Sri Lanka Chess: Sajith Peiris Following in His Father’s Footsteps
Unlike India, which has a glorious tradition of chess, the sport has become popular in the Indian sub-continent only in the last five years or so. Therefore, we are compelled to share this nice feature by Harsha Amarasinghe on a talented Sri Lanka chess youngster - Sajith Peiris. Sajith has the right genes in chess - his father was the national chess champion of the island nation. Read on...
In sports there are illustrious names of individual players, brothers, sisters and even families that can never be forgotten. For instance the Pollocks were magnificent for South Africa with the likes of Shaun Pollock, his father Peter Pollock, uncle Graeme Pollock and grandfather Andrew Pollock representing their country at the highest level of cricket. When it comes to Sri Lanka though, you do not find many families that have completely dominated a sport, but one cannot simply forget the chess champions of the Peiris family.
TDR Peiris, father of Gayan Peiris and Sajith Peiris, is a five-time national chess champion and a name that will never disappear from the history of Sri Lanka chess. In 1983 TDR Peiris clinched the Sri Lanka Open Chess Championship and in the same year he went on to win the national title as well. His sons, both Gayan and Sajith have always been the players to watch out for in the domestic chess arena, but are still far off from the fantastic five-time champion achievement of the father.
Talking to The Nation following his victory, Sajith said that he is absolutely thrilled with his effort and is determined to deliver what is expected of him.
“Yes, I am very happy with this (the victory) as I played against some quality players in this tournament and also managed to collect few good results which lifted my confidence.
“I know my father had previously won both the Sri Lanka Open and National Championship back in 1983, so I hope I could complete a double by winning the national championship.”
The youngest Peris, who was also the former under-18 national champion, showed gratitude by not forgetting to thank his father and brother for their support over the years when he said: “Well, my father and brother have been very supportive to me right from the start of my career. My father had won the national title five times, my brother finished second on several occasions. Both of them are really strong players and if I could win this time around they would be the happiest people in the world.”
Once, in 2010, seated at the same table with Sajith at an International Chess tournament held in Kandy, I heard him saying to one of his friends who was very worried about the fact that he was going to face an Indian International Master in the following round: “Look, even I can put a board around my chest telling people that I am an IM but, at the end of day it is just a title and usually in chess the better player wins, not the title or the names.” This says a lot about the player and his mindset. He is one of the top contenders for the national title but, what gives him the edge ahead of the other players is that he has a heart of a lion and he is certainly as fearless too.
Also see her personal blog at
Don't miss Chess Queen™