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Since I became interested in chess, I've heard the name of Henrique Mecking (aka "Mequinho") as the greatest brazilian chess player ever. He was a serious contender for the world title in the 70's and was at a point ranked third in the world, behind the likes of Karpov and Korchnoi.
Unfortunately, in the late 70's, towards the zenith of his career, he contracted a serious disease that apparently is yet to be correctly diagnosed. He was about 27 years old then and was impaired throughout the 80's, exactly at the period he should be on his peak performance. He came back to chess in the 90's but, while still a strong 2500 GM to this day, he was not able to get back to the top tier of super GMs.
I was wondering how Mecking stands internationally, since I've never seen him being mentioned here (chess.com is where I do pretty much all my chess-related reading). Wikipedia says he was compared to Bobby Fischer as a teenager prodigy, but he obviously got much less attention thean the american champ. My question goes specially to the guys who study chess books: is he mentioned often as an elite player? What do you think of his games?
Here's a sample game he won against Korchnoi, against whom he had a flattering +2 -5 =12 score:
He is mentioned now and then in various places and books, I think he is mentioned quite a few times in Kasparov's greatest predecessors.
But there are some strong players, top 5, that, due to not being very exciting persons, not having the most exciting playing style, and frankly, due to not being American or (in the old days) USSR, isn't mentioned as much. Ulf Andersson and Mecking are two good examples of this.
I know I've seen his name here and there in books, but I didn't know anything about him. But there are a few players like that - you see their name a few times as the opponent of someone more famous that you've heard of, so you know they were a strong player back in that time period. But they weren't ever in a world championship, invented a major opening line, or wrote a famous book, so you don't know that much about them.
Maybe Andersson's case is a bit more serious, since he has been playing all this time (I had never heard of him, but I'm not a good paradigm). Mecking could have been forgotten for being inactive for so many years without being able to reach his highest skill, whereas Fischer, who also went into hiding, was already WC and had the Cold War to give a whole different dimension to his achievements.
It's a shame that Mecking is only mentioned as a coadjuvant on books, but I can't blame the editors: even in Brazil, 99.9% of the population have no idea that their country has a player at such a high level.
was Mecking better then Kasparov?
Mecking was also sometimes pretty arrogant. He said that if Bobby Fischer were to lose to him, it would not damage his reputation. Bobby's response was that he would only lose to Mecking if he was bitten by a poisonous snake.
Let's see what came of this... black's last move was f7-f5
In Fischer - Mecking you should add that black's last move was f7-f5, otherwise you cannot find the solution.
Yeah, forgot about that :-)
Henrique Mecking is listed both in " The Encyclopaedia Of Chess " by Anne Sunnucks and also in " An Illustrated Dictionary Of Chess " by ER Brace. Mecking first won the Brazilian Championship at age 13. He became a IM at age 15 and a GM in 1972. Mecking's Elo rating is listed as being at 2620 in 1976.
Very interesting information-he certainly was very talented.
Yes he did get off to a fast start by achieving the IM level at age 15. Mecking's high point for his Chess career may have been in 1974 when he played in the Candidates Matches against Korchnoi ( but alas Mecking lost to Korchnoi ).
I remember watching him at the annual Hastings Congresses; here is a win of his against Najdorf when he would have been about 19 years old.
He finished the Tournament in joint third place behind Karpov and Korchnoi.
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