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Paul Morphy Chess Club challenge in Sri Lanka

8/18/2011 – In the small island nation off the tip of India, Sri Lanka has its own vibrant chess community with highly disputed league events for all categories. The Paul Morphy Chess Club just finished organizing a generously prized eighteen-round blitz tournament, sponsored by Acer and Perera and Sons to celebrate its tenth anniversary, bringing in players from all around the country. Illustrated report.
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Opening Encyclopedia 2016

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The Paul Morphy Blitz Chess Challenge was successfully conducted by the Paul Morphy Chess Club at the J R Jayawardena Center, Town Hall on the 13th of August 2011. 130 players from all parts of the country and representing most of the leading schools and clubs were present at this tournament to compete for the Rs 100,000 prize fund. The tournament was organized by the Paul Morphy Chess Club to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Perera and Sons was the official catering partner while Acer Brand of the Metropolitan Group was the Main Sponsor. All the players were provided lunch, snacks and refreshments.

The members of the Paul Morphy Chess Club

Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka (officially, The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the Maldives.

The natural beauty of Sri Lanka has led to the title The Pearl of the Indian Ocean. The island is laden with lush tropical forests, white beaches and diverse landscapes with rich biodiversity. The country lays claim to a long and colorful history of over three thousand years, having one of the longest documented histories in the world.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Paul Morphy Blitz Chess Challenge

By Naditha Amarakoon

The tournament playing hall

Players came from around the country to participate

Sri Lankan girls enjoy the game as much as the boys

Young players go at it

A class of schoolgirls came to watch the action

After nine rounds of double game match ups and 1167 chess games filled with tension, competitive play and importantly fun, Dulan Edirisinghe of the Paul Morphy Chess Club emerged champion with 15.0/18. He in fact won the tournament with a round to spare, having thoroughly outplayed all his opponents in the penultimate rounds. He dropped one point to Sri Lanka Navy's Prasanna Kurukulasuriya and lost both his last two games to Chandana Wijekoon. For his efforts, Dulan won the Challenge Trophy, the gold medal and the Rs 15000 first prize.

Dulan Edirisinghe of the Paul Morphy Chess Club came in first with a supreme 15.0/18

G C Anuruddha of the Sri Lanka Navy emerged second when he crushed fellow Sri Lankan Navyman Prasanna Kurukulasuriya 2-0  after the latter turned down a draw offer. Anurudha scored 14.5 points and earned the runner-up medal and Rs 12 000.  Chandana Wijekoon from the Sri Lanka Navy finished third after his 2-0 win in the last round over the Champion to win Rs 10000 and the bronze medal.

WIM Sachini Ranasinghe was the top women's player with 12.5/18

Women International Master Sachini Ranasinghe, a student of Muaseus College who plays for the Paul Morphy Chess Club won the Challenge Trophy for the best Women's player, the gold medal and the Rs 6000 first prize. Her performance was significant as she scored 12.5 points, good enough to finish among the top ten players in the Open section and earning points against several leading men's players. J P S S Jayarathne from Visakha Vidyalaya won second place in the women's prizes while K W D M D I Koswatta from St. Joseph's Balika, Kegalle finished third.

The top junior was Chiransa Lamahewa with 11.5/18

The top girl was Manisha Gunarathe of Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya with 10.0/18

The Junior Boys Trophy was won by Chiransa Lamahewa from P De S Kularathna College, Galle with 11.5 points. Supun Kuruppu of Ananda College finished second while Bhanuka Siriwardena of Royal won the third place. The Junior Girls Trophy was won by Manisha Gunarathe of Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya. Manisha who also plays for the Paul Morphy Chess Club got 10 points. 

The trophies

Methmani Nelunika of Anula Vidyalaya finished second while third place went to Dinithi Kulathunga of Viskaha Vidyalaya. In addition several special prizes were given to young participants - gifts donated by the Acer Brand.

Naturally, an event is only as good as the team organizing behind it

The organization's team

Mr. Nirosh De Silva, four times National Champion of Sri Lanka and a member of the first ever Paul Morphy Chess Club team to compete in the Sri Lanka Inter Clubs was the Chief Guest. Mr. Arya Keerthi Kumarasena, Director Consultant of the Metropolitan Group, Sole Agents for the Acer Brand of Computers in Sri Lanka was the Guest of Honour.

Naditha Amarakoon lights a candle

Speaking at the closing ceremony the President of the Paul Morphy Chess Club, Dulan explained the reasons why they tried to organize an 18 game blitz tournament. The founding president of the Paul Morphy Chess Club, Danuke Kuruppu spoke about the history of the club, and thanked the present set of members for taking the club forward. Naditha Amarakoon, the Secretary of the Paul Morphy Chess Club wrapping up the proceedings thanked the sponsors, the media, the chess players and all others who supported them in making this event - the best non rated event held in Sri Lanka, a huge success.

About the author

Naditha Amarakoon, the Secretary of the Paul Morphy Chess Club, has a BSc in Biological Science at the University of Colombo, and is presently the Rating Officer of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka and is engaged in coaching several schools as well as the University of Colombo chess teams. As a coach he coached the University of Colombo to win the Sri Lanka Inter University Women's Championship for the first time in 14 years in 2009 and then again in 2011 with 5 freshers. He is currently awaiting his FA title having completed all the requirements.

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