Luxembourg Beat the Hosts to Seal the Title
Luxembourg are the new European Small Nations Chess Champions. Having led the week-long tournament at Les Cotils in Guernsey from start to finish, they sealed their triumph with a 3-1 victory over the host nation in Saturday’s final round.
The players from the Grand Duchy – IM Fred Berend, IM Michael Wiedenkeller, Philippe Linster, Pierre Gengler and their Captain, FM Hubert Mossong – have been in dominant form all week, beating eight of their nine competitors for the title and conceding just one solitary tied match to the outgoing champions, the Faroe Islands.
The Faroe Islanders, themselves, ended their week with a 4-0 whitewash of Liechtenstein. Hogni Egilstoft Nielsen’s win against CM Mario Kobler on the top board in this match would later receive the tournament’s Best Game Prize, but even this comprehensive victory was not enough to earn the Faroese second place overall.
That honour went to Monaco, on countback and by just half a point, after Karl Johan Ribbegren secured the only win in their 2.5-1.5 defeat of Cyprus.
The Andorran team will be disappointed with their showing this week, but still finished their campaign with a 3-1 defeat of San Marino, despite a fine win for the Sammarinese Captain, CM Danilo Volpinari.
Malta, on the other hand, have become ever stronger as the week has progressed and confirmed their hold on the coveted fifth place – the best team outside of the Big Four – with a 4-0 hammering of winless Jersey in the final round.