IV Floripa Open: When it rains it pours

by Albert Silver
1/25/2018 – With wild weather and even wilder results on the board, rounds seven and eight at the 4th Floripa Open saw a series of 'zebras', as Brazilians put it (explained in the report). The leaderboard was finally reduced to a handful, and Vitor Carneiro, Leandro Perdomo and Alexandr Fier seized the podium. Then in a spectacular game, Alexandr Fier fell to Neuris Delgado in a brilliant mating combination with bishop and knight. Not to be missed! | Photo: Albert Silver

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When it rains, it pours

All photos by Albert Silver

It was a dark and stormy night… for fans of the immensely famous Peanuts comic strip and notably Snoopy, the alter-ego dog who was its biggest star, these words represented his eternal start at the Great American Novel. With less humorous effect, it is also a perfect description of the start of round seven, and the chaos the preceded it. This is by no means a comment on the organizers, who have no control over the weather, but the effect on the city and arrival of the players.

As usual, I brought with me my densely packed backpack with camera, lenses, laptop, and other work tools, but was stopped at the hotel’s entrance by a violent thunderstorm that raged in front. I shared a taxi with a couple heading to the venue, but midway, and a little over a kilometer away, everything just stopped due to the flash flooding. Without budging so much as a car’s length, I saw the traffic light ahead change from green to red and back at least three times. Realizing I might be stuck like this a long time, I handed the couple my share of the fare, jumped out of the cab, and dashed (a euphemism for trudged) to the venue.

As I arrived, it quickly became clear I was far from the lone madman to weather the storm, since numerous players were huffing and puffing up the hill to the club, also late. The squitch-squitch sound of soaked shoes was to be heard throughout the evening.

Neither snow nor rain will keep players away from the board

In spite of the noisy storm outside, many players commented they had not noticed while concentrated on their game

The seventh and eight rounds are the final curve before the last sprint to the finish, and there was no shortage of action. As the positions unfolded in round seven, the organizer Marcelo Pomar came to me and commented in Portuguese, “The zebras are loose!” This comment will have all but Brazilians mystified, especially as there is no proper way to translate it. In Portuguese, ‘zebra’ is a colloquial term for an unexpected reversal. It can represent an underdog, but really just means any highly unexpected conclusion. Among the 'zebras' of round seven were GM Cubas's loss to Gabriel De Borba, rated 2019 FIDE, as well as FM Lucas Coro (2147 FIDE) beating IM Santos, and 17-year-old FM Igor Cadilhac (2215 FIDE) who got the best of IM Diego Di Berardino (2516 FIDE). This was true even at the top board as IM Leandro Perdomo (2449 FIDE) put a stop to GM Granda Zuniga’s return, beating him on board one.

17-year-old FM Igor Cadilhac played a valiant game to beat IM Di Berardino in round seven

Vitor Carneiro might have been described as the 'villain' in the previous report, but by round eight he has made himself into one of the tournament's stars

All that said, it was not just about unexpected reversals, since Alexandr Fier, who had been one of the leaders, beat IM Roberto Molina in a strong display on board two, and Vitor Carneiro continued to show his resilience after his botched round four game, and won yet again, taking his tally to a very impressive 6.0/7.

Alexandr Fier (right) seemed untouchable as he continued his winning ways in round seven, beating IM Roberto Molina handily

For the first time since the tournament had started, there were no longer a dozen or so contenders, tied for first. Entering round eight, there were now just three with 6.0/7: GM Alexandr Fier, CM Vitor Carneiro, and IM Leandro Perdomo. Behind them of course were eleven players with 5.5/7, anxious to cut down the leaders to size. Carneiro and Perdomo face each other on board one, and after a long hard-fought battle drew their game. However, the gem of the round was the great game between GM Alexandr Fier and GM Neuris Delgado.

It was long in the coming, but GM Neuris Delgado (right) finally overcame his poor start to play once more on the stage

The Paraguayan grandmaster had had a very lackluster start, conceding no fewer than three draws against players rated at least 300 Elo less. In a shorter event this would be a kiss of death, where even a single poorly placed draw could mean leaving home empty-handed, much less three. However, he seemed to have woken up, and after two wins, faced his first fellow grandmaster.

Things got to a great start for the player from Paraguay, who saw a poor opening novelty quickly backfire against Fier, who was playing black. White managed to keep Black’s king in the center, unfurling his attack and pressure in spite of the slowly diminishing number of pieces left on the board, but the money shot the spectators might not have expected, could not have been sweeter. Here is the key moment for your enjoyment. The solution is in the game.

Neuris Delgado 1-0 Alexandr Fier

[Event "IV Floripa Chess Open 2018"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.01.24"] [Round "8.2"] [White "Delgado Ramirez, Neuris"] [Black "Fier, Alexandr"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B30"] [Annotator "Albert Silver"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. O-O Bd7 5. Re1 Nf6 6. a4 a6 7. Bxc6 Bxc6 8. e5 dxe5 9. Nxe5 Rc8 10. d3 b6 $146 ({Previously known was} 10... e6 11. Nd2 Be7 12. Ndc4 O-O 13. Nxc6 Rxc6 14. Bg5 Nd5 15. Bxe7 Nxe7 {1-0 (26) Chernyshov,K (2470)-Lutsko,I (2410) Minsk 1996}) 11. Nxc6 $16 Rxc6 12. Qf3 Qd5 13. Qg3 e6 14. Nc3 $1 $36 {This emphasizes the issues with Black's position: his underdeveloped kingside and king still in the center.} Qd7 15. Ne4 Nd5 16. Bd2 Qc7 17. f4 $1 h5 {Black has come to terms that he will not be castling anytime soon, and unless he wants to be completely bogged down in a poor and passive position, strikes out with . ..h5.} (17... Ne7 $142) 18. Qf3 {White moves the queen out of the way and prepares to smoke out Black's king with f5.} Ne7 19. f5 exf5 {[#]} (19... Nxf5 $2 {would be a losing blunder as White would have the shot} 20. Qxf5 $3 { winning the piece since taking the queen would lead to mate after} exf5 21. Nf6+ {double-check!} Kd8 22. Re8#) 20. Qxf5 $1 {Just as in the previous note, this move still gets the pawn on f5, but at least Black does not concede a piece for the 'pleasure'. Though the engines do not hesitate to declare White winning, it is hardly cut and dry just yet.} Re6 ({And not} 20... Nxf5 21. Nf6+ Kd8 22. Re8#) (20... h4 $16 {might work better.} 21. a5 (21. Ng5 f6 $16) 21... h3) 21. Qf3 $18 {Threatens to win with Ng5.} Qc6 22. Qf4 f6 23. Nc3 {Not best. White's idea is logical, and wants to trade off what few Black pieces are actually participating in the battle, but there was no need to rush to this just yet, and he could have worked on debilitating Black's position still while the latter is tied up.} (23. a5 $1) 23... Ng6 24. Qc4 (24. Rxe6+ $142 Qxe6 25. Qc7 (25. Qb8+ Kf7 $16)) 24... Ne5 $16 25. Qxa6 Bd6 26. Qb5 Kf7 27. Qxc6 Nxc6 28. Nd5 Nd4 29. Rxe6 (29. Nxb6 $6 Bxh2+ 30. Kxh2 Rxb6 $14) 29... Kxe6 30. Nxb6 Nxc2 31. Rc1 Nd4 {Threatening ...Ne2+.} 32. Re1+ Kf7 33. Be3 ({ Better is} 33. Nc4 $16 Bc7 34. Ra1) 33... Nb3 34. Bf2 Bc7 35. Nd5 Be5 36. Bg3 Bxb2 37. Re7+ Kg6 38. Rb7 $1 Bd4+ 39. Kf1 Nc1 40. Ne7+ Kg5 $2 (40... Kh7 $14) 41. Be1 $1 $18 Nxd3 $2 (41... h4 42. Bd2+ Kh5 43. Bxc1 Ra8) 42. Bd2+ Kg4 (42... Nf4 $142 43. Bxf4+ Kxf4 44. Ng6+ Ke3 45. Nxh8 c4) 43. h3+ Kg3 {[#]} 44. Rb3 $1 c4 {[#]} (44... Kh2 $142 45. Rxd3 g5) 45. Rxd3+ $1 cxd3 46. Ng6 1-0

Standings after eight rounds

Rk. Name Pts.
1 Carneiro Vitor Roberto Castro 6,5
2 Mekhitarian Krikor Sevag 6,5
3 Barbosa Evandro Amorim 6,5
4 Perdomo Leandro 6,5
5 Delgado Ramirez Neuris 6,5
6 Menna Barreto Felipe Kubiaki 6,5
7 Fier Alexandr 6,0
8 Rodriguez Vila Andres 6,0
9 Bachmann Axel 6,0
10 Granda Zuniga Julio E 6,0
11 Matsuura Everaldo 6,0
12 Molina Roberto Junio Brito 6,0
13 Cruz William Ferreira Da 6,0
14 Bittencourt Jorge 6,0
  Languidey Simon Alejandro 6,0
16 Rangel Daniel 6,0
17 Borges Guilherme Deola 6,0
18 Rodrigues Edgar 6,0
19 Terao Rodrigo Akira 6,0
20 Martins Carlos 6,0

Complete standings

Live games



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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