Lane dom­i­nates chess bat­tle

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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.

Photo: Fiji Chess Fed­er­a­tion

Fiji Chess Fed­er­a­tion of­fi­cials and win­ners in Nadi on Fri­day.

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