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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fiji Chess

Manoj Kumar
     Quick...name some chess players from Fiji. Officially known as the Republic of Fiji, it is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,300 miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island. An archipelago of more than 330 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, it consists of two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu; the capital Suva. Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources and its main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. 
     Chess has been played in Fiji for a long time, but it was the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match that sparked the popularity of chess in the country. In 1979 the Fiji Chess Federation was established. In 1986 the Federation sent its first team to the 27th Chess Olympiad in Dubai. The team was made up of Surjeet Singh, Damodara Naidu, Jaiwant Singh, Dr Virgilio De Asa and Dr Jasvinder Singh, with Surjeet Singh as the Captain. 
     A military coup in 1987 put restrictions on chess games on Sundays and by the end of the year, the president and treasurer had resigned due to work commitments. The leadership of the Federation passed onto Surjeet Singh, who reorganized the Fiji Chess Federation with the establishment of some new clubs and lessons were provided free of charge and efforts were made to promote chess through the media. 
     At the end of 1989, Surjeet Singh resigned as President to reside overseas, but other members stepped in and the Federation continued to function smoothly with teams being sent to most of the Chess Olympiads. 
     Manoj Kumar (born 1977) is a FIDE Candidate Master with a current rating of 1947, but judging from the following game, I think Kumar's current rating is a bit low; he's probably closer to a master at 2200. The title of Candidate Master (CM) was introduced in 2002 and in order to be awarded the title a rating of 2200 or more must be achieved. Candidate Master ranks below other FIDE titles, but above the WFM and WCM titles. 
     List of active players from Fiji can be found HERE

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