The Sri Lanka Chess Federation celebrated the opening of its first National Chess Academy at the Board of Investment (BOI) Auditorium in the World Trade Centre in Colombo. The auspicious occasion, coinciding with the dawn of the New Year, saw International Master Susal de Silva of Nalanda College and Oshini Gunawardhane of Wycherley International School being felicitated.
During the inauguration ceremony, International Master Susal de Silva, who secured a gold medal at the recent Asian Youth
Chess Championship in Dubai, and Oshini Gunawardhane, who clinched a silver medal, were honoured. FIDE Master and FIDE Trainer Sunil Weeramantry, renowned as the best junior coach in the United States of America, presented Rs 100,000 to Susal and Rs 50,000 to Oshini. The ceremony was attended by Luxman Wijesuriya, President of the Sri Lanka Chess Federation, Executive Members, and top-class chess players of the country.
“This marks a historic moment for Sri Lankan chess players as the Federation aims to provide a platform for both seasoned players and emerging talents. The academy intends to elevate the standard of chess in the country,” announced the Chess Federation.
Sri Lanka Chess Federation President Luxman Wijesuriya shared insights about the newly established National Chess Academy, emphasizing its focus on developing chess in Sri Lanka. “We have selected the top 10 players in the country and grouped them for training through this National Chess Academy,” he explained.
The training programmes will target age-group championships in Asian, West Asian, Commonwealth, and World events. “We want to prepare them for competing in these four prestigious events,” added Wijesuriya. Looking ahead, the Chess Federation has set its sights on the Chess Olympiads, with plans to send 10 players, five boys and five girls, to represent Sri Lanka.
The Western Asian Chess Championship will be held in Sri Lanka in June, while the dates for the Asian Chess Championship in Kazakhstan are yet to be decided. Additionally, the Commonwealth Championship will take place in Malaysia from February 20 to 29.