Andorra wins "Small Nations Tournament"

by André Schulz
11/8/2023 – The European Team Championship for small nations is held every two years. This year it took place in Jersey. Ten teams from small European countries took part. This year's winners were Andorra, ahead of the Faroe Islands and Luxembourg. | Photos: ECU

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The European Small Nations Team Championship has been held every two years since 2009. The ten participating "small nations" are Luxembourg, the Faroe Islands, the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, the Principalities of Liechtenstein, Monaco and Andorra, the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus, and the Republic of San Marino. The tournament is supported by the European Chess Union.

This year's European Championship of Small Nations was held in Jersey from 28 October to 5 November at the Pomme d'Or Hotel (Liberation Square, St Helier). The local organiser was the Jersey Chess Club.

The idea for this competition goes back to a series of tournaments organised by patron Joop van Oosterom in Monte Carlo from 1993 to 1997. After a break, the tournament was revived on the initiative of the San Marino Chess Federation and has been played regularly ever since.

The ten teams play against each other on four boards. Since 2013, the classification is based on team points, whereas before it was based on board points. Although the European Championship of the Small Nation is more of an amateur tournament, some titleholders and even grandmasters take part.

This year, grandmasters Oscar de la Riva Aguado (Andorra) and Amir Bagheri (Monaco) went on the hunt for points for their teams, as did the women's grandmasters (WGM) Tatiana Dornbusch (Monaco) and Elvira Berend (Luxembourg).

The record winners of the previous editions are the Faroe Islands, who have won the tournament four times in eight editions, in the inaugural year in 2009, as well as in 2013, 2017 and most recently in 2021.

This year, the Andorra team proved to be the strongest representative of the small countries. They won eight of their nine matches, drawing only against the Faroe Islands. Andorra had their best player in CM Serni Ribera Veganzones. He scored 7.5 points from the nine rounds on board three.

The Faroe Islands were one of the favourites to win the title again this year, but they lost to Luxembourg right from the start and finished second with 15 points, thanks to a slightly better finals rating, ahead of Luxembourg, who had the same number of points.

Final standings

Rk. Team  TB1 
1 Andorra 17
2 Faroe Islands 15
3 Luxembourg 15
4 Malta 11
5 Cyprus 9
6 Monaco 8
7 Liechtenstein 7
8 Jersey 5
9 San Marino 2
10 Guernsey 1



André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.