Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sri Lanka's National Woman Chess Champion: Her Name Echos "Chess"

From The Nation (

Teenager Shachini dominates at women’s chess
  • Written by The Nation
  • Sunday, 29 April 2012 00:00
Shachini Ranasinghe. Her name echos "chess" [shach].
To win the national championships is one of the biggest achievements for a chess player. And to repeat that feat for three successive years is quite a remarkable performance.

This is exactly what 17-year-old Shachini Ranasinghe performed last week as she swept aside all her opponents with a calculated effort to retain the women’s crown for another year.
The schoolgirl from Musaeus College who started the tournament as the clear favorite lived up to expectations and went on to add the finishing touches by collecting a total of 9.5 points from her 13 rounds.

“This time it was bit easy and even before the tournament I had confidence that I could retain the title. In fact I ensured that I retain the title for another year even before the completion of the last round of the competition,” said a smiling Shachini.
Even then she was not very much concerned about the points because she had a very clear lead over her opponents after having clinched her maiden national title with a record score.

“In 2009 of course I won the national title for the first time with a record score of 12.5 points from 13 rounds. Last year I collected 12 points and this time I was successful in getting only 9.5 points.
“But although I dropped in points I think I had a clear lead over the rest of the opponents until the end of the tournament. This time of course there were few newcomers competing in the nationals and for the preparations it was somewhat difficult to read their game.

“They also had a very good idea about my game plan and it was bit competitive at the beginning. If you are playing against an experienced chess player then we can find their game plan but when it comes to newcomers it is really hard to get prepared.
“Last year I had a fantastic season where I became the first Sri Lankan to win the Asian Zonal championship. I also won the bronze medal in the under-18 boys’ tournament.”

Shachini believes that getting the maximum exposure at a very young age has helped her to make a huge impact in the game and to win so many titles for her country within a short period of time.
“I started playing chess with my elder brother when I was just four years old and went on to win my first gold medal in 1998 at the age group tournament which was organised by the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club.

“I was the youngest competitor at the Asian Junior Under-20 Chess Championships which were held in Colombo in 2003 and in the next year I toured Greece for the World Junior Chess Championships and Singapore for the Asian Junior Championships.
“In 2006 I won the silver medal at the Asian Schools Championships in Singapore and in 2007 toured Iran for the Asian Youth tournament and Vietnam for the World Youth Chess Championships.

“I will be representing Asia at the World Chess Championships to be held in Russia in November and some of my other major tournaments lined up for this year are the Asian Team Championships in China, Asian Youth Tournament in Colombo and the Chess Olympiad in Turkey,” added Shachini. – (CD)

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