CFSL National Chess Championship/ Women’s Chess Championship 2020 – at Half Way

Two school kids on top of both Men’s and Women’s Nationals as 1st half comes to an end!

CM Ranindu Liyanage (Ananda College) and Nethmi Fernando (Girls High School – Kandy) top the tables at the end of the 1st half of the National Chess Championships held at the Sri Lanka Chess Federation Headquarters, Colombo. The tournaments are held according to a round-robin system with 14 players battling out at each Men’s and Women’s category to be crowned as National Chess Champion. Amidst the prevailing situation, the Chess Federation has successfully been able to conduct the topmost tournament in the Sri Lankan Chess Calendar, abiding all health and safety regulations. Chess Federation of Sri Lanka will offer Rs. 320,000/= cash awards with other attractive prizes for the event and National Champion will receive Rs. 100,000/=
The Men’s section ended the week with the 3 top-seeded players finishing on the top of the tables but as history suggests the second half of the tournament always brings a few surprises. The tournament started off on Friday with the top 2 seeded players Susal de Silva (Nalanda College) and Ranindu Dilshan Liyanage facing off against the 2 veteran Sri Lankan players IM Romesh Weerawardane (Fischer CC) and FM Anuruddha Chinthaka (Kandy YMCA) where the two youngsters came on top scoring wins to kick start their battle for the title. Ranindu then stormed off to the lead after the 5th round victory over Maheesha Dabarera (Maliyadeva College) whilst Susal and FM Minul Doluweera (Royal College) had to suffer defeats on the way. At the end of the 1st week, Ranindu leads the pack with 6 points with Minul (5 points) and Susal (4.5 points) on his tail.
There were a few interesting mid-table performances as well, notably from the new attacking player from Jaffna S Sivathanujan (Grand Prix Chess Club) who went on to upset a few experienced players by scoring strong wins. He is tied at 6th place with Maheesha Dabarera, Theekshana Denuwan (Ananda College) and Rasika Samaranayaka (University of Peradeniya) whilst the veterans Anuruddha and Romesh sit 4th and 5th respectively.
In the women’s section Nethmi Fernando (Girls High School – Kandy) stormed off to a massive lead by the end of the week where she has already played against the next two players chasing her for the title as well as the reigning National Champion. It was simply a dominant performance where only Ehsha Pallie (Visakha Vidyalaya) could hold her to a draw in the opening week. Ashvini Pavalachandran (Wycherley International) who is leading the chase sits 1.5 points behind Nethmi whilst 2 Visakians Ehsha Pallie and WFM Nevanjee Hewawasam are 2 pointsgbehind.
Defending Champion Sayuni Gihansa Jayaweera (Dharmasoka College) has had a slow start to the tournament and sits in the bottom half of the table whilst former National Women’s Champion, WIM Sachini Ranasinghe (NF3 CC) also had a slow start to the tournament but later caught up the pace and is poised at Eq. 5th place and may yet pose a threat to the title battle if she has a strong second half. The rest of the pack placed Eq. 5th include Hashara Abeysinghe (NSBM), Tharushi Sandeepani (Devi Balika Vidyalaya) and Tharushi Niklesha (Visakha Vidyalaya).
The next set of games will start off on the 19th (Saturday) and continued on 20th & 21st September 2020 followed by the Awards Ceremony. The Federation has also arranged facilities for all games to be shown live in and the results on Lankan Page). The live Games links:
Sri Lanka Nationals (Sri Lanka National Chess Championship - 2020)
Women's National (Sri Lanka Women's National Chess Championship - 2020)

Written by Minura Munasinghe

Report and Photos from CFSL
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