Chess champ Tillekaratne aiming for Grand Master title | Sunday Observer

Chess champ Tillekaratne aiming for Grand Master title

1 November, 2020
Harshana Tillekaratne
Harshana Tillekaratne

Promising chess player Harshana Tillekaratne’s ambition is to procure the first Grand Master title in Chess and bring honour to Sri Lanka.

Tillekaratne was awarded the International Master’s Title by the World Chess Federation at their Council meeting held recently. He was only the second Sri Lankan IM after Romesh Weerawardena won the IM title in 2013 at the Asian Zonal Championship held in Sri Lanka.

Tillekaratne is the 18-year-old national champion from Maliyadeva College Kurunegala who has also received the Presidential Sports award for his performances in 2018.

“My brother played chess and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps from my childhood. I was keen to participate in chess and wanted to win titles at National level. He emerged the national champion in 2019,” said Tillekaratne.

“Today I am Sri Lanka’s highest rated player in chess and really proud of that. I won three norms with a rating of 2400 and now I am lucky to be the one to reach the top level after 35 years, (last time was in 1983),” said Tillekaratne.

He participated in the world schools chess championships held in Brazil in 2014 and won the gold medal in the under-11 age group. He also won the silver medal in the same age group in the same championship held in Russia in 2016. He won the silver medal in the 2018 schools championship held in Albania.

Coming down to the Asian level Tillekaratne won the under-16 gold medal at the Commonwealth Chess Championship held in India in 2018.

The talented Tillekaratne combined his studies with the sport very well. He passed the GCE (O/L) examination in 2019 with nine As and does his higher studies in the mathematics stream with the intention of becoming an engineer in the future.