Thursday, 2 January 2020

2019 Chessexpress Player of the Year

Non Olympiad years often make it harder to identify a stand out player, as activity levels seem a lot lower among the top Australian players. This seemed to be the case this year, especially with a number of GM's choosing career over chess, or in at least one case, outright retirement.
But having looked at the results of a few players (including 'Australian' players registered for other countries), I decided that I could not go past GM Anton Smirnov. He started the year with an equal third place in the Australian Open, and another equal third on the 2019 O2C Doeberl Cup. At the end of the year (with Year 12 out of the way) he then headed to Europe where he scored some good results in team events, before finishing equal first in the London Chess Classic Open. A strong followup performance in the Rome Open saw him finish 2019 with his rating over 2600.
So for these achievements, GM Anton Smirnov is the 2019 Chessexpress Player of the Year.

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