by Luxman Wijesurija
MK Athula Russell, the National Chess Champion showed that he is ready to gain the 1st IM title to Sri Lanka, winning the runner up position ahead of Two Indian International Masters and the Nepalese FIDE master in the 2nd Sri Lanka International Masters Chess Tournament held from 25th February to 6th March 2009 at the SANASA Campus, Kegalle.Athula scored two full points against International Master Anup Deshmuk and FIDE master Manish, got two draws from the TInternational Master and the Winner of the Colombo Chess Festival, N Srinath to score his total of 9 points out of possible 14. Unfortunately, he missed the norm from 1 point since any player was expected to get 10 points from an IM tournament of this nature. But, he gained a record number of rating points to reach the magical 2300, which is needed for a FM title.Athula won Rs. 30,000/= as the 2nd prize of the event.
This 2nd sri Lanka International Masters Chess Tournament is organized by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka with a chsh award of Rs. 100,000/= in total. Three International Masters from India, One FIDE Master from Nepal and four Sri Lankan top players participated in the event.
The tournament was a one horse race for the top seed, Indian International Master, RR Luxman. With an ELO of more than 2500, he scored 12 points unbeaten score just giving four draws in all 14 rounds. He earned a sum of Rs. 50,000/= as the first prize.
Indian IM N Srinath became third with 8 1/2 points while IM Anup Deshmuk from India got the 4th place. GC Anuruddha was fifth and other three FM Manish, Nepal, Gayan Peiris and Prasanna Kurukulasuriya tied for the 6th place with 4 points.