Anatoly Karpov Chess Club, Sri Lanka
During the 2004 Chess Olympiad in Calvia, Spain, I met the Sri Lankan national women’s team. They primarily consisted of school girls, but they were charming with such bright smiles. I also met the team captain Dr. Vineetha Wijesuriya who told me about the developments in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also the home of FM Sunil Weeramantry, the stepfather of GM Hikaru Nakamura.
Two months after the Olympiad, Sri Lanka was gripped by a tragedy of immense proportions as a giant tsunami crashed onto the Indian island. Slowly but surely the nation rebuilt its infrastructure and despite tremendous losses, the smiles slowly returned.
The other day I received an e-mail from Mrs. Suneetha Wijesuriya (Vineetha’s sister). She happily revealed that the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club has found a new home. The modest building was designed to provide a training place for players in the southern province. Chess has a way of providing hope in the most challenging environments and this chess club seems to have brought hope to hundreds of boys and girls.