19-year-old wins 2020 Australian Championship

by Johannes Fischer
1/17/2020 – Temur Kuybokarov was born on July 22, 2000 in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. In 2016, he moved to Perth, Australia, with his parents, and since 2018, the year in which he became a grandmaster, he has played for Australia. This year he became Australian Champion. The 19-year-old won the national championship, which took place in Sydney from January 2 to 13, with 9 out of 11.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Australian Championship

The Australian National Championship, for players who are members of the Australian Chess Federation or have lived in Australia for a long time, takes place every two years, alternating with the open Australian Championship, in which players from all over the world can participate. The Australian championships have a long tradition. The first official Australian championship was played in 1885 when the country was still an English colony. The initiator of this championship was George HD Gossip, chess enthusiast, author, journalist and translator.


Gossip was born in New York in 1841, but grew up in England. He played against some of the top players of the time during his life, but mostly ended up in the lower echelons of the standings. In early 1883, Gossip left England with his wife and four children to seek his fortune in Australia. He wrote as a journalist for a number of Australian newspapers, but remained true to his chess passion. He confidently sent a challenge to all Australian chess players in 1885: Gossip agreed to compete against any player in Australia for GBP £20 (about £2,500 in today's pounds). According to Gossip, the winner should not only receive the prize money, but was also allowed to call himself the Australian Champion.

Frederick Karl Esling [Photo: Stuart Tompkins /Box Hill via Wikipedia], an engineer by profession and one of Melbourne's best players, took up the challenge and put Gossip in his place in a surprisingly short competition. Esling won the first game and was better in the second when Gossip dropped out due to illness.

It wasn't until 65 years later, in 1950, the Australian Chess Federation declared this short encounter, in which only one game was played from start to finish, the first official Australian Championship, and made the Esling, born on July 20, 1860, at the age of 90 and just shortly before his death on July 31, 1955, the first official Australian Champion.

The competition between Gossip and Esling may have been short, but it started a tradition: two years later, in 1887, what was in retrospect the second Australian Championship was held in Adelaide, this time as a tournament. Henry Charlick won with 7½ out of 9 ahead of Esling, who finished second, half a point behind.


The Australian Championship 2020 was also a tournament: 21 participants played eleven rounds according to the Swiss system. Anton Smirnov, Bobby Cheng and Zong-Yuan Zhao, the top three in the Australian ranking, did not participate, however, and defending champion GM Max Illingworth, was also absent. That opened the door for Temur Kuybokarov who, with an Elo rating of 2523, was the top seed.

The 19-year-old more than lived up to this role. He started the tournament five straight wins, until some sand got into the gears, and he lost to FM Christopher Wallis (Elo 2322) in round six.


But Kuybokarov quickly recovered and won his next three games. After nine rounds he had racked up 8 points and was 1½ points ahead of IM Junta Ikeda. Two draws in rounds ten and eleven, were enough to become Australian Champion with a final tally of 9 out of 11.

Kuybokarov's most important victory was in round four. He outplayed Ikeda, the eventual runner-up, with Black in an energetic game.


Temur Kuybokarov | Photo: Official site

Final Standings

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2 
1 1 GM Kuybokarov Temur AUS 2523 9,0 69,5 56,5
2 2 IM Ikeda Junta AUS 2438 8,5 70,0 56,5
3 5 IM Bjelobrk Igor AUS 2403 7,5 66,0 53,5
4 3 IM Clarke Brandon G I ENG 2438 7,0 68,0 56,0
5 6 FM Wallis Christopher AUS 2322 6,5 66,5 54,0
6 8 FM Puccini Jack AUS 2265 6,5 64,5 52,5
7 11 FM Hu Jason AUS 2159 6,5 64,5 52,0
8 4 IM McClymont Brodie AUS 2421 6,0 72,0 59,0
9 9 WGM Zhang Jilin AUS 2237 6,0 64,0 52,0
10 17 FM Kethro Michael AUS 2093 6,0 57,5 46,5
11 12 FM O`Chee Kevin AUS 2156 5,5 66,0 53,0
12 7 IM Solomon Stephen J AUS 2319 5,5 63,0 51,0
13 15   Lo Willis AUS 2108 5,5 51,5 41,0
14 10   McGowan Cameron AUS 2221 5,0 60,5 48,0
15 19   Parle Hughston AUS 2057 5,0 50,0 41,0
16 16   Kargosha Bahman AUS 2101 4,5 59,5 48,5
17 14   Huynh Arthur AUS 2136 4,5 49,5 40,0
18 20   Bayaca Sterling AUS 1994 4,5 49,0 40,0
19 13 FM Nakauchi Gene AUS 2150 4,0 54,0 43,5
20 18 CM Ng Clive AUS 2061 4,0 50,0 40,5
21 21 AGM Plant John Stuart AUS 1993 3,5 54,5 44,0

All available games


Translation from German: Macauley Peterson


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register