2015 National Open Chess Championship

Candidate Master (CM) Manoj Kumar warded off several challengers as he won the National Open Chess Championship at FASANOC Olympic House with 7.5/9. He won 6 games and drew with CM Goru Arvind, Jose Celiz and Zen Borg to remain unbeaten in the 5-day event.

“This year’s National Championship had 13 FIDE Rated players who were reasonably strong,” reports Deputy Arbiter Gaurav Raicar. “Competitors like Anthony Maelasi of Solomon Islands, Jose Celiz of Palau and Werner Bonrath of Germany helped to raise the bar for our aspiring local reps. It was not easy for anyone since no one had a perfect score.”

Jose Celiz, Oscar Eloson and CM Goru Arvind finished second, third and fourth overall with a tied result of 6.5/9.

Women’s FIDE Master (WFM) Hilda Vukikomoala showed resilience in her performance after she bounced back from two opening losses to become the Women’s National Champion. She remained unbeaten in her next 7 games to finish with 5.5/9. Women’s Candidate Master (WCM) Gloria Sukhu and Kabrina Terubea followed her in 2nd and 3rd place respectively with 5/9.

“Fiji Chess Federation is happy to see improved performances from local and international players at all levels,” informs President CM Calvin Prasad. “A total of $ 1000 in cash prizes was awarded by Sports World to 9 winners in different categories. Apart from that, we are looking good for 2016 when the 1st Fiji Chess Festival will be hosted in August for countries like Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Palau, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Guam to participate in.”

In the Under-20 Category, Zen Borg played solid chess to taste victory with 5.5/9. He was closely matched by young guns Rudr Prasad and Russell Talonga who finished 2nd and 3rd with 5/9.

The tournament was also landmark in the sense that 4 new local players performed well enough to be in-line for World Chess Federation (FIDE) Ratings in the form of William Bennion, Prashil Prakash, Oscar Eloson and Russell Talonga. With their addition, Fiji will have the highest number of FIDE Rated players for a Pacific Island country.

Fiji Chess Federation will be using the results of all tournaments in 2015 and the 2016 Fiji Chess Festival to select 5 players each for the Fiji Open Chess Team and Women’s National Chess Team that would participate in the 42nd World Chess Olympiad at Baku from 17 September.