A RECORD number of ranked players are set to feature in the Fiji Chess Federation's National Championship which starts this Friday at the FASANOC Olympic House in Suva.
The four-day tournament will have competitions for men and women who have been chosen based on their performance during the domestic tournaments this year.
Federation president Doctor Virgilio De Asa said this was a historical championship for Fiji.
"This year's National Championship will feature a record number of players who have earned international titles from the World Chess Federation, which is seven," Dr De Asa said in a statement.
"In the men's division, we have Candidate Masters (CM) Calvin Prasad, Manoj Kumar, Ronald Terubea, Noel Adricula and Goru Arvind while in the women's division, we have Women's Candidate Master (WCM) Gloria Sukhu and Women's FIDE Master (WFM) Hilda Vukikomoala."
Defending champion CM Sanmogam Goundar will not participate in this year's championship while Vukikomoala will be defending her crown in the women's division.
"To make it more interesting we have invited ex-Olympiad representative Asheesh Gautam to compete in the men's division," Federation general secretary Goru Arvind added.
"He will fly in from New Zealand next week especially for the tournament. He could have a big impact based on the fact that he is the only Fiji player to defeat an International Master (IM) in a Chess Olympiad.
"All locally based players are wary of his aggressive style."
FCF will use the National Championship to select players for the next Olympiad squad to Norway in 2014.