And so the champions were crowned!
Written by info upload    Friday, 06 April 2012 09:08    PDF Print Email
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altAfter countless grueling and nerve-wrecking battles on black and white boards of sixty-four squares the national chess champions and the national teams which would represent Sri Lanka in the world-wide chess arena for the coming year have finally been crowned. The national squads emerged with the recent conclusion of the Sri Lanka National Chess Championship  and the Sri Lanka Women's National Chess Championship 2012 organized by the chess federation of Sri Lanka held on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 29th, 30th and 31st March at the Etisalat Mirror in Bambalapitiya.

It is no secret that the two events are the prime most tournaments in the Sri Lankan chess calendar and are contested by chess players from around the country hence making them fiercely competitive with several levels of selection tournaments drawing up to the final National ‘A’ event. This year, the much talked about and anticipated National Chess Championship was won by Isuru Alahakoon of the Sri Lanka Navy. G. C. Anuruddha (Sri Lanka Navy), W. C. C Perera (Trinity College, Kandy), Dulan Edirisinghe (Paul Morphy chess club) and Vidura Koggala (University of Moratuwa) secured places in the national squad respectively.

Meanwhile in the women’s category WIM Sachini Ranasinghe of Musaeus College, Colombo emerged as the champion while WFM Pramodhya Senanayake (University of Moratuwa), Yashodha Methmali (University of Sri Jayawardenapura), WFM Dinukshi Premanath (Girls High School, Kandy) and S. A. K. Chandrasiri (Girls High School, Kandy) bagged their positions in the female team respectively.

University players showed off their fair share of star playing with Vidura Koggala of the University of Moratuwa earning the right to represent Sri Lanka. Moreover Chaithika Samith and Oshan Saranga of the University of Moratuwa and R. S. Kalugampitiya of the University of Peradeniya gave the winners a run for their money by putting on a tough fight for the prized slots in the national team. In the women’s event WFM Pramodhya Senanayake of University of Moratuwa and Yashodha Methmali of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura won the second and third places respectively while Sayuri Sumithrarachchi of the University of Moratuwa battled long and hard for the coveted positions.

Now that the champions have been crowned, these winners have before them even more spectacular but nevertheless tough tournaments to win on behalf of Sri Lanka. We at Moraspirit while congratulating them, extend our best wishes to do our motherland proud in the global chess show ground!

By Himeshi De Silva

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Last Updated ( Friday, 06 April 2012 12:03 )
Mora Chess Players Shine at ‘National B’
Written by Sayuri Sumithrarachchi    Thursday, 22 March 2012 14:19    PDF Print Email
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The strongest and the most prestigious event of the calendar of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka concluded last Sunday, 18th March at University of Moratuwa.

Sri Lanka National B Chess Championship and Sri Lanka Women’s National B Chess Championship are the 3rd stage of the longest running tournament series in the country which leads to National A and Women’s National A, which eventually decides the national team of Sri Lanka for the year.

National B and Women’s National B 2012 was held over a span of five days with the participation of almost 150 chess lovers from all parts of the country. After ten rounds of gallant display of chess, Rajeendra Kalugampitiya from University of Peradeniya emerged the champion of the men’s category while Malithi Nawarathne, Yashoda Methmali from University of Sri Jayawardenapura and Sayuri Sumithrarachchi from University of Moratuwa were placed joint champions of the women’s games with the tie break favoring Malithi Nawarathne.

Oshan Saranga, vice-captain of the men’s chess team of University of Moratuwa, was placed fourth while Vidura Koggala (former national team member) and Chaithika Samith, both current members of the university team, were selected to the final phase. Akila Fernando’s and Chinthaka Mendis’s impressive 6.5 points failed to secure them a place in the finals while Janaki Lenagala from the women’s team scored a notable 6 points showing much potential and strength.

One of the most significant outcomes was the former national team player Buddhi Alahakoon, captain of the University of Moratuwa men’s team failing to qualify for the finals along with many notable players such as Romesh Weerawardena, last year’s Mora Kings champion, Bhagya Wiman and Ruchira Dissanayake.

The final run for the national team for 2012 would be held on two weekends starting from the 23rd of March with 14 players from each category contesting for the inclusion to the most esteemed positions in the national squad.

As the chess lovers of Sri Lanka awaits for yet another remarkable series of fearless battles  of black and white,  MoraSpirit wishes all competitors good luck for a grand ending for this year’s search for the King and Queen!

By Sayuri Sumithrarachchi

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 March 2012 15:43 )
Dedicated to MORA Chess!
Written by Editor    Friday, 13 January 2012 04:52    PDF Print Email
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In the latter hours of the day, during a couple of days a week, on your way past the Bus canteen, you might have stumbled upon the battles of the chess players of Mora. Even though these silent games played in a corner of the ‘cozy’ Bus canteen, would neither look so aggressive nor exciting to a simple observer, the lovers of the game only, would truly understand the dedication of the team to bring glory to their alma mater.

The men’s chess team of UOM has been winning the silver medal for years without much spice or colour. After being led by Vidura Koggala, a member of the national team, last year, Buddi Alahakoon, a new addition to the national squad, has taken over the wheel to steer the men’s chess team to a much needed victory in this year’s inter-university games. It is certainly a point worth questioning whether it is the lack of commitment on behalf of the team or plain ill luck that has deprived Mora chess players from tasting victory for 5 consecutive years. As a team which comprises of many strong players, including national level players, will they have the strength to ‘fall out of the habit’ and dominate the 64 squares again this year?

The ladies on the other hand have been performing up to par settling down with the silver or bronze since their inception till writing history with gold in 2008. The wheels of fortune spun their way at inter university games 2008, surprising quite a many. But with even a better team in the following year, the team lost shamelessly, unable to secure any of the top three places. Making another stupendous come back, Mora women struck gold in 2010 at the most prestigious event in the university sports calendar, the 10th Sri Lankan University Games. Whatever the reasons maybe, the team tumbled again in 2011, crashing all hopes of bringing home gold, securing only the fourth place. Though the chess team is the only women’s team to have won a championship in the recent past at UOM, their triumphs are dampened by their inability to exhibit their true competence in successive years. With the new captaincy of Himeshi De Silva and their star player Pramodya Senanayake (WFM) the team should make new strategies to turn this unpredictability in to more of a solid performance.

-By Sayuri Sumithrarachchi


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Last Updated ( Friday, 13 January 2012 05:59 )
A Dream Come True…
Written by Editor    Sunday, 16 October 2011 15:47    PDF Print Email
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MoraSpirit talks to Buddhi Alahakoon about his maiden selection to the Sri Lankan National Chess Team…

Earning the privilege of being a national player for ones country is a very special achievement any sportsman could ever hope to accomplish during his sporting career. At the recently concluded 38th Sri Lankan National Chess Championship, Chathura Buddhi Alahakoon of the University of Moratuwa succeeded in this difficult endeavour. MoraSpirit caught up with this budding young player to find out what he has to say about his triumphant victory of being selected to the national squad.


On behalf of MoraSpirit I would like to firstly congratulate you on being selected to the national team. What do you feel about your achievement?

It is the greatest feeling ever in my fifteen years of chess sporting career. Being selected to the national team has been one of my childhood dreams and I am very happy to have achieved it at a young age. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who stood behind me and supported me to successfully accomplish this feat.

Were there any decisive moments in the tournament? Were there any instances which you feel you could have done better or cases where making it to the top five seemed difficult?

The national team selection is obviously the toughest fought tournament held within the chess calendar in Sri Lanka. Only the best players are selected to play the tournament from the whole country. Therefore every round is crucial and you have to play your best at each game.
At the end of the eighth round I was the leading player of the tournament having scored 6 points. However in the following rounds I could not perform up to my expectations. Had I done that, no doubt I could have even won the national championship.
Nevertheless, I am happy to say that out of the total of my final points I had won seven games. Most players had scored points with drawn games. Only the national champion apart from me had recorded seven wins. Thus I am very proud of my performance.

What was the beginning of your chess career like? Tell us a bit about your past achievements in chess.

I first learnt chess from my father when I was in grade 2. Since grade 5 I've been playing for my school, Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala. When I started playing my elder brother, Gayan Alahakoon was already a member of the college team so I received a good support from him.
Maliyadeva College chess team is a very strong side and poses a good challenge for any school team. I represented the college team for National School Games for 6 consecutive years in which we were runners up in the years 2001 and 2004. I also won the CFSL age group championship from the Kurunegala district consecutively from 1998 to 2002 and the all island championship three times as well. In 2006 the college under-20 side was captained by me and I was also selected to the National University Chess team in 2009.

How did you prepare for the tournament? In general how do you train and how many hours do you spend for chess?

I must say that I did not undergo any special preparation or training. I played the tournament just like I would play any other tournament. The recent tournaments I played, namely the Majors, Inter University games and Mora Kings – where I was placed equal fifth – helped me maintain my form. I don't have a separate time allocation for chess. I play whenever I have free time.

Being a final year undergraduate studying quantity surveying requires a significant amount of time investment in studies. How do you find time for chess and balance the two seemingly demanding activities?

I think balancing time between studies and sports is the most difficult task for any university sportsman. Most people think that because of the nature of the game, chess is easier to manage with studying. But on the contrary, chess is very much time consuming and requires a lot of consistent hard work. I generally try to plan my work beforehand so that I can effectively manage my time between the two activities.


Are there any specific players national or international, who have influenced your playing?

Not really. I just play my own game of chess.

Were there any special persons who helped you to get to this point?

My first coaches were Mr. Harinda Dassanayake and Mr. Nuwan Liyanage who still help me improve my game even to this day. Thereafter I was assisted by Lasantha Chandrarathna and other senior players and teammates from school. Then there is Prasanga ayya, Arjuna ayya and university team mates from both men and women's teams who constantly supported me.

Now that you have reached the national team what are your new future goals in chess?

Now that I am in the national team I hope to take part in foreign tournaments and bring glory to my country. Apart from that I plan to keep improving my playing strength, skills and rating and be a part of the national team for many more years to come.

You were the vice-captain of the University of Moratuwa men's chess team last year. What are your opinions about university level chess in Sri Lanka?

I believe that university level chess is at a very high standard and has a very good level of competitiveness perhaps even better than school chess. I do not know if I feel this way because we have now moved beyond that stage but it is clear that unlike in the past university players are now very actively playing chess. There are a considerable number of university players who are in professional clubs and who play individual tournaments.

What advice would you give to a player to achieve what you have?

The most important thing I would like to tell any player who wishes to reach this level is not to worry about the games you have lost. Try to learn from your mistakes, keep playing and focus only on winning. Enjoy every game you play and believe in yourself. But above all remember winning is not everything.

MoraSpirit wishes Buddhi all the very best to ascend even higher in the game of kings and do our country proud.

Interviewed by Himeshi De Silv

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Last Updated ( Monday, 17 October 2011 16:46 )
4th MoraKings comes to an end…
Written by Editor    Tuesday, 09 August 2011 18:34    PDF Print Email
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It has been a busy five days at University of Moratuwa with MoraKings happening at University premises. The tournament which started on the 4th August concluded on the 9th August leaving the winners joyous and the rest disappointed.

Romesh Weerawardena, Prasanna Kurukulasuriya and Premachandra G.T.D tied for the first place having scored 8 points each. But it was Romesh who bagged the overall championship winning the tie break. Prasanna clinched the silver while Premachandra had to settle down with the bronze. Tiumi Yashora and WIM Sachini Ranasinghe tied for the open women’s title from which Tiumi, a 14 year old youngster from Visakha Vidyalaya emerged the champion. Sachini was placed the first runner up. The 3rd place was won by W.S.T.D Koggala. Prizes for winners in various categories were also awarded.

MoraKings, which was organized for the 4th consecutive year, has gained much popularity through the years. This year, the number of participants exceeded 300 which included players from India, , Nepal and Malaysia. The arbiters for the tournament were Mr. Pradeep M.A, Mr. Jagath Kethalawela, Mr. Shelton Wijesuriya, Mr. Sumal H.W.

All in all, the tournament was a great success and it certainly was a job well done.

Congratulations to all the winners!

To all those left disappointed, maybe this disappointment is the first step to many achievements to be gained in the years to come. So good luck and keep trying!

Till we meet again with the 5th MoraKings, Au revoir!

-By Sayuri Sumithrarachchi


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 August 2011 19:05 )
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