THE World Chess Federation (FIDE) has awarded Fiji Chess Federation (FCF) president, Doctor Virgilio de Asa, with the prestigious FIDE International Organisers (IO) title this week.
The historic achievement was made possible because of recognition of Dr de Asa's commendable work with the national federation over the past 30 years.
The leadership displayed by Dr de Asa over last decade, in which Fiji has hosted several international chess competition, was also considered.
He is the first person to be awarded such a title outside of Australia and New Zealand.
Former FCF secretary Dr Jashint Maharaj said Dr de Asa deserved the title because of his unrelenting drive to put Fiji chess on the world stage.
"Dr de Asa's vision and ability to successfully host international and regional events, including the Oceania World Championship qualifiers since 2002 has put Fiji chess onto the world stage," Dr Maharaj said.
"His pioneering efforts and capability to lead a dynamic successful team has been rewarded with due recognition by the world governing body of chess."
Dr de Asa said the recognition did not mean the end of the line for him. He said the FCF continuously strived to improve on the past performances.
"While it has been greatly rewarding, by no means was the journey easy and with future commitments to chess looking fruitful, there is still a long way to go for Fiji Chess.
"I'm humbled to accept the title and look forward to bigger and better events for Fiji and the Oceania," Dr de Asa said.
The title means that Dr de Asa is now in a selected group within the Oceania, who have the licence to hold international chess events under the auspices of the World Chess Federation (FIDE).