Peter Lombaers, from the Netherlands, was the talk of the town when he remarkably achieved his first International Master norm at the XYChess IM group which came to a close at the Imperial Hotel, Sliema, on Friday.

Scoring 6.5 on nine and clinching joint first place together with British player of the year GM Keith Arkell, was a memorable performance for Lombaers.

There was an average rating of 2,310, making the international tournament was one of the strongest ever played on our shores.

With 50 players from 16 countries vying for the main honours, the IM group was the highlight of a well-organised event under the supervision of tournament director Clarence Psaila.

Four other groups were played simultaneously – Group A to C, in order of descending strength, and a mixed level category for players looking to achieve their first international rating.

Group A was won by Malta national team member Colin Pace and veteran Ron Sammut topped Group B with an excellent performance.

English unrated player Peter Musgrove and Psaila remained undefeated to clinch the Group C and mixed titles, respectively.

Overlooking the event was English arbiter – Adam Raoof.

The winners of each group are now entitled to a free entry for the next XYChess events – the Lucky Dino Open A and B, between May 20 and 26, or the Hampstead U2200 and Golders Green tournaments later this year.

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