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Chess names Olympiad squad

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, July 19, 2014

THE national team is optimistic of a good outing in the 41st Chess Olympiad at Tromso, Norway to be held from August 1 to 14.

The event which will have more than 170 countries and 1500 chess players is the fourth largest sporting event in the world.

Open team captain and national champion Candidate Master (CM) Calvin Prasad said they were in the final phase of their preparations.

He said they had opted for new players for this competition.

"I am happy to announce that this is possibly one of the strongest teams of the decade," said Prasad in a statement from Chess Fiji.

"The arrival of Taione Sikivou from Malaysia earlier this month has done wonders for our team morale. He is the top scoring local player from the 2012 Fiji International Open and packs a big punch when playing aggressive chess."

The Fiji team to the 41st Chess Olympiad will have three Candidate Masters, one Women's Candidate Master and two Women's FIDE Masters which is the highest ever for an Olympiad team from a Pacific Island country.

Also, International Arbiter (IA) Doctor Jashint Maharaj will write history when he becomes the first Fijian to arbiter in a Chess Olympiad next month.

Maharaj is the only Pacific Islander to hold an IA title.

"Having debutants like Aarti Sewak in the women's national team and Taione Sikivou in the open team add a zing that our opponents won't expect," said Chess Fiji general secretary CM Goru Arvind. "Apart from younger players, our squads have noteworthy experience in the form of CM Manoj Kumar, CM Sanmogam Goundar, Women's Candidate Master (WCM) Gloria Sukhu, Women's FIDE Master (WFM) Hilda Vukikomoala and WFM Kieran Lyons who have represented Fiji before."

The US-based veteran Dr. Jasvinder Singh will fly to Tromso as a reserve for the open team while Nora De Asa will boost the women's team.

In the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad, the women's national team had won against Afghanistan, Pakistan and Barbados while the open team had defeated Kenya, Burundi and Namibia alongside a draw with Korea.

The team leaves our shores on July 29.

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