Lankans learn from Manuel Aaron
Mr. Manuel Aaron, India's first IM and Indian champion on nine occasions visited Sri Lanka in July 2003 on the invitation of the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club of the Russian Centre in Colombo. The Colombo Plaza Hotel sponsored his ten days stay in Colombo.

Anatoly Karpov Chess Club arranged many advanced chess programmes at Colombo, Galle, Hatton and Jaffna and made 1350 chess players get chess knowledge from this Indian Master. The first chess coaching camp was conducted at Isipathana College, Colombo. The Principal Mr. Upali Gunasekara inaugurated the event by lighting the traditional lamp and encouraged the players. More than 400 students from various Colombo schools along with teachers in-charge of chess in their schools participated.

The second chess camp was organized by the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club for their members at the Russian Centre Auditorium at Colombo when 150 chess players turned up. The success here was due to the active support of Mr.Buddhapriya Ramanayake, Chief Administrative Officer of the Russian Centre, who also travelled to Jaffna with the Master.
The third programme was conducted in Hatton at Highland College. Hatton is in the famed tea garden district of Nuwara Eliya. Mr. T.Pathmanathan who runs Hatton Chess Academy brought about many different youngsters from different schools and colleges to attend the lecture. Nearly one hundred and fifty chess players participated though it was a Saturday. The children were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the event.
The fourth chess lecture was conducted at Galle, a tourist haven in the South Eastern coast of Sri Lanka. This coincided with the Southern Provinces Team Chess Tournament and lots of strong players of the southern provincial districts got the opportunity of coming in contact with an International Master for the first time. Around one hundred and fifty players participated in this event, which was organised by Mr. Asela Hemantha the well-known Tournament Arbiter of Galle at the Sangamitta College. However, as the celebrated veteran Mr. D.D.W. Jayawardena who is the best known veteran organiser from Galle was unable to take part personally due to ill health, the Indian master visited his home prior to the programme to greet him.
The final chess coaching camp was conducted at Jaffna where a stunning 500 students attended. It was coordinated by Jaffna University Professors Mr N.Gnanakumaran, and Mr T.Arunakirinathan. The Master also played a few games simultaneously but due to extreme shortage of time, the display was abandoned. Aaron was mobbed by the children for autographs.
Mrs.Suneetha Wijesuriya, President of the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club, who organised all these events mentioned that since Sri Lankan children rarely get this type of opportunities they derived maximum benefit from these events and it was a real success. The Master's Jaffna tour was sponsored by an internal aviation company of Sri Lanka, Lion Air. Mr. Chandran Rutnam, the Chairman of Lion Air gave complimentary Air Tickets between Colombo and Jaffna to present the chess players of Jaffna with an opportunity to learn lots from the master.
After conducting several chess coaching camps in the island Mr.Manuel Aaron, who is the General Secretary of Tamil Nadu Chess Association gave a simultaneous chess display against 30 chess players at the Russian Centre in Colombo. He won all the games. Mr. Aaron also conducted an Arbiter's Seminar and delivered a lecture for the parents of the players on the different ways of handling their children psychologically. These programmes were successfully implemented benefiting the Sri Lankan players, their parents, coaches, Arbiters and organisers. All the programs were conducted by the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club of the Russian Centre in Colombo. All the players who participated in these chess coaching programmes got beautiful certificates thanks to Mr. Sumith Pinnawala, Director of Climax Ltd.

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