International Chess Federation
Saturday, 22 Jan 2022 15:40
Chess Federation of Sri Lanka celebrates 50th anniversary

The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) celebrates its 50th anniversary. The CFSL was formed in 1972, the year the World Chess Championship match between Boris Spassky and Robert James Fischer, a real milestone in chess history, took place.

In the wake of this event, the local chess enthusiasts got together and established the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka on 3rd September 1972 under the presidency of Mr VP Vittachchi. A few years down the road, Mr Bodinagoda, the Chairman of the Lake House, became President and launched several progressive projects. There were some ups and downs between 1988 – 1999 due to political instability in the country and security level. The current era began in 1999 under the presidency of Mr Derrick Perera with two huge events, the Asian Junior Chess Championships held in a grand style in 2000 and 2001. Derrick was appointed as the General Secretary of the Asian Chess Federation in 2002.

Christopher Parakrama of Royal College became the first national chess champion, and Sri Lanka debuted in Chess Olympiad back in 1978. The national team led by Arjuna Parakrama also included  Harsha Aturupane, L.C. Goonatilleke and Sunil Weeramantry. After sporadic showings from 1982 to 1996, Sri Lanka has participated in all Chess Olympiads starting from 2000 (Istanbul, Turkey). Still, the highest achievement belongs to Suneetha Wijesuriya, who brought honour to the country at the FIDE Chess Olympiad 1992 in Manila by winning board gold.

A new chapter started with Mr Luxman Wijesuriya’s taking the position of the CFSL President. He is also the General Secretary of South Asian Chess Council and Commonwealth Chess Association and a Vice President of Asian Chess Federation. Mr Luxman Wijesuriya has established a strong structure of internal events with cash prizes, spread the information on ratings and titles among players, and organized official Asian events regularly. This work gave Sri Lankan chess a much-needed boost, with Sachini Ranasinghe winning the Asian Zonal Women’s Chess Championship 2011 and becoming the first WIM in the country. She qualified for the FIDE Women World Cup in 2012 and became the first Sri Lankan player to take part in the event.

Later on, Romesh Weerawardena turned in an excellent performance in the Asian Zone 2013 to win the IM title. Nelunika Methmani also got the WIM in the same year. Then Harshana Thilakaratne completed three IM norms and reached a 2400 rating. Ranindu Dilshan Liyanage became the first player to represent Sri Lanka in FIDE Chess World Cup held in 2021 in Sochi, Russia.

CFSL has become one of the most active sports federations in Sri Lanka and Asia. Even in difficult pandemic years, the CFSL held over 100 online events and one OTB tournament.

The CFSL have planned a lot of activities to mark its 50th anniversary as below:

  1. Golden Jubilee International Youth Chess Championships 2022 – 12 categories
  2. World Junior Online Chess Championships 2022
  3. Asian Nations Cup Youth Chess Championships
  4. Asian Schools Chess Championships 2022
  5. Training programmes for Technical officers
  6. Golden Jubilee International Open Grand Master Chess Championships
  7. Religious Ceremony on 2nd and 3rd of September 2022
  8. The gathering of all top Chess Players and Officials