CHESSMASTER REGAINS FORM TO WIN VODAFONE FIJI RAPID
Tuesday, 07 November, 2023
15-Times National Champion Candidate Master (CM) Manoj Kumar regained his enigmatic form to convincingly win the 2023 Vodafone Fiji October Rapid Chess Championship at Khatri Hall, Suva with an unbeaten score of 6.5/7. Ex-Olympiad rep CM Ronald Terubea provided strong resistance for the title by finishing on a solid 6/7, while Jun Adricula of the Philippines landed in third position with the same score but a lower tie-break.
Vodafone Fiji proudly sponsored prizes for the Open, Women, Primary and Secondary Schools Divisions. A record number of 49 chess players from Suva, Nadi and the Philippines participated in the event, with school students making a chunk of the player list.
National Arbiter (NA) John Andrew Kunau and Organizer CM Taione Sikivou confirmed that the event included 10 girls from Primary School, and about 70% of the total participants were Under-18.
The Women’s Division was won by Jacquelyn Masilomani of The University of the South Pacific at 4.5/7. Women’s Candidate Master (WCM) and Makayla Sukhu secured the second and third positions respectively with an equal score of 4/7.
“Vodafone Fiji is also empowering chess to have a tournament in the Western Division for November,” states General Secretary Goru Arvind. “This is just the beginning of our long-term partnership that leads to the pathway of the 45th World Chess Olympiad at Budapest in Hungary next year. Our selectors are keeping an eye on seasoned veterans and upcoming talents for the National Chess Team after the 2023 Vodafone Fiji National Chess Championship in December.”
The Secondary School’s Division was dominated by a sharp performance from Zayne Elmond Keshwan of Jai Narayan College who also registered a draw with CM Manoj Kumar to pile up 5.5/7. Upcoming talents Michael Samuela of Marist Brother’s High School and Kartik Chandra of Vunimono High School came second and third with a tied score of 5/7, stamping their consistency in the sport across the last few months.
The Primary School’s Division was won by the talented Lionel Vaurasi of Yat Sen Primary School with a solid 4.5/7 to match the cool-minded Yajas Sharma of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Primary School who came second by virtue of lower tie-break. Kaelan Sharma of Yat Sen Primary School finished third with a respectful 4/7. All three winners are in Class 6.
“Seeing a High School student register a draw with one of Fiji’s all-time top players who is still in form is what makes the sport more exciting,” adds Goru Arvind. “Chess is a unique platform where age is not a bar. We always have the happiness of seeing an upcoming Primary or Secondary School student that delivers a knockout blow to an experienced adult or veteran. Choosing the National Team at the end of the year will be a challenging task with so much talent in the pool.”
Joseph Lee of Marist Brother’s High School bagged the Best Beginner’s Award for registering 2 wins and a draw in his first Fiji Chess Federation event, while Clarissa Koroi of Saint Anne’s Primary School secured the Best Beginner’s Female Award with 3 solid wins.
Jun Adricula took the Best Upset Award by defeating ex-Olympiad rep Prashil Prakash in a seesaw match, and Lionel Vaurasi won the Lucky Draw Prize from a pool of 18 participants who pre-registered online for the event via the official Fiji Chess Federation Facebook page that had a Google Form.
Details of the next Vodafone Fiji Rapid Chess Championship for November will be announced in due course.
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