Sri Lanka won the Gold for the best performance among teams in its category at the Chess Olympiad which ended on Thursday in Tromso, Norway. This was the first time that a Sri Lankan team returns with a Gold from an Olympiad in over 30 years.
The team, comprising Prasanna Kurukulasuriya, G.C. Anuruddha, Chamika Perera, Isuru Alahakoon (Captain) and Rajeendra Kalugampitiya, won 6 out of 11 matches, including the last match against the strong New Zealand (2.5-1.5), ranked 44 places above Sri Lanka. G.C. Anuruddha, who was the only player to remain unbeaten (4 wins and 5 draws) secured a FIDE Master title for his efforts.
The women's team went down to Scotland 1-3, but Anuththara Chandrasiri did well to defeat the strong WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant on Board 1. Yashoda Methmali missed out on a WFM title when she lost her final round game. She had her chances though, securing a strong position in the penultimate game, but squandered the advantage and eking out a draw.
Manager and non-playing Captain of the men's team, Malinda Seneviratne commended the team for showing exceptional commitment throughout the two week tournament.
'The team was totally focused. They refused to be intimidated by the ratings and titles of their stronger opponents. Even in the matches they lost, they showed a lot of fight.'
Seneviratne pointed out that the team's coach Efstratios Grivas put in a lot of hard work and was instrumental in getting the team ready for each and every round.