The current National chess champion Susal de Silva wants to become a Grandmaster (GM) and he is really performing well to focus on his target .The 16 year old Nalanda College chess player has a clear vision to reach top rank in this sport despite obstacles. “I wanted to play many International tournaments to improve my ranking and that’s very important to reach my final target. As a chess player we have lot of difficulties to find sponsors to go for overseas tournaments. Even during Covid 19 period we had to play our tournaments both local and international to get exposure and I must thank Chess Federation of Sri Lanka ( CFSL) President Luxman Wijesuriya and his officials who gave maximum support to the local chess players during this hard period .
However I have to take part in many International tournaments especially European high standard chess tournaments but to take part in this type of tournament the cost is high including air fare and accommodation and that is why we are looking to find sponsors to take part in tournaments.I
know this is a hard period for all but as a player we have to build up our career to improve rankings and achieve our final goal said young Susal.
Susal de Silva has created chess history. First he became the youngest player to be selected to the National team at the age of 13 in 2020.As a 11 year old he was the youngest FIDE Master in Sri Lanka. He also clinched National chess title twice in 2021 and 2022 and it is a rare achievement for this promising player .
“Playing in International tournaments against talented International Masters (IM) and Grand Masters (GM) always give much needed exposure and we have to focus on this sport very seriously to go forward . CFSL and my mother Surangi Priyanwada Karunaratne and father Soshan de Silva and elder brother Sachila de Silva give much needed encouragement to me. My present school Nalanda College Principal Thilak Watthuhewa ,staff and Old Boys Association, relatives coaches and supporters give real boost to me and I am keen to bring honour to the school and my country with my achievements in this sport said Susal de Silva.
Susal hails from Anuradhapura where he attended D.S Senanayake Model Primary school before being selected to Nalanda after passing the grade five scholarship exam . “Susal ‘s friend gifted a small chess board for his sixth birthday which encouraged him to play chess and he was very keen to play this sport from childhood” said his mother Priyanwada Karunaratne. He was first coached by Milinda Ratnayake at Anuradhapura D.S Senanayake Model Primary school.
Akila Kavinda the present coach is the man behind Susal’ s recent form to come to this level. As an eight-year-old Susal used to travel every weekend to Kurunegala from Anuradhapura by bus to learn chess from Akila Kavinda. This journey was hard for Susal but he was keen to learn from Akila Kavinda who also represented Sri Lanka National chess team said Susal’s mother Priyanwada.
He is looking to sit G.C E (O/L) next January but he never mixed up chess and his studies.
I think chess is a mind game which always helps to develop his education skills and this is good for all students said Priyanwada who is a teacher.
Susal was 13-years-old and the youngest player who was selected to the National team in Sri Lankan Chess history. He emerged Champion at Ethugalpura International Chess Championship 2019 and Colombo International Chess Championship 2020. The same year in 2020 he was champion at the National Rapid Chess Championship and at the seventh Sri Lanka Chess Grand Prix and second runner up at the Sri Lanka National Chess Championship which gave big boost for him
Susal achieved his dream of defeating a Grandmaster from Russia at the Colombo Championship where he was on top in 10 out of 11 matches winning eight, drawing two and losing only to former national champion. He emerged champion at All-Island Schools Chess Championship 2017 and was selected to play at World Schools Chess Championship 2017 in Romania. He played two international rating tournaments at Malaysia in 2018 and also participated in Asian Schools chess championship in Thailand in 2015 and those events gave much needed exposure to this young player. He has travelled to many countries such as South Africa, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Singapore,India to take part in tournaments.
Becoming a Chess Grand Master(GM) is a difficult task but with the present achievement of Susal it will not be an impossible target. CFSL President Luxman Wijesuriya already announced they are going to offer highest cash award for a player reaching this position and this will encourage all young chess players .