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Maltese national teams halfway through the 44th Chess Olympiad

The Malta women's national team selection.

The 44th edition of the World Chess Olympiad in Chennai India, is now halfway through, with the Maltese national teams facing very strong opponents.

The starting position of Malta’s men team was ranked at the 116th level out of a total of 188 countries from around the world.

Six matches were played so far in the Open section, with Malta winning by 3 points against Timor-Leste, Fiji and by 2 ½ points against Palestine.

The Maltese team lost by 1-3 against Ecuador, half a point against Yemen and 0-4 against Serbia and Iraq. 

During the seventh round scheduled for Saturday, Malta is paired against the Sao Tome and Principe team. 

The women’s team is ranked in the 107th place out of a total of 162 countries.

In the women’s section, the Maltese team defeated Eritrea and Bhutan by 3 ½ points and Eswatini by 3-1 . 

The team lost with a total of half a point against Iraq, 0-4 against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Greece. 

For Saturday’s seventh round the Maltese women’s team will face Nicaragua.  

The women’s team is tackling very strong opponents and the games are intense.

In the game against New Zealand, Woman Fide Master (WFM) Jamie Farrugia was paired against a higher-ranking Woman International Master. 

On her first match on board 1 Farrugia had a strong winning position but unfortunately time trouble eventually wore the Maltese youngster down. 

In the game against Iraq’s powerful team, WFM Filipina Thornton, secured a draw in a tough game against a strong higher-ranked player. 

So far, WFM Filipina Thornton, playing on the top board, has 3 wins and a draw. 

WFM Jamie Farrugia has 2 wins and a draw and Milena Stagno has 2 wins. Candidate Master (CM) Urna Psaila has a win and a draw and the team’s youngest player, Hayley Thornton, achieved a win. 

The men’s team also face powerful opponents.  During the first round, Malta started off with a baptism of fire against Serbia’s Grandmasters.

In round 3, when facing Ecuador’s strong team, Candidate Master (CM) Colin Pace, secured a win against a higher-ranked International Master, whilst CM Jake Darmanin fought a very tough match against Grandmaster Matamoros Franco Carlos on board 1.   

In the game against high-ranking Yemen players, first time Olympiad Jack Mizzi, attained a draw. 

So far CM Colin Pace has three wins out of five and CM David Cilia Vincenti has two wins and a draw.  CM Jake Darmanin, CM Duncan Vella and Jack Mizzi each have a win and a draw.   

All the games are being broadcasted live on the official website of FIDE, the World Chess Organization (fide.com).  

One can follow the games online which start at 3pm (11.30am Malta time).

Currently the top-ranking teams are Armenia and India with perfect scores in both sections.  Close behind and catching up, are the American team in the Open section and Azerbaijan and Romania in the women’s section.

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