Sunday, November 15, 2009

Australia's Four Grandmasters

Today, I want to take a brief look at Australia's GMs. In Australia, GMs are scarce and to become one, people often need to go to other continents and then return. Currently, the top 4 positions in Australia are occupied by our 4 GMs. Let's go through them.

1. Zhao, Zong-Yuan (2572)

Born in Beijing in 1986, Zhao moved to Australia while still very young. Recently, his rating has skyrocketed allowing him to take the number 1 position in Australia. He earned his GM title in 2008. Peak rating: 2583

2. Rogers, Ian (2545)

Ian Rogers has a legendary reputation. Born in Hobart in 1960, he was Australia's highest rated player for over twenty years, and represented Australia at fourteen chess olympiads (twelve of them on first board). He earned his GM title in 1985. In recent times, his peak rating was 2594 (in 2005). Rogers retired in 2007.

Special Note: Rogers coached me at a U16 World Youth Olympiad.

3. Smerdon, David (2525)

Born in Brisbane in 1984, Smerdon is also one of our new GMs. He is currently ranked 582 in the world (of active players). He earned his GM title in 2009. Peak rating: 2525

4. Johansen, Darryl Keith (2474)

Born in Melbourne in 1959, Johansen won the Australian Chess Championship a record five times (in 1984, 1988, 1990, 2000, and 2002). He has also represented Australia at twelve Chess Olympiads. Discounting Australian-born American Walter Browne, Johansen is Australia's second grandmaster. He earned his GM title in 1995. Peak rating: 2531

Special Note: Johansen once helped take down a door I was trapped behind. This happened in Georgia at a World Youth tournament.

(All ratings are FIDE)

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