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Arthur Napoleao dos Santos
Napoleao dos Santos 
Number of games in database: 3
Years covered: 1859 to 1880

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(born Mar-06-1843, died May-12-1925, 82 years old) Portugal (federation/nationality Brazil)

[what is this?]
Arthur Napoleao was born in Porto, Portugal and died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a Brazilian composer, pianist, instrument dealer and music publisher--as well as the founding father of chess in Brazil.

He organized and won the 1st chess tournament in Brazil that was battled out between 6 contestants at Napoleao's villa in Rio de Janeiro from January 1880 until April 1880. He was the chess instructor of the son of Viscount de Pirapetinga, Joao Caldas Vianna.

More information from Wikipedia article: Arthur Napole%C3%A3o dos Santos.

 page 1 of 1; 3 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Morphy vs Napoleao dos Santos 1-0341859New York000 Chess variants
2. Napoleao dos Santos vs J Caldas Vianna 1-0241880Rio de JaneiroC51 Evans Gambit
3. J Caldas Vianna vs Napoleao dos Santos 0-1201880Rio de JaneiroC42 Petrov Defense
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Napoleao dos Santos wins | Napoleao dos Santos loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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  vonKrolock: Arthur Napoleão dos Santos (1843-1925) Portuguese musician who lived in Rio de Janeiro, where he acted as "Maestro of the Imperial Court" - pianist, composer, chess player, problemist, and had a fine chess library.

When he played Morphy in two Games (one recorded) he was sixteen.

He had a chess column in an important newspaper from Rio de Janeiro, when he published a Problem, the first letter he received with the solution was from Machado de Assis - the greatest Brazilian novelist and short-stories writer from the xix-th Century!

Napoleão organized a Chess Club, first in his own home, then in another location - Machado de Assis and Caldas Vianna (the strongest Brazilian player from the xix Century) where some of the founders. In 1898, he published the "Caissana Brasileira", a collection of more than 500 Chess Problems by brazilian composers

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  vonKrolock: <when he published a Problem> better reading: when he published, for the first time, a Problem for a Solving contest, the first letter he received with the solution was from Machado de Assis - etc
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  Calli: <vonKrolock> Good stuff! When in the US, he often used the name Arthur Napolean. Many Morphy books and pgns have Morphy vs Napolean.
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <Calli> I have here in hands the "Manual de Xadrez", by Prof. I. Becker (São Paulo, circa 1971) - with some details for my from-memory-account:

<chess column in an important newspaper from Rio de Janeiro> the "Illustração Brasileira", from 1876

<organized a Chess Club> In the "Club Polytechnico", in Da Constituição Street, in 1877: first president the Viscout de Pirapetinga (Caldas Vianna's father; Napoleão was 'room's director' and Machado de Assis, secretary;

<first in his own home> This detail is from another phase: In 1880, a chess tournament was played in Napoleão's house; an new place for chess events appears in the following decade, the "Club Beethoven" <note en passant: it seems that the old club was ephemeral>

One of the attractions of those chess soirées were the blindfold simul displays by Caldas Vianna.

Napoleão's chess column had also to wander from one place to another:

- "Illustração Brasileira" 1876-78;

- "Revista Musical e de Bellas Artes" 1879 - ?

- "A Distração" 1884

- "Jornal do Commercio" - 1886 - this one a stately sunday page that lasted for decades;

Still about chess in Rio de Janeiro:

Becker: " remained the vague memory of some chess-players: dr. Pennel, Jordan Cruise, Elkin Hime. And the staying, from 1859 and 1860, in diplomatic mission, of the famous chess-player Baron von der Lasa"

(Also worth mentioning that Dom Pedro I, Brazilan Emperor from 1822, and Dom Pedro II, his son, Emperor until 1889, were both chess-players: testify the fine chess set and table of the First, that can be still seen in the "Museu Imperial" ; and the wide cultural interests of the Second, that included Fine Arts, Philosiphy, Poetry and Philology (French, German, English, Hebrew etc)

Aug-03-05  SBC: <vonKrolock>

I agree with <Calli>. This is good stuff. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.

I hope you don't mind if I copy it for possible future use.

Do you know... Was Arthur Napoleão dos Santos living in Rio de Janeiro during the time when Von der Lasa served as the ambassador from Germany?

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <SBC> Napoleão is really an interesting personality, here in this scholar dissertation on the subject of his musical compositions a photo (autographed) and a list of his works

<copy it for possible future use> Of course! And i would really like to know more about him... The "Caissana Brasileira" from 1898 is a rarity even in our country - and collections of the newspapers quoted are hard to find (possibly the 'Biblioteca Nacional' in Rio de Janeiro have the complete "Jornal do Commercio"

<living in Rio de Janeiro during the time when Von der Lasa served> No, it's quite improbable - well, I know he was in the USA in 1859, when he played Morphy!

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: As that page linked above is open, i can extract en passant some bio-details so far unknown for me:

<"Souvenir de Porto Rico"> He lived in the city of Guayama between 1860 and 1861

<"Fantaisie Vénetienne" Opus 6> He settled in Brazil in 1868

<"Sur les bords du Plata"; "Atlanta">: visits to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil between 1857 <this date is correct?! - there's a lot of typos in that page...> and 1863

<"Ricordo di Napoli"> In 1871 he is married, the couple visits Italy

<"Habanera"> In 1907, he married Rita de Cássia Carneiro Leão, his second wife

<"Une Nuit sur le Taje"> In the 1910s, he was still composing, but not so active - his last works were essentially exercises for music students, like Itiberê da Cunha, from Curitiba <hey, my city!> whom those 'études' are dedicated

There's a mention of him being influenced by S. Thalberg <one of the 'three stars' of the piano in Europe before the appearence of Liszt - the other two were Clara Wieck (better known as Clara Schumann) and ... Rudolf Willmers!> - this last note is not in that student's dissertation, based, by the way in a Napoleão "Autobiografia"

Aug-04-05  SBC: <vonKrolock>

Thanks once again.

<Becker: " remained the vague memory of some chess-players: dr. Pennel, Jordan Cruise, Elkin Hime.>

I assume that Prof. Becker is the Brazilian equivanent to Prof. George Allen of Philadelphia, chronicler of early 18th century American chess. Do you know... where Dr. Pennel, Jordan Cruise and Elkin Hime (as well as Machado de Assis and Caldas Vianna) the leading Brazilian players around 1860? Where there any chess clubs in existence in Rio de Janeiro besides the one you mentioned that Arthur Napoleão estabished in his own home?

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <SBC> Idel Becker's "Manual de Xadrez" is not a book that present an extensive chronicle covering a longer period of time in the space of the leading Brazilian centers, but just a few curious and brief notes and with some informations about his own city, São Paulo - mostly curiosities and brief mentions... Yes, You're right, the field is interesting, and it could perhaps be presented some valuable material, even from more remote times... I see that even the so called "Brazilian Imortal", a Game commented by Em. Lasker in his 'Manual of Chess' (i mean Caldas Vianna vs Silvestre, Rio de Janeiro 1900) is still lacking here in the base...

On another of Morphy's connaissances: in Bird's page Henry Edward Bird i posted a link to a newly presented on-line matter about H E Bird as a chess composer - i found his four-mover very elegant...

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1880: The participants in the Tournament in his house were: Himself, Caldas Vianna, Carlos Pradez, Machado de Assis, Joaquim Navarro and J. Palhares <i’ll like to see some games and cross-tables, but nothing of the kind is found in this book>

<...> < In the 1880s the chess movement start to become lively - he was no longer the lone incentivator: the “Noticia” had a Saturday chess column writen by Teophilo Torres, who promoted Composing and Solving contests

Napoleão had chess columns in the “Gazeta de Noticias” and in the already mentioned “Jornal do Commercio” - around 1887, the names of Caldas Vianna, Rodolpho Eichbaum, Dario Galvão, Jacinto Coelho, Luiz Soares , etc formed already a plêiade of Problemists

<in the meantime – in 1889 - the Monarchy was knocked-down, and the Republic instituted: the Royal Familly moved to Paris>

1890: A new chess club is founded, in an elegant address, Rua do Ouvidor, Arthur Napoleão was it’s first President, and the Viscount De Invinhema the second: but again it was ephemeral – in 1898 (when he was writing the introduction to “Caissana Brasileira”) still another Club had just two months – in De Gonçalves Dias Street, 55

1897: A game of chess with live pieces is presented in “Theatro de São Pedro” (a whole page in the introduction for description of this event)

in summa: to conclude, the Author exalt the qualities of the Composers included in his anthology, and say that Machado de Assis – “like Alfred de Musset” – also appear with a single Chess Problem (a two-mover) ; also the Director of the “Instituto de Música” , the maestro and composer Leopoldo Miguez (‘my friend’) , and the Admiral Saldanha da Gama (both repesented by three-movers)

Well, after reading this, i suddenly realize that Prof. Becker’s source was only this very introduction...

The frontispiece in this copy is autographed by the Author, let’s see... ^_ô

<...> ... difficult to see ... <...GABINETE PORTU ...> next line <OFFERECE O AUTÔR> antiquated spelling - further his signature and date < OUT. 1898>

Obviouslly he refers to the Royal Portuguese Reading-Room, founded in Rio in 1837

Also for illustration, here a page with a Problem by Arthur Napoleão

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <returning in the time...> A. Napoleão, in “Caissana Brasileira”, ‘Introdução’: “ The firts time i visited Brazil, in 1857, I was just a lad, Dr. Pennel was mentioned <as strong chess-player>, and an English merchant named Jordan Cruise, <...> We must include Elkin Hime, an old friend of mine from the time I stayed in Liverpool. This honourable chief of important trading house in Rio de Janeiro, had practiced with some of the strongest players from England, like Boden, etc. <...> <he confirmst the stay of > “O Senhor Barão von Heydebrand und der Lasa” <yes, he was>; “Ministro da Prússia” <...> “ It’s not reported, meanwhile, that his great master played chess during his sojourn in Brazil”

“From 1863, Carlos Pradez and myself where the names to be retained” ... “both from a much modest scope” <He considered himself a mere amateur – he acquired new chess books and> “ started again to study” <when he was invited to keep his first chess column, in 1876 cf. above mentioned> .

<the “Revista Musical e de Bellas Artes”, appearing from 1879, was founded by him, he included a chess section, but was sceptical about the repercussion of this iniciative>

“,,, and furthermore, in those days, H. M. The Emperor Dom Pedro II and the Imperial Princess were very occupied with musical parties, which i directed or in which i took part...”

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: The first telegraphic match between Argentina and Brazil happened in 1901 (allegedly it was, also, the first confrontation 'tout court'...): "Clube dos Diários", from Rio de Janeiro vs "Club Progreso", from Buenos Aires; via the sponsor "Western Telegraph Co"; two Games were played, with one victory for each side.

The teams were: from Argentina - Benito Villegas, Julio Lynch, Miguel Angel Gelly, Julián Balbin, Eugenio Zamudio, Cupertino del Campo;

and from Brazil - João Caldas Vianna, Arthur Napoleão dos Santos, Edmundo Gastão da Cunha, Edmundo Torres, Teophilo Soares, Luiz A. Ferreira and W. Heuz

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  vonKrolock: <The Most Beautiful Libraries In The World> where a nice caption from the <Royal Portuguese Reading-Room> can be found
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  Nightsurfer: Hello <vonKrolock>, five years ago you have asked for records of games that have been played during the 1st Chess Tournament on Brazilian soil from January 1880 until April 1880 at the villa of Arthur Napoleão dos Santos in Rio de Janeiro. Well, here we go, there are two of those matches in the data bank now. The records of those matches have been communicated to me by <Sr. Adaucto Wanderley da Nobrega>, Editor of BrasilBase. Muito obrigado, Sr. Adaucto Wanderley da Nobrega!!
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  vonKrolock: <Nightsurfer> Excellent, the games shows Arthur Napoleão at his best against a strong adversary ... Obrigado a Você a ao Adaucto
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  Nightsurfer: <Sr. Adaucto Wanderley da Nobrega> has dug out the preliminary result of the 1st chess tournament in Brasil at Rio de Janeiro 1880. That very standing on April 10th, 1880, has been been published by the "Revista Musical": 1. Arthur Napoleão dos Santos (14,5 points)
2. João Caldas Vianna (13,0 p.)
3. Carlos Pradez (9,5 p.; still to go: 4 matches more, 3rd place probably) 4. Machado de Assis (11,0 p.; 4th place probably)
5. Joaquim Navarro (4,0 p.; still to go: 7 matches more) 6. Joaquim Palhares (1,0 p.; still to go: 3 matches more)-- Please pay attention to contestant no. 4: JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS (June 21st, 1839 - September 29th, 1908) was a famous author of novels and poems. MACHADO DE ASSIS is the most important personality in the history of literature in Brazil. Apart from being a bigger-than-life writer, MACHADO DE ASSIS was an aficionado of chess. Unfortunately none of his matches have been preserved, but since MACHADO DE ASSIS was a gifted composer too, therefore some of his chess problems can be enjoyed still today. Estimado <Sr. Adaucto Wanderley da Nobrega>, MUITO OBRIGADO once more again for the foregoing most interesting facts with regard to Arthur Napoleão dos Santos and Machado de Assis!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: For <Von Krolock> , photographs of the Rio Chess club in the 1890s,
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  Nightsurfer: <Arthur Napoleao dos Santos> has played an important role with regard to launching modern chess in Brazil, but nearly as important has been the contribution by <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> (born June-21-1839, died Sep-29-1908) whose <175th BIRTHDAY> (!!) we celebrate today on <June 21st, 2014> (more information on <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS>:!

<Muito obrigado> for introducing modern chess to Brazil, dear <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> up there in The Heavens! Herewith a portrait of the great master: http://americasouthandnorth.files.w...

The reason why one has to publsih this very tribute to Brazil's Godfather of Chess <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> on the personal page of his colleague <Arthur Napoleao dos Santos>: no record of those games that <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> played during his lifetime has survived until today, therefore it has not been possible to create a personal page for <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS>.

But at least one of the chess problems that have been composed by <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> is still known today, please see the diagram as follows.

click for larger view

The solution: 1.Bb5! Kd8 (the only defense against 2.Qf6#, but that does not help either): 2.Kf7#!

A great final position, just have a look at the corresponding diagram as follows.

click for larger view

The foregoing chess problem by <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> has been published by the paper <"Ilustracao Brasileira"> on June 15th, 1877, thus being the first chess problem that has been created by a Brazilian author and that has been published in Brazil (the source:

Apart from being one of the two activists that have launched chess in Brazil, <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> from Rio de Janeiro was a short story writer, novelist and poet. Today <JOAQUIM MARIA MACHADO DE ASSIS> is regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature, and <Susan Sontag> and <Woody Allen> are among his admirers (the source:

Jun-23-14  torrefan: I've read two novels by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis and one of them, <Dom Casmurro,> remains a favorite of mine. I didn't know how to react to this novel. Reading it was for me like watching a great chess master play, or like when one shows you a great game he has played. Move by move, you watch, mesmerized. Narrated in the first person, he even teases you every now and then: go here and see this beauty; go back several moves, recall the logic of what has happened; no, could this be really the meaning of what went before? But this is not a mystery novel. There is no crime to solve. Or maybe there is, but one can't be sure. Early on, you'll think it is a love story. I am convinced that I saw here the most masterful dramatization of first love, ever, in literature (or at least the literature I had known, so far). But this isn't a love story as love stories go.

I can only imagine, if a good number of the kibitzers here will read this and decide to discuss it later, disagreements could erupt that could only be settled in peace if Machado de Assis resurrects (he died in 1908) or if, magically, his characters in this novel come to life and answer our questions.

Sep-04-16  Gottschalk: [Event "Rio de Janeiro"]
[Site "match"]
[Date "1877.??.??"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Artur Napoleao"]
[Black "Machado de Assis"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C38"]
[PlyCount "39"]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. d4 g4 6. O-O gxf3 7. Qxf3 Bxd4+ 8. Kh1 d6 9. Bxf4 h5 (9... Qf6 was better) 10. Be5 f6 11. Bxd4 Bg4 12. Qb3 Nd7 13. Bxg8 Qe7 14. Bd5 c5 15. Bc3 a5 16. Qxb7 Rb8 17. Qc6 Be2 18. Bxf6 Bb5 19. Bxe7 Bxc6 20. Bxd6 1-0

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