David Cilia Vincenti is the new Malta chess champion. He last won the title 22 years ago in 2000.

Cilia Vincenti, who currently lives in New Zealand, made the very long trip to Malta twice to participate in the Candidates tournament and then qualify for the 87th Chess Championship. He also participated in last month’s Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Last year’s winner Robert Zerafa and runner-up Colin Pace were firm favourites for the title. However, Zerafa found it difficult after a one-year hiatus from playing since he won the title last year.

By halfway, it was clear that the title would be contested by three players – Pace, Cilia Vincenti and Jake Darmanin (champion in 2020).

Darmanin had a good start collecting 2½ pts from the first 4 rounds. In the fifth round, he unexpectedly lost to Alberto Farah – who participated in his first championship. Darmanin recovered well to win the next four games.

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