Lane dominates chess battle
The Fiji Chess Festival concluded successfully at the Radisson Blu Resort on Friday after a week of standard, rapid and blitz games. The week-long carnival saw participants from Australia, New Zealand, France and Fiji compete in three chess tournaments. “The Fiji National Sports Commission (FSNC) sponsored event was won by International Master (IM) Gary Lane of Australia in the 2nd Fiji International Chess Championships by winning all 7 games,” International Arbiter (IA) Dr Jashint Maharaj said.
“The Lane supremacy also continued in Rapid where he scored 9/9.” However, New Zealander Jack James broke the winning streak of the top seed when he outplayed him in a close encounter in the Blitz event. “We also had very exciting and strong performances by top local players,” deputy arbiter Gaurav Raicar said. “14 year old Semesi Vukikomoala was the pick of the lot since he won the Best Local Player Award in Standard event and it was his first appearance in an international event.” Raicar said that Semisi was also crowned as the Flour Mills of Fiji (FMF) U20 Champion and was part of the Fiji Junior development squad. Vukikomoala would be a force to reckon with in the chess future. Fiji’s top seed CM Calvin Prasad impressed in Standard by amassing 5/7 to finish second overall next to IM Gary Lane. In the Blitz event, CM Paul Spiller of New Zealand won the Senior Division while CM Manoj Kumar won the Best Local Award. “Team Fiji showed true grit in their games against much stronger and experienced opponents, and it was greatly pleasing to watch the young and upcoming chess enthusiasts upset senior international players,” mentioned Raicar. The Chess Festival also incorporated the 2016 Oceania Seniors and inaugural Oceania Juniors titles which were awarded to IM Gary Lane of Australia and Jack James of New Zealand respectively for their efforts during the week.
A total of $ 7500 in cash prizes was distributed among 45 winners in categories for Open, Women, Senior, Junior and Local.
Fiji Chess Federation officials and winners in Nadi on Friday.