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Esteban Canal
E Canal 
Esteban in 1976, from  
Number of games in database: 175
Years covered: 1916 to 1976

Overall record: +65 -53 =56 (53.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 1 exhibition game, blitz/rapid, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (25) 
    B22 B50 B29 B51 B40
 French Defense (13) 
    C01 C11 C12 C13 C04
 French (7) 
    C11 C13 C12
 Giuoco Piano (5) 
    C50 C53
 Alekhine's Defense (5) 
 King's Indian Attack (5) 
With the Black pieces:
 Slav (15) 
    D10 D12 D17 D11 D19
 Sicilian (10) 
    B40 B23 B83 B86 B91
 Dutch Defense (9) 
    A84 A99 A91 A90 A81
 Queen's Indian (5) 
    E12 E15 E16
 Queen's Pawn Game (5) 
    E10 A50 D02 A40 A46
 Nimzo Indian (4) 
    E34 E22 E21
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   E Canal vs NN, 1934 1-0
   NN vs E Canal, 1935 0-1
   E Canal vs E Paoli, 1966 1-0
   E Canal vs P F Johner, 1929 1-0
   E Canal vs A Becker, 1929 1-0
   E Canal vs P F Johner, 1923 1-0
   Saemisch vs E Canal, 1929 0-1
   E Canal vs Saemisch, 1929 1/2-1/2
   E Canal vs Spielmann, 1929 1-0
   E Canal vs L Schmid, 1953 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Karlsbad (1929)
   Budapest (1929)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   The Latin American Super Grand Masters by Eduardo Bermudez

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Esteban Canal
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(born Apr-19-1896, died Feb-14-1981, 84 years old) Peru (federation/nationality Italy)

[what is this?]
Esteban Canal was born in Chiclayo, Peru. Awarded the IM title in 1950, he became an Emeritus GM in 1977. He lived the first 26 years of his life in Peru but from 1923 onwards he was domiciled in Italy.

In 1933, he won the Hungarian championship. He was 2nd= at Meran in 1926 and 1st at Budapest in 1933. He also lead the Peruvian team at the 1950 Olympiad in Dubrovnik scoring (+1, =6, -8). He passed away in Varese, Italy in 1981.

Wikipedia article: Esteban Canal

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 175  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E Canal vs NN 1-0171916TournamentC12 French, McCutcheon
2. E Canal vs H Johner 1-0231917ZuerichC05 French, Tarrasch
3. S Rosselli del Turco vs E Canal  0-1391921MatchA40 Queen's Pawn Game
4. E Canal vs S Rosselli del Turco  0-1461921MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
5. S Rosselli del Turco vs E Canal  ½-½601921MatchC01 French, Exchange
6. E Canal vs S Rosselli del Turco  ½-½651921MatchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
7. Yates vs E Canal 0-1451923International Master TtB40 Sicilian
8. E Canal vs Tarrasch  ½-½591923TriesteB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
9. E Canal vs P F Johner 1-0301923Trieste (Italy)C56 Two Knights
10. E Canal vs Alekhine 0-1841923Exhibition gameC53 Giuoco Piano
11. E Canal vs L Asztalos  ½-½401923International Master TtC77 Ruy Lopez
12. Spielmann vs E Canal  0-1361926MeranoB40 Sicilian
13. Przepiorka vs E Canal  1-0391926MeranoD02 Queen's Pawn Game
14. E Canal vs Gruenfeld  0-1411926MeranoA47 Queen's Indian
15. Grob vs E Canal  0-1421926MeranoE12 Queen's Indian
16. E Canal vs A Sacconi  1-0171926MeranoC01 French, Exchange
17. E Canal vs A Becker 1-0431929KarlsbadC50 Giuoco Piano
18. Euwe vs E Canal 1-0321929KarlsbadE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
19. E Canal vs K Treybal ½-½391929KarlsbadC50 Giuoco Piano
20. Nimzowitsch vs E Canal ½-½491929KarlsbadE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
21. E Canal vs Capablanca ½-½451929KarlsbadC50 Giuoco Piano
22. H K Mattison vs E Canal 0-1251929KarlsbadE21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
23. E Canal vs Gruenfeld  ½-½641929KarlsbadB03 Alekhine's Defense
24. Marshall vs E Canal  1-0311929KarlsbadE12 Queen's Indian
25. E Canal vs Saemisch ½-½311929KarlsbadC11 French
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 175  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Canal wins | Canal loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
May-12-04  Lawrence: IT'S NEVER TOO LATE. Esteban Canal (1896-1981) became the first Peruvian the age of 81. Lived most of his life in the enchantingly beautiful city of Venice, and there's a chessclub there named after him.
May-12-04  iron maiden: Is he the oldest player to recieve the GM title? (I'm talking about the age at which the player actually earned the title, not someone who, say, got it at 20 and then lived to 90.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Esteban Canal
Born 19th April 1896 Chiclayo
Died 14th February Varese

Became an IM in 1950 and Emeritus GM in 1977. He was also Hungarian champion in 1933.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: My previous post should have said
Died 14th February 1981.

Honza told me Jaques Mieses was the oldest player to be awarded the GM title. At the time I thought it was Geza Maroczy.

Dec-27-04  DanielBryant: Didn't Mario Monticelli receive it fairly late?
Mar-22-05  Karpova: Canal had once been in a tramway and bumped into a lady. he was probably lost in thought and said "j'adoube". he was quite surprised when the lady answered: "oh, you are a chessplayer. then you should know that you have to say j'adoube first!"
Mar-23-05  ughaibu: I wonder if she'd been stalking him?
Mar-23-05  Karpova: <Daniel Bryant>
yes, Mario Monticelli became GM in 1985
Apr-19-06  BIDMONFA: Esteban Canal

CANAL, Esteban

Sep-15-07  pastpawn: <Lawrence: ... Lived most of his life in the enchantingly beautiful city of Venice>

It's funny that someone with a name like Canal would live in Venice :).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Inventor of the "Canal gambit",

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c5 5.cxd5 Qb6?!, something to consider in OTB play :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Canal left Peru as a 13 year-old student and travelled all around Europe, spending time in Spain, France and Belgium before arriving in Germany in 1914. He learned chess there and became the champion of Leipzig in 1916.

Source: David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, "Oxford Companion to Chess", 2nd edition, OUP, 1992

Nov-10-08  Karpova: Pictures of Esteban Canal's and his wife's (Anna Klupacs) grave in Cocquio Trevisago, Italy presented in Winter's C.N. 5831:
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: The gravestone has 1893 as E.Canal's year of birth, "official" Bio 1896. Winter's note also says that, in private, Canal used to say he had been born "before 1896, in Spain, not Peru".
Feb-15-09  WhiteRook48: let's go down the Esteban! Even though it's not a real Canal
Apr-19-09  laskereshevsky: A well respect player.

Between the grand masters he was a great estimator of Lasker, wich whome he shared a lot of opinions about life and chess, siping togheter good beers... A personal friend of Capablanca, and a very ironical "persecutor" of Nimtzovich...

But for me the most he was a really fantastic chess-games commentator.....

To pass-through a game commentated by him, its like to read "novellas" (short stories in good english..) wrotes by the greatest letteracture's writers.

At Memoriam, Maestro Esteban...

Oct-16-09  Caissanist: Solis Felipe Pinzon wrote a 1987 memoir with a long and interesting chapter on Canal, with many games not included here. In Spanish:
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <pastpawn: <Lawrence: ... Lived most of his life in the enchantingly beautiful city of Venice>

It's funny that someone with a name like Canal would live in Venice :).>


Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <Lawrence>Lived most of his life in the enchantingly beautiful city of Venice, and there's a chessclub there named after him.

Here are details of the Circulo Esteban Canal:

Sep-15-11  SeanBurdine: Tabanus: Inventor of the "Canal gambit",

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c5 5.cxd5 Qb6?!, something to consider in OTB play :)


Also the discoverer (inventor?) of the Canal Variation in the Giuoco Piano.

1 P-K4 P-K4 2 N-KB3 N-QB3 3 B-B4 B-B4 4 P-Q3 N-B3 5 N-B3 P-Q3 6 B-KN5 P-KR3 7 BxN QxB 8 N-Q5 Q-Q1 9 P-B3 and White cannot be prevented from forming an "ideal center".

The great Reuben Fine has this to say about the variation [in his classic work Ideas Behind The Chess Openings]: "The lines where White does not try to secure a Pawn at Q4 are, with one exception, easy to meet and consequently of little importance. ... The exception is the Canal Variation, which has led to some striking successes." Fine recommends Black avoid it by playing either 6... B-K3 or 6... N-QR4 instead.

Dec-11-13  Karpova: A bit more on Canal's life:

Born 1897 in Peru, at the age of 13 he visited Spain to study and then two years later France. As a student, he also stayed in Belgium, but moved to Germany in 1914, where he learned to play chess.

Already in 1916, he won a tournament in Leipzig, wherein also some masters participated. Apart from serious games against Teichmann and H. Johner in Switzerland in 1917, this was his only serious chess event until Trieste 1923.

After the war, he returned to America, but cose Italy as his second home. At the moment (i.e. late 1923), he works in Turin. Alekhine toured Italy and also visited Turin, thereby rousing Canal's desire for chess again. Soon afterwards, Canal drew a match against Rosselli del Turco (+1 -1 =2), the then reigning Italian Champion. He is also good at blindfold chess, and 10 games are not a problem for him.

Source: Page 286 of the November 1923 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Karpova> gives dob as 1897, from NWS, <CG> bio intro gives it as 1896 (specfically Apr-19-1896), his gravestone gives it as 1893:

In fact, Winter has this to say:

<Canal’s year of birth is given as 1893, whereas standard reference books (e.g. Chess Personalia and the Dizionario enciclopedico degli scacchi) state that he was born on 19 April 1896, in Chiclayo, Peru.

Our correspondent mentions that doubts as to the facts were expressed by Alvise Zichichi on page 2 of his book Esteban Canal (Brescia, 1991). According to Zichichi, Canal sometimes said in private that he was born before 1896 and in Spain, not Peru. The book also noted Giancarlo dal Verme’s statement in L’Italia Scacchistica, April 1981, pages 106-107, that Canal was born in Santander, Spain of a Spanish mother and a Peruvian father.> (about 1/2 way down)

* * * * *

Here's a good game, a boisterous KGA, from the Leipzig 1916 tournament which marks his first international success (I think):

Canal, Esteban -- Leonhardt, Paul
Lipsia (1) Lipsia
1916 1-0 C37

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 g4 5.O-O gxf3 6.Qxf3 Qf6 7.e5 Qxe5 8.d3 Bh6 9.Nc3 Nc6 10.Bd2 Nge7 11.Rae1 Qf5 12.Nd5 Kd8 13.Qe2 Nxd5 14.Bxd5 Qxd5 15.Bc3 Qe6 16.Qh5 Qg6 17.Qxg6 fxg6 18.Bf6+ Ne7 19.Rxe7 Rf8 20.Rfe1 c6 21.Re8+ Kc7 22.Bd8+ Kb8 23.Be7 1-0 >

My version is from <MillBase>, but at least one other online source has it (<CT>).

Apr-19-16  Gottschalk: Beating a World Champion
E Canal vs Euwe, 1948
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Esteban Canal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Happy birthday and a powerful Picture!

Portrait: (ESP)


Biggest success:
From April 8-26, 1933, the 11th Hungarian National Championship was held in Budapest as an International Tournament and won by Esteban Canal, who scored 10 out of 14 points, followed by Pál Réthy (9½), Andor Lilienthal (9), Lajos Steiner (8½), and Erich Eliskases (8).

According to the French Wikipedia, Canal and Eliskases played hors concours concerning the national title of the Hungarian Federation, stipulating that Pál Réthy was awarded as national champion of Hungary. Certainly, Canal was clear first in strong tournament.

Survey of his most memorable results:
2nd Trieste 1923, =2nd Merano 1926, 2nd Budapest 1932, 1st Budapest (ch) 1933, 1st-2nd Reus 1936, =2nd Venice 1947, 1st Reggio Emilia (Prequel) 1947, 1st Venice 1953 Trieste 1923 Merano 1926 see Budapest 1933

http://clubescacssantandreu.blogspo... Reus 1936 Venice 1953 survey Reggio Emilia survey Reggio Emilia and Venice series, by Jan van Reek

Famous game:
E Canal vs NN, 1934,

In Historical ELO rating (by Sonas chessmetrics), Esteban Canal was <best-ranked as 8th of the world> in 1933-34!

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