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Colonel Moreau

Number of games in database: 26
Years covered: 1903 to 1903
Overall record: +0 -26 =0 (0.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (4) 
    B40 B32
 Ruy Lopez (4) 
    C77 C67 C65 C63
With the Black pieces:
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(born Sep-14-1837, died Jul-06-1916, 78 years old) France

[what is this?]

Believed to be Charles Paul Narcisse Moreau, a notable officer of the French army, a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, and an internationally respected mathematician. He lost all 26 of his games at Monte Carlo (1903), to which he was invited as a last-minute replacement for Mikhail Chigorin.

Wikipedia article: Charles Paul Narcisse Moreau

Last updated: 2022-09-16 13:31:48

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 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 26  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Reggio vs Moreau 1-0441903Monte CarloC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
2. Moreau vs Maroczy 0-1501903Monte CarloB40 Sicilian
3. Taubenhaus vs Moreau 1-0251903Monte CarloC66 Ruy Lopez
4. Albin vs Moreau 1-0391903Monte CarloA02 Bird's Opening
5. Moreau vs J Mieses 0-1481903Monte CarloB40 Sicilian
6. Teichmann vs Moreau 1-0241903Monte CarloB01 Scandinavian
7. Moreau vs J Mason 0-1701903Monte CarloC50 Giuoco Piano
8. H Wolf vs Moreau  1-0471903Monte CarloB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
9. Moreau vs Schlechter 0-1341903Monte CarloC00 French Defense
10. Pillsbury vs Moreau 1-0311903Monte CarloB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
11. Moreau vs G Marco 0-1371903Monte CarloC77 Ruy Lopez
12. Tarrasch vs Moreau 1-0561903Monte CarloB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
13. Moreau vs Marshall 0-1291903Monte CarloC42 Petrov Defense
14. Moreau vs A Reggio  0-1441903Monte CarloC22 Center Game
15. Maroczy vs Moreau 1-0161903Monte CarloC22 Center Game
16. Moreau vs Taubenhaus 0-1631903Monte CarloC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
17. Moreau vs Albin 0-1441903Monte CarloB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
18. J Mieses vs Moreau 1-0501903Monte CarloC28 Vienna Game
19. Moreau vs Teichmann  0-1611903Monte CarloC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
20. J Mason vs Moreau  1-0441903Monte CarloC45 Scotch Game
21. Moreau vs H Wolf  0-1231903Monte CarloC67 Ruy Lopez
22. Moreau vs Tarrasch 0-1271903Monte CarloB32 Sicilian
23. Marshall vs Moreau 1-0291903Monte CarloC37 King's Gambit Accepted
24. Schlechter vs Moreau  1-0411903Monte CarloD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. G Marco vs Moreau 1-0611903Monte CarloC67 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 26  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Moreau wins | Moreau loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: I know how he felt when playing there... Two years ago I, a 1600-rated guy, was invited after an open tournament to play some bitz tournament. What I didn't know: I'm one of only three (of 22) participants rated below 2000... I went 1/21, with the only win being on time in a lost position against a fellow sub-2000 (in the 17th round - after that win I got congratulations as if I just beat them all :D). One IM or FM, when playing with me, kind of teased me - "well, I just attacked your bishop, so what do you do?". But despite the horrible score I feel, retrospectively, that tournament was quite fun for me to play.
Jan-03-13  andrewjsacks: I looked at several of his games. Colonel Moreau was obviously a capable player, but just out of his league here, and maybe in bad form, and no doubt distressed and strength-weakened after losing a number of games in a row to start... A pity for him he goes down in chess history like this. C'est la vie.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <alexmagnus> At least your tournament just took a few hours. Moreau got to play and lose almost every day for a month.
May-11-13  thomastonk: Due to some remarks in the Biographer Bistro I came here yesterday. After reading our biography, consisting of a date of birth and only two sentences, and comparing it with the sources, I am quite desperate.

There are a chessplayer Colonel Moreau and a French officer Moreau, and one question is whether both men are the same person. This question is considered in detail by J.Spinrad in his articles, and he suggests that the answer is in the affirmative, but he notes that this is not a proven fact. (Only btw, the current version of states with references to the same articles that Spinrad identified both men as the same.)

Our biography respects the situation in some sense by the formulation "Believed to be...". However, since Spinrad himself reports on some non-believers, I don't like this phrase. Moreover, the date of birth of the chessplayer is already that of the French officer.

The French officer did also some mathematics, but in our biography he is "an internationally respected mathematician", which is in fact a quote from the first of Spinrad's articles. I know that Spinrad is an international respected mathematician is his field, but he did not prove that Moreau was, simply because all of the mathematical sources are French!

Finally, the second sentence from our biography: "He was invited to the 1903 Monte Carlo tournament as a last-minute replacement for Mikhail Chigorin ...". This is simply wrong!

Spinrad discussed this point and proved that Moreau's participation was planned already in 1902. Moreover, Spinrad writes: "Furthermore, other sources have named Wolf, not Moreau, as the substitute for Chigorin." I can easily provide one such source: Emil Kemeny's tournament book, which appeared only a few months after the tournament as "The American Chess Weekly, Special Series No. 1" has a chapter on page 2 entitled "Tschigorin Not Permitted To Participate". There it is clearly stated with a lot of details that Wolf was admitted to play instead of Chigorin.

Whoever is responsible for the current state of this biography should pay much more attention to the facts in the future!

Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: Colonel Moreau is a secret personal hero to many due to his ruthless refusal to withdraw from a tourney where he was not only out of his league, but in many ways a painfully growing embarrassment with each passing round, as he rather publicly hatched goose eggs like they were something more naturally expelled.

I can but hope he took the losses with equal parts humor and stoic hardening of resolve. Clearly he never lost heart, and kept competing despite it all.

How many of us know players that will withdraw from a tournament at the slightest prompting, citing lame reasons when so often it is just cowardice and the fear of enduring further humiliation that causes them to quit.

To them I say: Look to Colonel Moreau and get back into that arena you lily-livered wimp! Consider the Colonel you sluggard, who harvested nothing in all seasons, yet continued to plow!

May-12-13  thomastonk: For all who enjoy myths and rumors and speculation, I have some good news. Less is known about Colonel Moreau's time after the tournament, but maybe the following quote gives a useful hint: "Aus Paris. Das Café de la Régence ist in andere Hände übergegangen und wird umgebaut. Inzwischen sind die Schachfreunde in die Taverne de l'Opera 26 übergesiedelt. -- Der Cercle Philidor tagt jetzt im Café Moreau, rue St. Denis 133."

Source: "Deutsche Schachzeitung", July 1903, page 227. No joke.

<SteinitzLives> I know what you mean: the history is full of withdrawels of players who had bad results. But the meaning of bad results depends on the player's expectation.

Colonel Moreau must have done something special to get the opportunity to play with such masters. Or does anybody think players like Tarrasch would have accepted him without a very good reason?! Moreover, he was no fool, he was a Colonel, and so he cannot have expected any other result than this. He was there in order to play and to lose for some personal reason, and I cannot detect the special property that makes him a "silent hero" as you described it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Colonel Sebastian Moran

Described by Sherlock Holmes as "The second most dangerous man in London" [after Moriatry].


This name from literature reminds me of this player.

May-12-13  thomastonk: <HeMateMe> Thanks for the keyword.

It was Sherlock Holmes himself who played in Monte Carlo 1903 under the name Colonel Moreau, at least if you believe Irwin L. Stein and his article "The Case of the Curious Colonel" in BCM, June 1966, p. 169-171 (information taken from

May-13-13  SugarDom: He's an anti-American CG kibitzer littering KR page daily...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Hmm. Charles Paul Moreau. Maybe they got him mixed up with Paul Charles Morphy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Edward Winter has posted a picture in <Chess Notes>, #9717:

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I suspect it's stretching things to claim that the Colonel was an <internationally respected mathematician>. The journal references adduced by his Wikipedia entry strike one as rather provincial.
Feb-07-16  zanzibar: <MissS> the "adduced" construct leaves me wondering who actually is doing the adducing.

For the record, wiki never states that Moreau was a <internationally respected mathematician>, so they aren't doing the adducing.

Your criticism must therefore be directly at the bio.

Putting that aside, I wonder what prompted the qualifier <provincial>, that you used?

There are only two journals referenced by wiki:

<Nouvelles Annales de Mathematiques>


<Archiv der Mathematik und Physik>

It appears that the French journal was second tier, but that's no shame, given it was against Liouville's 1st tier

<Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées>

Note also that the two math journals actually had a respected working relation with each other. Also, <Nouvelles Annales ...> was international in this respect - many foreign articles would be republished in it (sometimes edited - see ref at very bottom.)

As for the other journal:

<Johann August Grunert and his Archiv der Mathematik und Physik as an integrative factor of everyone’s mathematics in the middle of the nineteenth century>

On the other hand, I did find this:

<Except in a few cases, the many famous mathematicians of the nineteenth century did not publish in Grunert's Archiv. ... One of the few contributors of the journal who has remained well known today, was Oscar Xaver Schlömilch.>

Max Abraham, physicist, also published in <Archiv...>:

<Today Max Abraham is known mainly for his achievements in the field of electrodynamics and, in particular, for the successful series of textbooks associated with his name. He is, however, largely forgotten as a pioneer of a relativistic theory of gravitation [through his failed efforts]. >

Still, though not being journals that a mathematician at the level of a Legrendre, Laplace, Lagrange, or Louiville would use, I still don't see how these journals were exactly provincial. I'm not a historian of scientific journals of the 1800's, admittedly, but I did take a few moments to consider and research the issue.

* * * * *

For a detailed characterization of <Nouvelles Annales ...>

see section 30 from the ref wiki provided: (FR)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Your criticism must therefore be directly at the bio.>

Clever boy.

<Putting that aside, I wonder what prompted the qualifier <provincial>, that you used?>

Not only was he not internationally respected, he wasn't nationally respected either. I suggest the only people who knew who he was were family and friends.

Feb-08-16  zanzibar: Back to chess (well, kinda chess)...

I'm wondering about the name signature mentioned in Winter's CN #4574

<It was mentioned in A Chess Omnibus that the list of subscribers to Reinfeld’s 1935 book on Cambridge Springs, 1904 included

<‘C. Moreau’>,

and here we add that our copy of Reinfeld’s book Thirty-five Nimzowitsch Games, 1904-1927 (New York, 1935) contained, handwritten, the subscriber’s name,

<C.A. Moreau>:


How to resolve the A. in the C.A.?

Doesn't seem to match anywhere in

<Charles Paul Narcisse Moreau>.

Follow the link above to see the signature, or look here:

Sep-14-16  TheFocus: +0-36.

Hard to live that one down.

I hope you eventually learned how to play.

Feb-10-17  Marcelo Bruno: How daring was he playing against all these memorable masters!
Mar-11-18  Cibator: No-one writing about Col. Moreau seems to have mentioned that by the time he played in this tournament he was at least 65 years old - a notably more advanced age in those days than it would be regarded as now. Surely fatigue must have played a part in it all, especially towards the end?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Isn't that when fatigue usually sets in?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <TheFocus> He didn't go 0-36, just 0-26.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <zanzibar: . . . here we add that our copy of Reinfeld’s book Thirty-five Nimzowitsch Games, 1904-1927 (New York, 1935) contained, handwritten, the subscriber’s name,

<C.A. Moreau>:


How to resolve the A. in the C.A.? . . .

Doesn't seem to match anywhere in

<Charles Paul Narcisse Moreau>.>

ChArles PAul NArcisse MoreAu. Do I have to explain everything?

Apr-17-21  Brenin: Moreau, C. (1872), "Sur les permutations circulaires distinctes (On distinct circular permutations)", Nouvelles annales de mathématiques, journal des candidats aux écoles polytechnique et normale, Sér. 2 (in French), 11: 309–314 contains Moreau's necklace-counting formula, an elementary but widely-used application of enumeration under group action and of Moebius inversion. The name Moreau is rarely attached to it these days, but the result is widely known among mathematicians.
Apr-24-21  YoungEd: I clicked "Moreau Wins" under the Refined Search, and read "no games available at this time." Nor later, I should imagine. Poor Colonel!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Lol! Nice career! Almost like mine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: The Colonel features in two Games of the Day: Moreau vs Schlechter, 1903 and Moreau vs Marshall, 1903. Both losses, of course.
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