The Tasmanian Open was held as a once off tournament in 1933 before being abandoned for over 40 years. It was re-inaugurated in 1975 and has been held annually every since; with the exception of 1989. The 1989 event was deferred until January 1990. This led to two Tasmanian Opens being held in the one year. Typically the Tasmanian Open is a swiss pairing format, though round-robins have been held when entry numbers have been small. Recent Tasmanian Opens have been paired with the Tasmanian Lightning Championship leading to colloquial reference "Tasmanian Open and Lightning".
Originally called the Tasmanian Open Championship the competition was renamed in 2003 to prevent confusion with the Tasmanian Closed Championship. However, in 1996 a combined Tasmanian Championship and Tasmanian Open event titled the "Tasmanian Open Chess Championship" was held. That event saw a tie for first place with Tasmanian Pavel Sakov claiming both titles (Tasmanian Champion and Tasmanian Open Winner), while Tim Anderson (who tied with Sakov) was only eligible for the title of Tasmanian Open Winner.
In the early years of the Tasmanian Open it was common for interstate players to come to Tasmania and compete. This lead to a substantial number of interstate winners until the early 1990's. Since 1992 scheduling conflicts between the Tasmanian Open and other major chess tournaments held on the mainland of Australia have decreased the number of interstate entrants.
Facts and Figures
Largest field: 40, 1976, Launceston
Smallest field: 8, 1990, Burnie
- Kevin Bonham 10 (7 shared)
- Simon Browne 4 (1 shared)
- Darryl Johansen 3
- Darryl Johansen (1985)
- Graham Lee (1987)
- Pavel Sakov (1998)
- Michael Hornung (2000)
- Phil Donnelly (2013)
Most wins in a row: Kevin Bonham 5 (2005-9, four shared)
Youngest winner: Vincent Horton (2008 - shared title) age 12
Open - Championship double
- S. J. Henri 1976 (tied for Open)
- Adrian Flitney 1983 (tied for both)
- Simon Browne 1993 (tied for Open)
- Tony Dowden 2007 (tied for both)
- Alastair Dyer 2009 (tied for both) 2010 (tied for Open)
- Ian Rout 2015 (tied for Championships)
No player has yet won both events outright in the same calendar year.