THREE candidate masters will represent Fiji in the 2013 Oceania Zonal Chess Championships which will be held in Fiji next month.
Reigning national champion Dr Sanmogam Goundar will be closely backed by Calvin Prasad and Manoj Kumar in the nine—round tournament at Sonaisali Island Resort from May 4 to 11.
The event will be played under FIDE (World Chess Organization) regulations.
Fiji Chess Federation assistant general secretary Teliko Koroi said the event was a good opportunity for local players to gain experience against International Masters such as Max Illingworth, Gary Lane and Igor Goldenberg of Australia.
"FIDE Master Bob Smith of New Zealand has also confirmed his entry. Other international players are also showing interes, and we should have a very good turnout confirmed within the next two weeks," she said.
Koroi added Prasad and Kumar have been preparing extensively for the tournament while Goundar will arrive from Australia next month.
Kumar said thorough preparation for a zonal competition was vital.
"All of Fiji's players are ranked below their opponents from abroad, but we would like to stress that every game will be a huge battle for them," he said.
FCF president Dr Virgilio de Asa believes the timing of the tournament is ideal since it runs simultaneously with the Fiji Games.
"It is a time when all people in Fiji will be in a mood to enjoy various types of sports," he said.
"I hope that this tournament will help to market Fiji a lot better in the international arena, be it chess or otherwise."
Other countries that have shown interest in playing are Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Guam.
The tournament will be supervised by FIDE Arbiters Dr Jashint Maharaj of Fiji and Brian Jones of Australia, with assistance from deputy arbiter Rachael Masilomani also of Fiji.