Monaco Leave it Late to Triumph
With Andorra lying second overall, just a point off the tournament lead, and Monaco one point further back in joint third, it was clear that the sixth round clash between the two nations could have considerable implications for the eventual destination of the trophy.
As one might expect, the match was fiercely contested. Wins for Monaco’s Jean-Francois Nelis and Andorra’s Joan Fernandez Lopez cancelled each other out so, when the only all-grandmaster clash of the tournament – between GM’s Aguado and Efimov – ended in a draw, everything rested on the outcome of the game between GM Algimandas Butnorius and FM Raul Garcia Paolucchi: the last game of the round to finish.
As the clock crept past 10.00pm, the Monégasque GM gradually increased the pressure until, facing the inevitable loss of his bishop for no compensation, Andorra’s Paolucchi had little option but to resign and concede the match.
While Paolucchi had been rested for the day’s early session, GM Butnorius had been playing with not much of a break for over 12 hours, and had won both of his games on the day.
Luxembourg made heavy weather of their sixth round match, conceding a loss to Liechtenstein’s Captain, Renato Frick, and a draw to Dejan Jelic. However, Luxembourg’s 2.5-1.5 match win was sufficient to restore their 2 point cushion at the top of the table, following Andorra’s loss to Monaco.
Meanwhile, The Faroe Islands swept Malta aside, conceding only a half point in the process, and San Marino ran Cyprus close, with FM Paris Klerides defeat of FM Enrico Grassi on top board being the deciding factor in the Cypriots’ 2.5-1.5 victory.
The host nation, Guernsey, took on Jersey in the final sixth round match. Jersey’s players are actually able to see their home island from the tournament venue, and this proximity has generated a largely friendly, but deeply intense rivalry over the years.
Guernsey continued their recent good form, with CM Chris Holland and FM Fred Hamperl drawing on the top boards, while CM Peter Kirby and CM Peter Rowe emerged triumphant on Boards 3 and 4. While this 3-1 victory will in no sense affect the destination of the Championship Trophy, it will no doubt lift the spirits of the home players as they prepare to do battle with Cyprus in Round 7.