Since I have been doing this blog, the last post of the year is usually about who I think is the Australian player of the year. Although it is a day late, I am still continuing this tradition.
While non-Olympiad years usually cut down opportunities for Australian players, there were still plenty of opportunities for Australian players to shine. IM Ari Dale performed well at the Tata Steel Challengers early in the year, while IM Moulthun Ly had a good result in the super strong Qatar Masters.
However the player who probably had the most significant results for 2015 was IM Max Illingworth. He won the 2015 Oceania Zonal (tying with Brodie McClymont) and after winning the playoff, qualified for the 2015 World Cup. Then at the end of the year he scored his final Grandmaster Norm at the Australasian Masters, starting with 6.5/7 before eventually finishing 2nd on 7/9. He also tied for 2nd in the 2015 Australian Open, as well as tying for 1st in the 2015 NSW Open.
Therefore, based on his results throughout the year, and for earning the Grandmaster title, I am pleased to announce that Max Illingworth is the Chessexpress 2015 Australian Player of the Year.