Malta Chess Federation

Jacob Zammit wins Preliminaries 2024

Jacob Zammit wins Preliminaries 2024
Lehet, hogy egy kép erről: 4 ember és sakk

19-year old Jacob Zammit won the first stage of the National Championships tournamentthe Preliminaries. Zammit who was ranked in 7th place, won 5 games and drew 2 to achieve 6 points. In second place, Steve Mizzi was close behind on 5½ pts. Mizzi won 5 games and drew one. Also on 5½ pts, Alex Farrugia ended in 3rd place. Farrugia was unbeaten and won 4 and drew 3 games.

Four players followed on 5 points to take 4th -7th positions. Karl Saliba also ended unbeaten and after winning his first 3 games, proceeded to draw the last 4 to guarantee qualification to the next phase. The surprise of the tournament was Martina Portelli. She led most of the tournament until the very last round. Although seeded in 27th place, Portelli played very positive chess and won 4 games and had 2 draws before losing her last round game. Portelli gained the most rating points in this competition.

Favourite Krishnan Muthukumar, took 6th place on 5 points while junior player Andrei Dobbin ended in 7th place following a strong finish after acquiring 4 pts in the last 5 rounds.

This year’s Preliminaries was one of the closest in recent memory. With two rounds to go, more than half of the players had a chance to qualify (end in top 10). Those honours fell to Isaac Grima Bongailas, Ian Refalo and Claude Licari. Grima Bongailas, the youngest player to qualify at 13 years of age acquired 4½ pts gaining 4 wins and a draw. With the same number of points, Refalo and Licari also qualified in 9th and 10th place. It was unlucky for Andrea Abela who although also acquired 4½ pts missed the boat by an inferior tie-break score of just one point.

38 players in all took part including 11 players who were still unrated. The best unrated player was Ella Miceli-Farrugia who acquired 4 points together with Matthew Portelli, Marco Grech and Thomas Falzon. All these players together with another four players acquired their new International rating following this tournament.

The 2nd phase of the National Championships will be held in July with the Candidates.
10 qualifiers from this tournament will be joined by those rated 1800 or over. The top 4 will then qualify for the final phase – the Championship Finals.

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