chessbase india logo

Melbourne Chess Club celebrates 150th anniversary

by Anandaram Jothibabu - 05/03/2016

The world knows that we Indians are a world-class force in chess, but what about non-resident Indians abroad? Chess is a young sport and budding down under in Australia from where our dear friend Anandaram Jothibabu reports the Melbourne Chess Club's 150th-anniversary tournament. An illustrated report with games.

Melbourne Chess Club 150th Anniversary Club Championship Report

Vishwanathan Anand’s success in Chess motivated lots of youngsters to take up chess in India and they are doing well at world level. But, we must not forget, Indian migrants are also doing well around the world. Melbourne Chess Club, the Southern Hemisphere's Oldest chess club, is celebrating its 150th Year Anniversary.


The club has already organised the Australian Chess Championship in January 2016. GM Nigel Short is set to visit the club in mid-March to give lectures and play Simultaneous exhibitions. The club is playing a leading role in organising the chess tournament for three days during the Arnold (Schwarzenegger!) Classic 2016 to be held during the third weekend of March. (Various games and sports with Arnold coming to Melbourne to watch Chess!)


Currently, the historic 150th Anniversary Melbourne Chess Club Championship is taking place for the special title of 'Grand Champion'. The tournament consists of nine rounds and is being held on a weekly basis from 1st February to 11th of April. So far five rounds have been completed. There are forty-six players playing this tournament and there has not been any easy game in the tournament so far!

 Group photo of the players participating in the 150th Anniversary club championship

International Masters James Morris, Ari Dale, Guy West and Mirko Rujevic are the favourites to win the tournament. However, 14-year-old Vishal Bhat with a rating of 1967 became the sole tournament leader after four rounds with a perfect score of 4.0/4! Here are a few games he played to race to this early lead:

FM Jack Puccini Vs Vishal Bhat (3rd round):

We have heard about attacking game by players, but this is an excellent game where both players counter-attacked each other! The game was over in 26 moves but there were lots of fireworks throughout.

[Event "MCC ch"]
[Site "Melbourne"]
[Date "2016.02.15"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Puccini, J."]
[Black "Bhat, V."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C45"]
[PlyCount "52"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[SourceDate "2016.02.01"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8.
c4 Ba6 9. b3 g6 10. f4 d6 11. Qe4 f5 12. Qf3 Nb4 13. Bb2 dxe5 14. fxe5 Bg7 15.
Be2 Bxe5 16. Bxe5 Qxe5 17. O-O Qxa1 18. Nc3 Qb2 19. Qe3+ Kd7 20. Qd4+ Kc8 21.
Qxh8+ Kb7 22. Qf6 Nxa2 23. Bf3 Nb4 24. Rd1 Re8 25. Nd5 Qxb3 26. Nxb4 Qe3+ 0-1

The playing arena

Vishal Bhat vs IM Ari Dale (4th round):

Vishal and Ari played an exciting Alekhine’s Defence game where both queened their pawns and Ari had a good position where he could win. However, the exchange of the second set of queens favoured Vishal who won the game with fine endgame technique.

[Event "MCC ch"]
[Site "Melbourne"]
[Date "2016.02.22"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Bhat, V."]
[Black "Dale, A."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B04"]
[PlyCount "119"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[SourceDate "2016.02.01"]
1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 dxe5 5. Nxe5 c6 6. c4 Nb4 7. Be3 Bf5 8. Na3
Nd7 9. g4 Be4 10. f3 Bg6 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Qb3 e6 13. O-O-O a5 14. Kb1 Bd6 15.
f4 Qf6 16. Bd2 O-O 17. Be2 b5 18. cxb5 Rfb8 19. Nc4 Bxf4 20. Nxa5 Bxd2 21. Rxd2
Rxa5 22. Qxb4 Qd8 23. a4 Nf6 24. Rc1 Nd5 25. Qb3 cxb5 26. Bxb5 Nc7 27. Rc5 Nxb5
28. Rxb5 Rbxb5 29. axb5 Qb8 30. b6 Ra6 31. Rc2 Rxb6 32. Rc8+ Qxc8 33. Qxb6 Qa8
34. Qd6 Qe4+ 35. Ka2 Qxg4 36. b4 Qe4 37. Ka3 f5 38. Qe5 Qxe5 39. dxe5 f4 40. b5
f3 41. b6 f2 42. b7 f1=Q 43. b8=Q+ Qf8+ 44. Qxf8+ Kxf8 45. Kb4 g5 46. Kc5 g4
47. Kd6 Kf7 48. Kd7 Kf8 49. Kxe6 Ke8 50. Kd6 Kd8 51. e6 Ke8 52. e7 g6 53. Ke6
g5 54. Kf6 g3 55. hxg3 g4 56. Kg5 Kxe7 57. Kxg4 Kf7 58. Kg5 Kf8 59. Kg6 Kg8 60.
g4 1-0

IM James Morris Vs IM Guy West  (4th round):

James Morris is 'the talented player' of Australia -- I believe that he would have easily reached 2600 if he was living in Europe! In a Rook and four pawns vs Rook and two pawns ending James had a clear win, but Guy West played an excellent endgame and forced James’s king to be boxed in and drew the game by perpetual checks! A game worth replaying.

[Event "MCC ch"]
[Site "Melbourne"]
[Date "2016.02.22"]
[Round "4.1"]
[White "Morris, J."]
[Black "West, G."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C26"]
[PlyCount "98"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]
[EventCountry "AUS"]
[SourceDate "2016.02.01"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 Bc5 5. Bg2 d6 6. d3 a6 7. h3 h6 8. O-O Be6
9. Ne2 Qd7 10. Kh2 d5 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. d4 dxe4 13. dxe5 Qxd1 14. Rxd1 Nd7 15.
Bxe4 Nxe5 16. Bxb7 Ra7 17. Bd5 Bxf2 18. Kg2 Bc5 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20. Nf4 O-O 21.
Re1 Nc6 22. c3 e5 23. Nd3 Bb6 24. Be3 Re8 25. Bf4 g5 26. Nxe5 Nxe5 27. Bxe5
Raa8 28. Rad1 Rad8 29. Rxd8 Rxd8 30. c4 Rd2+ 31. Kf3 Kf7 32. Bc3 Rd3+ 33. Kg2
Bd4 34. Bxd4 Rxd4 35. Rf1+ Ke6 36. b3 Ke5 37. Kf3 h5 38. Ke3 Re4+ 39. Kd3 Rd4+
40. Ke3 Re4+ 41. Kf3 g4+ 42. hxg4 hxg4+ 43. Kf2 Kd4 44. Rd1+ Kc3 45. Rd5 Re6
46. Rc5 c6 47. Ra5 Kd3 48. Rxa6 Re2+ 49. Kf1 Rb2 1/2-1/2

The fifth round saw the leader Vishal clashing with James, and the latter won to muddy the things again atop the leaderboard.

Currently, IM James Morris and IM Guy West are leading with a score of 4.5/5, closely followed by FM Jack Puccini, Carl Gorka, who by the way has been covering the tournament and games at his useful and entertaining blog, and Vishal Bhat with four points each. On a personal note, I have lost two tough games and currently stand at 3.0/5.

FM Jack Puccini playing against former champion Malcolm Pyke

IM Guy West (left) battling IM Mirko Rujevic

Now that the tournament has reached an exciting stage, there will be more entertaining chess and stories to talk about in the next four rounds!

About the author:

Dr. Anandaram Jothibabu is a Psychiatrist residing in Melbourne and plays chess for fun. When he was young, he played at Tal Chess Club, Chennai which is the formative club of former world champion Vishwanathan Anand. He has played with players like GM R.B.Ramesh and GM Sasikiran as a junior player.


Photos by Mohan Thandhi

Contact Us