82nd Brazilian Ch: A two-man show

by Albert Silver
1/16/2016 – The Brazilian Championship, held in the traditional Guanabara Chess Club, seemed set to establish a new record at its onset, or so the numbers appeared to dictate. The competition has instead been a two-man show, led by GM Krikor Mekhitarian and IM Evandro Barbosa right behind, and has not been short of entertainment. An illustrated report.

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Report and photos by Albert Silver

The idea of a record setting eighth title seemed an almost inevitable headline before the first round was underway. After all, Rafael Leitão not only came tied with three others with Brazilian titles, but was also the top seed by quite a margin. At 2633 FIDE, his closest rival was GM Krikor Mekhitarian, rated 2555, and after that it was another step down to 2461 FIDE for third seed IM Evandro Barbosa. The previous year, Leitão had dominated the competition with similar opposition.

GM Rafael Leitão

It was clear fairly early that the champion was not in his best form, whether due to inactivity, having only played two rated games since June of last year, or plain nerves with a newborn son due within a couple of months.

Instead, the tournament has been dominated In no uncertain terms by GM Krikor Mekhitarian who may have started with a modest two draws, but then racked up eight consecutive wins, including one over Rafael Leitão himself in round six. With 9.0/10, and one round to go, you would be forgiven for expecting to read he had won the title a round or more in advance, but not so.

GM Krikor Mekhitarian has been a class act, dominating the tournament with a stupendous 9.0/10

To his everlasting credit, IM Evandro Barbosa has ensured the excitement and suspense will last until the very last round, thanks to his own superlative performance of 8.5/10. It is true the tiebreak most likely favors Krikor should they tie for first at the end, but nothing is decided just yet.

IM Evandro Barbosa has contributed to keep the suspense until the end
thanks to his own superb 8.5/10 result

After a brilliant start, Ernani Choma has left the race for the gold, but he has good reason
to smile nonetheless thanks to his IM norm scored in the ninth round

The traditional Guanabara Chess Club is not merely an institution, it is
also home to an extraordinary collection of old books and magazines
dating back over 100 years!

Here is a hardcover bound edition of all the issues of the British Chess Magazine from 1926

One can find magazines from around the world, such as this complete 1926 set of the French
magazine Les Cahiers de L'Échiquier Français (The Notebooks of the French Chessboard)

Among the old magazines I found these from a defunct Brazilian publication
from 1978 called Caissa. Above is an image taken in 1977 of IM Eduardo Limp
one of the players in this year's Brazilian Championship.

The timeless IM Eduardo Limp still fighting hard decades later

Another find in the same edition as above: Luismar Brito in 1977

Luismar Brito also fought to qualify for the final of this year's championship

Current standings after ten rounds

ITT CXG Marcel Duchamp Memorial

The Marcel Duchamp Memorial has been led by GM Salvador Alonso (left) ...

...followed by GM Robert Hungaski

Of the female players seeking a WGM norm, WIM Marisa Zuriel needs a draw in the last round

GM Darcy Lima, organizer and live commentator, talking with Portuguese GM Luis Galego

Current standings after eight rounds

The live games - Partidas ao vivo

Live Commentary in Portuguese

Also of special note in this year’s edition is the second straight year of live GM commentary of all the rounds, in Portuguese, by GM Darcy Lima. This year the Brazilian Federation is partnering with ChessBase so that the live commentary is broadcast via Playchess but open to all visitors, even guest accounts! This video commentary is done together with ChessBase News editor, Albert Silver, and can be viewed in the web version of Playchess as well.

Rafael Leitão joins Darcy Lima in the post-game conference

The commentary could be seen not only in the desktop software, but also the web version of Playchess

To view it live, and free, just enter PlayChess, go to Live Games and Listen to Radio

With a range of players and ratings from an untitled 2159 FIDE to a 2633 FIDE grandmaster, there is room for wild games, unpredictable results, and overall highly entertaining rounds, and the first three rounds have lived up to that.

For Brazilian viewers - Para leitores Brasileiros


Este vídeo em Português deve esclarecer como acessar a Playchess para acompanhar os
comentarios ao vivo e de graça. (Trans: this video in Portuguese should help explain how
to access Playchess in order to enjoy the free live commentary)


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 13 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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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