The European Pairs Blitz Chess Championship was a side event to the European Games ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023/FIDE

Armenia's Shant Sargsyan and Elina Danielian staved off competition from The Netherlands and Azerbaijan to win the European Pairs Blitz Chess Championship here.

The event which featured eight countries at the Kraków Opera House served as an accompaniment to the European Games in the Polish city and the surrounding Małopolska region.

European Chess Union President Zurab Azmaiparashvili of Georgia said prior to the Championship he was "happy chess will be part of the European Games for the first time", and using a pairs format marked an attempt "to build a model for our sport that will enable it to appear at the Olympic Games".

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and chess is part of this month's inaugural Olympic Esports Series in Singapore, although it has never featured on the Olympic programme.

At the Championship in Kraków, matches were played to a time limit of three minutes per player plus two seconds per move.

Round-robins were held separately in the women and open categories to determine who advanced to the playoffs.

Danielian was ranked third after the women's round-robin behind Azerbaijan's Gunay Mammadzada and Israel's Marsel Efroimsk.

She won both games against Efroimsk to advance to the women's final, where she faced Mammadzada who came from behind to beat The Netherlands' Eline Roebers 2-1.

Danielian is 42nd in FIDE's women's rankings, with her opponent in the final Mammadzada 25th.

However, it was the Armenian who won both games to win the women's gold.

Sargsyan's run to the final in the open competition meant Armenia were crowned winners of the Championship with 15.0 points.

He won his semi-final with a draw and a win against Poland's number one player Jan-Krzysztof Duda, but lost both games in the final to The Netherlands' Benjamin Bok.

Azerbaijan's Shakhriyar Mamedyarov won both games against Duda for an individual bronze.

In the overall team standings, The Netherlands finished second with 14.0 points and Azerbaijan third with 13.0.

Poland, Romania and Spain all finished with 7.0, with Israel on 6.0 and Ukraine on 3.0.

The Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games Opening Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday (June 21), with competition running until July 2.

A total of 29 medal sports are on the programme.