A new organisation to promote Chess in
Sri Lanka was inaugurated recently, namely, the "Chess
Association of Sri Lanka" (CASL). The Association has the
objective to promote the game comprehensively.
Dr R.D Gunaratne, Secretary of the
CASL, said: "The new club was founded by a group of present and
former players representing several chess clubs in Colombo as
well as the Central Province Chess Association in Kandy. The
Colombo clubs are Mt. Lavinia Chess Club, Paul Morphy Chess Club
and the Old Royalists’ Chess Club.
He said: "Chess has become a popular
game among school children in Sri Lanka and is now played in
nearly every part of the country. That being so, the standard of
play at the top has stagnated or even declined compared with
those of other countries. In the 1980s Sri Lanka produced two
chess players who achieved the international rank of FIDE
Master. During the last 15 years, we have not produced of such
calibre. The main reason is the lack of top level coaches. This
is an area we must specifically focus on.
Dr Gunaratne, who was the former Chess
Federation Secretary also added: " We are looking for sponsors
to promote this sport and I am sure we can do so successfully.
The organisers and office bearers of CASL are an excellent mix
of former players with administrative experience and younger
players, who are actively involved in the local scene as
players, coaches, arbiters and organisers .
Former National Champion Christopher
Parakrama (1973) is the President of CASL and he is also a
Director of the Bartleet Group. Harilal Athurupana, who was
continuously Chess National champion between 1984 to 1992, was
awarded FIDE Master in 1987, is the Vice President of CASL,
while former National Champion Muditha Hettigama (1994) is the
Treasurer of CASL.
The founders of CASL believe that a
great deal remains to be done to develop the sport in Sri Lanka
in terms of improving the level of play and the standard of
coaching of young players. In addition, the lack of a national
rating system for the players. CASL is expected to re-introduce
a new rating system. This rating system is important for the
players to know how they rate.
Malinda Seneviratne, spokesman for
CASL said, the new body was not formed as an alternative to the
Chess Federation of Sri Lanka, which is the main body of the
sport. He also added: " The CASL didn’t intend to gain
affiliation to the main unit. We are not against anybody, but we
are an independent body dedicated to uplift the sport.
Among the CASL planned activities
during the coming year, it intends to organise tournaments,
conduct coaching events and institute a universal rating scheme
for the local players. (DR)