14 Professional Best Chess Players in Australia of All Time

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

Australia has a rich history of chess players and has been home to some of the most talented players in the world. From the legendary Grandmaster Ian Rogers to the rising star Moulthun Ly, Australia has produced some of the most respected players in the game.

Whether it’s their tactical play, creative opening moves or calculated endgames, the best chess players in Australia have set a high standard for chess players around the world.

We’ll take a look at some of the best players Australia has ever produced and see what makes them so special.

1. David Smerdon


David Craig Smerdon is a remarkable chess player and economist who has achieved success in both fields. Since 2004, he has been part of the Australian team in the Chess Olympiad, representing Australia in international chess competitions.

His accomplishments have earned him the prestigious FIDE title of Grandmaster and he is currently the seventh highest ranked chess player in Australia. Smerdon has achieved a great deal in both chess and economics.

He has excelled at chess, earning the title of Grandmaster and becoming one of the top-ranked players in Australia.

In economics, he has held various positions, including a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis at the Australian National University, a lecturer in finance at the University of Queensland, and a research assistant at the University of Melbourne. In addition to his academic work, Smerdon has also written numerous chess books and articles, and has coached many students in the game.

He has also been a four-time winner of the Australian National Blitz Championship and was the runner-up at the 2011 Oceania Zonal Championship. Overall, David Craig Smerdon is a talented and accomplished chess player and economist.

His achievements have earned him the respect of his peers, and he has been a great ambassador for the game of chess in Australia.

2. Zhao Zong-Yuan


Zhao Zong-Yuan is an Australian chess Grandmaster who has achieved remarkable success in the sport. He is currently the third-ranked active player in Australia, as of September 2019.

This high ranking reflects his commitment to the game and his skill in playing it. Zhao Zong-Yuan has been playing chess since he was young, and he has since become a master of the game.

He has achieved a number of impressive accomplishments in the sport, including winning the Australian Chess Championship in 2018.

He has also achieved considerable success in international tournaments, and he is a well-respected figure in the chess world. Zhao Zong-Yuan’s ranking as the third-highest active player in Australia speaks to his talent and dedication to the sport.

He is an inspiration to many aspiring chess players, and his success serves as a reminder that hard work and dedication can pay off. He is a testament to the power of determination and commitment.

3. Darryl Johansen


Darryl Keith Johansen is an Australian chess grandmaster who has achieved a remarkable level of success in the game. He has won the Australian Chess Championship a record six times, a feat that has been unmatched by any other player.

This accomplishment is even more impressive considering the fact that the Australian Chess Championship is a highly competitive event.

In addition, he has represented Australia at fourteen Chess Olympiads, which is an incredible achievement for any chess player. Johansen has also been awarded two prestigious titles by FIDE (the World Chess Federation).

In 1982, he was awarded the title of International Master, and in 1995, he was awarded the title of Grandmaster, making him the second person from Australia to receive this distinguished honor, after Ian Rogers. The successes of Darryl Keith Johansen are a testament to his remarkable skill and mastery of the game of chess.

He has demonstrated that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. His success also serves as an inspiration to aspiring chess players, showing them that if they are willing to put in the effort, they too can reach the highest levels of the game.

4. Giang Nguyen

Giang Thu Nguyen is an extraordinary individual who has proven to be highly successful in both chess and mathematics.

She is a Vietnamese-Australian, and has achieved great success in both her native country and in Australia. Nguyen is a senior lecturer in Applied Mathematics at the University of Adelaide.

Her expertise in the field of mathematics has allowed her to teach and inspire others in the same field. In the realm of chess, Nguyen is a Woman FIDE Master and has represented Australia in seven Chess Olympiads.

She has achieved great success in the game, and her expertise has enabled her to compete against some of the best players in the world. Nguyen is also highly involved in the chess community, regularly attending tournaments and offering her expertise to those wishing to learn the game.

She is a role model for many aspiring chess players and mathematicians, and her dedication to both fields is admirable. Overall, Giang Thu Nguyen is an incredible individual who has achieved great success in both mathematics and chess.

Her dedication to both fields is admirable, and she is an inspiration to many aspiring chess players and mathematicians.

5. George Xie


George Xie is an accomplished chess player and teacher. He has achieved the title of International Master of chess, a prestigious title awarded only to the most skilled players.

Xie is also a chess tutor, offering lessons to students of all levels in order to help them improve their game. He is a modern chess philosopher, studying the game and its strategies to come up with innovative ideas to help players become stronger.

Xie is also a former Australian Open chess champion, having won the tournament in the past. His achievements in the game of chess are a testament to his skill and dedication to the game.

6. Guy West


Guy West is an esteemed Australian chess player who holds the title of International Master from the international chess governing body FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs).

This indicates that West is highly accomplished in the world of chess and is respected by the global chess community.

West is also a former Australian Chess Champion, showing that he is an expert in the game within his native country. West was born in Babinda, a town located in Queensland, Australia.

At the age of 12, he relocated to Melbourne, the second most populous city in Australia, where he developed an interest in chess and began to pursue his passion.

Through dedication and hard work, West has become one of the most celebrated chess players in Australia, receiving the FIDE International Master title as well as becoming the Australian Chess Champion.

7. Gary Koshnitsky

Gregory Koshnitsky MBE was an influential figure in the world of Australian chess. He was born in Kishinev, in the Bessarabia Governorate of the Russian Empire, and immigrated to Australia in his youth. During his career, he achieved a number of incredible accomplishments.

He won the Australian Championship in 1933 and 1939, and became the Queensland Champion on seven occasions. On top of that, he earned the title of New South Wales Champion seven times, and was also the South Australian Champion once.

His impressive record has earned him a place in the annals of Australian chess history. Koshnitsky’s legacy lives on today in the form of the Gregory Koshnitsky Memorial, an annual chess tournament held in honour of the great master.

This tournament is attended by the best chess players from all over the world and is a testament to Koshnitsky’s achievements. Gregory Koshnitsky MBE was a true master of his craft and an inspiration to many aspiring chess players.

His contributions to the world of chess will not be forgotten and his legacy will continue to live on.

8. Spencer Crakanthorp

Spencer Crakanthorp was an accomplished chess player, winning the Australian Chess Championship four times between 1923 and 1927. He was the father-in-law of renowned chess master Cecil Purdy, whose wife Anne was also a highly talented chess player in her own right.

Through his marriage to Anne, Spencer was also the grandfather of Cecil’s son, John Purdy, who went on to become a chess master himself. It is clear that Spencer Crakanthorp had a great influence on the chess world, both through his own achievements and those of his family.

9. William Samuel Viner

William Samuel Viner was a renowned chess master in Australia. He was the West Australian champion in four consecutive years from 1900 to 1905, and also won the Perth Chess Club’s handicap tournament three times.

Viner’s chess prowess was further demonstrated by his four Australian Chess Championship victories, as well as his win in the New Zealand Chess Championship in 1907. This impressive record of titles highlights the remarkable skills of Viner as a chess player.

His success in the chess world was a testament to his dedication and commitment to the game. Viner was a renowned chess master in Australia, but he was also a respected chess player abroad.

His victory in the New Zealand Chess Championship in 1907 was a major accomplishment, and it earned him a great deal of respect from both his peers and the international chess community.

This is testament to the level of skill that Viner possessed, and the respect he had earned from elite players in the chess world. William Samuel Viner was a chess master who accomplished remarkable feats in the world of chess.

His four Australian Chess Championship wins, three Perth Chess Club Handicap Tournament victories, and New Zealand Chess Championship win are a testament to the level of skill he possessed.

He was an esteemed chess master in the world of chess, and his legacy will always be remembered.

10. Cecil Purdy


Cecil John Seddon Purdy was a remarkable Australian chess player and writer. He was highly regarded by the chess world, having been awarded the titles of International Master in 1951 and Grandmaster of Correspondence Chess in 1959.

Purdy was the first-ever World Correspondence Chess Champion, a feat that no other player had achieved before him. Purdy was also an important figure in the chess magazine industry, having written, edited, and published numerous chess magazines throughout his career.

His influence in the chess world was far-reaching, as his writings and publications provided access to the world of chess to those who may have otherwise been unable to experience it.

He was an advocate for the game of chess and made an immense contribution to its growth and development. In recognition of his achievements, Purdy was posthumously awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2005.

This was a fitting tribute to a man who had been a major influence in the world of chess for over fifty years.

11. Gary Lane


Gary William Lane is a highly accomplished chess player and author. He has achieved several milestones in his career and is a respected figure in the chess world. In 1987, he achieved the title of International Master, which is the second highest recognized title in chess.

He then went on to win the Commonwealth Chess Championship in 1988, proving his skill and prowess in the game. In addition to his success in the game, Lane has also written over thirty books on chess.

These books cover a wide array of topics, including instructional guides such as Find the Winning Move and Improve Your Chess in 7 Days as well as more tactical books like Prepare to Attack.

All of his works are highly praised in the chess community, and are a testament to his vast knowledge and expertise in the game.

12. Romanas Arlauskas

Romanas Arlauskas was a remarkable chess player who made his mark in both Lithuania and Australia. He was born in Lithuania and was awarded the title of ICCF Correspondence Chess Grandmaster for his exceptional skill in the game.

Arlauskas also participated in an unofficial Chess Olympiad in Munich in 1936, where he was placed at the sixth board. This was a great achievement for him, considering the high level of competition at the event.

He was successful in his career, and his accomplishments will continue to be remembered and celebrated.

13. Karlis Ozols

Karlis Aleksandrs Ozols was a Latvian lieutenant in the Nazi-controlled Latvian Auxiliary Police during World War II. The Latvian Auxiliary Police was a paramilitary organization set up by the Nazis in Latvia during their occupation of the country in 1941.

As a lieutenant, Ozols had a position of authority within the organization and was responsible for aiding the Nazis in carrying out their various objectives.

Ozols was also a member of Heinrich Himmler’s SS, an elite paramilitary organization which had a great deal of power within Nazi Germany.

The SS was responsible for a number of atrocities during the war, including the persecution and mass murder of Jews, Roma, and other ethnic and religious minorities. Ozols was likely complicit in some of these crimes, though it is impossible to say for sure.

Regardless of his specific role, it is clear that Ozols supported the Nazi regime and was complicit in their actions.

14. Greg Hjorth

Greg Hjorth was a remarkable individual who excelled in mathematics and chess. He was a Professor of Mathematics at an Australian university, an International Master in chess, and a joint Commonwealth Champion in 1983. Hjorth’s main area of expertise was mathematical logic.

He was particularly passionate about the discipline and devoted much of his time to researching and developing its theories. He wrote on a range of topics in the field, including the theory of models, proof theory, and set theory.

His contributions to the field helped to bring it to the forefront of scientific research and helped to shape the way modern mathematics is taught and understood. Hjorth’s passion and dedication to mathematics was also reflected in his chess playing.

He was a powerful player, and his skill earned him the title of International Master.

His win as joint Commonwealth Champion in 1983 was a testament to his strength and dedication to the game. Overall, Greg Hjorth was a remarkable individual who made significant contributions to mathematics and chess.

His work in mathematical logic was groundbreaking, and his skill as a chess player was second to none. He will be remembered for his accomplishments in both disciplines.


The best Chess players in Australia have proven to be some of the best in the world. They are well-known for their skill and dedication to the game. They are constantly striving to improve their game and to stay at the top of the rankings.

It is clear that the Australian Chess community is a strong one and is full of world-class players who are passionate about the game.

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Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

I am a professional chess player for over 10 years, one of the youngest Grandmasters in the world and amongst the top ranked in the western hemisphere. I have been playing chess since I was a child, and it is something that I have always been passionate about. My passion has taken me to numerous tournaments around the world where I have competed against some of the best players in the world. Through hard work and dedication, I have achieved great success at these tournaments and have become one of the youngest Grandmasters in history. My goal is to continue to improve my game and reach new heights within this sport. LinkedIn