Sunday, 8 January 2012

GM Darryl Johansen wins Australian Championship for the 6th time

GM Darryl Johansen is the 2011-12 Australian Champion, for a record 6th time. He drew with IM Aleks Wohl in the final round of the tournament, which gave him a final score of 8.5/11, a full point ahead of the second place group. He was the only player to go through the event undefeated, scoring 6 wins and 5 draws. His two most important wins were against the top two seeds, GM Zong Yuan Zhao, and IM George Xie, especially as they both finished in a tie for second. The other two second place getters were IM Stephen Solomon (who drew with Johansen in round 2), and IM Vladimir Smirnov (a draw with Johansen in round 7). It is interesting to note that 4 of the top 5 finishers played for Australia at the 2010 Olympiad (GM David Smerdon could not play in the Championship due to overseas study commitments).
The win by Johansen is a popular one, judging by the discussions I've had over the last few days. While there has been a little bit of 'reverse age-ism' in some comments I've seen ("Those old blokes can still play"), I would like to think it also has a lot to do with Darryl's long and consistent chess career. From his early days as a junior in Melbourne (where my father may have been one of his opponents), he has been at the top or near top of just about every major event in the country. Certainly for any one who started playing chess from the early 80's onwards (as I did) he, along with GM Ian Rogers, has been one of the 'Big 2'. Even when the wave of new young players came along, he has more than held his own, as the current tournament has shown.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Well done Dazza, you're a legend.


Lee Forace.

Anonymous said...

He occasionally gets beaten by players who put their Knights on better squares during a game and up and coming juniors (who doesn't?) but he is still Australia's best player.