Sri Lanka wins two golds, enter World Youth GP
By Ishani Upatharitha
Sri Lanka’ No. 1 ranked International Master (IM) Harshana Thilakarathne won the gold medal in the most important Under-18 Open category of the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships, concluded on Monday, 20 September.
Thilakarathne, who is from Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala played excellent chess, being the leader from the first round and won the gold medal, convincingly.
He beat Aljabari Mohammad of Palestine, Radwan Mahmoud of Palestine, FIDE Master (FM) Anees M. Mohamed of India, Mazhkenov Alisher of Kazakhstan, Dhingra Aaditya of India, and Khazaei Parviz of Iran while drawing with Bosagh Zadeh Alireza of Iran and Ranjan Aryan of India.
He lost one game to our own national player Susal De Silva to score of seven points out of a possible nine.
Oshini shows her colours
The young Oshini D. Gunawardena from Sri Lanka, who is the current girls’ U-10 world chess champion, showed her supremacy by winning the age category of the championships.
Though, unfortunately, she lost her second game to Indian player R. Charudharshini, she recovered well scoring wins with all other players, Bhuchar Ridhima of India, A. Anjana of India, Reya Banker of India, Gunesh Dessai Saeeja of India, G.H.S. Sanulya of Sri Lanka, Akbari Rosha of Iran, S. Ukkali Krupa of India, and Dongre Anshika, also of India, to score eight points out of nine games to win the event.
Gunawardena is from Ferguson High School, Ratnapura.
Susal De Silva’s feat
Sri Lanka’s prominent youth player in the national chess team Susal De Silva of Nalanda College, Colombo won the silver in U-18 category by clinching the championship in the crucial penultimate round.
He suffered two early losses in the second and third rounds, against Ranjan Arayan of India and Kusalwin Liyanage of Sri Lanka in the second and third rounds.
De Silva made an almost miraculous scoring of 6½ points out of seven games to win the silver medal.
He beat Al Busaidi Hamood of Oman, Radwan Mahmoud of Palestine, Khalifa Essa Albalooshi of UAE, Dhingra Aaditya of India, Harshana Thilakarathne, and Mazhkenov Alisher of Kazakhstan, and drew with Khazaei Parviz of Iran to score 6½ points out of nine games.
Esandi Newansa of Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda, meanwhile won the bronze medal in the U-12 girls’ category, scoring 6½ points out of nine games.
She beat Anujana Hasandi of Sri Lanka, Sachi Jain of India, Rouda Essa Alserkal of UAE, Sirin Kalyani of India, Ebrahimi Rashti Asal of Iran, and Abaeva Aiana of Iran while drawing with Alavi Mahsa of Iran.
She lost two games against Imani Adrina and Davari Sara, both from Iran.
Five golds for India
India and Iran were in a close contest for the medals. India won five gold medals in the U-16 Open through Jimmy Jubbin, with a score of 7½ out of nine games, U-14 Open and girls by Singh Sahib, with a score of 7½ out of nine, and Sreekumar Anupam, with a score of 8½ points out of nine.
U-10 years Open was won by Ethan Zaz, with 7½ points out of nine, and U-8 Open by B. Vishruth, with a score of eight points out of nine.
Iran won four gold medals in the U-18 girls through Mohammadi Melika, with a score of 7½ points out of nine games.
U-16 girls was won by Mohammadi Melika, with a perfect score of nine out of nine games, U-12 open by Gholami Armin, with a score of eight points out of nine, U-12 girls by Davari Sara, with aother perfect score of nine out of nine.
The overall champion was to be declared after the final result of the U-8 girls, which is announced after the officials received the fare-play report on Tuesday (21).
The Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships, conducted by the Asian Chess Federation (ACF) and organised by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL), was held from 18-20 September.
Fifteen participating countries
A total of 850 players participated in this biggest online chess event of Asia, conducted on the Tornelo platform.
The time control is 15 minutes + 10 seconds for each move played.
The countries of Bangladesh, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Palestine, Syria, UAE, Uzbekistan, and Sri Lanka participated in the event.
Two Lankans in the World Youth GP
The winners of each age group will be selected to play the FIDE World Youth and Cadet Chess Grand Prix 2021, to be conducted by the International Chess Federation.
So the two Sri Lankan players, International Master (IM) Harshana Thilakarathne and Oshini Gunawardena will be selected for the event.