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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fiji Chess: Urgent Appeal for Women Players

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2013

Hi everyone, 

The Fiji Chess Federation has issued an urgent appeal for more women chess players so that they can ready a strong team for the 2014 Chess Olympiad to be held in Norway. The Chess Olympiad is held every two years and was created in the wake of a failed attempt to include chess as an Olympic sport. At the 2012 event in Istanbul, more than 1700 players from 152 nations competed.

Teenager Hilda Vukikomoala, one of the rising stars of Fiji chess, has told Pacific Beat the women's team needs at least four players to take part in Norway. "Many people in Fiji know how to play chess, but those who are actually competing, is not so many," she said.

"Many of my friends know how to play — they're not very committed, or 'good' players — but they do know how to move the pieces around."
"There's way more men than women but I'm sure we'll get someone."

Fiji's Chess Federation says although most of the players in the country are over 30, it is hoping to capitalise on young competitors like Hilda to open new opportunities for the game. In May, the 17-year-old became the first local player to attain the Women's FIDE Master Title, a title based on performance in competitions.

Hilda has represented Fiji in numerous international events, including the last Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, and the Oceania Zonal in Nadi last month. She says although it can sometimes be hard to find strong opponents in Fiji, technology has opened up new avenues to improve her game.

"I play online chess, but mainly against the computer," she said.

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