Luxembourg on the Brink After Penultimate Round

Luxembourg moved a stage closer to being crowned European Small Nations Champions, with a 3-1 victory over Jersey in Friday’s penultimate round. Only a shock reverse against the host nation on the final day can now deny the long-time tournament leaders the title.

Although over-matched against Luxembourg – with Louis Joualt, Graham Mooney and Tito Kahn falling victim to IM Fred Berend, IM Michael Wiedenkeller and Philippe Linster respectively – there was some comfort to be taken for Jersey, both in the form of a fine win with black from their newly-annointed domestic champion, CM Garry Forbes, against the powerful and consistent Pierre Gengler, and the fact that Joualt and Kahn resisted well into the sixth hour of a contest which Luxembourg’s Captain, FM Hubert Mossong, described as their toughest match to date.

The teams of Monaco and the Faroe Islands ensured that they are ready to pounce should Luxembourg fall at the final hurdle.

The Faroese completed a comfortable eighth round victory over Cyprus, with Martin Poulsen and Joan Hendrik Andreasen proving too strong for Vassilis Aristotelous and Arsenios Hadjikyriakou, after the matches on the top two boards resulted in deadlock.

Meanwhile, the formidable Monégasque quartet of GM Igor Efimov, GM Algimantas Butnorius, FM Patrick van Hoolandt and Jean-Francois Nelis went one better, inflicting a first whitewash of the week on the host nation, Guernsey.

Wins for Renato Frick and CM Andras Guller formed the basis of Liechtenstein’s 3-1 win over San Marino. However, perhaps the most impressive performances of the day came from the Maltese duo of CM David Cilia Vincenti and Jake Darmanin, whose triumphs secured a tied match for their nation against the powerful Andorrans.