Eiehard David saves best for last

David Delicata Wins 2019 Season-ending Autumn League

Defeat, and the ability to bounce back from it, define a true competitor much better than does victory. Time and time again, David Delicata (right in photo) has demonstrated such an ability. In 2018, the six-time national champion rose from some season lows to end the year on a high


A year later, David did it again after successfully defending his Autumn League title. His unsteady progress in the league very much mirrored his season. He sailed through the first phase with the same authoritative spirit as that with which he had earlier won the Early Bird tourney of the 12th Malta International Scrabble Open


But just as he had stumbled in the Summer League to finish a distant second, in Phase 2 of the Auburn Autumn League, Delicata had to settle for second place to set up a knock-out match against his arch-rival Theresa Brousson, whom he had been expected to meet in the final. 


After going down 2-0 in the best-of-five semi-final, Delicata managed to lift himself up to take the following three games and go through to the final. Here, he carried through his form by beating Moira Fenech in straight games .


On her part, Fenech, who had peaked earlier in the multi-phase league, did not manage to find any of the form that had seen her beat Brousson in the Spring League final. Still, her rise up the ratings ladder, where she now lies in sixth place, is testimony to her overall upward trajectory as a competitor. 


Once again, Brousson had to fell down to third in the Autumn League. This time, she was knocked out later in the competition, finishing ahead of a buoyant Mario Seychell, the oldest competitor in the field, who grabbed a prize-winning position in the parallel Burnt Orange Autumn League where he finished in third. Like Seychell, Brousson did better in the parallel league, which she won undefeated to recoup precious rating points and cement her place at the pinnacle of the ratings table.


Another comeback was accomplished by Josephine Mayo, who after suffering an early exit from the top tier, worked her way through the various play-offs to emerge on top in the B Tournament, taking sweet revenge on her runner-up Mario Saliba, who had qualified for Phase 2 at her expense. Mayo also continued her fine form in the Burnt Orange League where she finished runner-up to Brousson


Albert Zammit was another slow starter who finished strongly, placing first in the C Tournament of the Auburn Autumn League, ahead of Reno Zammit, and winning the B Section in the Burnt Orange Autumn League, where he was trailed by Paul Mifsud in second and Rosanne Farrugia in third.


(penned & published by Nicky Vella Laurenti, photo credit: John Chew)