Harshana and Oshini win Gold
Sri Lanka won Two Golds, one Silver and one Bronze at The Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships 2021 which concluded on 20 September. Sri Lanka’s number 1 ranked International Master, Harshana Thilakarathne, won the Gold medal in the most important under-18 years (Open) category. Harshana (Maliyadeva College) played excellently and led from the first round to win the Gold medal convincingly.
He beat A. Aljabari Mohammad (Palestine), J. Radwan Mahmoud (Palestine), FIDE Master Anees M. Mohamed (India), Mazhkenov Alisher (Kazakhstan), Dhingra Aaditya (India) and Khazaei Parviz (Iran) and drew with Bosagh Zadeh Alireza (Iran) and Ranjan Aryan (India) and lost one game to our own National player Susal de Silva to score 7 points out of possible 9 games. Young Oshini Devindya Gunawardena, who is the current under-10 Years Girls World Chess Champion, showed her supremacy by winning the under-10 category Gold medal of this Championship.
Though she was unfortunate to lose her 2nd game to Indian player R. Charudharshini, she recovered well scoring wins against all other players - Bhuchar Ridhima (India), A. Anjana (India), Reya Banker (India), Gunesh Dessai Saeeja (India), G.H.S. Sanulya (Sri Lanka), Akbari Rosha (Iran), S. Ukkali Krupa (India) and Dongre Anshika(India) to score 8 points out of 9 games and win the event. Oshini is from Ferguson High School, Ratnapura.
Prominent youth player of the National Chess Team, Susal de Silva of Nalanda College Colombo, won the Silver medal in the under-18 category by winning against the champion in the crucial penultimate round. He suffered two early losses in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to Ranjan Arayan (India) and Kusalwin Liyanage, but made a miraculous recovery by scoring 6 ½ points out of the balance 7 games.
He beat Al Busaidi Hamood (Oman), Radwan Mahmoud (Palestine), Khalifa Essa Albalooshi (UAE), Khazaei Parviz (Iran), Dhingra Aaditya (India), Harshana Thilakarathne and Mazhkenov Alisher (Kazakhstan) to score 6 ½ points out of 9 games. M. Esandi Newansa of Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda won the Bronze Medal in the Under-12 years Girls category scoring 6 ½ points out of 9 games.
She beat Anujana Hasandi (Sri Lanka), Sachi Jain (India), Rouda Essa Alserkal (UAE), Sirin Kalyani (India), Ebrahimi Rashti Asal (Iran) and Abaeva Aiana (Iran), drew with Alavi Mahsa (Iran) and lost 2 games to Imani Adrina and Davari Sara both from Iran. India and Iran were involved in a close tussle for the highest number of Gold medals.
India edged Iran by winning 5 Gold Medals to Iran’s 4. The Winners of each age group will be selected to play at the FIDE World Youth and Cadet Chess Grand Prix 2021 to be conducted by the International Chess Federation. Two Sri Lankan players, International Master Harshana Thilakarathne and Oshini Gunawardena, will be selected for the event. (IR)