The 2015 FMF Under-20 National Junior Chess Championship ended with Tianata Terubea surpassing 4 ex-National reps with a solid 8.5/9. The presence of ex-National reps like Kabrina Terubea, Zen Borg, Jacquelyn Masilomani and Menash Fareed did not deter the aggressive chess player from remaining unbeaten in the 5-day event. After 8 straight wins, Tianata Terubea drew with Menash Fareed in the final round to clinch his first-ever National title.The win has earned him the right to represent Fiji in the 2015 Oceania Zonal Chess Championship at Australia in July alongside top local players that will be named soon.
Zen Borg finished in second position with 6.5/9 while William Bennion came third with 5.5/9. In the Under-18 Category, Russell Talonga took the top honors with 6/9 and Menash Fareed won the Under-16 Category with the same score. The Under-14 Category was won by the upcoming Rudr Prasad who had 5.5/9, while his younger sister Tanvi Prasad topped the Under-20 Girls Category with 5/9.
General Secretary Goru Arvind thanked sponsors FMF for providing gift-packs for all participants apart from 16 cash prizes in various categories. Former New Zealand National Chess Champion and FIDE Master (FM) Scott Wastney oversaw the tournament and mentored youngsters at the venue. He was pleased to see a lot of natural talent in Fiji.
“Coming from New Zealand where players have exposure to more facilities and guidance, I could see that there are some gaps to fill,” informs Scott. “While their middle game tactics are commendable, they need to learn how to manage their openings a little better. Usually that comes with professional coaching which we don’t have here. Nevertheless, what I saw was pleasing in the sense that children in Fiji do have potential to compete internationally if they are nurtured the right way.”
The tournament came with a fair share of surprise results where Vinooda Senewiratne had an upset win over ex-Under 20 National Champion Keez Terubea, William Bennion won against Zen Borg in a close encounter, and Kabrina Terubea won a game in just 7 moves.
Tournament Director Candidate Master (CM) Calvin Prasad added that the tournament was a grand success in the sense that players had a chance to get their games analyzed by Scott Wastney. “Post-match analysis is something we never had in any tournament,” states Prasad. “I would like to thank Scott for his time and effort. The children have picked up a few useful things and the very fact that we have a new winner shows that chess in Fiji is growing.”
The next tournament in the calendar is Mohammed Badshah Memorial Open on May 17.