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Gioachino Greco
Number of games in database: 79
Years covered: 1590 to 1625

Overall record: +79 -0 =0 (100.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 King's Gambit Accepted (19) 
    C33 C34 C37 C38 C39
 Giuoco Piano (12) 
    C53 C54
 Bishop's Opening (6) 
 King's Pawn Game (5) 
 Philidor's Defense (4) 
With the Black pieces:
 King's Pawn Game (6) 
    C40 C20
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Greco vs NN, 1619 1-0
   NN vs Greco, 1620 0-1
   Greco vs NN, 1620 1-0
   NN vs Greco, 1625 0-1
   Greco vs NN, 1620 1-0
   Greco vs NN, 1620 1-0
   Greco vs NN, 1620 1-0
   Greco vs NN, 1620 1-0
   Greco vs NN, 1620 1-0
   Greco vs NN, 1620 1-0

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   NN Needs Fredthe... Reinfeld, Chernev, Horowitz, by fredthebear
   TJoker's KP Laughed at Fredthebear's Remarks by fredthebear
   Яяoи caяa by CharlieLuciano
   1475-1850 Missouri Compromise by fredthebear
   Il Greco by Halit4
   Il Greco by Runemaster
   riomanati's favorite games by riomanati
   Grecovian Piano by fredthebear
   melhor de Greco by toso51

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(born 1600, died 1634, 34 years old) Italy

[what is this?]

Gioachino Greco, also known as Il Calabrese, was possibly born in CE 1600 in Calabria, Italy near Cosenza. In 1619, Greco supposedly started keeping a notebook of tactics and games, and he may have taken up the custom of giving copies of his manuscripts to his wealthy patrons. In 1621 Greco is claimed to have set off to test himself against the rest of Europe, visiting Paris and later, London. He allegedly spent the last years of his life at King Philipp IV's court and died in the West Indies, seemingly from a disease that he would have contracted there around 1634. Legend holds that he bequeathed his earnings from chess to the Jesuits.

Greco would have published his analysis of the contemporary chess openings (Giuoco Piano, Bishop Opening, King's Gambit, etc.) in the form of short games around 1625. In 1656, at least two decades after his supposed death, the manuscripts were published by Francis Beale in London. These constructs are regarded as classics of early chess literature and are routinely still taught to beginners.(1)

There exists academic speculation about the origins of Gioachino Greco. Chess historian Sean J Manross has postulated in his study "Mastering Chess: Through the Ages" (2016) that the supposedly-genius mind of Gioachino Greco was, in fact, the itinerate hand of Giulio Cesare Polerio, (possibly the lover of and) companion to chess world champion Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona da Cutri (who reigned from 1575 until his death in 1597, when Paolo Boi would have taken over as the best in world, even as the captive of pirates until earning his freedom through winning money over chess, in 1598. Boi was poisoned thereafter - when Greco supposedly took over as the world's hegemon of chess).

The secondary proof that supports this claim is threefold:

(1) Gioacchino Greco was born in 1600 CE in Calabria, Greece...which was, at that time controlled by the Ottoman Turks (meaning that his name would NOT have been Latinized, but distinctly Islamic); and...

(2) Greco never actually played a named entity - most of the games are constructs...but Manross asserts that this may be because Giovanni Leonardo & Polerio were BOTH recording games against pseudo-masters across Europe AND composing studies for their European benefactors, to pay room & board during their travels; and, most importantly...

(3) When Alessandro Salvio created the world's first chess school in Naples, in 1640, Salvio also created the first true full-spectrum chess curriculum (as opposed to an esoteric book created only for masters, such as was created by Luis Ramirez de Lucena in 1497, Pedro Damiano in 1512, and Ruy Lopez de Segura in 1561). To do this, Salvio wrote the life & games of the best chess player ever to live.

This third item is especially important because Salvio wrote this curriculum about Giovanni Leonardo di Bona da Cutri: the book's name, famously, was "Il Patino" - the Little Boy.

Amazingly, despite the fact that Gioachino Greco supposedly lived from 1600-1634 AND despite the fact that World Champion GM Mikhail Botvinnik considered Il Calabrese to be the first historically-viable professional chess master...the key primary source, Alessandro Salvio, remains ENTIRELY NOT AWARE that some chess phenom named "Gioachino Greco" ever existed, let alone dominated Europe, when he writes his curriculum, just 6 years after the supposed-death of Greco, in 1640! There is simply NOT one mention of "Il Calabrese" from the leading contemporary chess scholar, who had every incentive to write about Greco's games and to include them in his Naples chess school curriculum.

So...where, historically speaking, did Gioachino Greco come from?

Manross asserts that the games of Giovanni Leonardo were compiled by Giulio Cesare Polerio. After the former died, the latter published the games, most of which he would likely have noted while serving as traveling-second during the duos' pan-European chess adventures from 1561-1575. Because these were published in the Papal States heartland of the Dutchy of Sora - the county surrounding Rome, governed, at that time, by the Pope's own son - the contemporary threat presented by a homosexuality-fueled-cultural scandal meant that for going public with this collection of games, a nom-de-plume would be necessary...AND that none of the noble competitors, such as Duke il Moro Sforza of Milan & Forli, could be named, lest they be offended when recognizing their own losses.

Thus, the raison d'etre for the duplicitous cover up associated with "Gioachino Greco vs NN."

But what caused the sudden rise of Giovanni Leonardo, to proportions that might have, according to Manross, dominated 16th-century European Chess?

Ruy Lopez soundly defeated Giovanni Leonardo in front of the Pope, in Rome 1560, when the latter was a young law student in the Vatican (Ruy Lopez vs G da Cutri, 1560). Ruy Lopez included the game just cited in his famous 1561 manuscript in which he also "discovered" his namesake opening. This entire project was undertaken to answer Pedro Damiano's theory that 1.e4 was best, 1...e5 was the only viable response, and that 2.Nf3 was best met by 2...Nc6 (with the Portuguese Pharmacist famously offering the refutation to Damiano's Defense, which paradoxically bears his name, 2...f6).

This public humiliation of exposing the game offended the Romantic-Giovanni Leonardo and triggered a 15-year chess tour of Europe, during which time he both won many games and composed many studies to pay for his room & board at the homes of a varied group of European elite. Ultimately, Giovanni Leonardo would dominate Ruy Lopez in the court of Phillip II, in Madrid, over a decade later. The training Giovanni Leonardo did for the 15 years prior to that fateful match, Manross hypothocizes, represent the same collection of games remembered, today, as Gioachino Greco vs Nomen Nescio (I Do Not Know the Name).

Manross underscores that he was not the first to assert this information. The same supposed-identity of Gioachino Greco was originally hypothecized, though not proved, by Antonio van der Linde in the 19th century; then the theory was echoed by a joint text of John G. White and Baron Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa. White & und der Lasa's small tome is held today by the John G. White Library, in Cleveland, Ohio: their "Notes on Some Polerio MMS" almost certainly represents the world's most valuable historical resource on "Gioachino Greco."

1) Wikipedia article: Gioachino Greco
2) Wikipedia article: Francis Beale (writer)

Last updated: 2019-12-10 04:42:27

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 79  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Greco vs NN 1-0111590RomeC40 King's Knight Opening
2. NN vs Greco 0-1161590RomeC40 King's Knight Opening
3. Greco vs NN 1-081619RomeB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
4. NN vs Greco 0-1361620Miscellaneous GameB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
5. Greco vs NN 1-0121620UnknownC30 King's Gambit Declined
6. Greco vs NN 1-061620Miscellaneous GameC41 Philidor Defense
7. Greco vs NN 1-0241620Miscellaneous GameC23 Bishop's Opening
8. Greco vs NN 1-0131620Miscellaneous GameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Greco vs NN 1-0191620Miscellaneous GameC54 Giuoco Piano
10. Greco vs NN 1-0171620Miscellaneous GameC53 Giuoco Piano
11. Greco vs NN 1-0111620Miscellaneous GameC40 King's Knight Opening
12. Greco vs NN 1-0161620Miscellaneous GameC37 King's Gambit Accepted
13. Greco vs NN 1-0231620Miscellaneous GameD20 Queen's Gambit Accepted
14. NN vs Greco 0-181620UnknownC37 King's Gambit Accepted
15. NN vs Greco 0-1141620Miscellaneous GameC50 Giuoco Piano
16. Greco vs NN 1-0321620Miscellaneous GameB20 Sicilian
17. Greco vs NN 1-0241620Miscellaneous GameC34 King's Gambit Accepted
18. Greco vs NN 1-081620EuropeB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
19. NN vs Greco 0-1121620Miscellaneous GameC40 King's Knight Opening
20. Greco vs NN 1-0101620UnknownC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
21. Greco vs NN 1-0141620Miscellaneous GameC41 Philidor Defense
22. Greco vs NN 1-0151620Miscellaneous GameC23 Bishop's Opening
23. Greco vs NN 1-0201620Miscellaneous GameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
24. NN vs Greco 0-1101620Miscellaneous GameC40 King's Knight Opening
25. Greco vs NN 1-0141620Miscellaneous GameC53 Giuoco Piano
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 79  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Greco wins | Greco loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 12 OF 12 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-05-17  Petrosianic: One sure thing about Joshka, when he makes a mistake, he always doubles down on it rather than being big enough to admit and correct it. (In this case, the mistake being that the database contains 100% of a player's games). It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't make so MANY.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: It must have been mentioned before but recently I've been reading how poor Greco's opponent were.

These games are from the book 'The Chess Games of Greco' by Hoffmann which is misleading as Hoffman himself states these games were made up.

From the preface of Hoffmann's book.

"Of his contests over the board, unhappily, no records remain; but he left to succeeding generations a legacy in the shape of a collection of imaginary games...."

Nowhere in the book does Greco give his name or any other name. It is always 'White' and 'Black.'

He analysed the opening and closed with usually a sparkling finish for effect and was showing us what wonderful things could be done with the chess pieces.

We actually owe him a great deal. His book printed round about 1620 helped keep chess alive and fired the imagination and inspiration of all who read it for a few 100 years.

Jun-30-17  Christoforus Polacco: My opinion is - almost every Greco's brilliancy can be compilation of a few similar games played before against his not too strong oponents who were defeated by phenomenal Calabrese at real games. For example ten years ago my friend made such typical error like NN : 1.e4 e5 2.f4 ef 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 f6 ??? 5.N:g5 and black's position is lost. The same mistakes are cloned by centuries :)
Jun-30-17  Christoforus Polacco: ANNEX. But one real game (or 'compiled' game) can be a source of a few another compositions. For example the real is my game above and black's real answer was : 5.... fg and next white's 6.Qh5+ with fast mate in a few moves. In such situation Greco usual analysed another sensible possibilities : 5....Nh6 6.Qh5+ Ke7 7.Nf7 Qe8 8.Qc5+ d6 9.Q:c7 etc. That analysis could emerge sooner or later at real Greco's game or ... never :) But I suppose Greco played a lot and also had a lot of occasions to test his theory in practice. I think that is the secret of Greco's method and his games agaist NN. We can say - NN is Greco's 'collective opponent' from quite veritable contests.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Joshka> you seem to be the only person on this site who <always> gets this wrong: <...these are all arranged, faked, ect.>

If you mean ect to be "et cetera" then the abbreviation is etc.

If you are referring to electro-convulsive therapy then you have been right all along and I apologise.

Dec-17-17  DarthStapler: Gioachino Greco facts:

- Deep Mind AlphaZero self-destructed when it heard it had to play against Greco

- Greco can mate with a king and two knights vs a king

- Greco can win against a tablebase from a losing position

- Greco once played a blindfold simul against Morphy, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tal, Fischer, Kasparov, and Carlsen, playing with just his king and one pawn against each. He won each game in under 10 moves.

- Greco can perform a triple check

- Greco can play 1. f3 and 2. g4 and still go on to win

- Greco is actually still alive. Death stopped coming for him because he was tired of being wiped off the board like a rank amateur.

Dec-18-17  DarthStapler: More Gioachino Greco facts:

- Some chess players can play blindfolded. Greco can play blindfolded bound and gagged in a straightjacket hanging upside down in a tank of water with 200 kg weights tied to each of his legs, and still escape before Harry Houdini can.

- Steinitz claimed he could give God pawn and moves odds and win. When asked about Greco, though, he fell silent.

- Greco has completed the Knight's Tour on an infinite chessboard. Thrice.

- Greco has never bothered to win the world championship for the same reason that Magnus Carlsen never bothered to win the championship of your local elementary school - too small scale and not worth his time.

- Greco was already at Grandmaster level when he was an embryo

- The first game of chess Greco played was against the doctor who delivered him, seconds after it happened. He won in 4 moves.

- Greco has only been checkmated once. He went on to win the game anyway.

- Greco was unanimously coronated as the God of Chess. As a romantic gesture, he decided to give the title to his then-girlfriend Caissa instead. Today, he still refuses to return her calls, telling her to 'git gud' first.

- Greco can win a game in -1 moves

- Greco can calculate combinations so many moves ahead that the board loops back to its starting position.

- Greco sometimes gives time odds: his opponents have as much time as they want, while he starts with 0 seconds on his clock, with no delay or increment. He always wins anyway.

- Greco is banned from chess puzzle solving competitions since, in the first one he entered, he ended up solving the entire game

- The only one ever to draw Greco was the guy who did the sketch of him in the upper right of this page.

Dec-23-17  DarthStapler: Yet more Gioachino Greco facts:

- The developers of the successful 'Play Magnus' app planned to follow it up with the release of a 'Play Greco' app. However it didn't make it past the focus groups when they discovered that all it consisted of was a single screen reading 'you lose'.

- A major scandal rocked the computer chess world championship recently when one of the engines was accused of consulting Greco for moves

- The usernotes of the old ICC user 'Smile' were actually accurate. What he doesn't tell you, though, is that he was Greco's student, and his teacher considered him a disappointment.

- Greco once played an illegal move. It then became legal.

- Mr. Spock once played a game of three-dimensional chess with Greco. When it was over, the Vulcan decided to take up 1-dimensional chess instead.

- Scientists once tried to program a computer based on Greco's brain. The result is what we commonly refer to as 'God'. Greco still gives it queen odds and wins.

- Greco can win games by sacrificing his king

Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: Hey <Darth>. These belong on the Odd Lie page.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Boy, those Nuns could play a mean game of chess...
Dec-28-17  DarthStapler: And even more Gioachino Greco facts:

- No one ever won a game of chess by resigning. Except for Greco.

- Alekhine once tried to use Alekhine's Gun in a game against Greco. He countered with Greco's Thermonuclear ICBM.

- Greco once published a chess puzzle with a 1500+ move solution that involved white sacrificing all of his pieces, promoting all of his pawns and sacrificing them, and then promoting his last pawn to a knight to deliver a smothered mate to black's king in the middle of the board. When people complained that the puzzle was too complex and could never have been solved in a human lifetime, Greco revealed that he just took it move for move from an ultrabullet game he played the previous night while he was half asleep.

- Greco, like Fischer, once won a tournament with a score of 11-0. The difference is that the tournament Greco played in only had 10 rounds.

- Greco receives a brilliancy prize every time he takes a breath

- NN used to be a famous and world-renowned player until Greco beat him so badly that he erased his name and identity out of shame.

- Greco's opponents kept inventing new types of odds to try to give them a chance against him. Once they got to King and 62 Queens vs. King and still couldn't win, they finally stopped.

Jan-11-18  Christoforus Polacco: <Darth Stapler> You are mistaken Greco with Chuck Norris ;)
Jan-11-18  todicav23: <Darth Stapler> Very good job! We need more facts about Greco.
Jan-26-18  Kaspablanca: <Christoforus Polacco> Chuck Norris and Mcgyver.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Sally Simpson: It must have been mentioned before but recently I've been reading how poor Greco's opponent were.>

Yes, only two of them even owned a pair of shoes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: 'Tis a shame that Gioachino Greco never played Roman Dzindzichashvili

We would have a ready-made pun - Greco - Roman Wrestling!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Joshka,

"...who did Greco learn the game from?"

This link:

Takes you to an 1819 translation of Greco's Games by William Lewis.

Lewis says on page vii that Greco "...accidently learned the game of Chess."

How does one accidently learn the game of chess?

Start moving the P's,R's, B's, Q's and K's from a Scabble set on a checkered table cloth?

There are not enough P's you only get two P's per Scrabble Set.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Have decided to do a proper and correct 'History of Chess.' because most of which has gone on before has been over elaborated and is quite frankly wrong.

It' all started in 1485, Greco picked up the ball roundabout 1620 and we have been running with it ever since.


Apr-15-19  DarthStapler: Some people claim that Greco's 100% win rate in the database is misleading, as we don't have all of his games. They're right - if we did have all of his games on file, his winning percentage would be even higher.
Apr-15-19  DarthStapler: An attempt was once made to calculate Greco's ELO rating. It failed, but they did discover the largest known prime number in the process.
Apr-15-19  DarthStapler: Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe. To Greco, though, it's more of a water droplet.
Apr-15-19  DarthStapler: Modern grandmasters try to memorize opening lines from the top chess engines. The top chess engines try to memorize opening lines from Greco.
Jul-26-19  Chesgambit: Overall 100%
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marcelo Bruno: Von Scheve, in his book "Das Geist des Schach-Spielers" informs that Greco died probably in Brazil.
Mar-10-20  sorrowstealer: The Greco Defence (or McConnell Defense), named after Gioachino Greco (c. 1600 c. 1634), is a chess opening beginning with the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Qf6
Cant find a game here though.

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