Only four games were played in the final round. James Watson, a full point ahead going in, out-manoeuvred a well-performing Paul Marko in the late middle-game and ended the tournament at 6.5 points, two points ahead of the field. Rob was absent but still finished second on 4.5 points as fellow runners up, Bas and Justin both lost their last round games. Patrick took full advantage of a blunder by Bas on move 30 to force a resignation from Black. and Justin fell to the enigmatic Harrison. In the Reserves, Kanishk Mahasuar also finished 2 points ahead of the nearest competitor, with a marvellous picket-fence win, 7 of 7! He will undoubtedly be a serious contender in next year's event.
In Round 6 James cemented his spot at the top with a win against Justin, while the other 2 people a point behind him scrabbled to keep in with a chance. Rob beat Bas after time trouble caused Bas to make a sub-optimal move, and that puts him a point behind James on 4.5, with one round to go. Kanishk continued winning, taking another point, this time from Lucas, building a picket fence on his way to the top.
Round 5 was a round of very short games on the top boards: James as black made short work of Bas who went astray in the opening. Harrison fell foul to a mating attack in the opening, prompted by several weird moves trying to 'make a word', and Paul was mated by Kevin in another miniature. In the Reserves, Kanishk continued in fine form to defeat Shanaya, and Lucas overturned Nigel in an upset.
No surprises this round. James defeated Paul in a nice game - Paul dropped the ball on move 18, allowing James to swap a Q for 2 R, followed up by a lovely pawn push sacrifice which if taken would gain access to both his rooks to the 8th rank. After avoiding that quick death, Black was overwhelmed after White's pieces all ganged up nicely on the pinned Bishop.
Vic Country Championship Reports
Over the weekend, 38 players descended upon Geelong for the Victorian Country Chess Championship, with people coming from as far afield as Warrnambool, Yarrawonga, Shepparton and Swan Hill. There were large contingents from Geelong and Ballarat, with Bendigo being represented by four players, Leigh Healey, Garang Manyuon, Ivan Trinidad and Nigel Barrow.
Harrison, Bas and James all down only a half point after three rounds. Bas was not quite able to convert the slight advantage of having both bishops into a win against Paul D. Upsets included Justin beating Patrick, Declan overcoming Vipin, and Paul M getting the point from Kevin. Kanishk and Trevor at the top of the leaderboard in the Reserves.
An excellent entry of 30 players, including a number of juniors who stayed after the Junior Club coaching, lined up for Blitz # 4. Top seed was Paul Dao, with Angus Blenkiron, newly minted Life Member Bas van Riel, speed King Jamie Brotheridge, and Patrick Cook in the mix as well. Paul Dao duly finished 1st , with a splendid score of 6.5/7, Patrick Cook had an excellent night and finished 2nd with 6/7, Jordan Furlong, Justin Goodison, and Harrison Harrison managed 5/7, and Vipin Jyani scored 4.5/7. A chasing pack of 5 players finished with 4/7. The 5th and final Blitz for the year is scheduled for December 14.
The first round of the Koelle Tournament was played on Thursday night with 18 players in the A grade and 21 in the Reserves. Top seed and Club champion, James Watson, drew with Jamie Brotheridge, and in the Reserves Dan Rolls also held Tom Oppenheim to a draw.
Come along next week to join in, even if you were unable to play last week. See arbiters Peter or Anna, and register before 7pm if possible. If you are registered and know you will be there but late, please contact Peter on 0408115778 or Anna 0409418405, to ensure a spot on the night.
This years Arthur Teters Memorial has a very encouraging starting list of 36 players, headed by Scott Stewart, with Jordan Furlong and Paul Dao as 2nd and 3rd seeds. The round 1 results went as expected, except for Vipin Jyani who crashed to defeat against our 'C' grade Champion, young Declan Mahar. The round 2 results were even more dramatic, with Peter Stickland taking down Jordan Furlong, Tom Oppenheim snatching a draw from Bas van Riel, Jasan Barnett scared Patrick Cook into offering a draw, which he accepted, and Anna Yates resisting Rob Loveband for another draw. The mayhem continued in round 3 with Bas van Riel falling to excellent play by Jasan Barnett, Declan Mahar finding a great final move to defeat Jamie Brotheridge, and Vipin Jyani being unable to overcome junior Kanishk Mahasuar for another upset draw. After 3 rounds, Paul Dao, Michael Leckie, and Peter Stickland lead with 3/3, with Patrick Cook and Jasan Barnett lurking just behind on 2.5/3.
Captain's Report: The 13th
annual match between Ballarat Chess Club and Geelong Chess Club for the
Fletcher-Morrow Shield was played on schedule on Sunday 13th August, 2023. Ballarat was the host this
year, and the games were played in the splendid Humffray Room at the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute. In
the days prior to the match, the 2 Clubs agreed to 11 boards, with the top 10 only counting for the score,
but upon arrival, it transpired that Geelong could only muster 10 players. Just before play commenced,
that number dropped to 9 when the Geelong board 4 advised that he could not play. The 2 Captains
quickly agreed to stick with the team lists, with Ballarat receiving a forfeit on board 4, the only forfeit in
the history of the matches!
As has been usual in recent years, Geelong heavily out rated us, but despite this, Ballarat scored a triumphant 7-3 victory! The overall score is now 8-4 with one tie in favour of Geelong. With Kevin Perrin absent, the Ballarat team Captain, Patrick Cook, is now the only player to have played in all 13 matches!
As was reported earlier, O’Carroll, our club member and Australia’s Under 16 chess champion, was selected to represent Australia in the FIDE World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad. The first round of this huge tournament was played yesterday in Eindhoven, the Netherland. They will play 9 rounds from 12-19 August. Australia has entered two teams of 4 players each, and are seeded 33 and 44, respectively of 63 countries. There is a fantastic site (https://youtholympiad2023.fide.com/) to follow the proceedings, including daily livestreams, commentaries, results, pairings, photos, daily progress reports and most of the games played. Also Chess.com and Li.chess show the games live on https://www.chess.com/events/2023-world-youth-olympiad-u16/games.
The Australian1 team had an excellent start being paired against the first seed Kazakhstan, considering the huge difference in ratings. They scored three draws on the top-boards and lost on board 4. As reported on the site:
Top team Kazakhstan 1 had a significant challenge against Australia 1. Boards 1-3 ended in draws, with only the game between WCM Cheng (Australia) and WIM Nurmanova (Kazakhstan) ending in favor of the favorite. After an inaccuracy in black’s opening, white seized control of the dark squares. This became evident when the white knight landed on d6 on move 12. With control over these dark squares, the white player didn’t let go of the advantage. With a devastating king’s attack and a beautiful final combination, white decided the game.
Nurmanova, Alua (2252) - Cheng, Chao Xin (1748)
FIDE World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad 2023 (Eindhoven), 13.08.2023
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be2 Bb4 7.O-O a6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.e5 Nd5 10.Ne4 Le7 11.c4 Nb6 12.Nd6+ Bxd6 13.Qxd6 a5 14.Be3 Bb7 15.Qd4 Nc8
16.Qg4 Ne7 17.Bc5 O-O 18.Rfd1 Re8 19.Qd4 d5 20.exd6 Bf5 21.Qg4 Qd7 22.b3 Bc8 23.Qh3 Qb7 24.Bd3 Bd7 25.Re1 Rad8 26.g4 Nh6 27.Be3 f5 28.Bxh6 gxh6 29.Qxh6 Bc8 30.c5 fxg4
31.Re5 Qf7 32.Bxh7+ Qxh7 33.Rg5+ Kh8 34.Qf6+ Qg7 35.Qxg7 1-0
Om and her Australia 2 team were outclassed by a very strong Ukrainian team, seeded 12th. Om played a very sensible, game against a much higher rated player. Up to the very last the balance was never broken, but she buckled in the endgame.
O'Carroll, Om (1284) - Kovalskyi, Roman (1989)
FIDE World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad 2023 (Eindhoven), 13.08.2023
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.d4 Bg7 6.Nbd2 cxd4 7.Bc4 Qd8 8.Qb3 Nh6 9.cxd4 O-O 10.O-O Nc6
11.d5 Na5 12.Qb4 Nxc4 13.Qxc4 Bg4 14.h3 Rc8 15.Qb3 Bxf3 16.Nxf3 b6 17.Bf4 f5 18.Rac1 Rc5 19.Rfd1 Qa8 20.Ne5 Nd4
21.Rxd4 Rxc1+ 22.Bxc1 Bxe5 23.Re4 Bf6 24.Te1 Qc8 25.Bh6 Rd8 26.Qb5 Qd7 27.Qxd7 Rxd7 28.Rc1 Rd8 29.Rc7 e6 30.Rxa7 exd5
31.b3 d4 32.Rb7 d3 33.Bd2 Bd4 34.g3 Kg7 35.a4 Kf6 36.h4 Ke6 37.Rc7 Bc5 38.b4 Bd4 39.a5 bxa5 40.bxa5 Rb8
41.a6 Rb2 42.Bf4 d2 43.Bxd2 Rxd2 44.a7 Ra2 0-1
Over 40 players! registered to play in the 2nd Rapid tournament for the year, with Club Champion James Watson the top seed. But once again, it was Paul Dao who blitzed the field, scoring a fantastic 6/6, with Patrick Cook and Jordan Furlong following at a respectful distance on 4.5/6. Paul Marko, Scott Stewart, Vipin Jyani, Anna Yates, and Peter Stickland finished on 4/6.
The last round of our 2023 Championships, and both the Champions title and Reserve Champions title
were still up for grabs! Three important games would decide.
James Watson, joint leader, took on giant killer Jordan Furlong in an Old Benoni. It proved to be a feisty, complicated game, with tactics galore. James gained the advantage after winning an exchange, with precise play keeping up the pressure before Jordan inexplicably fell into a mate in 1!
Veteran Bas van Riel met the other joint leader Paul Dao in a French Advance variation, and a dour positional struggle ensued, before Bas blundered away the exchange. His experience and determination kept him alive, and frustrated Paul's efforts to find a decisive continuation. This prompted Bas to offer a draw, which Paul amazingly accepted, handing James Watson the title, and ending his chance to become the youngest ever Ballarat Chaampion.
Defending Champion Scott Stewart, no longer in the race, faced Rob Loveband in a London System and a lengthy manoeuvring tussle was played. Tshey eventually reached a Queen and pawn ending that was agreed a draw.
Peter Stickland versus Vipin Jyani was a Scotch. Peter is still experimenting with various openings, and was unable to make this one work for him in the face of Vipin's classy play.
Om O'Carroll versus Kevin Perrin was not played, and all Om's postponed games have been deemed forfeited. A sad end to the tournament for Om who began as one of the favourites!
Patrick Cook had the bye, but did play his postponed Round 6 game against Rob Loveband earlier in the week. A French Exchange (no surprise!), the players quickly vacuumed the board before agreeing a draw.
In the Reserves, leader Michael Leckie met Justin Goodison who was just a half point behind, and for the second year in a row, Michael stumbled in the last round and had the title snatched from his grasp!
So, this exciting and very competitive Ballarat Chess Club Championships have ended on schedule. Congratulations to the 'Andy Miitel Memorial' Ballarat Champion James Watson, who adds a second Championship title to his resume; Justin Goodison wins the 'John Baynham Memorial' Reserves title, and can play in next years Championship tournament; and Declan Mahar wins the 'John Abson Tournament' for the 'C' grade title, and is promoted to next years Reserves event.
Club Champion: James WatsonJohn Baynham Memorial winner: Justin GoodisonJohn Abson Tournament winner: Declan Mahar
The chess table in the photo (which is part of a collage of portraits of old BMI members) is possibly one of those still in use in the BMI Library on the ground floor. The date of the picture, at a rough guess, is believed to be between 1866 and 1875. C.J. Harvey (shown on the picture), J.Tatham (on the collage) and W.D. Battan (secretary of the BMI, on the collage and who presented the collage to the BMI in 1910) were active chess-players in 1866-67. They played, amongst others, in the infamous Smythesdale handicap-chess tournament, which lasted 8 months, and ended in controversy. More...
Om has been chosen to represent Australia in the team for the U16 World Youth Chess Olympiad:
https://www.fide.com/calendar/53082 There is a special fund-raising tournament at Box Hill Chess Club on Sunday July 9th. The details are on their website and viewable here. It is their usual Sunday Rookies event but all the entry fees from that tournament will be donated to raise funds for the following 4 players. Entry via Trybooking here...
Chao Xin Cheng (Box Hill)
Chloe Fan (Box Hill)
Randheer Thogata (Box Hill)
Om O'Carroll (Ballarat)
Om will be playing in the Gold Coast Open on that day, but I am hoping that a number of Ballarat players will make the trip to Box Hill. If any member can’t play, then maybe they could consider donating the entry fee to the appeal via our club who will be supporting Om.
Congratulations to Om O'Carroll for a great effort in the Vic Open over the long weekend! She earned equal second in the rating prize group with a score of 5 out of 7. Justin Goodison also did well with some good wins against higher rated opponents garnering 3.5 points, and Peter Stickland and Vipin Jyani also from Ballarat Chess Club made 2.5 points on their first Vic Open. Well done all!
Jordan Furlong, happily leading the tournament with Paul Dao, took on 3-time Champion Rob Loveband in a 4 Knights Game. An even, but complex, position arose and Rob offered a draw after 30 moves. Jordan played on, creating problems for Rob who buckled under the pressure and dropped a piece and the game.
Vipin Jyani met Kevin Perrin and these two fighters slugged it out in a complicated game until Vipin in a classic case of chess blindness walked into a mate in one. Top seed James Watson versus Om O'Carroll was a Slav, and a very technical positional struggle ensued. James' depth of knowledge and understanding eventually prevailed in a hard-fought game. Peter Stickland met veteran Bas van Riel in a Pirc. Bas won a couple of pawns with dynamic play early on, but Peter was not without chances and made use of them to stay in the game, eventually reaching a rook and pawns ending that was agreed drawn.
Patrick Cook versus Scott Stewart was postponed. Paul Dao had the bye.
Round Four: Top seed Scott Stewart, smarting after last weeks loss, took on tournament high flyer Jordan Furlong in a London System. Scott made it clear that he's still the Boss with an emphatic win. Kevin Perrin met Paul Dao in an English, but couldn't repeat his heroics from last week, going down to Paul's relentless pressure. Om O'Carroll versus Patrick Cook was an unusual French Winawer. The players castled on opposite wings, and Om quickly marshalled her forces for an attack on Patrick's King. Read more...
The 58th Ballarat Chess Club Championships has a splendid entry of 38 players, divided into our now usual 3 sections. The top players compete in a round robin tournament for the title of Ballarat Champion in the Andy Miitel Memorial. The rising players also compete in a round robin tournament for the title of Reserves Champion in the John Baynham Memorial. The rest of the players compete in a Swiss tournament for the 'C' grade title in the John Abson Tournament. Top seed in the 'A' group is 3-time winner and our defending Champion Scott Stewart. Head coach in our Junior Chess Club, he is very dangerous attacking player, with a love of sharp opening play, he could well add a 4th title this year. 2nd seed is 2016 Champion James Watson. Also an experienced coach with great experience in many Melbourne tournaments, his strong technique and keen eye for any advantage make him a formidable opponent....
The Club Championships have started and pairings are available on the championships page here.
Ladies and gentlemen, chess enthusiasts and players, on the 27th of April it's that time of year again! The 2023 Club Championships are upon us, and we couldn't be more excited to welcome you to this prestigious event. This year's championship promises to be the most thrilling yet, with twelve of the strongest players in the club competing in a round-robin format with 90 minutes plus 30 seconds per move. Each move will be a battle of strategy, cunning, and precision, as these titans of chess fight to claim the ultimate prize. But the excitement doesn't stop there. For the reserves, we have a 12 player round robin with 60 minutes plus 30 seconds per move, providing a great opportunity for players of all levels to test their skills against a variety of opponents. And for the C grade championship, we have a nine round Swiss tournament featuring the remaining entries. This is a great chance for players to experience the thrill of competitive chess, make new friends, and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being part of a vibrant and supportive chess community. Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting out, the 2023 Club Championships offer something for everyone. So come along, join in the fun, and witness the drama unfold as the best players in the club battle it out for glory. We look forward to seeing you there!
The first quarter of 2023 is over and there has been a lot happening at and around the chess club and with our members.
We started the year with Blitz number 1 tournament in which club President Patrick Cook scored 6 out of 7 to record a fine win in a strong field. Rapid Play number 1 tournament resulted in a win to Paul Dao who scored wins in all his 6 games ahead of new member Chris Kolak and Bas van Riel.
Later in January two of our junior members competed in the Australian Junior Chess Championships and they performed very well. Om O’Carroll (age 15) played in the under 16 and under 18 Girls championships. She won the under 16 championship and finished equal third in the under 18 division. Paul Dao (age 12) competed in the Boys under 14 championship and performed very well finishing equal 7th in a field of 70 players. Om then went on to finish equal 3rd in the senior Women’s Oceania Zonal tournament. Congratulations to both these junior members on outstanding performances.
Our 57th Begonia Open tournament over the long weekend in March was an outstanding success. We managed to attract a field of 223 players which smashed last years record entry of 172. The winner was International Master James Morris who recorded his 6th win ahead of 2 Grand Masters and a Women’s Grand Master. There were 21 club members competing, many in their first weekender. James Watson won the prize for the highest scoring local player. There is an excellent report and lots of photos on the club website. Ballarat has now equalled the Canberra Doeberl Cup Australian record for the longest sequence of consecutive weekend annual tournaments. That event which started in 1963 continues but they were unable to hold it in 2020. James and Om both competed in the Doeberl Cup over the Easter break.
The Spielvogel Memorial was first club’s first classic tournament of the year. That resulted in a tie between club champion Scott Stewart and Om O’Carroll who scored 5.5 from 7 rounds just ahead of newer member Jordan Furlong who won the reserve section on 5 points.
Chess in Schools is thriving in Ballarat with active chess clubs now in many local schools and very large clubs operating at Clarendon College and St Patrick’s College. Our Junior Coaching has just completed term 1 with 50 registrants and a waiting list of 19. Our head coach Scott is looking to expand to another evening to help cater for the demand. Any junior unable to obtain a place in the coaching sessions is welcome to compete in the free junior games sessions which start at 6.00pm each Thursday. Schools from Melbourne and country areas attended the 2-day Kryal Castle Shield in late March organised by our Begonia sponsor Northern Star Chess for primary and secondary schools. More than 400 students attended over the 2 days. Clarendon College was the winner of the secondary team event and Paul Dao was equal first in the individual section with 7 wins from 7 games. Some of our members assisted with the organisation.
Last week the Time Handicap tournament was concluded with Scott Stewart and Paul Dao as joint winners with 5 points from the 6 games.
This week we have Blitz number 2 tournament. Over the year we have 5 Blitz tournaments. The player with the best aggregate score from any 3 events will become the Ernie Greenhalgh Blitz champion for the year. The games have a time control of 5 minutes plus a 2 second increment for each player.
On Thursday 20th April we have 2 special events at the BMI. During the day, Scott is holding an Autumn Cup and Fun Day tournament for juniors from 10am to 2pm. Then in the evening at 7.30pm we are very pleased to have our previous club champion and FIDE Master, Simon Rutherford back to present a Chess960 Simul. This will be a unique event with a difference. It will be in conducted in Chess960 or Fischer Random style. This is a variant of chess where the back rank pieces are arranged randomly but otherwise normal rules of chess apply. Simon will play white but is happy for each player to choose their own setup. I have attached an extract from FIDE as explanation, but Simon will provide more details at the Simul. Most will have never tried this crazy variant of chess. Opening theory is out the window and it should be an entertaining night, so come along for the experience.
Our major internal event of the year starts on 27th April when the Club Championships commence. They will be held in 3 sections with the highest 12 rated players competing in a round robin format over 11 weeks in each of A & B grade. All other players will be catered for in C grade which will be a 7 or 9 round swiss tournament. The C grade format will allow players to participate who can’t make it along each Thursday and even take half-point byes. Please advise me by return email if you would like to enter the club championship this year and which section is your preference.
Finally, have a look at the first 2 editions, March and April, of the Ballarat Checkmate Chronicle which is compiled by Scott Stewart. It is directed to our junior members, but the content is excellent and will interest all members, especially the games section. As usual check out the club website for regular additions and news.
Looking forward to catching up with you at the club soon.
On Thursday evening, 20th April, Ballarat Chess Club Champion 2003, F.I.D.E. Master Simon Rutherford, gave a simultaneous display over 19 boards at our Club. The games were played in the Chess960 variant, sometimes referred to as Fischer Random, although one player chose to play from a standard starting position. Simon was White in all games, and despite his playing strength, didn't have things all his own way. James Watson, Paul Dao, and Justin Goodison all managed to defeat him, while Scott Stewart, Patrick Cook, and Kevin Perrin were able to hold him to a draw.
Who will be the next Classical World Chess Champion? The Classical World Chess Championship is the most important chess event in the world, it will be held from April 9th to the 27th, 2023. and it is an exciting time for all chess fans, especially junior players. In the upcoming World Championship match between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren, we will witness two very different playing styles. The winner of this match will be crowned the new World Chess Champion as current World Champion Magnus Carlson elected not to defend his title. Click here to read more....
Attention! We have a superstar among us! Om O'Carroll, a 15-year-old junior from the Ballarat Chess Club, is making waves in the chess world. Check out her round 5 game against Aliana Vincent. Not only is Om a talented player, but she is also coaching our very own Pawn Division in the Ballarat Junior Chess Club. And guess what? Click here to read more....
The second Blitz tournament of our 2023 season saw a healthy entry of 19 players lining up for the event, with FIDE Master Simon Rutherford as runaway favourite. However, junior Paul Dao had a great night, scoring a picket fence 7/7 to finish in 1st place. FM Simon Rutherford was 2nd with 6/7, Patrick Cook, winner of Blitz #1, was 3rd with 5/7. Jordan Furlong managed 4.5, and Tom Oppenheim, Paul Marco, Jamie Brotheridge, and Trevor Ivory forming the chasing posse on 4. Blitz #3 is for 13th July.
The first of two weeks of Rapid Play 15m + 5s got off on Australiia Day with an entry of 15 participants. Chris Kolak, originally from Melbourne Chess Club, enjoyed his first night at the club, winning all three games and in first place tied with Paul Dao.
The second week saw Paul steam-roll his way through the games, defeating Chris in the first game of Round 4, and Rob L and Scott followed, giving Paul a picket fence score of 6 out 6. Chris and Bas came equal second on 4.5 / 6.
Ballarat Chess Club launched our 2023 season with the first event in the Blitz Grand Prix on Thursday night. A respectable entry of 14 players joined the fray, including 2022 Blitz Champion Jamie Brotheridge, several players whom we haven't seen for a while, and new face Brodie Murnane. Top seed was James Watson, just ahead of Scott Stewart, but the surprise winner was 5th seed Club President Patrick Cook with an excellent 6/7 score.
Blitz #2 is scheduled for 13th April.
Chess Coaching 2023
Chess Coaching is available throughout the year. We welcome enrolments at any time from any junior chess player whether they have been part of the program previously or not.
To all members and chess players
The Humffray Room at the BMI is now in use for all club activities.
In relation to Covid matters, the Government announced that virtually all regulations which have impacted the club and the BMI have changed. The vaccination mandate has been removed along with the QR code check-in requirement. Wearing a face mask is optional as well.
Coffee and Chess
Coffee shop chess has taken a hit during the pandemic. However, there are some chess sets for use at the following cafes... just ask!
Racers on the lake, Frangos and Homeground, both on Sturt.
Chess is also played at Beechworth Bakery and Woowookarung lookout, but you'll need to take your own set.
Bas' Chess Columns
From April 1991 until March 1993, Bas wrote a fortnightly chess column for the Ballarat Courier. Read them here