Malta Chess Federation

Saliba and Richards lead Preliminaries at halfway stage

Feb 19, 2023

After 3 rounds of the first phase of the Malta Championship – the Preliminaries, Karl Saliba and John
Richards are the only players on full points having won all their matches. Richards beat Gabriel
Grech, Alfred Azzopardi and Leonardo Zangrilli – the latter with a nice Queen sacrifice leading to
checkmate. Saliba beat Adam Buckle and promising junior Noah Cauchi – winner of two U16 Taster tournaments.

Ayman Ibrahim and Andrea Abela follow in 3 rd place on 2.5 points having won their first 2 games and
drew their direct encounter.



7 players on 2 points include junior players Zangrilli (12 years) and Cauchi (14 years), Adam Buckle,
Andrei Dobbin and senior players Ron Sammut, Joseph Gatt and Ian Refalo.
The top 8 players shall qualify to the 2 nd phase of the Championships – the Candidates in July.

Results of Round 3:
J. Richards vs L. Zangrilli 1-0; A. Abela vs A. Ibrahim ½-½; N. Cauchi vs K. Saliba 0-1; R. Sammut vs G.
Grech 1-0; M. Haber vs I. Refalo 0-1; A. buckle vs A. Azzopardi 1-0; J. Gatt vs D. Gauci 1-0; M. Fleri vs
A. Dobbin 0-1; K. Reyansh vs I. Grima Bongailas ½-½; H. Thornton vs F. Thornton 0-1; S Busuttil Naudi
vs K. Cassar 0-1; M. Cutagar Lofaro bye.

Pairings of Round 4:
K. Saliba vs J. Richards; A. Ibrahim vs R. Sammut; A. Dobbin vs A. Abela; I. Refalo vs N. Cauchi; L.
Zangrilli vs J. Gatt; F. Thornton vs A. Buckle; A. Azzopardi vs K. Reyansh; D. Gauci vs M. Haber; M.
Cutajar Lofaro vs I. Grima Bongailas; G. Grech vs M. Fleri; K. Cassar vs P. Cassell; H. Thornton vs S.
Busuttil Naudi;