FM (2013); IM (2014); GM (2017).
Anton Smirnov was the world's youngest International Master when he gained his title on 9 August 2014 at the age of 13 years 6 months and 12 days, and the first player born in 2001 to win the title. When he became a GM in September 2017, he became Australia's 7th GM, and the youngest to win that title. He is the son of IM Vladimir Smirnov who taught him to play at age 4.
<FM and IM> 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).
<GM> Smirnov gained a double GM norm at the Chess Olympiad (2016) when he scored 8.5/10, 1.5 points above the norm requisite for the opponents he faced. He gained his final GM norm at the 2nd Capablanca Memorial GM Norm 2017 event held in Greece in September, achieving his norm with a win in the final round on 19 September 2017, aged 16 years 7 months and 22 days, when he checkmated his opponent. He had previously achieved a rating of 2500, so there was no delay in the date in which his GM title became effective.
<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. He was second, again behind Illingworth, at the NSW State Championship with 7.5/9.
<World> He placed 5th with 6/9 in the Zonal 3.6 tournament in 2013, and won his FM title under the 50% rule. In 2015, he was =3rd at the Zonal 3.6 tournament. In 2016 he won the Zonal 3.6 tournament with 7.5/9 entitling him to play at the World Cup (2017), where he met the most recent Challenger for the World Championship Sergey Karjakin in the first round and managed to draw both classically timed games before losing in the first round of rapid tiebreakers to be eliminated from the event.
<2008-2011> 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 J 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.
<2012-2014> He placed outright 3rd in the Norths Club Championship 2012 behind Gregory J 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. Following his excellent Olympiad result at Tromsø (see below) when he gained his IM title, Smirnov played in the category 2 George Trundle Masters round robin event, winning with 6.5/9 on tiebreak ahead of GM Darryl K Johansen. He also participated in the Australasian Masters GM Tournament in Melbourne in December, placing 4th with 5.5/9 behind the three GMs participating in the event.
<2015-2016> The start of 2015 saw a rare lapse in form when he only scored 6/11 at the Australian Open, shedding 22 rating points for Feb 2015. he was =1st at the NSW Open in June 2015 and was =3rd at the Oceania Zonal 3.6 behind the winner, Max Illingworth and runner up Brodie McClymont. In September 2015, he was equal first at the Malaysian Open and in December 2015 placed 5th at the 2015 Australasian Masters GM Norm Tournament. 2016 started with Smirnov coming equal fourth with 6.5/9 at the annual Easter Doeberl Cup in Canberra. In April, a relatively rating-neutral result of 6/9 at the Bangkok Chess Club Open was followed by a similarly neutral result at the NSW Open in June 2016 and a reasonably strong 5.5/9 at the powerful Miguel Najdorf International in July in Poland. A strong 6.5/9, a point behind the winner Sergei Movsesian, at the Czech Open in Pardubice in July was followed by another rating neutral result in the Riga University Open in August, thereby completing his preparation for the Chess Olympiad (2016) in Baku (see below). Smirnov closed out 2016 in the classical section of the game by winning the 2016 Australasian Masters GM Norm Tournament with 6/9, although this result was insufficient to gain another GM norm.
<2017> The classical section of the game started in this year with equal first alongside Australian #1 Zhao Zong-Yuan and veteran IM Stephen John Solomon at the Begonia Open. This was followed over the next few months with a relatively poor result at the 2017 Doeberl cup and more ratings-neutral results at the NSW Open and the Gold Coast Open before his strong results at the Match of the Millennials, the World Cup (see below) and at the 2nd Capablanca Memorial GM Norm in September 2017 in Greece where he scored 7/9 to acquire the final GM norm he needed to secure his grandmaster title.
<Olympiad> 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. His next olympiad participation in the Chess Olympiad (2016) at Baku was even more auspicious as his excellent 8.5/10 result (including 5.5/7 against his GM opponents) garnered him a double-GM norm plus over 30 ratings points. His result enabled the Australian team, seeded 45th, to place in 30th place and for him to place 5th on board three.
<Other> In July 2017, Smirnov played for the Rest of the World team against the US team in the U17 Match of the Millennials event hosted by the USCF. He returned a strong 3.5/6 result to bolster his team's defeat of the US team 25.5-14.5.
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. In February 2016 he scored a perfect 7/7 to easily win the City of Sydney Rapid, two points ahead of his nearest rivals. In December 2016, he produced another perfect result in winning the 2016 NSW Blitz Championship with 11/11, two points ahead of the outright runner-up. Early in 2017, Smirnov placed equal first alongside Max Illingworth at the 2017 Norths Blitz Championship with 8/9.
Smirnov's highest rating to date is 2525 in October 2017.
Smirnov was awarded the Arlauskas Medal (Australian junior player of the year) for 2012 and 2014 by the Australian Chess Federation, and Steiner Medals for best Australian player awards in 2014 and 2016.
Last updated 5 October 2017