Lookout for young players

Fijian youngsters play a game of chess. Picture: FIJI CHESS FEDERATION

The Fiji Chess Federation is looking at ways to increase the base of players under 18 years of age by encouraging them to actively participate in events held by the federation throughout the year.

FCF secretary Goru Arvind said events such as the 2023 Olympic Day Celebration held by the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) and the 2023 Oceania Youth Zonal Chess Championship would feature upcoming stars.

“Like in any sport, investment into the next generation of players is vital to how far we can take Fiji in chess,” he said.

In the 2023 Oceania Youth Zonal Chess Championship, Provisional FM Rudr Prasad scored wins over Lucas Ni (AUS) and Mathieu Galois (FRA), alongside a draw with Aaron Ziwen Wang (NZ) in the U20 Division.

“The 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai where Team Fiji earned Provisional FM and Women’s Candidate Master (WCM) titles featured the youngest team our nation ever fielded since 1979.”

In the Oceania Junior Girls Championship U-20 Division, Makayla Sukhu registered three solid wins over Anne Guo (NZL), Olivia Song (AUS), and Sia Anup Kumar (AUS).

Fiji’s Ayush Chand drew with Louka Ali Said (FRA) in the Oceania Youth Championship U-16 Division, while Paul Anthony Corpuz added wins against Alvin Vincent (AUS) and Sijia Chen (AUS) in the Oceania Youth Championship U-12 Division.

“In our recent tournaments, we have noticed a lot of new talented chess players from primary and secondary schools coming in to compete.

“In the latter half of 2023, we will host the National Primary and Secondary Schools Chess Championship to complement the growing interest among our youngsters.

“The youngest national rep we had fielded was only nine-years-old in the 42nd World Chess Olympiad at Azerbaijan, so age is no real bar in chess.”

Women’s FIDE Master (WFM) Hilda Kunau, Semisi Vukikomoala, and Fiji Chess Federation official Wayne Areki also participated in the 2023 Olympic Day celebration at Albert Park in unison with the and (FASANOC) to showcase the sport of chess to members of the public.

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