He comes from Oegstgeest and learned to play chess at the age of six from his father. January Smeets has participated in numerous national and international youth tournaments and was considered one of the greatest talents in the Netherlands. Since 2004, he conferred the title of Grand Master. Among his best tournament results include a shared second place in the B group of the Corus Chess Tournament 2005. At the Junior U20 World Cup 2005 he came to the fifth place. In April 2008 he won the national championship in Hilversum in the Netherlands. In November he played in the Chess Olympiad in 2008 for the first time for the Dutch Olympic team and scored on the second board 5.5 points over 10 games. In August 2009, he qualified by its result (6 points from 10 games) at the NH Chess Tournament in Amsterdam as the best young players for the tournament Melody Amber 2010. In June 2010, he was in Eindhoven for the second time Dutch champion.
In the Netherlands, he plays for the Hilversums Schaak Genootschap, in the German Chess Bundesliga for the chess society Solingen and in Sweden for Lunds ASK. Smeets studied economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
He is the 5th of the Dutch ranking (as of March 2013).