Nalanda College player Susal de Silva and Tharushi Niklesha of Visakha Vidyalaya won the open and women’s chess titles respectively at the National Chess Championships 2021 concluded at the Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo on Thursday.
The 16-year-old de Silva won his maiden national chess title after forcing a draw to a four-hour long Battle of the Maroons against defending champion Ranindu Dilshan Liyanage of Ananda College. Susal had a half a point lead over the defending champion and needed a draw to maintain the lead and win the title and he did exactly that. He received Rs. 100,000.00 in cash, the Gold medal and the Championship Trophy.
Niklesha had a poor start to the championship losing the first two games but came back strongly to score nine points during the remainder. She beat Chethani Chamathka, Esha Pallie, Oshini Gunawardena, Sayumi Gamage, Nemindi Ramanayake. Oneli Vithanawasam, Esandi Newansa, and Desandi Gamage and drew with Janandani Abeysinghe and H.M.R.M.K. Rathnayake. She conceded defeats against Dasuni Hansika Mendis, Chanindi Attanayake and Tharuli Ranganath. Niklesha received a cash award, Gold medal and the Championship Trophy.
The Anandian Liyanage enjoyed a good event scoring 11 points. He was awarded the Silver medal and a cash award. Young Thumula Kiriella (Ananda College) did well to win the third place.
Young Esandi Newansa of Dharmasoka College won the Silver medal and a cash award for being placed second in the women’s championship. She scored 8 ½ points during the 13-round competition. She beat Dasuni in the penultimate round to cause many changes. Dasuni’s poor score on the final day, losing two games made her settle for the Bronze medal.
The top 14 players participated in each category of the SL National Chess Championships 2021 which was held on round robin basis in 13 rounds. The Classical Chess format of 90 minutes with 30 seconds increment from move one was the time control and the winners were crowned as the National Chess Champions for the year 2021. The awards were presented by Luxman Wijesuriya, the President of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka.