Jake Darmanin is the new U-20 National Chess Champion

Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 8:53

An extremely tight four way battle ended with 17 year old Jake Darmanin becoming the new U-20 national Chess Champion by the smallest of margins. With one round to go, Darmanin and Christian Schembri led Andre Xuereb and Jurgen Grima by just half a point. Since the top two were due to meet their immediate followers, it meant that any of the four could win the tournament held at the San Antonio Hotel and Spa in Qawra.

The game between Darmanin and Grima finished first. Since it was a draw, Darmanin remained ahead of his opponent, but guaranteed that someone else would at least catch up with him. Schembri would be the outright winner by beating Xuereb, while a draw would see him on the same number of points. Xuereb needed a win to reach Darmanin. As it turned out, Xuereb won a very sharp game to finish the tournament joint first. However a better tie-break by a minimal half point meant that Darmanin took the title. Xuereb took second place and Schembri third.

Grima took the U-18 title. This was an excellent result for him since he is actually eligible for a lower age group. Luca Vassallo was runner-up in this category. Matthew Aquilina scored the same number of points as Vassallo, but a slightly inferior tie-break meant he had to settle for the title of U-16 champion. The runner-up in this category was Adrian Cutajar, a very promising youngster who recently did well in the U-14 championship.

The Malta Chess Federation would like to thank the San Antonio Hotel and Spa for hosting the event.

Final placings:

4pts: Jake Darmanin, Andre Xuereb

3½pts: Christian Schembri, Jurgen Grima

3pts: Luca Vassallo, Matthew Aquilina

2½pts: Adrian Cutajar, Jean Luc Mangion

2pts: Nicholas Armeni, Julian Camilleri, Mauro Vassallo

1pt: Nathan Camilleri, Timothy Portelli, Isaac Portelli

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