The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian

Full name
Krikor Mekhitarian
Born
Nov 15, 1986 (age 35)‎
Place of birth
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Federation
Brazil
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Bio

Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian is an Armenian-Brazilian grandmaster, commentator, streamer, Director of Portuguese Content for Chess.com, and chess celebrity. He won multiple state championships as a scholastic player and has also won two Brazilian Chess Championships—he remains one of the top Brazilian players. 


Early Career To Grandmaster

Mekhitarian (known by most Brazilians as simply Krikor) started playing chess with his father when he was six years old and got his first chess coach when he was seven. Mekhitarian participated in his first scholastic tournament when he was 9 and entered his first state championship at age 11. Three years later, he went to Armenia to work on his chess.

GM Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian.
GM Krikor Mekhitarian. Photo: Claudia Aquino/Chess.com.

Mekhitarian became an international master in 2006 and a grandmaster in 2010. His rating peaked at 2587 in July 2015, and he's currently the third highest-rated player in Brazil (December 2020).

Mekhitarian has won multiple state championships in different junior categories. He has also represented Brazil in four Olympiads and won the Brazilian national title twice.

GM Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian.
Mekhitarian has won multiple tournaments during his career. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Mekhitarian is a great tactician who never shies away from a sharp game. However, he has also mastered positional play and always goes the extra mile with his opening preparation. We can see his aggressive style in this game against Cuban grandmaster Walter Arencibia Rodriguez. All it took were two mistakes from his opponent for Mekhitarian to crush his adversary in just 17 moves.

In this next example, we can appreciate Mekhitarian's positional understanding as he defeated the Brazilian legend GM Henrique Mecking in 2018. In a hypermodern game with four fianchettoed bishops, both players quickly exchanged all of the minor pieces off the board. Mekhitarian ended with doubled pawns but more central space.

Mekhitarian defied the general rule of avoiding exchanges when enjoying a space advantage and correctly took the queens off the board. He then proceeded to restrict Mecking's pieces and infiltrate Black's position with the fantastic moves 43.Rc3 and 49.R3c5.

Twitch And YouTube Channels

Mekhitarian is also one of the most successful Brazilian chess streamers. His Twitch channel is one of Brazil's largest chess channels with more than 25,000 followers (as of 2020). On it, he plays bullet and blitz games, participates in tournaments like Titled Tuesday, hosts sub battles, and more. He has faced numerous top players on his stream and beaten many of them, including the blitz superstar GM Alireza Firouzja.

Here is a clip of Mekhitarian defeating GM Hikaru Nakamura in a bullet game after the American blundered his queen by pre-moving.

On his YouTube channel, Mekhitarian has close to 50,000 followers who enjoy his videos about many aspects of chess. One of his most popular video series is about the main ideas behind different openings. Here's a video of the grandmaster going over the Sicilian Defense (you can activate English subtitles for the video by clicking on "closed captions").

Chess.com Content

Mekhitarian is also the Director of Portuguese Content for Chess.com and an avid commentator for the website. His charisma and in-depth knowledge of the game have made him very popular among Portuguese-speaking fans.

He has commentated for many major tournaments, like the Speed Chess Championship, multiple Titled Tuesdays, the Candidates Tournament, Tata Steel, Norway Chess, and others.

Mekhitarian has also created exclusive content for Chess.com's Portuguese and English channels. In this video, he analyzes the beautiful game between GM Daniil Dubov vs. GM Sergey Karjakin (in Portuguese).

Esports Deal

Mekhitarian is the first Brazilian chess player to sign a contract with an esports team and the third worldwide (coming after WGM Qiyu Zhou and Nakamura). On December 8, 2020, he announced that he had joined FURIA, one of Brazil's main esports teams.

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