Saturday, September 26, 2009

A pioneering international chess event in the Solomon Islands

Four rated Australians (wearing flower garlands) and six Solomon Islanders complete the cast of the first ever international chess tournament in Solomon Islands. Front row from left: Fernando Aguilar, Australians Shaun Press and Kerry Stead. Back row: FMs Lee Jones and Brian Jones. The other nationals in the picture are not identified. (Photo: Solomon Star)

THE ground-breaking international chess tournament in Solomon Islands kicks off on Thursday, September 24, at the Red Mansion Comfort Inn at Panatina Ridge, Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The official opening of the Solomon Islands International Chess Tournament was hosted at the Red Mansion on Thursday night.

The tournament system is a single round-robin (or all-play-all) format which means there will be 9 rounds of play. The first round takes place on the same day of the opening ceremony.

The participant roster include four FIDE-rated Australian players and six national players. The rated players are FIDE Masters Lee Jones (rated 2117) and Brian Jones (2065), Shaun Press (2076), and Kerry Stead (2087). The national players are Fernando Aguilar, Brandon Tangaibasa, Price Tepuke, Scarden Tesua, Budds Maruia and Takika Tuata.

The tournament chief arbiter is no other than Oceania zone president, International Arbiter Gary Bekker, who collaborated with the Solomon Islands chess federation in organizing the country’s first international chess event.

The only player in the Solomon Islands team who has played in an international rated event is Fernando Aguilar who represented the island nation in the 2009 Oceania zone chess championship held in Queensland, Australia last June. He, however, did not make it to the September FIDE rating list as he lacked one game from the required minimum of nine.

The Solomon Islands chess players will earn their international ratings after the tournament which ends on Monday, September 28.

The Solomon Islands chess federation is the latest member of the world’s chess governing body— FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs) to be registered under the Oceania chess zone which include the countries of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Palau.

Before the Solomon Islands the Palau Chess Federation was accepted as member of FIDE in 2005 and had conducted its first international tournament in 2006. Palau, incidentally, is currently going about its national chess championship this year with four of its six international rated players participating.

Both the Solomon Islands and Palau are yet to participate in the biennial chess Olympiad which was last held in Dresden, Germany last year. There is high hope that they can join in the next Olympiad scheduled late next year in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Brief facts about Solomon Islands

• Full name: Solomon Islands
• Population: 507,000 (UN, 2008)
• Capital: Honiara
• Area: 27,556 sq km (10,639 sq miles)
• Major language: English (official), Melanesian dialects
• Major religion: Christianity
• Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 64 years (women) (UN, 2008)
• Monetary unit: 1 Solomon Islands dollar = 100 cents
• Main exports: Timber, fish, palm oil and kernels, copra
• GNI per capita: US $730 (World Bank, 2007)
• Internet domain: .sb
• International dialling code: +677


THE Solomon Islands is a double chain of islands located 1860 kilometres to the north east of Australia. Shaped by earthquakes and volcanic activity thousands of years ago, the 922 individual islands, of which 350 are uninhabited, are divided into nine provinces.
The six main islands of Choiseul, Santa Isabel, Guadalcanal, Malatia, Makira and New Georgia make up most of the 28,000 square kilometre land mass. Hundreds of smaller islands and atolls are scattered throughout the group.

The Solomon Islands are a uniquely, beautiful environment, wild and untamed. The landscape is mountainous with 80% of the islands covered in dense rainforest.

Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, there are several active volcanoes and numerous uplifted atolls and coral islands.

The nation is largely untouched by tourism. Most of the population live in small villages and follow traditional cultures and lifestyles with hunting, fishing, carvings, handcrafts and subsistence farming being their main activities.

The Solomon Islanders are a friendly, warm and generous people who make visitors to their Islands feel most welcome.


Further information about the Solomon Islands may be obtained from the following links: - Facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, foreign relations of Solomon Islands. - Features map and brief descriptions of the geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military and transnational issues. - Solomon Islands tourism and travel information including facts, maps, history, culture, transport and weather in Solomon Islands.


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