Sunday, March 8, 2015


I visited the annual Ballarat weekend tournament today, and although I'm tired after the 3 hour round trip with plenty of junior coaching through the day, Downton Abbey is coming on TV so I've got to find something to do.

Top seeds, IM's Kanan Izzat and James Morris
This is the 49th edition of the Ballarat weekender, organised and run by Ballarat Chess Club,, and next year we are due for a big one with lots of plans already in the pipeline apparently. Saying that, the numbers this year are a bit disappointing based on recent figures. There are short of 100 players with 14 players above 2000 rating and 5 IM's. Last year there were 117 players, while there were over 120 players fort he previous 4 years. The strongest I remember was 2012 where with a rating of about 2150 I was seeded 17th out of a field of 131.

The 2015 event has already seen a few upsets, but the tournament hangs in the balance. Top seed is IM James Morris, but he has already conceded 2 draws to Aleks Safarian and 5th seed IM Ari Dale. Second seed IM Kanan Izzat has had no such trouble winning all his first 4 games in fairly short order. The big round 5 game sees Izzat playing against the other IM on maximum points, Chris Wallis. Chris has also looked at ease in his games so this one should be a cracker!

IM Chris Wallis (left) starts with a perfect 4/4, including a win against an old rival, FM Dusan Stojic

The games can be followed on Noble Park's server and there are lots of games stored on Tornelo. The game that everyone was talking about this morning when I walked in was Kevin Sheldrick's escape against Angelo Tsagarakis.

Angelo is black and giving over 300 rating points to his opponent here. Black is 2 exchanges up and while there are probably many ways to win, the move that Angelo tragically played was one of the few to lose. 38..Rb2?? allowing Philidor's legacy after 39.Nf7 when Angelo resigned rather than being subjected to 39..Kg8 40.Nh6 Kh8 41.Qg8 Rxg8 42.Nf7#. I am guessing that being so dominant for so long, Angelo relaxed in the belief that he couldn't lose.

I was coaching local kids for most of the day, as Chess Kids were running a camp. Some of the kids got the chance to play a game in the tournament, but most were not ready for that sort of commitment. There will be a junior tournament run at a rate of 25 minutes + 10 second increment tomorrow alongside the Weekender and we're hoping that a lot of local kids show up to take part in it. The kids I was working with today had great thinking skills, and a huge desire to learn. Given the chance, some of these will become Ballarat Chess Club's future.

Age is no barrier in chess!

No comments:

Post a Comment