International Chess Federation
Tuesday, 02 Jan 2024 21:37
Vodafone Fiji Championship: Manoj Kumar and Cydel Terubea clinch titles

CM Manoj Kumar and provisional WCM Cydel Terubea secured the 2023 Vodafone Fiji National Open Champion and 2023 Vodafone Fiji National Women's Champion titles after a 5-day run of intense chess. Both winners completed the tournaments unbeaten. 

CM Manoj Kumar piled up a whopping 8/9 to win his sixteenth national title, which has been unmatched since the sport started in Fiji in 1979. CM Ronald Terubea and student of the University of the South Pacific, Yash Krishen Maharaj, tied for second place, scoring 7/9, while CM Taione Sikivou and Provisional FIDE Master (FM) Rudr Ravi Prasad came fourth and fifth, netting 6.5/9.

Provisional WCM Cydel Terubea sealed her Vodafone Fiji Women's National Chess Championship title with style, winning all nine games against the best female chess players in Fiji. Provisional WCM Tanvi Radha Prasad of Jai Narayan College gave the champion a good run for her money and came second with 7.5/9.

 Women's National Rapid Chess Champion Louisa Corpuz finished third with 6.5/9, the first-year student from The University of the South Pacific, Eshal Bari, chalked up 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. It was really 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 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) thanks to better tiebreaks. 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 tied for second position on 5/9, with the former taking silver thanks to better tiebreaks.

Yajas Sharma also secured the Best Upset Award for a win against CM Goru Arvind and a solid draw with CM Taione Sikivou to double-up his win.

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 in Budapest, Hungary. Exciting finish to the year with tremendous hope for the next one."

Joshua Sahayam of Holy Trinity Primary School won the Best Beginner Award (Open), 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.

All officials and players of the Fiji Chess Federation wish their followers and well-wishers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year before they resume with the 2024 Vodafone Fiji National Blitz Chess Championship in late January.

Text and photos: Fiji Chess Federation Facebook