Colin Pace – Malta Champion 2023
The official competitive local chess season for 2023 came to an end with a number of Championships to decide titles in various categories. This year the main Championship – the 88th Finals was played in a different format with 8 players taking part in a double round robin (players play against each other twice with white and black pieces) of 14 rounds.
4 ex-Malta Champions (Colin Pace, Jake Darmanin, Patrick Zerafa, Peter Sammut Briffa) participated together with the 2022 champion David Cilia Vincenti. The rest of the field was composed of Junior Champion Jack Mizzi, Robert Novak who was the highest rated player and Alberto Farah.
The outgoing champion Cilia Vincenti had a very difficult start by gaining just one point from the first round. He did much better in the second round managing to gain another 3.5 points. The top ranked player Novak, playing in his first Maltese finals also had a difficult start by losing the first 3 rounds. He made a recovery but it was too late to keep pace with the front runners.
After the first round it was clear that it was going to be a 2-horse race with Pace and Darmanin taking the top two place. Pace was leading with 6 out of 7 points while Darmanin followed on 5 points.
In the second round, Pace kept his consistency and manage to remain unbeaten throughout the tournament while Darmanin suffered two losses against Farah and Sammut Briffa. 17-year old Mizzi played very good tournament and was in the running to take the important runner-up position until the very last round. Eventually he drew against Novak to take a respectable 4th place.
Zerafa, confirmed that he is back after a 2-year break by ending in 3rd place. Darmanin eventually took 2nd place and will automatically qualify to next year’s Finals.
Thus Colin Pace secured his 9th Championship win and he confirms his position as the third most successful Maltese player of all time.
Full information here: https://chess-results.com/tnr813959.aspx?lan=1&art=1&fed=MLT
Past champions of the Malta championship can be found here