1st Jose Thiago Mangini: Sun, beaches, and chess

by Albert Silver
4/11/2011 – In a growing wave of events with norms in Brazil, the 1st José Thiago Mangini event, held in Rio de Janeiro was won with a perfect 100% score by IM José Cubas followed by IM Diego di Berardino. With the eyes of a visitor, and the familiarity of a native, here is a report on the event as well as a look into life in this tropical city, in a large intimate pictorial by Albert Silver.

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1st José Thiago Mangini : Sun, beaches and chess

Report and pictures by Albert Silver

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When I first moved to Rio de Janeiro some 15 years ago, I soon despaired my hiatus from chess while schooling in Madison, Wisconsin, was to become permanent. After spending three years sympathizing with the plights of Eskimos, Rio de Janeiro was even more of the tropical, warm, beachy (don’t look it up) place it is than tourist guide books would suggest. It may not have the rich hi-tech economy the US or Western Europe may have, but it brings a whole new set of compensating factors. A climate that never wavers below cool, and snow is something only seen on TV, plus a people that overall are as warm as the weather.

One cannot overstate the impact of the beach on life in Rio. It goes far beyond the
typical idea of a place to have fun or simply soak up some vitamin D.

For the Carioca (the term for a Rio native), the beach is also a pivotal place to meet
friends and discuss business in a less formal environment. If the beach seems empty
here, it is because this picture was taken on a Thursday afternoon.

Naturally, the beach is also littered with sports activities, such as volleyball and
footvolley (volleyball with no hands or arms allowed).

Beach football is also ever present, and believe me when I say that there are
organized games (team shirts and all) that take place after midnight on a regular basis.

In fact, where else would you find regular stores in the street (not some stadium gift
shop) dedicated to the merchandise of a single team. Flamengo in this case. Even
closed, the protective barriers are painted with a swan song to the team.

Here is a glimpse inside the store, with female fans buying things for themselves as
well as for their beaus.

On Sundays, three of the six lanes of the beachside avenues are closed to cars to
provide leisure opportunities.

Obviously such a beach-oriented city is bound to also be health oriented, so aside
from the absolutely countless gyms found everywhere, facilities can be found at
regular intervals.

Exercise is not merely the domain of the young, and the city has installed these free
senior citizen gyms in parks and open spaces with instructors paid by the city to help.

Aside from the usual stores and shopping centers, there is no shortage of open markets
(usually called hippy markets) where all sorts of tourist trap items can be found.

These open cafés and bars operate all day and well into the night...

However, after they close at 3-4 AM many migrate to these beach stands, which are
open all night, and continue where they left off before being rudely evicted from the above.

During the day and evening, it is worth adding that a cold coconut water atfer a long run is heaven.

Another oddball perk is the incredible variety of fruits. Places that sell natural fruit
juices made on the spot, for US$3.50 (here) for half a liter are all over. In the sign
above, only some 30 fruits are offered, but at stores one can find many more that have
no translation as they are unique to Brazil.

Eventually, I settled in here and while getting to know my Brazilian side (despite actually being Brazilian, I had lived abroad my entire life), also discovered that chess was very much alive and vibrant here. There is a wide variety of clubs throughout the city, open daily, and activities for players of all strengths and ages. Well, almost all strengths since let’s be fair in admitting that strong players seeking norms will no doubt need to search a bit harder than those living in Moscow.

My club, the chess department of the Tijuca Tênis Clube, is one of the largest and most active in the city, operating almost non-stop for over 70 years.

The entrance to the Tijuca Tênis Clube.

Over this span of time, it has also been the home to many local chess figures, and recently paid tribute to one of its lifetime members, José Thiago Mangini, two-time Brazilian champion (1950 and 1956), by organizing a tournament offering IM norms.

Chief arbiter Marcelo Einhorn and tournament director Sergio Dias

The event was comfortably organized by Sergio DIas, with few road bumps despite being his first, and was an opportunity for local players to get one step closer to a title, or simply gather experience for future attempts. The event was a phenomenal success for the second-seed IM José Cubas (2463) who managed to combine combativity, game quality, and sheer good fortune to achieve a very rare 100% score and 9.0/9. As he already has three GM norms under the belt, the only thing in the way of the grandmaster title is a 2500 rating, and after a good tounament in Brasília, this result brought him within three points of that goal.

The last round was a hard fought game by top-rated IM Diego di Berardino (right) and
FM Evandro Barbosa (left).

Evandro tries to find out where he went wrong in his game against Diego

IM Dragan Stamenkovic provides some input of his own, with José Chauca beside him

There was a great deal of interest to see whether IM Cubas would be able to complete
his clean sweep. In the end, it was as much due to his ability as to the frailty of his
opponent's nerves.

FM Ricardo Teixeira, who tied for first in the 2003 Brazilian Championship, poses
next to the crosstable.

Reynaldo Veloso, president of the Tijuca Tênis chess department, with IM José Cubas

Sergio Dias (left) giving the winner's trophy to IM José Cubas, with the son of Mangini
to the right.

Diego with his girlfreind Karina, one of the pleasant revelations in female chess in Rio,
celebrating his second place.

The players (left to right): José Chauca, IM Jose Cubas, IM Dragan Stamenkovic,
IM German Della Morte, FM Ricardo Teixeira, Pedro Paiva, FM Evandro Barbosa,
José de Carvalho, IM Diego di Berardino, and FM Luiz Abdalla.
(photo by Fernando Madeu)


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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, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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