Gilberto Milos wins Festa da Uva Open

by Albert Silver
3/11/2012 – The final phase of the Festa da Uva chess activities was the much awaited Rapid Open, which took place over two days, and was a thoroughly grueling event. The open included the four players from the invitational event and followed a very unorthodox time-control scheme. The top place was won by Gilberto Milos. Updated with reader feedback and the complete Polgar-Mecking games.

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Gilberto Milos wins Festa da Uva Open

By Albert Silver

The final phase of the Festa da Uva chess activities, was the much awaited Rapid Open, which took place over two days, and was a thoroughly grueling event. The open not only had proper prizes with roughly US$3000 for first, but included the four players from the invitational from two days before. This also meant that Polgar, Milos, Mecking and Rodriguez had no time to rest, and doubly so for Judit considering her incredibly hectic schedule which kept her busy every day until past 11 PM.

We received the following email which we are publishing:

Let me register a well-deserved congratulations to Albert. It is nice to see more and more good chess reports from Brazil. (...) This festival is more than a grape celebration from a regional center of grape and wine production. It also puts in evidence the Italian roots from the immigrants who occupied the region during the second half of 19th century. It should be noted that characters pictured in the report use the Italian flag colours in their dresses. In some sense, Festa da Uva tells half of the story, while the other half is told by Oktoberfest, celebrated in other South Brazilian city, Santa Cruz do Sul. As one may expect, Oktoberfest is a German roots festival celebrating the immigration occurred from 1824 and WWII. The festivities remember how much Germans and Italians contributed to this region of Brazil. As far as I know, Southern Brazil received the second largest number of immigrants from these countries, surpassed only by Northeastern USA.

Igor Freiberger
Porto Alegre, Brazil

The time controls were exotic to say the least, starting with two rounds of 16 minutes, followed by two rounds of 31 minutes, and concluding with five rounds of 61 minutes. None of us could figure out the point of these odd time choices (why thirty…one minutes for example?), and it did not help that the organizer’s perpetual problems with punctuality had the first day start nearly two hours late, ending past nine at night. The next day started at 8:30 AM which combined with dinner, didn’t provide the players with much time to rest and settle in. On the upside, the arbiters were not provided with the means to arrive more than ten minutes before the official start, so the 8:30 start was more on paper than in practice.

A number of other grandmasters joined the fray, such as Brazilian Giovanni Vescovi, Argentine Diego Flores, and others, bringing the total to ten, added to masters and a large number of children and players from all around. All in all, a field of 181 came to bump heads.

The top ten finishers (left to right): José Cubas, Diego Flores, Henrique Mecking,
Andrés Rodriguez, Felipe El Debs, Sandro Mareco, Gilberto Milos, Judit Polgar,
Giovanni Vescovi, Carlos Born (kneeling).

The actual structure of the place was very well-done, with a spacious playing area, a stage for the top two boards, screens to follow the action of the top two, and four webcams to see the players up close on a separate projector.

An aerial view of the playing hall

The Open ended in a resounding victory for Gilberto Milos, who avenged his second place in the invitational. A further curiosity of the Open was that draws were not permitted in the last two rounds for players in the top 50 boards. This was not a draconian version of the Sofia rules, but rather, in the event of a draw, the players would have to play an Armageddon blitz to break the tie.

The game of the tournament was played in the fifth round betwen Andrés Rodriguez and Giovanni Vescovi. Rodriguez was the clear underdog, but you would never suspect it from the beautiful game he played.

Rodríguez and Vescovi smiling before the game, though only one would be smiling
at the end.

Two of the top places were decided this way in the last round. The first was between GM Diego Flores (2599) against IM Bernardo Roselli (2423).

The Armageddon blitz between Diego Flores and Bernardo Roselli to decide fourth place

The next and most impacting was between GM Sandro Mareco (2579) on 7.0/8 against tournament leader GM Gilberto Milos (2593) with 7.5/8. Milos won the coin toss, and chose black.

Mareco and Milos analyze their rapid draw. Since a draw result was not allowed, they
had to play an Armageddon blitz to decide the tournament.

The Armageddon blitz between Gilberto Milos and Sandro Mareco to decide first.

Elo-favorite Judit Polgar was visibly exhausted by the non-stop schedule, and finished on second in the end. She might have taken first but for an instance of singular sportsmanship. In her game against Paraguayan GM José Cubas, she misplayed and was soon lost, down two pawns with no compensation. Cubas was understandably nervous and took time finding the ideal continuation, and suddenly, with only 23 seconds left on his clock (with no increment), and a position that could go another 20 moves, he offered a draw. Judit was well within her right to play on and would certainly have won on time had she done so, as both players agreed, but instead thought a couple of seconds and shook hands. As she explained after, “I would have felt bad winning that way.

I’d like to take this chance to add that it was my first time meeting the great Hungarian player, and on top of her accessibility and friendliness, she can be summed up in a single word: she is a *star*. The asterisks are not excessive and fully deserved. Despite sometimes trying conditions, exhausting activities extending well into the night, and a very dense playing schedule, she still found the time to fit in an interview (between rounds at her suggestion), and always had time for a photograph or autograph for a fan, smiling throughout.

Final standings

Milos Junior Gilberto
Polgar Judit
Vescovi Giovanni Portilho
Flores Diego
Mareco Sandro
El Debs Felipe De Cresce
Rodriguez Vila Andres
Mecking Henrique Costa
Cubas Jose Fernando
Born Carlos Rodrigo
Starke Bruno Orlando
Stevens Tristan James
Hungaski Robert Andrew
Roselli Bernardo
Burgos Marcelo Alves

Click here for full standings

Top three finishers Giovanni Vescovi (third), Gilberto Milos (first), and Judit Polgar (second)

My return was marred by further issues in which the organizer contrived to have me miss my flight, stranded me at the airport (with nary an apology), so that a three-hour trip ended up taking fourteen hours instead. I was further complaining about absurd bad luck when the plane was then grounded for technical issues, my taxi back from the airport managed to break down, and my desktop computer gasped its last breath when I turned it on, but all this was put into perspective upon yesterday’s news:

Carlos César Amorim, a highly respected and beloved chess teacher in Rio de Janeiro, died at the age of 43 in a freak accident. In an incident that a director would refuse to put in a movie as no one would believe it, a truck crashed into a light post where he was walking, a piece of which fell and struck him dead. Amorim, as we all called him, was a man who created a teaching unit called NEXAPA, extending its arms throughout Rio with students all over, and stood up to administrative corruption without fear of reprisals. A hero in his dignity and character, and a great loss to the chess community. I dedicate this article to him, his family and his students.

Magnus Carlsen with Carlos César Amorim during his stop at Rio before the 2011
Grand Slam Final.

Videos of invitational

As promised, here are two videos from the invitational. I will add a further rapid game between Judit Polgar and Henrique Mecking later in the day.

2012 Festa da Uva Invitational SF Blitz - Judit Polgar vs. Henrique Mecking (incomplete)
The last moves are missing (camera battery died after nine minutes). The rook sacrifice and attack
were so impressive it deserved to be seen live even so. 

Judit Polgar was kind enough to complete the game score which we share below:

2012 Festa da Uva Invitational SF Blitz - Judit Polgar vs. Gilberto Milos 

2012 Festa da Uva Invitational SF Rapid game - Judit Polgar vs. Henrique Mecking

Gallery of pictures

The hotel where most of the players stayed

The venue had an chess art exhibition

What would a tournament be without the time-honored book stand?

GM Felipe El Debs played a very strong game against GM Henrique Mecking

The tournament included many children such as Katherine Vescovi, Giovanni's daughter.

The nine-year-old tyke is Giovanni Vescovi Son

Decisions, decisions

Children always seem to find positions comfortable that would
leave an adult limping or bedridden.

Of course they also have to deal with more intimidating situations

Even a six-year-old can be faced with a stare down

Others will gladly explain you never had a chance

Still, this fellow, some may remember from the simul pictures, is only four years old.

He was actually a tournament participant, and Judit was kind enough to play a special
game against him, much to his delight... and that of the photographers!

He might not be the strongest player, but he knew all the rules, and was a sharp fellow.

A friendly handshake after the lesson

Andrés Rodríguez is a gentle bear accompanied by his very cute daughter, Melana


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Copyright ChessBase

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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