Lanka chess needs a long-term plan – Geoffrey Borg
By Harsha Amarasinghe
Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:00

The Chief Executive Officer, FIDE and also the President of Chess Federation, Malta, Geoffrey Borg emphasised that a long-term plan would help Sri Lanka achieve more feats in international chess. Sri Lanka was able to produce its first ever and the only International Master (IM) thus far (Romesh Weerawardene) early last year.

“To be honest, it’s not about the amount of titles a country has. Sri Lanka needs to put on the correct foundation to achieve higher feats. This cannot be done in say two, three months; it has to be a long-term plan which takes some time,” Borg who conducted a training programme for local chess arbiters last week told The Nation.

Though there was a huge improvement in chess last year, Sri Lanka is far away from producing a Grand Master (GM). The man from Malta, however, mentioned five key segments in making Sri Lanka a top chess playing nation. “I’d say there are five crucial factors for any country to be good chess playing nation. First thing is the equipment from which I mean chess boards, pieces and chess clocks etc. During my short time in Sri Lanka I went to a chess tournament and I can say the equipment is there. The second factor is the structure of the federation; the country needs FIDE arbiters, FIDE trainers. The third step is the amount of events. There should be enough tournaments for the players to take part. The fourth and the most important of all, is playing chess in schools. Once you accomplish this smaller target the country will have some tough players and then that’s the time the country should look to hire foreign coaches,” he explained.

Talking of the three-day coaching programme he said it was very satisfying to see a large degree of participation. “We have had a few good sessions. I am very pleased with the participation,” said Borg.


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