David Smerdon's coach when he was 13 was Lubomir Ftacnik. He became an International Master at age 14, won the Australian Junior Championship in 1999, and won both his Grandmaster title and the Australian Grand Prix in 2009. He lives and works in Canberra, and is that city's first resident Grandmaster, but is currently in Amsterdam completing a PhD in Economics at the Tinbergen Institute. He is also playing in the British 4 Nations Chess League, the Bundesliga and for the Utrecht team in the Dutch teams competition.
Smerdon won his first GM norm at the Australian Championship in 2006 when he came equal second with New Zealand GM Murray Chandler behind GM Ian Rogers and ahead of German GM Roland Schmaltz and Slovak GM Lubomir Ftacnik. His second norm came at the Bangkok Open (which he won) in April 2007, and the third at the 18th Czech Open Festival in Paraduce, Czech Republic, in July 2007. Smerdon is Australia's fifth home grown Grandmaster after
Walter Shawn Browne (who played for Australia in the Skopje Olympiad in 1972 and now plays for the USA),
Ian Rogers (recently retired from competition chess), Darryl K Johansen, and Zhao Zong-Yuan. 2009 started well with a win in the 2nd Queenstown Chess Classic (2009). When David won the 2009 New South Wales Open, he lifted his rating to 2500, fulfilling the final condition that enabled him to receive his Grandmaster title. Also in 2009, he won the Waikato Open in New Zealand. His efforts in 2009 received national recognition when he was awarded the Lajos Steiner medal by the Australian Chess Federation for Player of the Year. David's best tournament result in a relatively quiet 2010 was third place in the Victorian Open. In 2011, Smerdon competed in the Commonwealth and South African Open (2011) and came third with 9/11, a half point behind the winners Gawain Jones and Nigel Short. In 2012, he competed in the Curacao Chess Fesival 2012, and won with 8.5/9. In July-August 2013, Smerdon finished with 7/10 at the Politiken Cup (2013), scoring slightly above rating expectation and he closed out 2013 with 5.5/8 at the Erfut Masters in December 2013. 2014 started with a win at the 6th Batavia Tournament that was held in Amsterdam in February 2013. In August 2014, he against scored well in the Politiken Cup (2014), this time scoring 7.5/10, placing =6th. In September 2014, he scored 4.5/6 at the 2nd International Tournament in Famalicao, Portugal.
In the Australasian Match of the Decade that was held in 2009, Smerdon defeated the teenage New Zealand IM Puchen Wang 4-2 (+2 =4 -0). On 2 November 2013, in an internet match styled the <Deathmatch>, Smerdon met British GM Simon Kim Williams in a series of blitz 5+1 and 3+1 and bullet 1+1 games totaling 32 games. With the match poised at 15-15, Smerdon won the last two games to win the 19th Deathmatch. (1)
World championship competition
Smerdon participated in the 1997 World Youth Championship (U14); in the 2003 World Junior, scoring 7.5/13; and in the 2004 World Junior, scoring 7/13. He won the 2009 Oceania Zonal Championship with a score of 7.5 from 9 rounds, a full point clear of the field, thereby qualifying for the World Cup (2009) where he was seeded number 114. He performed strongly in the first round against Cuba's Leinier Dominguez Perez, the number 15 seed in the tournament, tieing the classic and rapid games, but eventually succumbing in the blitz playoff, drawing one and losing one. (1)
Smerdon has played in six Olympiads in the Australian team, in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. He played top board for Australia in the Chess Olympiad (2012) held in Istanbul and in the Chess Olympiad (2014) held in Tromsø in Norway. In 2012 and 2014, he helped Australia to finish 29 places above its seeding, namely 32nd in 2012 and 31st in 2014.
He played in the 4NCL (2012/13) in the UK, scoring 8.5/9 to help his team Guildford 1 win silver in the competition and Guildford 2 to avoid relegation. He played for Guildford 1 and 2 teams in the 2013-14 season, with Guildford 1 winning the competition on this occasion. He is still playing for Guildford in 2014-15 and is also playing with SV Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga 2014-15.
In August 2014, Smerdon competed in the 6th Concello De Rianxo International (rapid), scoring 7/8 and placing =1st alongside Arian Gonzalez Perez. He is again playing for Guildford in the 2014-15 season and in the rapid play curtain raiser in October 2014, he helped his team to first place and took individual first place with 6.5/7.
As at 1 January 2015, Smerdon's rating was 2519 making him Australia's #2 player. His peak rating was 2531, achieved in May and November 2010, and January 2011. Smerdon's rapid rating at this time is 2573.
In 2010, Smerdon was awarded the General Sir John Monash Award. (2)
References and sources
(1) http://www.chessvibes.com/smurfo-be...; (2) http://monashawards.org/scholars/mr...
Smerdon has a blog at http://www.davidsmerdon.com/; Wikipedia article: David Smerdon
Last updated 3 Jan 2015