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Sergio Mariotti

Sergio Mariotti (born August 10, 1946 in Florence) is an Italian Grandmaster of chess and former national champion.

He became the Italian junior champion in 1965 at Turin and in 1969 at San Benedetto, the full Italian Champion. One of his greatest tournament successes followed in 1971, when he finished second at Venice (after Browne but ahead of Hort, Kavalek and Gligorić).

Mariotti represented his country at the Olympiads of 1972, 1974, 1986 and 1988. At the Nice Olympiad of 1974, he scored a double success. A board one score of 73.7% (+12 =4 −3) earned him the individual bronze medal (behind Karpov and Delgado, equal with Torre) also securing his final grandmaster norm. As no Italian before him had achieved the International Grandmaster title, he gained overnight celebrity status when the honour was bestowed on him the same year. Around this time, British Chess Magazine nicknamed him "The Italian Fury", due mainly to his formidable collection of tournament wins but also for his enterprising, tactical style of play.

He was victorious in many tournaments including Naples 1968, La Spezia 1969, Naples 1969, Reggio Emilia 1970, San Benedetto 1970, Bari 1971, Caorle Zonal 1975 and Rovigo 1976.

His choice of chess opening often revolved around the Sicilian Defence or Ruy Lopez, where he was comfortable with either colour. Occasionally, his fans were treated to old-fashioned romantic openings such as the Evans Gambit and Albin Counter Gambit and these brought him surprising success.

His chess career continued on a positive note for a few years to follow and he finished joint 10th (with Spassky, Uhlmann and Gheorghiu) at the prestigious Manila Interzonal of 1976, though this result was insufficient to advance to the Candidates Matches. At the Praia da Rocha zonal tournament of 1978, he finished fourth, one place away from Interzonal qualification. He was a winner at Lugano in 1979.

Mariotti became an advisor for an Italian publisher and worked for the Italian Chess Federation (FSI), where he was President between 1994 and 1996. As a precursor to the Turin Olympiad of 2006, he played a website game against the 'Rest of the World' and won in 48 moves.

Sample game

Sergio Mariotti vs Rest of the World, 2006 - Ruy Lopez

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.Nf1 Bc8 14.c3 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.b4 d5 17.exd5 exd5 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.Rxe5 Bd6 20.Re2 Qc7 21.Bg5 h6 22.Bxf6 Rxf6 23.Ne3 Qf7 24.d4 c4 25.a4 Rf8 26.axb5 axb5 27.Ng4 Re6 28.Rxe6 Qxe6 29.Qe1 Qf5 30.Ra6 Bf4 31.Rb6 Qd7 32.Ne5 Re8 33.Rb8 Bxe5 34.Qxe5 Rxb8 35.Qxb8+ Kh7 36.Qe5 g6 37.Kh2 h5 38.Kg3 Qf7 39.f4 Qd7 40.Kf3 Qf7 41.g4 hxg4+ 42.hxg4 Qd7 43.f5 Qf7 44.f6 Kg8 45.Kf4 Kh7 46.Qe7 Kg8 47.Qxf7+ Kxf7 48.Kg5 1-0