Candidate Master (CM) Manoj Kumar and Provisional Women's Candidate Master (WCM) Cydel Terubea secured the 2023 Vodafone Fiji National Open Chess Champion and 2023 Vodafone Fiji National Women's Chess Champion titles respectively after a 5-day run of chess where both players remained unbeaten.

CM Manoj Kumar piled up a whopping 8/9 to win his 16th National Chess Championship title, a feat that is matched by no one else since the sport started in Fiji from 1979. CM Ronald Terubea and Year 1 student from The University of the South Pacific, Yash Krishen Maharaj finished in second and third place with a solid score of 7/9, while CM Taione Sikivou and Provisional FIDE Master (FM) Rudr Ravi Prasad came fourth and fifth overall with competitive totals of 6.5/9 each.

Provisional WCM Cydel Terubea sealed her Vodafone Fiji Women's National Chess Championship title with more finesse, sealing her victory with a perfect 9/9 against the best female chess players in Fiji. Provisional WCM Tanvi Radha Prasad of Jai Narayan College came second with a strong challenge at 7.5/9. Women's National Rapid Chess Champion Louisa Corpuz finished third with 6.5/9, Year 1 student from The University of the South Pacific, Eshal Bari tallied 6/9 for the fourth position, and Makayla Sukhu of Suva Grammar High School ended fifth with a solid 5/9.

The tournament was a true celebration of chess with many difficult to predict outcomes across 5-days of play," states General Secretary Goru Arvind. "Our team is very thankful to Vodafone Fiji for giving a new dawn to the sport of chess with their unwavering support which will continue into 2024.

Arnav Lal of Jai Narayan College displayed patience in chess to secure the top position in the Secondary School's Division with 5/9, edging second placed Rajatha Weerasekara of Jai Narayan College who also had the same score by virtue of tie-break. Schoolmate Kinura Herath of Jai Narayan College came third with a score of 4.5/9.

Yajas Sharma of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Primary School displayed firepower in a performance that tallied 6.5/9 to top the Primary School's Division. Lionel Vaurasi of Yat Sen Primary School and Paul Corpuz of Lautoka Zhong Hua Primary School finished second and third respectively at 5/9 each but different tie-break.

Louis Corpuz of Gurukul Primary School took the second Best Upset Award for winning against veteran Prashil Prakash.

The biggest achievement for 2023 is seeing a lot of younger players from Primary and Secondary school improve in their level of chess," adds Goru Arvind. "Looking at how the tournament shaped up, we will surely feature a number of new National reps in the upcoming 2024 World Chess Olympiad at Budapest in Hungary. Exciting finish to the year with tremendous hope for the next one.

In other awards, Joshua Sahayam of Holy Trinity Primary School won the Best Beginner Award (Male), and Fulori Masau of Dudley Intermediate Primary School bagged the Best Beginner Award (Female) for a respectful performance in their first Fiji Chess Federation tournament.

The Lucky Draw Prize for early online registration via Google Forms was won by Visudda Dissanayake of Deenbandho Memorial Primary School.

The tournament was successfully administered by Chief Arbiter WCM Gloria Sukhu and National Arbiter (NA) William Robert Raymond Bennion.


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