The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) organised a press briefing on Wednesday to announce details of the Commonwealth Chess Championship which Sri Lanka will host at Citrus Hotel in Waskaduwa from July 31 to August 7. (Pic by Eshan Dassanayake)

Though chess is not a spectacular sport, there is much mental toughness necessary to play a game. This aspect of the game is only known by the person who plays it. This is why the Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said that he is ready to support this sport, if the Chess Association of Sri Lanka (CASL) will present him with a five-year plan on how to develop the game further.

The Minister added that he was glad to know that arrangements were being made to host a tournament of such magnitude as the Commonwealth Chess Championship.  The event will be held at the Citrus Hotel in Waskaduwa from July 31 to August 7. The championship has attracted 150 foreign players among whom will be ten international Grandmasters, eight women Grandmasters and 15 international Masters and women international Masters. India will send ten grandmasters and eight women grandmasters. The Indian team will be strengthened by the inclusion of defending champion Abhijeet Gupta.

The number of participants that will be sent for the Commonwealth championships by the participating countries is as follows: India (71), South Africa (18), Malaysia (16), Pakistan (10), the Maldives (10), Australia (5), England (4), Bangladesh (2) and Canada (1). Sri Lanka will field as many as 150 players. This is a great opportunity for the host country to enhance its rankings.

Although the CASL has not been able to attract a generous sponsor it is offering a total prize money of Rs. 2.5 million. Most of this money comes from Citrus Hotel which is the official hotel of the championship.

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded in the Open men and women, Senior (over 60 years) and for boys and girls in the age categories of under-20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10 and 8 years.

This tournament is conducted by the Chess Association of Sri Lanka on behalf of FIDE and the Commonwealth Chess Association.

The opening ceremony will be held on July 31 at 9 a.m. with Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara as the chief guest.