83rd Brazilian Ch. Rd6-9: Matsuura continues to dominate

by Albert Silver
2/13/2017 – The Brazilian Championship is finally rounding the last curve as it enters the home stretch, and while it cannot claim the ultra-elite field of national championships such as Russia, it has more than made up for it in fighting spirit and fun. The top guns are leading as one might expect, but it has not been a smooth ride as even top-seed Fier nearly lost in 20 moves. Illustrated report with games and positions.

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All photos by Albert Silver

(photos are all high-resolution)

Running from February 6 – 14, 2017, the 83rd Brazilian Championship is underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It brings twelve players including four grandmasters, who will fight a round robin at the rate of 90 minutes for the game plus a 30-second increment.

Looking at the crosstable after nine rounds, one would understandably be prone to conclude that it has been a strictly by the numbers event, with the four only grandmasters in the field taking up the top four spots. But really everything happened for things to be otherwise, and no small share of good fortune made It possible too. Feel free to quote the old “luck goes to the strongest”, but before you do, take a look at this flurry with death (on the board) by Alexandr Fier.

Fier (pronounced 'fear') has dodged more than one bullet in the tournament, which has let him stay in contention for the title.

Carneiro - Fier

Rafael de Paula certainly helped keep spectators glued to his board as he fought to save a game that had gone seriously bad against IM Quintiliano.

Tournament director GM Darcy Lima watches as Black puts up a staunch defense

Visiting players came to watch the action and were not disappointed

Round eight saw the key battle between the two leaders Alexandr Fier and Everaldo Matsuura

FM Ricardo Teixeira annotates what was the biggest game of the event by virtue of the standings: Matsuura vs Fier

Alexandr Fier vs Everaldo Matsuura (annotated by FM Ricardo Teixeira)

[Event "LXXXIII Brazilian Championship"] [Site "Rio de Janeiro, Brazil"] [Date "2017.02.11"] [Round "8.1"] [White "Fier, Alexandr"] [Black "Matsuura, Everaldo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D46"] [WhiteElo "2581"] [BlackElo "2480"] [Annotator "Teixeira, Ricardo"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2017.02.06"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "BRA"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 e6 4. e3 Nf6 5. b3 {For some time now, this move order has become a popular means to sidestep the more explored lines of this positions. Positions, it is worth noting, that Matsuura knows all too well, having played them innumrous times throughout his career. No doubt Fier didn't want to give Matsuura the luxury of feeling at home.} (5. Nc3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. b3 O-O 8. Be2 a6 9. O-O e5 10. cxd5 cxd5 11. dxe5 Nxe5 12. Bb2 Be6 13. Rac1 Rc8 14. Qb1 Nfg4 $1 {Positions with isolated pawns, especially when in the center, require a very dynamic and active game.} 15. Nxe5 Bxe5 16. Bxg4 ({ou} 16. h3 Bh2+ 17. Kh1 Bb8 18. Bxg4 Bxg4 19. Qd3 Qd6 $6 20. f4 Be6 {Mamedyarov,S - Andreikin,D, Tashkent 2014.0-1 in 51 moves.}) 16... Bxg4 17. Na4 Bb8 18. Rxc8 Bxc8 19. Bd4 Re8 (19... Qh4 $146 {A novelty by Matsuura... in 2009!} 20. f4 Qh5 21. Qb2 f6 22. Nc3 Bd6 23. b4 {Also with a complciated game as in Aranha, A - Matsuura, E, Americana/Brazil, 2009.0-1 in 55 moves.}) 20. Nc3 Qd6 21. f4 f6 { 1/2, Portisch,L - Kasparov,G, Dubai 1986}) 5... Nbd7 6. Bd3 Be7 {Solid, though less commonly chosen, than} (6... Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. Bb2 b6 {but which is in keeping with the same idea of a harmonious piece development, until the central break with ...c5.}) 7. O-O O-O 8. Bb2 b6 9. Nc3 Bb7 10. Qe2 c5 11. Rfd1 cxd4 12. exd4 Qc7 {Oddly, in spite of being a typical maneuver in this type of position, games with this move are rare in the databases. Since there is so little material available on this, it is no surprise that at any moment a brand new move could appear on the board.} 13. Ne5 $6 ({The alternative was} 13. Nb5 Qf4 $6 (13... Qb8 $5 {is better}) 14. Bc1 Qg4 15. h3 Qh5 16. Bf4 { with a slightly better position for White.}) 13... dxc4 14. bxc4 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Qc6 {Here is the psychologically interesting moment of the game and of the championship. The shots and counter shots are taking the game down an ever sharper path, but with his next move, Fier steps beyond what he could ask of his position. This was possibly due to the must-win situation he is in as his oponent is just a half point ahead, and a victory would change everything.} 16. Nd5 {Albeit complicated at first sight, this might have impressed a player who did not have the calm and serentiy of the experienced and gentle Everaldo. At the end of these skirmishes, Black will emerge with a big fat extra pawn.} ({ Other moves such as} 16. Qf1 Ng4 17. Be4 Qc8 18. Qe2 {would give White a nice dynamic position}) 16... exd5 17. exf6 dxc4 18. Qg4 Bxf6 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. Bxc4 Rad8 21. h3 {Now White must bet all his chips on what is left of his heavy artillery, in search of some compensation for the pawn he lost. On the flip side, Black is in a pure "Sea of Tranquility", since he alone has winning chances and he has the enormous advantage of being able to settle for a draw without a second thought as he is the sole leader of the event.} g6 22. Rac1 Rxd1+ 23. Rxd1 Bc8 24. Qe4 Be6 25. Bxe6 Qxe6 26. Qxe6 fxe6 27. Rd6 Rf5 $5 ({ Interesting, though more direct, was} 27... Rc8 28. Rxe6 Rc1+ 29. Kh2 Rc2) 28. Rxe6 Ra5 29. Re2 b5 30. Kh2 Ra3 31. f3 Kf7 32. Kg3 Kf6 33. Rc2 a6 34. h4 Ra4 35. Rc7 Rxa2 36. Rxh7 b4 37. Rb7 a5 38. Kh3 Rb2 39. Ra7 Ra2 40. Rb7 Rb2 41. Ra7 Ke5 {The game ended here, with the two players shaking hands. The line that follows helps illustrate the correctness of their decision.} 42. Rxa5+ Kd4 43. Ra6 b3 44. Rxg6 Rb1 45. Rb6 Rh1+ 46. Kg4 Kc3 47. Rc6+ Kd2 48. Rd6+ Kc2 49. Rc6+ Kd2 50. h5 b2 51. Rb6 b1=Q 52. Rxb1 Rxb1 53. h6 Ke3 54. Kg5 Rg1 55. h7 (55. g4 Kxf3 56. h7 Rh1 57. Kg6 Kxg4) 55... Rxg2+ 56. Kf6 Rh2 57. Kg7 Kxf3 58. h8=Q Rxh8 59. Kxh8 1/2-1/2

Ivan Nogueira had good reason to be satisfied with his position in round eight, but a bit of excessive enthusiasm led him astray, and he lost to...

... IM Paulo Reis, who is at 50% with 4.5/9.

One of the shortest and most startling executions in the event was between GM Mekhitarian and Carlos Pinto

Mekhitarian - Pinto


IM Maximo Macedo has had a slightly subpar event, though he did manage to draw...

... GM Felipe El Debs after a well-defended endgame.

GM Matsuura continues to lead with 7.5/9, and will face his final major obstacle, GM Mekhitarian, in round ten

Standings after nine rounds

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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Bertman Bertman 2/14/2017 03:22
@rafpig I'm glad to hear it was wrong, though I should point out it wasn't mine but one that was passed on to me. Hope to see you at next year's edition. We're still counting on you for the record! :-)
rafpig rafpig 2/14/2017 02:37
Albert, your commentary would be correct if it finished on the "skipped the qualifier processes" part. The rest is just an assumption, and a worng one. I never counted with a wild card to play the tournament and I am happy that Fier, my personal friend, got it and has a chance to win the tournament. Anyway, congratulations fir the interesting articles.
PamH PamH 2/14/2017 02:02
Matsuura is a great player, I hope he wins the tournament. He deserves.
Oswaldo Monteiro
Bertman Bertman 2/13/2017 03:25
@geeker My understanding is that he skipped the qualifier processes, expecting to benefit from the wild card invite (presumably). He was obviously not counting on Fier, who had not played the event in years, to be in Brazil, and who got the invite instead.
geeker geeker 2/13/2017 02:25
Why is Leitao not playing?