The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka on behalf of FIDE and the Commonwealth Chess Association is hosting the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2016 from July 30 to August 7 at Citrus Hotel, Waskaduwa. The most important and strongest international chess tournament organized in Sri Lanka so far, the Commonwealth Championship has attracted a total of 10 International Grandmasters (Gms), eight Women Grandmasters (WGMs) and 15 International Masters (Ims) and Woman International Masters (WIMs) in addition to a large number of highly rated players from the member countries of the Commonwealth.
A press conference was held regarding this mega event at the Olympic House, where an exhibition chess game was played between National champions Rajeendra Kalugampitiya and Zainab Saumy of Kandy High School witnessed by Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera witnessed. Minister Jayasekera said he hopes to develop chess as it will help develop the mental strength of schoolchildren.
He promised to help this sport as it has been neglected by many sports authorities in the past. The Sports Minister asked all sports bodies to submit a proper plan for at least five years to allocate funds to them. “It’s better to submit us a proper five year plan then we can allocate funds from the Treasury of the Government, without sudden requests for foreign tours and tournaments by sports bodies,” the Minister Jayasekera said. Overall there will be 150 foreign players from various Commonwealth countries including India (71), Pakistan (10), Bangladesh (2), Maldives (10), Malaysia, South Africa, England, Canada and Australia.
The tournament will be conducted on a Swiss System over 10 rounds and the players will compete for a total prize of Rs 2,500,000 (approx USD 18,000). Among the top players who have confirmed participation are defending champion GM Abhijeet Gupta (India). Approximately 150 players from Sri Lanka will compete in this tournament in which Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded in the Open, Women, Senior (above 60 years), Under-20 (Boys and Girls), Under-18 (Boys and Girls), Under-16 (Boys and Girls), Under-14 (Boys and Girls), Under-12 (Boys and Girls), Under-10 (Boys and Girls), Under-8 (Boys and Girls) categories. The opening ceremony will be held today July 31 at 9am at the Citrus Hotel, Waskaduwa with Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera as the Chief Guest. North Central Province Chief Minister, the President of the Chess Federation, Peshala Jayaratne will also grace the occasion as the Guest of Honour.
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