Alexandr Hilário Takeda Sakai dos Santos Fier (1988) is two times Brazilian champion (2005 and 2017). He can easily be called a man of the world. His home base is Georgia; he is married to Nino Maisuradze, also a chess player. Last couple of years he spends about half his time playing tournaments in Europe. Fier won quite a few tournaments, but according to him his two-time win of the Sants Open in Spain stands out. His biggest achievements, however, are the two matches he won in the World Cup, in 2011 against Wang Yue and in 2013 against Wojtaszek. Fier is also frequently seen in the Netherlands. In the Dutch competition, he plays regularly for MuConsult Apeldoorn. With a peak rating of 2653 the creative Brasilian will definitely be a contender for the title in his debut in Groningen.
How would you describe your playing style?
I consider myself a chaotic player, I’m usually happy when I can’t understand what’s going on in the game. From time to time I enter in some strategic positions, but it’s usually not my fault.
Do you think your playing style reflects your personality?
Absolutely, the way you think in chess, can’t be too different than the way you think in life. Of course, I’m not that chaotic person, but there are similarities that are clearly visible in the real world.
How would you explain the beauty of the game to someone completely new to the game? Chess is like any other sport on this subject. There will be situations where something happens that is unpredictable and almost unimaginable. These little sparks of insanity are what makes chess beautiful. A good endgame study can be simple, effective and yet wonderful, like a magic trick!
What keeps you occupied the most on a daily basis, (except maybe for chess and sleeping)?
My life is divided into two kinds of situations. 1) When I’m at home, where I try to spend time with my family, see friends and to all the normal stuff. 2) When I’m playing tournaments where if I’m not doing something chess-related, I listen to an awful amount of songs. There is also the transition between these two situations, where I usually spend in airports and planes. It sure takes more time than I would like.
Play the board or the opponent?
Always the opponent, but ok, sometimes the position on the board also counts.
As a chess player, which question do you get asked most frequently?
‘But what do you do for a living?’
If you could forbid one opening, which would it be?
Berlin! It was good to live in the ’90s…
Who is the best chess player who never became a world champion?
Who is the best trainer you’ve had?
The best trainers I had, without a doubt where my parents, both in chess and in life.
The most beautiful playing venue you’ve ever played? And the strangest one?
One of the most remarkable places I played was the stage on the Chess Palace in Tbilisi, playing in the same place where some big guys have been before, with these big mural chess boards on the background where kids were putting the moves from my game with a magnetic stick, like old times! Vienna City Hall is also a wonderful place.
Probably the strangest one was a supermarket, where the last boards were close to the frozen products. A good incentive to play well.
What’s the biggest prejudice or misconception about chess and chess players?
That we are nerds.
What will chess look like in a hundred years?
Probably just like chess.
What would you choose? The quickest win, the most beautiful win or the win in which your opponent suffers most?
Hard choice between the last two, but I will stay with the most beautiful win.
Which game of yours do you want to be remembered by?
Hopefully a game I won! If I had to choose, maybe Fier vs. Ryan, 2009.
(Benno de Jongh, 2019)