Welcome to European Small Nations Association’s website. There has been a great deal of effort in creating this website, which is intended to function as an electronic magazine. It has been spent a lot of time to achieve this goal. The website belongs exclusively to our Zone and you will be able to find here about all ESNA events but you can also update it with your own local activities. May I take this opportunity to ask all of you who really love the sport of chess, embrace this effort and support it so that this website is kept as a powerful tool for informing and promoting chess in Europe. I hope this effort will be appreciated and loved by all of you. Any suggestions for future improvement of the website are welcome. Show understanding and forgive me for any omissions and weaknesses. Additionally, I hope that this website will also be useful to people outside the chess area to find interesting information to increase their knowledge of such a “big” and a great sport like chess!!!
Andorra is the winner of the 6th European Small Nations Team Chess Championship
The team of Andorra is the winner of the 6th edition of European Small Nations Team Chess Championship, with a perfect score of 18 match points, and 9 victories out of 9 games. The second place went to Monaco, with a score of 16 match points, and the third place went to Faroe Islands with 14 match points.
Individual gold medal winners are: 1st Board: GM Helgi Dam Ziska (FAI) with 6,5/8 points, 2nd Board: GM Efimov Igor (MNC) with 7,5/8 points, Board 3: IM Aloma Vidal Robert (AND) with 6,5/8 points, Board 4: WGM Dornbusch Tatiana (MNC) with 7,5/9 points and 5th Board: Jelic Dejan (LIE).
The Closing ceremony of the Championship took place on saturday 30th of March with attendance of ECU Secretary General, Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou, the Vice President of the Italian Chess Federation Mr. Roberto Rivello, the FIDE Zone 1.10 President Mr. Paris Klerides and the San Marino Chess Federation President Mr. Ivan Tabarini. Mr. Tsorbatzoglou underlined the ECU satisfaction for the well-organized event and the ECU intention to continue supporting the Small Nations chess program.
ECU Secretary General, Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou attended the meeting
Zone President Mr. Paris Klerides welcomed the delegates of ESNA and congratulated the chess federation of San Marino for the excellent organization of the 6th ESNA team championship. He accentuated the importance of Zone 1.10. It was appreciated that most teams respected the dress code in ESNA events. Actually, there is no need to change or to tighten the dress code for ESNA tournaments. Moreover, FIDE and ECU are elaborating dress codes that can be adopted for ESNA as well.
It was decided that the ESNA website should run under an own domain in order to be able to post articles independently. The domain fee has to be paid by ESNA. Every country can post (or send to the webmaster) articles about actual issues like national championships, important open tournaments, various activities etc. The member federations should send their general contact information and the link of their homepage to Mr. Paris Klerides.
ESNA Financial Support
Actually ECU supports ESNA events with an amount of €40.000 for a 2 year period (€25.000 for the team championship and €15.000 for the individual championship). Delegates accentuated that this support is important in order to be able to organize the events in the future. The competitively (contrary to the European team championship) and the familiar atmosphere are few of the main reasons to continue this way. Not only the team championship but also the individual one should be maintained because an individual championship should be organized in an official FIDE Zone and it gives an ESNA player the possibility to participate in the World Cup.
Mr. Finnborn Vang explained that between 2014 and 2018, two members of ESNA federations were part of the ECU Board and that this presence is important to guarantee the support of ECU for ESNA. Unfortunately, no member of an ESNA federation is a member of ECU Board after the last elections in Batumi.
Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou (ECU General Secretary) joined the meeting and made excuses for ECU President, Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili who could not come to San Marino because of the closing ceremony of the European individual championship. He explained that the ECU budget will grow thanks to new sponsors but the criteria of the support for developing countries should be changed and be relied on targets. ECU board prefers that more ESNA countries would participate in the European team championship and suggests redistributing the support in that way like free accommodation (two double rooms) for ESNA federations in the European team championship. Moreover, ECU wants to offer free seminars for teachers, arbiters and trainers for all ESNA federations. ESNA delegates explained the importance of the ESNA tournaments and that actually ECU costs are not more than €2.000 per ESNA member federation per year. Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou replied that ECU is not going to cut-off this budget and that the budget may increase if every ESNA member federation participates in the European team championship. ESNA delegates promised to make efforts to participate in the European team championship if the tournaments gets more attractive and motivate ESNA teams.
Mr Tsorbatzoglou assured that ECU support for ESNA individual championship in Monaco next year is guaranteed and If Liechtenstein gets no other financial support from FIDE regarding the team championship in 2021, then ECU will guarantee the support. Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou also mentioned that its preferable if the tournament can take place early in the year so that ESNA member federations will be able to participate in the European team championship later in 2021. He floated the option that a part of the ECU support could be used for the best 3 or 4 teams to cover the expenses for the European team championship.
Before the end of the meeting, Mr. Patrick Van Hooland informed that the European Blitz and Rapid Chess Championship for women will take place in Monaco from 28th of November to 2nd of December 2019. The federation of Monaco offers to one player of every ESNA federation free accommodation (single room in a double apartment).
The ESNA individual championship will take place in Monaco from 25th of October to 2nd of November 2020. Players will be accommodated in single rooms with breakfast and they will receive allowance €20 per meal. The tournament will be played in the venue of Monaco Chess Club. Parallel to this tournament, the federation of Monaco organizes from 30th of October to 2nd of November 2020 a rapid chess youth tournament with ten teams that are composed of two boys and two girls. Every team will get three rooms.
Moreover, the federation of Monaco made a bid for the Women European Club Cup 2021. Teams of ESNA federation will get a discount of 30%.
Another ESNA meeting took place and this time was held in Batumi, Georgia on the 27th of September 2018, during the chess olympiad.
The discussion focused mainly on forthcoming events and San Marino gave some practical info on travel etc. They had already sent by email all info concerning the European Small Nations Team Championship 2019.
Forthcoming Events of ESNA:
2019 – Team Championship in San Marino
2020 – Individual Championship in Monaco
2021 – Team Championship in Liechtenstein
There was a wide agreement among the nations to secure some funds for ESNA and to improve the webpage and have regulations published there. A proposal from Mr. Geoffrey Borg (MLT) to have each nation paying €200 annually was unanimously agreed. Also the request for dress code was agreed upon. ESNA also needs to work on securing the WC-spot permanently.
A few days later, in particular on the 5th of October, elections were held and the following delegates were elected as Board Members for the years 2018-2022.
Mr Paris Klerides from Cyprus – President
Mr Van Hoolandt Patrick from Monaco – Vice President
Mr Olivier Jeitz from Luxembourg – General Secretary
Mr Joan Obregon from Andorra – Treasurer
It was decided that Mr Paris Klerides will open a bank account in Cyprus on behalf of the European Small Nations Association (ESNA) with an online access by the president and the treasurer. A financial report will be distributed to all ESNA members on a regular basis.
GM Helgi Dam Ziska (FAI, 2549) was the Winner of the 3rd European Small Nations Individual Chess Championship, which took place from 13th-23rd April 2018, in Klaksvik, Faroe Islands.
Ziska Helgi Dam scored an impressive result of 8.5 points out of 9 and convincingly won the Championship before the last round with perfect 8/8. In the last round of the event, Ziska Helgi Dam drew against GM Efimov Igor (MNC, 2407), which was more than enough to take gold.
For GM Efimov Igor, draw in the 9th round was enough for taking the silver medal with score of 7 points. Third place went to IM Berend Fred (LUX, 2357) with 6.5 points.
The event was played as a Robin-round event in 9 rounds, with participation of 10 players, with time control of the event: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move from move one. The total prize fund of the event was 4.500 EUR, with 2.000 EUR reserved for the Winner of the Championship.
The Winner of the European Small Nations Blitz Chess Championship was Paris Klerides (CYP, 2183).
Faroe Islands win the 5th European Small Nations Team Championship
The 5th European Small Nations Team Chess Championship took place in Andorra la Vella, from 11th-19th November 2017. In a very exciting finish of the Championship the last round determined the Champion of the event. Faroe Islands took a narrow victory in the direct match for the first place played against Andorra, and became the 5th European Small Nations Team Chess Champion!
The hero who brought the title to the Faroe Islands team was Nielsen Rogvi Egilstoft, the only one who scored for the Winners, while other games ended in a draw.
Second place went to Monaco who scored 15 match points, while Andorra finished third with 14 match points.
The President of European Chess Union, Mr. Zurab Azmaiparasvhili and FIDE Deputy Mr. George Makropoulos visited the event, observed games of the final round and attended the Closing Ceremony of the Championship which took place on 18th of November.
Together with regular prizes, the best players of each board were awarded with special prizes. The special prizes were awarded to: Board 1- Helgi Dam Ziska (FRA), Board 2- Tom Weber (LUX), Board 3- Robert Aloma (AND) and Board 4- Pierre Gengler (LUX).
The discussion at the meeting in the beginning focused mainly on a political level as FIDE Deputy Mr. George Makropoulos and ECU President Mr Zurab Azmaiparashvili, attended.
ECU President Mr. Zurab Azmaiparashvili promised during the meeting that the winner of ESNA Team Chess Championship 2017 in Andorra will have a free accommodation in the European Team Championship 2019 in Batumi.
The discussion in Andorra was about forthcoming tournaments, statutes, politics and some technical issues. It was unanimously decided that ESNA Individual Championship will go from 12 to 10 players. It was also decided to nominate Mr. Geoffrey Borg from Malta as Honorary President.
Zone President Mr. Paris Klerides welcomed the delegates of ESNA and presented a summary of the activities of ESNA over the past year and also used the opportunity to thank the European Chess Union for their continued support.
The statutes of ESNA relating to membership were to be reviewed with caution as the membership was dictated by a General Assembly decision in 2010 in Khanty Mansiysk, based on the fact that all the nations had very low average ratings and would not result in any significant advantage to any of these nations. It was therefore important to clarify that Iceland would lead to requests by Montenegro and other countries hence creating a new issue with FIDE.
Regarding the 2nd ESNA Individual Championship in Luxembourg this year, Mr. Olivier Jeitz indicated that the tournament was a success and was very happy with the execution of the tournament. Players also expressed their satisfaction with the organisation, level of athleticism and the friendly atmosphere. Olivier thanked the European Chess Union for the financial support which was key to the success of the tournament and also expressed gratitude to FIDE for the World Cup spot. The winner of the tournament was Helgi Ziska, Faroe Islands.
The President of ECU stated that they continue to support ESNA as they have provided fixed amounts to the Association for the past few years and have committed to do so until 2018. However, he also encouraged ESNA to obtain similar levels of support/contributions from FIDE.
ECU President, Mr Zurab Azmaiparashvili explained that a number of other zones were now lobbying for some place in the FIDE World Cup to be given directly from the ECU allocations. Mr Azmaiparashvili said that of course they were open to discussions with all zones including Fide Zone 1.10.
Forthcoming Events of ESNA:
2017 – Team Championship in Andorra.
2018 – Individual Championship in Faroe Islands
2019 – Team Championship in San Marino
2020 – Individual Championship in Monaco
2021 – Team Championship in Liechtenstein
Paris Klerides informed the members that he was able to successfully negotiate with the Arbiters Commission Chairman, for a free Arbiters’ Seminar in one small nation every year. Preferably in the nation that hosts the event that year. The organisers have to cover the accommodation and board for the lecturer. Geoffrey Borg also offered that if any Federation wished to organize a Trainer Seminar he would do this free of charge.
IM Helgi Dam Ziska from Faroe Islands wins the 2nd European Small Nations Individual Championship with 9,5 / 11 points and will represent the FIDE Zone 1.10 in the World Cup 2017. Congratulations to Helgi for this great performance! GM Oscar de la Riva Aguado from Andorra finished in second place with 9 points and the defending champion IM Michael Wiedenkeller from Luxembourg follows on 3rd place with 8,5 points.
The twelve participants (both the host nation and the strongest player who wasn’t initially nominated receive a wild card) arrived in Luxembourg on the 1st April and after a quick opening ceremony went back to their hotel to get a much-needed rest. The schedule for this event was decided with 11 rounds being played in the space of only eight days (with one rest day) – making for a total of three double rounds. Faroese IMHelgiZiska was the top seed at 2542,butthere were at least three other players who were in with a good chance offighting for the top places: GM Oscar De la Riva (2494) from Andorra,IM AndreasKelires(2466) from Cyprus and title defender IM MichaelWiedenkeller(2451) from Luxembourg.With a spot in the next World Cup at stake (along with a €2000 envelope for the winner), nerves were bound to be tested and there would be no easy games.
Keliresfound this out the hard way when he lost to his young compatriot, 13-year old KonstantinosMichaelides(2133),in the upset game of the first round.Next to stumble was top seed Ziska, as he was held to a draw by Peter Kirby (2008) with the white pieces in round 3. Ziska also drew his encounters against 2ndand 4thseeds De la Riva andWiedenkeller, but other than that he won all his games to set up a last round decider againstKelires.
After his shock loss from the first round, the Cypriot had gone on to score 8 points out of the next 9 games and was thus only trailing Ziska by half a point before their final clash, in which hewas to have the white pieces. Similarly to the Candidates Tournament, these two players were the only two still in with a chance to get the much-coveted first place and qualifying spot, as De la Riva could still finish equal first, but had the worse tie-break out of the three.
AlthoughKelires-Ziska ended up beinga short game, it didn’t lack in excitement.
And soHelgi Dam Ziska was crowned winner of the tournamentwith 9.5/11and earned the much-coveted qualification spot for the next World Cup, which will be held in Georgia in 2017.
Luxembourg Chess Federation (FLDE) is proud to announce that Luxembourg organizes the 2nd European Small Nations Individual Chess Championship (FIDE Zone 1.10) with participants from Andorra, Cyprus, Guernsey, Faroe Islands, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco and San Marino. The winner of the Championship qualifies for the FIDE World Chess Cup.
The competition is organised with the support of the European Chess Union (ECU) and will take place in Luxembourg City from 1-11 April 2016 in the Centre sociétaire et sportif Gare at 29 rue de Strasbourg. Members of the public are very welcome to visit the tournament, watch the games and play themselves a game of chess in the bar area.
The exact schedule and more details about the Championship can be found on the Official website.
The top seed is International Master Ziska Helgi Dam from Faroe Islands (ELO 2539). The participants are as follows:
GM De La Riva Aguado Oscar (Andorra, 2494)
CM Michaelides Konstantinos (Cyprus 2023)
IM Ziska Helgi Dam (Faroe Islands 2539)
CM Kirby Peter J. (Guernsey 2003)
Mooney Graham (Jersey 1867)
Frick Renato (Liechtenstein 2049)
IM Wiedenkeller Michael (Luxembourg 2445)
IM Berend Fred (Luxembourg 2340)
Sammut Briffa Peter (Malta 2000)
FM Villegas Pierre (Monaco 2373)
CM Volpinari Danilo (San Marino 2003)
IM Kelires Andreas (2466) Wild Card
The opening ceremony will be held at 7.30 on April 1st (no April fool’s joke!) at the tournament hall, hosted by Mr. Francois Biltgen, former Justice Minister of Luxembourg. It is a little known fact that Mr. Biltgen is adept not just at political moves but also chess moves! As a keen chess player since his university days, he agreed to become the president of the Organizing Committee and help to organize this big event for the Luxembourg chess world and promote chess in general.
Along with Mr. Biltgen, Mrs. Lydie Polfer, Mayor of Luxembourg City, and Mr. Pierre Fattebene FLDE President will address the audience. The players from 10 nations will be present at the opening ceremony, as well as many other guests and representatives of the media.
A simultaneous display will precede the opening ceremony, starting at 6.oo pm. Woman Grandmaster Elvira Berend, who represented Luxembourg on many international chess events will play against the best youngsters in Luxembourg, people from public life and members of the public. People from public life include RTL radio presenter Dan Nepgen who won the U16 championship in 1995, and François Biltgen. In the week leading up to the event, we will also invite members of the public to attend through various media channels.
During the Championship the European Chess Union will be represented by the ECU Vice President Mr. Finnbjorn Vang from Faroe Islands.
The Luxembourg Chess Federation is currently running a media campaign to promote chess in general, especially chess in schools. We will be present in the media to talk about Small Nations but also to promote chess in general and chess in school in particular. Fiona Steil-Antoni, winner of a Gold medal at the Chess Olympics in Turin in 2006 and a chess journalist, is invited to RTL’s Planet People on April 6th and the lunch RTL radio show with Dan Nepgen on April 8th.
Chess is a sport for anyone. It is not unusual to see men against women, an 8 year old compete against an 80 year old, the homeless against the wealthy, and the couch potato against the body builder. Chess is a sport for anywhere. You can play in the plane, on the beach, in the pub, on the Internet, at a mountain refuge, at home, and blindfolded!
May the best player win!
FLDE is grateful to our main sponsor the European Chess Union and our local sponsors, namely BGL BNP Paribas, Casino2000, Lexus, Ville de Luxembourg and Vinsmoselle. We also acknowledge private donations which are listed in the tournament booklet.
In the beginning of 2016, European Chess Union and the Luxembourg Chess Federation signed a contract for the organization of the 2nd European Small Nations Individual Chess Championship. The contract was signed between the ECU Secretary General, Mr. Theodoros Tsorbatzoglou and the President of the Luxembourg Chess Federation, Mr. Pierre Fattebene.
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 count back 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.
Farewell to Guernsey, as Eyes Turn to Andorra in 2017
As soon as the last game of these Championships finished, work began preparing the playing hall for the farewell banquet, so that players and officials could gather and celebrate a week during which, in the words of Guernsey Chess Federation President Peter Rowe, “everyone fought fiercely, but no bad word was spoken, each player competing with perfect sportsmanship.”
After dinner, the prizes were awarded for the blitz tournament as well, and then for the main business of the week. Luxembourg was crowned as European Small Nations Champions 2015 and its players received coveted silver versions of traditional Guernsey milk cans as commemorative trophies. There were milk cans too, made of copper, for the runners-up and third place finishers, Monaco and the Faroe Islands.
Specially produced Guernsey Chess Federation paperweights were awarded to the strongest performer on each board throughout the week. These went to (beginning with Board 1) IM Fred Berend (Luxembourg), IM Michael Wiedenkeller (Luxembourg), Martin Poulsen (Faroe Islands), Jean-Francois Nelis (Monaco) and Karl Johan Ribbegren (Monaco). Additionally, each team received a copy of Roy Bisson and Gregory Stevens Cox’s fascinating and deeply researched pictorial history: “Chess in Guernsey”, and two of the electronic chess sets used at the tournament, which are a gift from the FIDE Developing Nations Committee.
Hogni Egilstoft Nielsen of the Faroe Islands was awarded the Best Game Prize and a number of players received discretionary awards from the Chief Arbiter, David Sedgwick.
Both of the tournament’s Deputy Chief Arbiters – Axel Smith of Sweden and Kevin Thurlow of England – received their FA Norm Certificates. These were presented by Finnbjorn Vang and Ion-Serban Dobronauteanu, respectively Vice President and Deputy President of the European Chess Union.
Mr Vang and Mr Dobronauteanu spoke briefly on behalf of President Zurab Azmaiparashvili, and their continuing strong support for the European Small Nations was warmly appreciated.
Peter Rowe – President of the Guernsey Chess Federation – gave his concluding remarks and thanks to all of the participants, and a presentation was made to Fred Hamperl, Guernsey’s Captain and the tournament’s Chief Organiser.
Finally, Paris Klerides – President of FIDE Zone 1.10 and Captain of Cyprus – brought the tournament to its official close and announced that Luxembourg’s 2017 defence of their title will take place in Andorra.
Zone President, Mr. Paris Klerides welcomed the delegates of ESNA and gave his report on recent activities. Mr. Fred Hamperl expressed greetings on behalf of the Guernsey Chess Federation and wished everyone a pleasant stay.
Minutes from last meeting were confirmed. Statutes prepared by Mr. Graham Boxall and Mr. Finnbjørn Vang were put out for discussion and the participants agreed to make some amendments, especially the section referring to the approval of new members. Mr. Graham Boxall and Mr. Finnbjørn Vang will present a new proposal after discussion with other members.
All members of ESNA were happy with ESNA financial support and appreciated the continuous support from ECU and FIDE, which is crucial to our tournament. As proposed by FIDE, a draft proposal for financial support was sent, but this was rejected by FIDE.
Forthcoming Events of ESNA:
Mr. Olivier Jeitz (LUX) reported on the progress of the preparations for the ESNA Individual Championship. Things were going according to plan, but issues around the new structure of the Zonals caused some concerns for the organisers. Discussion about the subject did not find any solution and only time will tell. Probably after ECU General Assembly in Montenegro things will be more clear.
Andorra raised some concern about funding for the next team championship. Mr. Finnbjørn Vang explained that the ECU General Assembly has to approve the funding for the tournament and emphasized that the ECU will fulfill their commitment. Honorary President and FIDE representative, Mr. Willy Iclicki, proposed the criteria for new members. The members agreed to further discuss and finalize the details.
Mr. Paris Klerides presented a sample of logo for ESNA which was unanimously approved.
The first ESNA meeting was held on the 9th of August 2014 during Tromso Olympiad. It was decided that the name of the Association will be ‘‘European Small Nations Association’’ (ESNA). It was also decided that the committee of ESNA will consist of four (4) members and immediate after, the first elections were held. There was only one candidate on each position, so the following members were unanimously elected for the years 2014 – 2018.
Mr Paris Klerides from Cyprus – President
Mr Olivier Jeitz from Luxembourg – Vice President
Mr Finnbjorn Vang from the Faroe Islands – General Secretary
Mr Joan Obregon from Andorra – Treasurer
Regarding a statute, the compilation in the body of the new Board will be approved by FIDE General Assembly which will be held on the 12th of August 2014 in Tromso, Norway. ESNA General Secretary, Mr Finnbjorn Vang will present a draft statute by the 12th of August 2014.
It was decided that long time before each championship, ESNA will ask ECU to secure by a written contract its annual financial support. As proposed by FIDE Deputy President Mr George Makropoulos in Larnaca in April 2014, the new board must prepare and send a budget to FIDE for educational supports.
It was agreed that ESNA would create and maintain a website dedicated to its activities. Andorra will take responsibility for dealing with it.
Forthcoming events of ESNA:
The Delegate of Guernsey, Mr Fred Hamperl, explained the preparation of the European Small Nations Team Championship 2015 to be held in Guernsey in April 2015.
The next Individual Championship which was initially decided to be hosted in the Faroe Islands in 2016 has been transferred to Luxembourg after a mutual agreement. Luxembourg Chess Federation committed to send a formal application to host the event. This change was approved by all members of ESNA.
Admission of new members: It was decided not to accept the admission of new members to the association but it’s up to the organizers to decide if they wish to invite as guests, any team or individuals, from Estonia, Iceland, Montenegro or Slovenia, conditionally that the FIDE rating average will be no more than 2350.
Upon suggestion of Mr Paris Klerides, all members approved the nomination of Mr Willy Iclicki as ESNA Honorary President.
IM Michael Wiedenkeller from Luxembourg is the winner of the inaugural European Small Nations Individual Championship! In a thrilling last round, his crucial game against Olaf Berg was, fittingly, the last to finish, and the victory scored clinched him first place on tie-break, the winner’s cup and a spot in the next World Cup. Naturally, congratulations are in order to a deserved winner!
Already before the start of the final round, Wiedenkeller was assured of first place if he would win his game; but against a strong opponent, the desired result was by no means predetermined. Additional pressure was put to him by the fact that he was tied with not just one, but two other players, and it was a safe bet that at least one of them would win his game (and overtake him in case of a draw). GM Igor Efimov was the most likely candidate, coming from a series of wins in the second part of the tournament and playing a theoretically weaker opponent (Tito Kahn). He did reach an unbalanced position from the opening, as per his plan, no doubt, and seized the initiative after his opponent misplayed the early middlegame. A defiant attacking gesture made Kahn lose his cool, and he had to surrender material after his inferior reaction. To his credit, he did fight on for a long time afterwards, trying to pose as many problems as possible, but in the end he had to accept defeat. This outcome secured Efimov at least a tie for first place, and tournament victory if Wiedenkeller would not win his game. In the end, this was not meant to happen, and Efimov paid the price for losing his game against the tournament winner: the players’ direct encounter was the first tie-break criterion.
Oscar De la Riva, who had been leading throughout, had to be content with third place after all. He slowly developed some play in his game against Fred Berend (who was also in contention for the medals and would have won one in case of a win – overtaking De la Riva) and seemed to have the advantage, but the Luxembourg IM did not budge and put up an excellent defense gradually extinguishing White’s pressure. In the end, after missing a tricky defensive resource for his opponent, the Andorran even had to be a little careful; but it wasn’t that difficult, and the game petered out to a draw. This result cost De la Riva some money and a few rating points, as well as one place in the rankings: had he won, he would have gotten the silver medal. As for Berend, he finished fourth, with Olaf Berg and the talented young Cypriot Andreas Kelires (who beat Peter Kirby) completing the top half of the standings. Further below, Antonis Antoniou scored his first (and only, obviously) win in the tournament, by beating Massimiliano Maccapani, while Renato Frick completely turned the tables from a very awkward position against Oliver Said, first managing to simplify to a holdable ending, then completely equalizing the chances and, finally, exploiting a blunder by his opponent to snatch the full point.
Of course, taking the interim standings into account, all interest was focused on Wiedenkeller-Berg, particularly after the other games had concluded. White obtained a slight plus from the opening, and an unwise attempt to free his position left the Faroese facing numerous threats from the very active white pieces in the centre. In the end, he opted to sacrifice his queen for rook and piece, but this didn’t alleviate all the difficulties, as his pieces remained passive and uncoordinated. With pointed play, Wiedenkeller kept pressing for the initiative and eventually won a few pawns, coming out of the time control with a won position. Some care was still required, and, with everything at stake, caution was in order; this he exercised, and after some more moves Berg threw in the towel, being the first to congratulate his opponent on his excellent tournament success.
The event concluded with a farewell banquet and closing ceremony in Sun Hall Hotel, right next to the playing hall. Greetings and speeches were delivered by FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos, ECU President Silvio Danailov, Cyprus Chess Federation and FIDE Zone 1.10 President Christoforos Tornaritis, Larnaka Mayor Andreas Louroutziatis and Tournament Director Paris Klerides, before the prize-giving to the winners. Congratulations were extended to all those who made this event happen: those who conceived it, those who provided the funds, those who worked hard to organize it, and of course those who participated and played the chess! It is hoped that all guests will return to their homes with fond memories of a thoroughly enjoyable tournament and Cyprus hospitality!
The event was organized by FIDE, the Cyprus Chess Federation (KYSO) and the European Chess Union, with sponsorship from the Larnaka Tourism Board and the Municipality of Larnaka, and took place at the Larnaka Museum Historical Archives from April 22nd to April 30th. Full coverage of the event can be found at the official website, http://larnaca2014.fide.com, with results, standings, news and photo galleries.
Faroe Islands wins the 3rd European Small Nations Team Championship
The team of Faroe Islands – 1st place
The 3rd European Small Nations Team Championship was held in Monte Carlo, Monaco, from 25th November to 1st December 2013. All ESNA member federations from Andorra, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco and San Marino participated in the tournament held under the patronage of FIDE President. The venue of the tournament was the Hotel Hermitage. FIDE President participated in the awarding ceremony together with the President of Monaco Chess Federation Mr. Jean-Michel Rapaire and president of the European Chess Union Mr Silvio Danailov. The team of Andorra finished in 2nd place and the team of Monaco in 3rd place.