Sri Lanka's Galle cricket stadium risks being demolished

England cricket fans watch the second day of the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and England from the top of the 17th century Dutch fort overlooking Galle Stadium in Galle (27 March 2012)

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England fans watch their team play Sri Lanka at Galle Stadium in 2012

One of the world’s most picturesque cricket stadiums is at risk of being demolished because it threatens the heritage status of a nearby fort.

Galle cricket stadium, in southern Sri Lanka, is famed for its stunning views of the Indian Ocean.

But it is the 17th Century Dutch fort which looms over the ground that has put it in danger.

Sri Lanka’s cultural affairs minister Wijeyadasa Rakapakshe said the fort risks losing Unesco World Heritage status because of unauthorised construction nearby, including the 500-seat pavilion stand which was rebuilt after the ground was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.

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Sri Lanka have won most of the matches they have played here since 1998

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Standing on the fort affords a good view of the cricket below

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England are due to play here in November, and may end up being the last team to do so

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The stadium was devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, which killed at least 31,000 people in Sri Lanka

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It was rebuilt afterwards – but the new pavilion blocks the view of the fort from the city’s main road

Mr Rakapakshe said the government had been left with a choice: either remain on the World Heritage list, or keep the pavilion.

However, Arjuna Ranatunga – who led Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 World Cup as captain – has suggested a compromise: demolish the current stand, and put up temporary seating when Test matches were played.

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Carlsen Tops Biel Field, Starting Tomorrow –

For the first time in six years, Magnus Carlsen is playing in Biel again. He tops the field and will compete with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Peter Svidler, David Navara and Nico Georgiadis.

The 51st Biel Chess Festival will take place July 22-August 1 in the Congress House in Biel, Switzerland. The main event is a six-player double round robin. The time control is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves followed by 15 minutes to finish the game with a 30-second increment starting from move one.

Biel 2018 | Participants

# Rank Fed Name Rating B-Year
1 1 Carlsen, Magnus 2842 1990
2 3 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2801 1985
3 8 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2779 1990
4 16 Svidler, Peter 2753 1976
5 20 Navara, David 2741 1985
6 699 Georgiadis, Nico 2526 1996

The Grand Chess Tour doesn’t fit Magnus Carlsen‘s schedule this year, which gives him the opportunity to play some other tournaments. Those include the European Club Cup in the fall, and the Biel Chess Festival in the summer.

Carlsen played in Biel six times before: in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. He won twice, in 2007 and 2011. It will be his first tournament in two months, after finishing second behind Fabiano Caruana at Norway Chess.

One of the things he’s been busy with (besides watching the FIFA World Cup!) is the activities connected to the launch of a new app for kids that bears his name.

After the cook-off in Norway, Carlsen was also quickly wearing “chef gear” again.As Tarjei Svensen informed us, Carlsen didn’t really cook though; these were clothes of a Norwegian supermarket, where one of his friends works. They played in an informal “team talking chess” event.

There’s another 2800 player in the tournament: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Remarkably, the Azerbaijani grandmaster has never played in Biel before. He’s one of two players who were at the chess board recently as participants of the Leuven and Paris Grand Chess Tour events.

The other is Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the third seed. He played Biel eight times in consecutive years, between 2009 and 2016 (the last year was a match with Svidler). He won no less than five times.

When they meet, MVL might get a firm handshake from Carlsen and congratulations for France winning the FIFA World Cup.

Peter Svidler, MVL’s opponent in 2016, is back as well. It will be his fourth time in the Swiss city, as he also played in 2000 and 2001. The Russian GM is reasonably warmed up after his rapid and blitz match with Yu Yangyi in June and the Gideon Japhet Memorial in July.

David Navara has played in Biel twice before, in 2015 and 2017. His recent events include the Shamkir tournament and some games in the French and Polish leagues. His last event was a rapid match with Pentala Harikrishna, in June in Prague.

Last seeded Nico Georgiadis is the atypical grandmaster in this field, being rated 200 Elo points lower than fifth seed Navara. However, for chess events it’s very typical to give a local player the opportunity to play against world class players, and thus providing them with the necessary experience to make further progress.

Last year, when Hou Yifan won the tournament, Georgiadis did more than fine in his first appearance in the main event, scoring 5/9 and a 2705 performance rating.

The games will start every day at 2 p.m. central European time (5 a.m. Pacific, 8 a.m. Eastern). You can follow them in Live Chess. The Chessbrahs will be providing daily commentary with GMs Yasser Seirawan, Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton which you can follow on and

The commentary team for the official website consists of GM Danny King and IM Anna Rudolf, which happens to be the same duo as at the Isle of Man tournament later this year. Good to have them warmed up a bit. 

As always, the Biel festival includes many more side events, including a strong open where the top seed is Ukrainian 2700-grandmaster Pavel Eljanov. All the info can be found on the official website.

CHESS#1310 – Business Standard

Business Standard

Business Standard
India’s chess squads are gearing up for the Batumi Olympiad. The Open squad is led by Viswanathan Anand, who’s playing Olympiads after a long gap. The women will be boosted by the return of Koneru Humpy, who hasn’t played since the middle of 2016, …

A Chess Whopper: Challenge 'The King' On –

Kings don’t usually work this hard, but with tomorrow (July 20) being International Chess Day, “The King” is making an exception.

Burger King’s iconic mascot has been a longtime chess fan for years, but he’s just now entering the arena of competitive chess. Some customers even claim to have seen his app open while working the drive through. 


On Friday he will turn off his flame grill and focus on the royal game. For six hours, The King will play all comers on’s live server. His account? What else, TheKing! and Burger King are teaming up just to make International Chess Day a little more fun. There are no costs or official prizes, but it’s possible that those who dethrone The King may get a little offering from the restaurant.

You can challenge The King any time from 10 a.m-4 p.m. Eastern time by clicking this direct link. All games will be five minutes with no increment. The King only likes to play one game at a time, so if you don’t have your challenge accepted right away, just wait in the queue.

The 1-3 p.m. block will also be broadcast live at and


If you beat The King, Burger King may even share your win on its social media channels. Make sure to use the hashtag #PlayTheKing during tomorrow’s event.

Playing under a secret account on, The King has shown some unorthodox opening choices. We guess he just likes to Have It Your Way. Unsurprisingly, he’s shown a penchant for the King’s Gambit and King’s Indian Defense. Wonder why?

Tomorrow is also International Jump Day and Lollipop Day, but that sounds like a dangerous combination. Instead, we hope you enjoy International Chess Day by participating in the #PlayTheKing challenge!

Remember to use this link to challenge TheKing starting at 10 a.m. Eastern U.S. time July 20!

Legend D'Oliveira awarded freedom of city of Worcester

Basil D'Oliveira

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Basil D’Oliveira, fondly known as Dolly, represented England in 44 Test matches

Cricket legend Basil D’Oliveira is to be posthumously awarded the freedom of the city of Worcester.

Born in South Africa, D’Oliveira moved to England in 1960 because of the lack of opportunities for non-white players.

He played for Worcestershire between 1964 and 1980, and represented England in 44 Tests.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of awarding D’Oliveira the honour, after a proposal was put forward by the city’s mayor.

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D’Oliveira, who was born in Cape Town, died in 2011 at the age of 83.

Although, his family has said he did not have a birth certificate and they may never know his exact age.

In 1968, South Africa cancelled an England tour after the all-rounder was called up to the squad.

The cancellation of the tour led to a ban on sporting ties with South Africa which lasted until the early 1990s.

Worcestershire honoured D’Oliveira in 2003 when they named a new stand after him at their New Road ground.

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Basil D’Oliveira (right) with Paddy Feeny, Neil Durden-Smith and Bobby Moore at the BBC in 1968

D’Oliveira will be given the award after a proposal by Mayor of Worcester Jabba Riaz was approved at an extraordinary city council meeting on Tuesday.

It will be presented to his family at a civic reception in September and his name will be inscribed on the Honorary Freeman Panel in the Guildhall.