'I Am the Prophet of the Apocalypse', Says Brazilian 1st Chess Grandmaster

Mequinho reached the level 50 years ago and became the country's idol

São Paulo

Chess is no longer Henrique Mecking's favorite subject. Almost 70, and better known as Mequinho, the greatest chess player in Brazil prefers to talk about religion.

"I was chosen by Jesus as a prophet of the apocalypse 12 years ago," he says.

According to him, he still needs to be anointed by a bishop to be recognized by the entire Catholic Church.

"From there, I will be able to help the Church, the world, in the best possible way. And, naturally, save Brazil from communism and the bloody civil war."

SÃO PAULO, SP, BRASIL, 11-01-1966: Henrique da Costa Mecking, Mequinho. (Foto: Folhapress) - Folhapress

Born in Santa Cruz do Sul (RS), Mequinho learned to play chess around the age of six.

In early 1967, after turning 15, he won the South American cup. Thanks to his performance in the continental tournament, he reached the level of an international master.

His intense relationship with religion began in 1978, when he started to attend a Catholic Charismatic Renewal group in Rio, where he lived.

Months earlier, Mequinho had discovered that he suffered from myasthenia gravis, a disease that affects the muscles.

In 1979, he says, a miracle occurred: in one prayer, he was healed by Jesus Christ, who saved him from 99% of the disease.

Since Mequinho, Brazil has only had a grandmaster in chess in 1986.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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