Monday 2 January 2017

2016 Australian Player of the Year

Choosing a single outstanding Australian player for 2016 was quite a tough task. There were a number of players who had good performances in specific events (Aus champs, Doeberl etc) but these seemed to be shared around a bit.
Bobby Cheng winning the Australian Championship at the start of the year was certainly notable, as was James Morris winning the O2C Doeberl Cup. Justin Tan had a very successful year, with a 3rd place in the British Championship and earning a couple of GM norms.
But based on two significant performances I've decided that IM Anton Smirnov is the Chessexpress Australian Player of the Year for 2016. His undefeated Olympiad performance eared him a 20 game GM norm, and he showed that the title is just around the corner. He then won the 2016 Australian Masters, ahead of strong local and international field. He also finished 4th in the Doeberl and the Australian Championship, as well as 3rd in the NSW Open.
So congratulations to Anton, not only the 2016 Chessexpress Player of the Year, but the first player to win this award twice.

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