FM (2013); IM (2014).
Anton Smirnov is the world's youngest International Master.
He is the son of IM Vladimir Smirnov who taught him to play at age 4. He gained his first IM norm at the age of 12 years and 2 months at the 2013 Sydney International Open, won his FM title at the Zonal 3.6 tournament in 2013 a few months later, won his second IM norm at the age of 12 years 8 months and 20 days at the 2013 Indonesian Open and his third IM norm at the Politiken Cup in July 2014, nearly a year later. He reached 2400 on 9 August 2014 to meet the final condition to win the IM title in round 7 of the Chess Olympiad (2014).
<Youth and Junior> Smirnov was Australian U8 champion at age 5, and had his first international outing when he competed in the World U8 Championship in Turkey in 2007, scoring 6.5 points, the highest score by a 6-year old in the event. He re-contested the World U8 Championship in Vietnam where he scored 6/11. He also participated in the 2009 edition of the World U8 Championship, coming =2nd, losing only to the winner Aryan Gholami. In the 2009 and 2010 Australian Young Masters held in Sydney, he recorded his first results against titled players, namely a draw against FM Gene Nakauchi, and a win against FM Junta Ikeda. In 2011, he came =4th in the Australasian Young Masters tournament scoring 5.5/9. Smirnov placed =2nd in the Australian Junior U18 Open, scoring 7.5/11. Following on from his excellent result at the 2014 Australian Championship (see below), Smirnov, still aged 12, won the Australian Junior U18 with a round to spare.
<State and National> The then ten-year old finished 2011 and started 2012 with his first attempt at the Australian Championship; seeded 25th in a field of 30, he scored 5.5/11 (+3 -3 =5), placing =12th. He scored 3.5/9 in the NSW Championship 2012, however the strength of the field meant that this performance was close to par for rating. He placed 3rd in the 2013 NSW State Championship. He played in the 2014-15 Australian Championship in January 2014; still 12 years old, he was co-leader going into the 11th and last round, but lost to the winner of the event, IM Max Illingworth, scoring 7/11 and placing =5th.
<World> He placed 5th in the Zonal 3.6 tournament with 6/9, and won his FM title under the 50% rule.
Smirnov started playing FIDE rated tournaments in 2008.
A regular participant at the annual Ford Memorial Open in Sydney, Smirnov first played in that tournament in 2008 aged 8, scoring 3/9 (+3 -6); he scored 6/9 in both 2009 and 2010 and broke through to win the event in 2011 with 8/9, the youngest person to do so and ahead of FM Gregory Canfell, whom he defeated in their individual encounter, and 69 other players. His first taste of an “open” international tournament was the Sydney International Open 2009 where he scored 3.5/8 (+3 =1 -4). In the 2010 version of the tournament his result improved to 4.5/9 (+3 =3 -3). He came =2nd with 7/11 (+6 =2 -3) in February 2010 in the Norths Chess Club Candidates held in Sydney which qualified him for the Norths Club Championship in 2011 (see below).
Reasonably positive outcomes in the 2010 City of Sydney (4.5/7) and in the 2010 Doeberl Cup (Major) in Canberra, combined with his other 2010 efforts and his good results in the 2011 Australian Open, were followed by his first participation in 2011 Aeroflot C and the Moscow Open E, where his results, while modest, were sufficient to slightly increase his ELO rating. In the Norths Club Championship of 2011, he scored 6.5/11, sufficient to boost his ELO by over 30 points although it was partially offset by his relatively meager result in the 2011 NSW Open where his 3.5/7 lost 14 points. In August 2011, he came =3rd in the Parramatta Spring Cup with 5.5/9.
He placed outright 3rd in the Norths Club Championship 2012 behind Gregory Canfell and Michael Morris. An excellent result followed in September 2012 when he came =1st alongside Michael Morris at the John Purdy Memorial Open 2012, scoring 8/9 and adding another 21 points to his rating. 11 year-old Smirnov wrapped up 2012 with a stunning win at the 2012 Australasian Masters, scoring 6/9 and adding 47 points to his rating. His 6/11 at the Australian Championship 2013 temporarily cost him some rating points and an Australian Junior ranking, and his position as the world's number 1 player U12, although his excellent 5.5/9 at the 2013 Doeberl Cup and the 6/9 at the 2013 Sydney International Open (where he won his first IM norm) added a phenomenal 89 rating points to his card to take him to clear 1st in the world U12s. In October 2013, he scored an excellent 6/11 at the Indonesian Open, winning an IM norm and adding another 31 rating points to his October rating, more than compensating for a poor U16 Olympiad performance in July where he lost 12 rating points. He finished 2013 with a solid 20-point enhancing 4.5/9 in the Australasian Masters GM norm tournament held in Melbourne, but narrowly missed an IM norm. He scored another rating enhancing result with 5.5/9 at the Easter Doeberl Cup but again missed an IM norm when he lost his last round game to Moulthun Ly. He competed in the Sydney International Tournament in late April 2014 scoring 6/9 in a relatively rating-neutral result. A poor result at the 2014 Alekhine Memorial was more than reversed at the Politiken Cup (2014) where he scored 7.5/10 and won his 3rd IM norm.
Smirnov's inaugural participation in the Olympiad came when he played board 5 for Australia at the Chess Olympiad (2014) held in Tromsø in Norway. It was highly auspicious, enabling him to gather a swag of points sufficient to lift his rating to the requisite 2400 needed to secure his IM title, and to assist Australia to 31st place, 29 places ahead of their #60 seeding. He was also undefeated, scoring 7.5/9 (+6 =3), winning a fourth IM norm.
Smirnov placed outright second at the City of Sydney Rapid in February 2014, with 6/7. He improved his blitz rating in July 2014 with 6/11 at the 18th Voronezh International Chess Festival (Blitz), which included a win over GM Michail Brodsky and soon afterwards when he placed 2nd with 8/9 at the Blitz July 3 2014 in Moscow held on 19 July.
As at 1 August 2014, Smirnov's standard rating was 2334, making him the #10 U14 player in the world, the #5 junior (U20) in Australia and Australia's #20 player overall. His rapid rating is 2345 and blitz rating is 2372.
His live rating following the Olympiad is 2416, which when it becomes official will catapult him into Australia's top 10, return him to the top of the list of players born in 2001 or after, and probably to #3 in the U14 division in world chess. He gained 82 points at Politiken and at the Olympiad.
Smirnov was awarded the Arlauskas Medal (Australian junior player of the year) for 2012 by the Australian Chess Federation.