Chess in Brazil
Brazil is famous for carnival, coffee, and Caipirinha. Chess is another word starting with the letter C, but has only little history in South-Americas biggest country. Octavio Trompowsky had an obvious influence on the Trompowsky Attack(1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5), Brazil has currently 14 Grandmasters (as has Iceland), and Henrique Mecking played for Brazil in the Olympiads from 1968 to 2004 and was once ranked in the top three or four of the world.
The beautiful Fernando de Noronha, a small Brazilian Island
Argentina, Chile, Peru, andParaguay can keep up with Brazil, regarding their chess-strength, although size- and population wise, they are far smaller in comparison.
Ruth Volgl Cardoso was one of Brazil's strongest female players in the 60s and 70s and could win the Brazilian Woman's Championship seven times. But now another chess player went into the spotlight a decade ago who won the championship six times. Juliana Sayumi Terao isn't finished yet and stays strong, being Brazil's best female chess player.
Arne Kaehler: You are Brazils number one, andhave earned yourself the FM title. Where did you get your passion and fascination for chess?
Juliana Terao: It all started with my brother who started participating in tournaments, and the whole family followed him. My parents and I were rootingfor him, and then soon he started to stand out and win trophies and medals. I also wanted a trophy for myself, and since he had one, why couldn't I win one too, right? That old competition between siblings...
I also loved the part of the family travelling altogether, always being a very fun ride.
AK: Do you remember how and where you learned to play chess?
JT: It started when I was four to five years old, playing with my father. He already taught chess to my brother, who competed in tournaments. He probably thought that now it was time for me to learn the moves, too. I don't remember the classes very well, but my father said it didn't take me long to learn the basics.
AK:Did you live in a big city or a smaller place?
JT:I lived and continue to live in Suzano, whichis a city located in the metropolitan region of So Paulo.
AK:With the middle name Sayumi, can you tell us a bit what your relation is to Japan?
JT:I was born in Brazil and unfortunately, I still haven't had the opportunity to visit Japan yet. My paternal grandparents were born in Japan. My paternal grandfather arrived in Brazil in 1925 as a child and his wife, my grandmother, arrived 28 years laterto get married to my grandfather. At that time, marriages were arranged. Brazil is home to the largest population of descendants and Japanese people outside of Japan. And here it is very common for Japanese descendants to put Japanese names onto their children. My brother Rodrigo, for example, received the name Akira.
AK:How did you get better in chess? Did you read books, did you have a trainer, did you join a club?
JT: Since I started competing in tournaments at the age of six, most of my opponents were adults. This helped me to learn to face many failures (losses/defeats), which I consider an essential lesson in chess early on.Like this, I didn't care much about losing, but more about just playing, having fun, and of course,winning more prizes than my brother, if possible!
Juliana Terao competing with her brother
When my brother and I started playing, there was no club in our town, so my father created a project with the city hall and volunteered for some years in the municipal library, teaching anyone who wanted to learn chess.This attracted new and more experienced players, and then my father could organize friendly tournaments, so my brother and I could train with other players more efficiently.
I also had some coaches during my career, such as GM Everaldo Matsuura, IMJefferson Pelikian, GM Sandro Mareco, IMRoberto Jr. Brito Molina and GM Andre Diamant.
AK:Did you or do you have any idols or role models, players that impressed you a lot?
JT:Sure, it may sound a little clich, but I, like thousands of other girls, was inspired by the great and wonderful Judit Polgar! Throughout her history and everything she achieved, she has opened doors for many female players.
AK:Do you have a favourite chess book?
JT:I don't think so, but one that I read a lot was Pachman's Modern Strategy, which today is a reminder of how old and worn it is. Another one that I used, read and re-read several times was the Combinative Motifs by M. Blokh.
AK:I found a game on ChessBase from 2004, where you played against Garry Kasparov in a simultaneous match. You were barely over ten years old back then. Was it a special moment for you?
JT:I was happy that I was going to face the best of all time, who wouldn't be? But I think I was more nervous than anything else.Kasparov has a very imposing and intimidating figure!
AK:What was your first big success? Do you remember how that felt?
JT:I believe it was when I won my first Pan-American tournament, in the girls under twelve, in 2002. For me, it was just another tournament, but as soon as the final classification came out, my father went running out to call home, and I remember that my family and friends were far more excited than usual, so I realized that it was very significant achievement!
AK:When and how did you become a WIM and also FIDE Master? Are there any moments or games in your career that you remember particularly well?
JT:I became a WIM by winning the South American Youth Championship in 2011, and a FIDE Master in 2017 by overcoming the 2300 FIDE rating barrier. A funny moment: in a rapid tournament, I was paired to play against my brother and a friend asked my mother for whom she was rooting for. Her answer was: for my son, of course!
AK:Are you a chess professional or do you have a steady job?
JT:I consider myself a professional, since almost 100% of my income is generated by chess. I play tournaments andgive classes. Sometimes I help my father with his events. He is a fruit producer, and he plants exotic fruits like dekopon, kinkan, lychee, atemias, Thai guavas and apples among others.
Juliana Terao holding some "Kinkans" from her fathers production.
AK:Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world, but falling a little behind with chess. Does Brazil support chess players enough?
JT:No, unfortunately we don't have a lot of support, and it is very difficult to get a sponsorship. Most chess players invest from their own pocket, which is why it is so difficult to make progress. To further develop, you need to play tournaments with the best, and for Brazil, we need to travel a lot, since all the strong tournaments are far from Brazil! And it is also necessary to have a constant coach, which is also costly.
AK:Since Brazil is such a huge country, where do you live now and how is it living in Brazil?
JT: Suzano is the city called I live in.I really like Brazil, and despite its problems, Brazil is a country rich in culture, with many wonderful landscapes. The climate is excellent. Brazil creates a variety of foods and fruits here I haven't found in any another place. As the song Pas Tropical says: Moro num pas tropical, abenoado por Deus e bonito por natureza (I live in a tropical country, blessed by God and beautiful by nature)
Juliana Terao and her husband, enjoying the view of "Chapada dos Guimares" in Mato Grosso
AK:How does the current chess scene look like in Brazil? How do people play, train and compete? Are there any strong juniors and is there a vibrant chess scene?
JT:With the pandemic, I believe that chess has gained more viewers. Many players started doing livestreams, including myself. I don't have a channel of my own, but I know another top player whocreated a project called "Damas em Ao - Rumo Maestria" (Queens in Action - towards mastery). One of objectives of this project is to help promote Brazilian women's chess, and once a week we do a live stream on twitch. Before the pandemic, there were already some players who streamed, like GM Krikor Mekhitarian and GM Evandro Barbosa. They give good examples helping a lot to promote the sport.
As for juveniles, they also created a project called JTXBrasil - Jovens Talentos do Xadrez Brasileiro, (Young Talents of Brazilian Chess) a group formed by 20 young players whose objective is to promote actions, helping the evolution of school chess.
Regarding the scenario before the pandemic, there are some cities in Brazil where chess is a subject in school. I observed that school chess has been growing a lot in the country. But chess still needs a lot of support and visibility because it is a sport that most peoplesee only as a good pedagogical support tool. But as for the competitive part of chess, we still need to grow a lot. It is not easy to compete with the importance / prestige that football has in the country.
AK:Very unfortunately Brazil has a tough time with the coronavirus. How does it affect you, your family and chess. Are you playing chess online?
JT:Yes, unfortunatelythe country has not learned from other countries, and we are going through difficult times. It didn't affect me much, apart from the live tournaments that had to be cancelled, so the difference for me is that I spend more time at home. I never spent so many months in a row without travelling before, which is a little sad because it's one of the things I like in chess! But during the pandemic, tournaments are now online.Of course it is another rhythm, another atmosphere, but it has been a good experience. Istill prefer face-to-face tournaments, and the classes I teach continue online. However, for my parentsthe pandemic has affected a lot their income because of my fathers professionis a fruit producer. On the farm he does excursions for tourists, and he had to cancel many schedules. In addition, the major events (where he sells most of his production) were all cancelled by the end of the year, so they were badly damaged. For chess in general, I believe that the pandemic made the sport gain more notoriety with online tournaments, thus bringing more admirers and players to the sport, so all in all, it had a positive impact on chess.
AK:Lets go back to your career: when did you become Brazil's Number one and how did you manage to win the Brazilian Championships fantastic five times in a row?
JT:I think it was in 2009 (among active players), in 2010/2011 I alternated between 1st and 2nd on the list with WIM Vanessa Feliciano, then I went back to being 1st in the ranking in June 2015 until today.
Relating tothe Brazilian Championships, a little luck maybe?
Terao,playing in the VI Floripa Chess Open this year, where she won againstGM Axel Bachmann(Elo:2611) among others
AK:What was your first Olympiad like, and do you still remember how it felt to take part in that big event?
JT:The Olympic tournament is always fantastic! Being among the best in the world, and seeing famous players or my favourites in the games room is priceless!
My first Olympics was in 2008 in Dresden, Germany.I was a little nervous, but I managed to stay calm. After all, it's a team tournament. It is an honour to be able to represent my home country in such an important event!
The Brazilian national women team in Dresden 2008, surrounding an unknown chess talent
AK:Three years ago you could reach the great rating of over 2300. Do you have the intention and focus on getting back to this rating, or might this have been the peak of your career?
JT:Yes, improving my understanding of the game and consequently returning to 2300 is within the plans!
AK:If you look back at your career: what was the most remarkable moment?
JT:For me it was my first victory against a master. When I was 9 years old.I beat FM Ricardo Benares, and that taught me, that a child can beat a more experienced player, and for a child, an experience like that makesyou more confident.
AK:Besides chess, what are your hobbies and passions?
JT:I love animals, but dogs are my passionfor sure! I have three, and two of them I brought them up myself in 2017 because they lost their mother when they were only seven days old. I adopted them and raised them, and in the beginning I literally gave 5ml of milk to them every hour! Those were difficult months, puppies that do not drink their mother's milk grow with a series of problems, and to address these deficiencies, great care is needed! Today they are strong and healthy! I also love to travel, of course! I think most chess players like it, right ?! I also practice Pilates, like to watch movies and series, and love reading books, especially biographies. Ex-Tennis player Andre Agassi impressedme for his naked and raw revelations, and I am currently reading Nelson Mandela's biography. With the pandemic I am having more time to improve my skills in the kitchen and enjoy cooking! I also have a home garden in my backyard, but I'm still trying to get the hang of it!
AK:And of course I have to ask due to the country's history: are you a football fan?
AK: Thank you so much for this nice interview Juliana.
JT:Thank you for having me and your support!
Three of Juliana Terao's favourite games
In game three, we discover the Sicilian's Alapin variation. A good toolto defeat players, which have a rating of 2500 or more,it seems.
Sicilian Defense with 2.c3 - Alapin Variation
Sergei Tiviakov started playing the line 1.e4 c5 2.c3 in the Sicilian Defence as White in 1988. Since then, he has employed it in more than 100 games, including a yearlong period when he I managed to win twelve 2.c3-games in a row. White tries to occupy the centre with a second pawn, and Black must know his stuff very well in order to be able to equalize. And this is only possible with 2...Nf6 all other lines give the first player a small edge everywhere. Especially against stronger opponents, 2.c3 is an excellent weapon.
If you would like to have Juliana Terao as your chess coach, kindly write an email to her at:julianaterao @ gmail.com
- How The Queens Gambit Made Its Chess Scenes Believable and Exciting - Vulture - October 24th, 2020
- Asian online chess championship: Top-seeded Indian mens and womens teams reach final - Scroll.in - October 24th, 2020
- Gibraltar To Host Womens FIDE Grand Prix Instead Of Its Annual Chess Festival - Chess.com - October 24th, 2020
- TV review: You don't have to know how to play chess in order to enjoy 'The Queen's Gambit' - Gwinnettdailypost.com - October 24th, 2020
- Israelis and Sudanese promote solidarity and peace through game of chess - The Jerusalem Post - October 24th, 2020
- Enzo On Chess - Big Brother Live Feed Highlight - Yahoo Entertainment - October 24th, 2020
- Durga Puja in 1930s: When theatre, music, chess contest played out in Patna - Deccan Herald - October 24th, 2020
- 14 Things to Watch This Week: Anya Taylor-Joy Plays Chess, the Real 'Amityville' House and Top Secret Videos - Parade - October 24th, 2020
- The Queen's Gambit: A Netflix Series Where The Chess Is Done Right - Chess.com - October 23rd, 2020
- On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless... - October 23rd, 2020
- SDAFF Review: The Chess Game of the Wind is a Long-Lost Iranian Film That Bristles with Brilliance - The Film Stage - October 23rd, 2020
- Chess players take to the turf for 2020 Halloween Chess Tournament - The Madison Record - themadisonrecord.com - October 23rd, 2020
- COVID-19 Is Driving The Uptake Of Chess -- And Of Surveillance Tools To Stop Online Players Cheating - Techdirt - October 21st, 2020
- TV review: You dont have to know how to play chess in order to enjoy The Queens Gambit - Kewanee Star Courier - October 21st, 2020
- Photos/Video: First Look at the Russian Premiere of CHESS The Musical - Broadway World - October 21st, 2020
- Irish Seeking to Win Power Play Chess Match in Red Zone - 247Sports - October 21st, 2020
- A young chess grandmaster leads the game of kings to a glorious future on Twitch - Yahoo! Voices - October 21st, 2020
- Ladies Knight with guests Robin and Sarah Ramson [PODCAST] - uschess.org - October 21st, 2020
- GM Joey Antonio still the king of online chess tourneys - Manila Bulletin - October 21st, 2020
- The chess frontage of Simpsons in the Strand - IanVisits - October 21st, 2020
- Andover 17-year-old competing in national chess championship - Boston 25 News - October 21st, 2020
- Cebuano journo Jobanie Tabada wins National Executive Chess Online tilt - PhilBoxing.com - October 21st, 2020
- Asian Online Team Chess: India finishes 6th in preliminary round, qualifies for quarterfinals - The Indian Express - October 19th, 2020
- Chess vs football: the vital distinction in lockdown strategy - Spectator.co.uk - October 19th, 2020
- Chess and bees - TheArticle - October 17th, 2020
- Asian Online team chess: India women in joint lead - The Tribune - October 17th, 2020
- What Anya Taylor-Joy Learned About Chess and Alcoholism for The Queens Gambit - Observer - October 17th, 2020
- Asian Online Chess: Indian men in 4th position after six rounds - The Bridge - October 17th, 2020
- Asian Online Team Chess: Indian men in 4th spot after six rounds - The Indian Express - October 16th, 2020
- Nominating Committee Announces Call for Interest for Executive Board Candidates - uschess.org - October 16th, 2020
- Boston Artisan Launches App to Revolutionize the Game of Chess - Yahoo Finance - October 16th, 2020
- What's Going On With The Chess Piece? - The University News - October 16th, 2020
- In the press - Turkey's Chess Game, QAnon in Europe and Nadal the Great - FRANCE 24 - October 14th, 2020
- Anti-Chess: The Most Exciting Moment In Karpov Vs Korchnoi - Chess.com - October 11th, 2020
- Chess site chooses ten best moves of all time - Stabroek News - October 11th, 2020
- Indias Nihal Sarin wins Junior Speed Chess Championship - The Indian Express - October 11th, 2020
- Growing with golf and chess - Chessbase News - October 8th, 2020
- Archive, 1990: Garry Kasparov is ready to pounce - The Guardian - October 8th, 2020
- Chess Tournament Winner Banned, Says Opponent "Was Doing Pipi In Their Pampers" - Kotaku - October 8th, 2020
- 2020 U.S. Amateur Team Championship Goes to the South - uschess.org - October 8th, 2020
- Trump just kicked over the chess board: GOP faces an election with more pain - POLITICO - October 8th, 2020
- Checkmate, quarantine: Chess Club thrives in the Zoom era - The Williams record - October 8th, 2020
- Abdusattorov Wins 19th Speed Chess Grand Prix - Chess.com - October 8th, 2020
- Lyricist Tim Rice Thinks CHESS Could Make a Broadway Comeback - Broadway World - October 8th, 2020
- The Check is in the Mail: October 2020 | US Chess.org - uschess.org - October 8th, 2020
- Ravens News 10/7: Chess Match and more - Baltimore Beatdown - October 8th, 2020
- Chess success with one team leading Andalucian First Division - Euro Weekly News - October 5th, 2020
- Pictures of people playing chess in Hampshire through the years - Daily Echo - October 3rd, 2020
- Hit traps and peel switches: The two chess moves that ended a Rockets era - The Athletic - October 3rd, 2020
- In the News: WebsterVOTES, Woody Cooper, Kaiser, chess alumni - Webster University Newsroom - October 3rd, 2020
- Gone too soon: Brimfield teen remembered as jokester and expert chess player - Pekin Daily Times - October 3rd, 2020
- This is not a game of chess, it's a war! - Grenfell Record and Bland Advertiser - October 1st, 2020
- 'Audiences wont have seen anything like this': how Iranian film Chess of the Wind was reborn - The Guardian - September 30th, 2020
- Harry Potter and the Uncredited Creator of That Chess Scene - The Film Magazine - September 30th, 2020
- Thames Water vows action to prevent sewage discharges at River Chess - Watford Observer - September 30th, 2020
- Executive Board Nominating Committee Election | US Chess.org - uschess.org - September 29th, 2020
- Top female chess referee who fled Iran reveals her Jewish roots - The Jewish Chronicle - September 29th, 2020
- The best chess websites for playing, watching, and keeping up with the news - Financial Times - September 28th, 2020
- 'I couldn't tolerate it any longer': how Iranian chess referee with secret Jewish heritage was forced to live a 'fake' life - Telegraph.co.uk - September 28th, 2020
- Pendragon review: chess and Arthurian legend collide to generate stories both beautiful and tragic - NME - September 26th, 2020
- Playing chess with the Pearl Royale is the ultimate flex of extravagance - Men's Gear - September 26th, 2020
- This is not a game of chess, it's a war! - The Young Witness - September 26th, 2020
- IM Shahade to Lead Girls Club Zoom on Opening Preparation. - uschess.org - September 24th, 2020
- Full list of EVERY character in Auto Brawl Chess: Battle Royale - Pocket Gamer - September 24th, 2020
- Will Trump play checkers or chess with nomination? - al.com - September 24th, 2020
- Local chess ace targets top spot - The Voice Online - September 24th, 2020
- Is the ban on WeChat the first move in a diplomatic chess game? - MercatorNet - September 24th, 2020
- Road To The PCL Finals: China Pandas - Chess.com - September 23rd, 2020
- Russias Post-Covid Economic Policies Will Be a Game of Chess - ETF Trends - September 23rd, 2020
- CHESS Health Selected by Next Step Community, an Addiction Recovery Program Located in Terre Haute, Indiana - PR Web - September 23rd, 2020
- On the origins of chess (7/7) - Chessbase News - September 22nd, 2020
- Ten Years of Chess Innovation. How Lichess grew from a simple tech | by Samuel Sullivan | SUPERJUMP | Sep, 2020 - Medium - September 20th, 2020
- 24th wedding anniversary online chess tilt - PhilBoxing.com - September 20th, 2020
- Road To The PCL Finals: Armenia Eagles - Chess.com - September 20th, 2020
- 2020 Collegiate Rapid & Blitz - Sept 26-27, and it's free! - uschess.org - September 19th, 2020
- Road To The PCL Finals: Canada Chessbrahs - Chess.com - September 19th, 2020
- The ongoing online Renaissance in the world of Chess - Sportskeeda - September 16th, 2020
- John Leguizamo on bringing the 'intellectual hustle' of chess to life - Page Six - September 16th, 2020
- John Leguizamo Plays a Round of Chess in N.Y.C., Plus Mindy Kaling, Justin Bieber and More - PEOPLE - September 16th, 2020
- An interview with Ben Johnson, the perpetual podcaster - Chessbase News - September 15th, 2020