Article provided by: Álvaro Pereira / Joaquim Pedro Soberano
The definitive History of Chess in Portugal remains to be written.
However, we know that in our country chess as an organised sport started in the 1920s, not only over the board but also by correspondence.
Thus it is not surprising that Portugal participated in CC Olympiad 1. What is rather strange is the fact that the internationally inexperienced members of the team reached the final, where they achieved fourth place. We notice even at this early stage a certain tendency for the Portuguese players to have more success in correspondence than in OTB play.
Portugal also participated in Olympiad 2 (later renamed Olympiad 1, while the previous one became known as the European Olympiad), once again achieving fourth place in the final through team “A”, with players from Lisbon.
After a few decades of not so brilliant performances, Portuguese CC over the past 30 years has recovered its international reputation, with some good results, either individually or as a team. During the 80s and the 90s, Álvaro Pereira and Luís Santos did well in the World Championship 13 Final (João Cordovil qualified for the World Championship 14 Final, but was forced to withdraw due to illness), Ilda Miranda was 10th in the Ladies World Championship 5 Final and the national team finished 5th in Olympiad 9.
More recently, Portugal won the last edition of Copa Latina and placed 4th in Olympiad 15 Final, 5th in European TC 7 Final and 3th in NATT 6.
Horácio Neto took part in World Championship 23 Final, ending 8th, and seven Portuguese players are participating in Candidate Tournaments.
On the women’s side, Portuguese CC has been unusually active, presenting a team in the last two Ladies Olympiads. And, for a while, Maria Gil was ranked 2th lady in the ICCF Elo list.
Portugal has 5 Grandmasters – Álvaro Pereira, Luís Santos, Joaquim Pedro Soberano, Horácio Neto and António Silva –, 12 Senior International Masters – Carlos Quaresma, João Peres, José Pereira dos Santos, Fernando Cleto, António Demétrio, Júlio Flores, Gustavo Morais, António Moura, Francisco Pessoa, Luis Quaresma, Luis Simões Reis and Manuel Camejo de Almeida – and 8 International Masters – João Cordovil, João Leonardo, Eduardo Calhau, Vitor Cordeiro, José Américo Moreira, Albano Pinheiro, Joaquim Brandão de Pinho and João Salvador Marques.
Since mid-20th century until the present time, CC in Portugal went through several changes and adjustments. For many years it was part of the Portuguese Chess Federation, with no legal personality and no administrative or financial autonomy. However, in 2010, APXC emerged as an autonomous association, run by a five member Executive Board and with its own legal frame, registered publicly. The current members of the APXC Board are: João Salvador Marques (President), António Moura (Treasurer), Pedro Soberano, Américo Moreira, João Ferreira (Tournaments Director) and Eduardo Calhau (ICCF applications).
For some years CNXC published a CC chess magazine named Peão Distante. Today, the printed edition has been replaced by a digital bulletin available online to every CC enthusiasts.
At the present time, Portugal has some 100 players registered in ICCF.
See our website at www.apxc.pt and our blog at www.apxcpt.blogspot.com.
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Playing for the “B” team – made up by players from Oporto – in the first world Olympiad, Alexandre Gonçalves inflicted on Cecil Purdy one of the only two CC defeats he suffered in his entire career.
That game (see it on the 2002 ICCF Gold Book) was the first victory of a Portuguese player over a World Champion to be. In 2009, no less than three Portuguese GMs won to former World Champions.
GM Álvaro Pereira
GM Horácio Neto
GM Joaquim Pedro Soberano