Nalanda’s Susal and Wycherley’s Oshini felicitated at Chess Academy launch

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Colombo, Jan 8, 4PM – In a momentous occasion coinciding with the New Year’s dawn, the Sri Lanka Chess Federation proudly opened the doors to its first-ever National Chess Academy at the Board of Investment (BOI) Auditorium in the World Trade Centre, Colombo. The ceremony witnessed the felicitation of chess champions International Master Susal de Silva of Nalanda College and Oshini Gunawardhane of Wycherley International School.

The inauguration spotlighted the achievements of International Master Susal de Silva, who clinched a gold medal at the recent Asian Youth Chess Championship in Dubai, and Oshini Gunawardhane, who secured a silver medal. FIDE Master and FIDE Trainer Sunil Weeramantry, recognized as the best junior coach in the United States of America, honored the champions with cash prizes of Rs 100,000/- and Rs 50,000/- respectively. The event brought together Luxman Wijesuriya, President of the Sri Lanka Chess Federation, Executive Members, and elite chess players from across the country.

The Chess Federation declared the establishment of the National Chess Academy as a historic moment for Sri Lankan chess enthusiasts. The academy’s mission is to provide a platform for both seasoned players and emerging talents, with a vision to elevate the standard of chess in the country.

Luxman Wijesuriya, President of the Sri Lanka Chess Federation, shed light on the National Chess Academy’s objectives, emphasizing the selection of the top 10 players in the country for specialized training. “We want to prepare them for competing in prestigious events such as the Asian, West Asian, Commonwealth, and World championships,” explained Wijesuriya.

Looking forward, the Chess Federation has ambitious plans for the Chess Olympiads, intending to send a team of 10 players, comprising five boys and five girls, to represent Sri Lanka. The National Chess Academy will be under the direction of Rachindra Kalugampitiya as the Director, with Niroshan Chathuranga serving as the Coordinator.

Insider information reveals that Sri Lanka is set to host the Western Asian Chess Championship in June, while the dates for the Asian Chess Championship in Kazakhstan are yet to be finalized. Additionally, the Commonwealth Championship is scheduled to take place in Malaysia from February 20 to 29, offering a promising horizon for Sri Lankan chess enthusiasts.

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FIDE Master and FIDE Trainer Sunil Weeramantry presents cash award to Oshini Gunawardhane
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Illuminating the Moment: FIDE Master and FIDE Trainer Sunil Weeramantry (center) and Sri Lanka Chess Federation President Luxman Wijesuriya (right) lighting the oil lamp at an auspicious time.

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