex game, going on to score the full point.
Vipin Jyani met Jules Feinberg in his favourite London/Torre System, but didn't get much with it. Indeed, Jules sensible positional play enabled him to round up an extra pawn in the middle game. This was quickly followed by another pawn and then the exchange to boot, prompting a discouraged Vipin to resign.
Om O'Carroll took on veteran Patrick Cook in an English Opening. The Opening stage resulted in an equal position prompting Patrick to unsurprisingly offer a draw. Om ignored the offer, but then dropped a pawn and opened up her King. Patrick then went over to the attack and was rewarded with an excellent victory.
Jamie Brotheridge had the bye.
Paul Dao versus Angus Blenkiron and Scott Stewart versus Peter Stickland were postponed. This enabled Peter and Paul to play their postponed Round 7 game. A French Tarrasch, it was again a case of Peter showing himself to be underrated in a fighting game. He missed a tactical shot in the middle game, however, and dropped a piece. Paul smoothly converted from there.
Also played during the week was the important postponed Round 2 game Paul Dao versus Scott Stewart. A fashionable Sicilian Najdorf with subtle tactical motifs galore, it nevertheless smouldered to an early draw.
So, with 3 rounds to go, the situation at the top is a little confused. Bas van Riel is the nominal leader with 6.5/8, but he could be caught or overtaken by either Paul Dao on 5.5/7 or Scott Stewart on 4.5/5.
In the Reserves/C group with 1 round to play, Michael Leckie and Xavier Demmert lead on 5.5, with Anna Yates, Tom Oppenheim, and Julian Laffey still in with a chance on 5.

Round 7

Veteran Patrick Cook faced top seed Scott Stewart in a Reti. The opening gradually transposed to a Fianchetto King's Indian, and as is his wont, Scott went for a direct attack on Patrick's King. He gained a strong initiative with his constant tactical threats, and soon converted this to a winning material advantage, whereupon Patrick resigned.
Angus Blenkiron took on another veteran in Kevin Perrin and launched a Scotch Game, a rare guest  in the Championships. It was a blow for blow fight until Angus found a nice combination to net a pawn. He quickly liquidated to a rook and pawn endgame, won another pawn and forced Kevin's resignation.
Bas van Riel, another veteran member of the old guard, met Jamie Brotheridge in a Benoni! Bas made his intentions clear from the get go, hurling his pawns forward in a direct attack on Jamie's King. His bravery and excellent judgement gave him a great position that he converted in great style.
Jules Feinberg versus Om O'Carroll was a battle of positional specialists. Julian opted for a Reti, double fianchetto, and an absorbing struggle ensued. Jules gained space and a slight edge, and kept it throughout the game. Deep in the endgame he found a nice sequence that won decisive material and the game.
Peter Stickland versus Paul Dao was postponed.
Vipin Jyani had the bye.

Meanwhile 2 postponed games were played during the week. Patrick Cook versus Bas van Riel, from Round 3, was a King's Indian, Averbakh variation. The 2 protagonists have played each other many times, and went for a fight with castling on opposite sides. Bas gained some pressure on the Queen side, but Patrick's defence proved sufficient to hold a draw.
Kevin Perrin versus Peter Stickland from Round 6 was a Bird's Opening (1.f4...), continuing Kevin's love affair with the f pawn! It was a fighting game, with both players trying to get at the others King. Kevin sacrificed a pawn at the cost of an unsafe King, but Peter could find nothing better than a repetition, and forced a draw.
In the Reserves, Michael Leckie took a half point bye, while Anna Yates scored a good win over Julian Laffey to join Michael in the lead. Tom Oppenheim stumbled in a winning position against Ryan Zhang, allowing the youngster to snatch a draw. 

Round 6

Jamie Brotheridge faced Angus Blenkiron in an open Sicilian. The opening stage was feisty and even until Jamie inexplicably gave away a pawn. Later, in the middle game, Angus simply blundered a piece to hand Jamie a winning advantage. Soon after, Jamie missed the opportunity to win Angus' Queen and finish the game. Instead, Angus regained the piece, Jamie declined a perpetual check, and went on to lose a strange game.
Paul Dao took on veteran Patrick Cook who indicated that he was in a fighting mood by once again playing Alekhine's Defence. In a main line four pawns variation, Patrick appeared to get his move order wrong and soon lost a piece. Thereafter, Paul was precise and ruthless, finishing off the 8-time Champion with a crisp checkmate.
Om O'Carroll met Vipin Jyani in a Caro-Kann Exchange variation. In the middle game, Vipin found a nifty combination that netted a pawn and left Om scrambling for some counterplay. It only made the position worse, and Vipin soon won a piece and the game.
Scott Stewart versus Jules Feinberg was a fashionable Sicilian Najdorf and an uncompromising struggle full of tactical motifs ensued. The outcome remained unclear until, late in the game Jules sacrificed his Queen, thinking he would immediately regain it with a mate threat. He missed an obvious riposte, and resigned on the spot.
Kevin Perrin versus Peter Stickland was postponed.
Bas van Riel had the bye.
In the Reserves, Anna Yates fell to Michael Leckie who now leads with 4.5, with no fewer than 4 players (Anna Yates, Tom Oppenheim, Julian Laffey, and Xavier Demmert) a half point behind.   

Round 5

Jules Feinberg faced young Paul Dao and played the Reti. It quickly transposed to a Tarrasch Queen's Gambit and a dour positional struggle ensued. Jules then went astray in the middle game, dropping the exchange, and then a pawn. Paul efficiently cleaned up from there.
Angus Blenkiron versus Bas van Riel began as a Pirc, but quickly transposed to a Sicilian. Bas gained an edge and kept it throughout a complex game that eventually reached a Queen and pawn endgame. Bas was able to sidestep any annoying checks and push home his material advantage to score the full point.
Peter Stickland took on Jamie Brotheridge in a weird French/Caro-Kann hybrid. Peter bravely sacrificed material in a direct attack on Jamie's King, but it proved insufficient in the face of his careful defence. Peter resigned when his attacking options had vanished.
Patrick Cook squared off against his great rival Kevin Perrin in their 40th(!) Championship encounter (38 tournaments plus 2 play-off games in 2014). Once again, Kevin played the Dutch Defence, determined to get an unbalanced game with chances. He got his wish, and with aggressive play launched a dangerous attack. Patrick held on and when the smoke cleared, he had reached a winning endgame a piece for 2 pawns to the good. He won without trouble from there. (The overall score? 20 wins, 8 losses, 12 draws in Patrick's favour).
Vipin Jyani versus Scott Stewart was postponed.
Om O'Carroll had the bye.
In the Reserves, Ryan Zhang fell to Anna Yates, while Tom Oppenheim defeated James Emselle. Anna and Tom remain joint leaders on 4/5, with Michael Leckie a half point behind. Also of note is a first win for 6 year old Anna Dao who scored a nice checkmate against Osoble Ali.

Round 4

Bas van Riel faced Peter Stickland in a Sicilian Dragon. In an uncompromising game, the players castled on opposite wings, and launched immediate attacks. Bas was quicker, and despite missing several forced mate sequences, managed to score the full point.
Jamie Brotheridge met his old rival Patrick Cook in a French Tarrasch. In an effort to avoid any preparation, Patrick opted for the Classical line, but found himself in an uncomfortable position and lashed out with a suspicious looking pawn push. Jamie decided not to test it, and offered a draw instead. Never one to let a draw go by, Patrick accepted after a short think.
Kevin Perrin took on Jules Feinberg in another open Sicilian. In the middle game action, Kevin sacrificed a piece for 2 pawns, which quickly became 3 pawns with a 4th in his sights. Jules was unimpressed, rounded up a couple of the pawns and went on to make his material advantage count.
Paul Dao faced Vipin Jyani in a Caro-Kann Defence. Paul won a pawn in the early middle game, and then another shortly afterwards with a nifty combination. Paul had no trouble making his advantage count in the ensuing rook and pawn endgame.
Scott Stewart versus Om O'Carroll was postponed.
Angus Blenkiron had the bye.
In the Reserves Anna Yates played a powerful game against leader Tom Oppenheim to join him in the lead, along with junior Ryan Zhang who beat Julian Laffey.

Round 3

Jules Feinberg took on tournament early leader Jamie Brotheridge in an English Opening. The play was even until Jules gained some dangerous pressure against Jamie's King and won a pawn. He then liquidated to a rooks and pawns endgame that Jamie was unable to hold.
Vipin Jyani faced veteran Kevin Perrin in a Dutch Defence. It was a lively game, full of sharp tactics and subtle manoeuvring, before Vipin blundered a piece in the middle game action. Kevin had no trouble pushing through his advantage from there.
In the battle of the youngsters, Om O'Carroll met Paul Dao in a French Defence, 2 Knights variation. Paul pressed early and eventually won a pawn in the middle game. Om remained calm and focused and managed to regain the pawn as well as seize the initiative, before playing a brilliant and precise endgame to haul in the full point.
Peter Stickland versus Angus Blenkiron was a Sicilian, Morra Gambit that quickly morphed into an Alekhine-like structure. It was a fighting game, with Peter belying his lowly rating. Angus was patient and alert, and trapped Peter's King in an awkward position, before finishing with a clever mate.
Patrick Cook versus Bas van Riel was postponed.
Scott Stewart had the bye.
In the Reserves, the 2 leaders met, with Tom Oppenheim triumphing over Xavier Demmert to now lead outright with 3/3. 

Round 2

Bas van Riel took on Jules Feinberg in a major theoretical Sicilian Najdorf battle. After making their intentions clear with opposite sides castling, Bas launched his pawn storm first and breaking open the Black King's defences. Bas then gave up his Queen for 2 rooks and piece and went on to a nice win.
Angus Blenkiron faced Patrick Cook who left his French Defence at home, opting instead for the Alekhine Defence. It was a feisty game until Angus blundered a rook in the middle game action. He played on, but was never given a chance before Patrick finished the game with a nice looking mate.
Jamie Brotheridge met giant-killer Vipin Jyani in a Caro-Kann Defence. It was a tough, but very even struggle throughout, with Jamie offering a draw 3 times by the time they reached a Bishop versus Knight ending. Vipin thought he could win by rerouting his Knight, only to discover to his horror that he had merely gifted his piece to Jamie! He resigned shortly after.
Kevin Perrin faced Om O'Carroll and an English Opening quickly morphed into a Semi-Slav Defence. Another even, positional struggle, until Om spotted a nice tactical shot that netted a pawn. The ensuing endgame looked very holdable with Bishops of opposite colours on the board, but Kevin blundered the exchange and promptly resigned.
The big showdown between Paul Dao and Scott Stewart was postponed.
Peter Stickland had the bye.
In the Reserves, Tom Oppenheim and Xavier Demmert won and have raced into the lead with 2/2. 

BCCC Jamie and VipinBCCC Jamie and Vipin, Kevin, right Om, Nick and Tom

Round 1

Top seed Scott Stewart took on veteran Kevin Perrin in Kevin's old favourite Scandinavian Defence. It resembled a Slav Defence rather quickly, with Black having a cramped position. Scott won a pawn in the middle game and set about making it count. Kevin resisted and even managed to regain the pawn, but found himself in a lost endgame which Scott had little trouble winning. Vipin Jyani met Bas van Riel in a London System. A tough, even struggle ensued with Vipin pushing for the initiative. When Bas decided to castle Queenside, he was rapidly brushed aside by a nice attack against his castled King. Patrick Cook faced Peter Stickland in a Tarrasch Defence. Patrick tried hard to break down Peter's excellent play, with the “drawmaster” even declining a late draw offer from Peter, before finally accepting a draw by repetition. Jules Feinberg met Angus Blenkiron in an English Opening, Anglo-Dutch variation. Angus quickly obtained a substantial space advantage, but Jules didn't panic, finding some nice moves to maintain the balance. The game duly ended as a draw. Om O'Carroll played Jamie Brotheridge in a quiet line of the Sicilian. Om won a pawn in middle game play, and set about a slow, steady squeeze of Jamie's position. In a rooks and pawns ending, Om lost the thread, before resigning in a Rook versus Queen ending that might still be drawn! Paul Dao had the bye. In the B/C tournament, Anna Yates, Tom Oppenheim, Nigel Block, Xavier Demmert, among others, got off to a winning start.

BCCCBCCC OverviewJules, Patrick and Gus, right overview of the activities

Prologue

The 2022 Ballarat Chess Club Championships is the 57th in our long modern history, and as has been the case in recent years, is in 3 sections. The 'A' group for the Andy Miitel Memorial has 11 players competing in a round robin event, while, in a departure from recent practice, the 'B' (Reserves) for the John Baynham Memorial, and the 'C' for the John Abson tournament, will be a combined 9 round Swiss, with the 'Reserves' title going to the highest scoring player, and the'C' title going to the highest scoring player rated 700ACF or below.
Top seed in the Championship is 2-time Champion Scott Stewart. Scott is head coach in our Junior Club, runner-up last year, and Champion in 2020. An exceptionally dangerous attacking player, with an eye for sharp tactics, he is deservedly favourite to add another Championship title this year.
2nd seed is veteran 8-time Champion Bas van Riel. Schooled in the strong Dutch chess tradition, he is a strong all round player, who last won as recently as 2019, and definitely cannot be counted out of contention.
3rd seed is youngster Paul Dao, playing just his 2nd Championship tournament. Hugely talented and winner of last years Country Victorian Championship (Reserves) title, he is a genuine contender for the title.
4th seed is our Club President, 8-time Champion Patrick Cook, playing his 38th Championship tournament. The “drawmaster” is a solid positional player, and difficult to beat. If he is in form and plays with ambition, he could add another title to his haul.
5th seed is Julian Feinberg. A veteran of the 1970's Waverley Chess Club, Jules is another solid positional player who can beat anyone on a good night.
6th seed is our Treasurer, and the doyen of Ballarat Chess, 7-time Champion  Kevin Perrin, playing his 57th Championship tournament, an extraordinary record. With vast experience, and an undying love of our game, he is always a contender, despite his last title win being in 1989, before half the field were even born!
7th seed is Om O'Carroll, another talented junior, who is already coaching beginners in our Junior Club. Also a strong positional player, she is ever ready to pounce on any mistake by her opponent, and is another genuine contender for the title.
8th seed is Jamie Brotheridge. A veteran of many Championship tournaments, Jamie is a feisty, aggressive player well armed with ideas in the opening, and capable of defeating anyone in the field.
9th seed is Peter Stickland, new to the Club and bravely stepping into the heat of the Championship battle with the aim of improving his play.
10th seed is another newcomer Vipin Jyani. His seeding is a rating aberration, since he has already shown himself to be a very strong player in earlier competitions.
11th seed is Angus Blenkiron, also playing his 1st Championship. Angus' seeding is even more of an aberration, due to his not yet having an ACF rating. Already a respected coach in our Junior Club, he is another strong 1st time entry in the event.
So, with 4 former Champions and a swag of ambitious newcomers and youngsters, an exciting Championship tournament is in store.
The Reserves tournament also has many newcomers, but the experienced trio of Tom Oppenheim, Anna Yates, and Nigel Block are the players to watch, while in the 'C' group newcomers Xavier Demmert and James Emselle are a real chance.                                                      

News May 2022

The club championships are our major internal event of the year and will be conducted over 2 divisions to cater for all levels of players. The A grade has 11 players and is a round robin event whilst the B and C grade section will be a combined Swiss style tournament held over 9 weeks. The A grade pairing schedule and all results are available here.

News April 2022

The club championships are our major internal event of the year and will be conducted over 3 divisions to cater for all levels of players. The A grade and B grade sections are restricted to a maximum of 12 players each and these divisions are for the higher rated players. They will be conducted as round robin events whilst the C grade section will be a swiss style tournament. That allows greater flexibility for players who are not available each week and is also an introductory level event to encourage newer players and juniors to compete. The C grade will be held over 7 to 9 weeks depending upon the number of entries received.
The round robin format for A & B grades provides an opportunity for players to catch up an unplayed game if they are absent for a week. To assist with smooth running of these tournaments please advise me by email or text message if you will be absent on a Thursday so as I can alert your scheduled opponent. The player who requests the deferral is then obliged to make arrangements for a catch-up game or else a forfeit will have to be awarded at the end of the tournament.
All financial members plus juniors attending the coaching sessions are eligible to compete. There are no entry fees and prizes will be awarded for each division. The players in the A and B grade sections will be based on the most recently available ACF ratings. As usual the prior year B grade champion who was Andrew Vincent has earned the right to participate in the A grade and Vivaan Solanki last year’s C grade champion has also earned the right to play in B grade this year.

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News

The A group plays for the Andy Miitel Championship trophy, the B group for John Baynham Reserves title, and the C group for the John Abson Tournament title, renamed in 2019. Andy Miitel was a former club president who was instrumental in revitalising and reconstituting the club in the mid nineteen sixties. John Baynham was an important club administrator in the late sixties and early seventies, and John Abson was a stalwart of the club until health issues recently hampered his attendance.