Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bullish View on Aussie Chess

GM Ian Rogers' column in the Sun Herald today has an optimistic take on the future of Australian chess. Commenting on the just released July FIDE ratings:

Overall, Australia is ranked 58th on the world list; a position that is unlikely to improve more than incrementally until the new wave of young players begin to displace seven players aged 39 or more in positions 3 to 10 on the Australian list.

On the positive side, three of Australia's top four - Grandmasters Zhao Zhong Yuan, GM David Smerdon and aspiring GM George Xie - are all in their early twenties and, non-chess careers permitting, look likely to set standards on the Australian scene for years to come.

Here's the Australian list.

As we can see, there's a whole bunch of young guys there and some have had outstanding recent results. But, realistically, how many of them will step up to master level? Or even one day gun for a seat on the Olympiad team?

Plus what about the girls? Where are these lot?

Anyway, before we get ahead of ourselves with these young talents, who may yet turn out to be nothing more than highly competent hobbyists, let's not forget some "veterans". My favourite players - Lane, Johansen, Goldenberg and my good mate Canfell - all still have plenty of fight!

(By the way my beloved Philippines is ranked way, way above Australia right up in number 34. The positive news for them is that they have a good mix of vets and young guns).

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