Chess Grandmasters set for tournament

February 27, 2019 BY

Making a move: Ballarat Chess Club secretary, Anna Yates is practicing ahead of the Begonia Open. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

BALLARAT Chess Club will host the 53rd annual Begonia Open Chess Tournament next month, providing competition for experts and less experienced players.

The tournament will run across three days, opening at 1.30pm on Saturday, 9 March, offering an Australian Chess Federation and World Chess Federation rated Grand Prix Class 5 event, with a top prize of $2,500.

A new Under 1200 tournament will also run, designed to give new players with a rating below 1200 a space to compete and improve. The Ballarat Chess Club hopes this might attract local juniors.

Four International Grandmasters will play at the Begonia Open, three of them Australian.

There has only ever been eight Australian International Grandmasters in history.

The youngest players will be primary school aged and some competitors will travel from the United Kingdom and China.

Ballarat Chess Club’s webmaster, Rob Loveband is excited for the chess community to unite in Ballarat where locals will compete against strong competition.

“We’re looking forward to bringing all these people from all over Australia and the world together in our town and giving an opportunity for us locals to meet and play with them,” he said.

The club’s president, Patrick Cook said the Begonia Open gives the city a boost.

“It’s a major event. It brings in 100 or more people, plus their families to Ballarat for the whole weekend. They have to stay, they have to eat, they contribute to the economy and to the life of the city,” she said.

Mr Cook said the universality of chess makes it an amazing game.

“It doesn’t discriminate or pay any attention to age, gender, race or religion. The only thing people care about is how well you play chess,” he said.

Treasurer, Kevin Perrin estimates the tournament will end up with over 140 entries.

Players can enter and see the schedule and rules at begoniaopen.com. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected].

The fee for adult players is $140 and concession players (unemployed or full-time students) is $120. Players in the Under 1200 tournament have a $20 fee. The public is welcome to watch and listen to expert commentary.

The Begonia Open has grown to be the number two tournament in Australia, following Canberra.

It has run every year since 1967.

Find the Begonia Open chess tournament at the Sewell Pavilion, Ballarat Clarendon College, Wanliss Road, Ballarat, 9 to 11 March.

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