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Pedro Damiano
P Damiano 
Number of games in database: 2
Years covered: 1497 to 1512

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(born 1480, died 1544, 64 years old) Portugal

[what is this?]

Pedro Damiano was a Portuguese chess player, and a pharmacist by trade. He wrote one of the oldest comprehensive chess books, Questo libro e da imparare giocare a scachi et de li partiti published in 1512. In this treatise, Damiano describes the rules of chess, offers advice on strategy, advice for playing blindfold chess, presents a selection of chess problems, and offers some opening analysis.

In the section on opening analysis, Damiano stated that 1.e4 and 1.d4 are the only good first moves, and that 1.e4 is better. He examined the Giuoco Piano, the Petroff Defense, and the Queen's Gambit Accepted. He also asserted that after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 the reply 2...Nc6 is best, and condemned 2...f6 as the worst reasonable defense. In spite of his denunciation of 2...f6, the opening 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 is now known as "Damiano's Defense".

Sources: "Damiano, O Português E A Sua Obra" by Mario Silva Araújo.
English Wikipedia entry for Pedro Damiano - Wikipedia article: Pedro Damiano
Portuguese Wikipedia entry Wikipedia article: Pedro Damiano de Odemira

Last updated: 2018-07-08 23:57:51

 page 1 of 1; 2 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. P Damiano vs NN 1-0141497CasualC42 Petrov Defense
2. P Damiano vs NN 1-0131512analyseC40 King's Knight Opening
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Damiano wins | Damiano loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Isolani> is correct, Pedro Damião (1480-1544), he was actually Portugeuse, although the book was published in Italian, did not recommend the opening. It is another example of someone getting credit or, in this case, the blame for an opening, undeservedly. I don't think any games of his exist. The game listed here was played by Greco:

Greco vs NN, 1620

Feb-21-07  viriol: Indeed, he was portuguese. And his real name was Damião, Damiano is an italian version. In fact, in his book he says this defense is the worst reply for that situation.
Oct-27-07  Chess Carnival: Maybe in 2021 we'll have a Damiano revival.. Who knows?
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: General advice, given in his book <Questo Libro e da imparare giucare a scachi>, published in 1512:

<1. Do not make aimless moves.

<2. Do not play quickly.

<3. Avoid obvious oversights.

<4. Do not play to win a pawn at the cost of weakening your position.

<5. Try to maintain your King pawn and Queen pawn (and, if possible, the two Bishop pawns) on their fourth squares.

<6. When you have a good move, look for a better one."


Figure out how to say this slightly differently in 100 different books for beginners and you will be as rich as . . . Post your suggestion at ahmadov chessforum

Hey, it's summer, let's be nice. :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Damiano's Defence <1.e5 e5 2.Nf3 f6>>

"The name given to this has not helped Damiano's reputation, but the truth is that he wrote that 2...Nc6 was the best reply to 2.Nf3, that 2...d6 was weak, and that 2...f6 was bad.

Ruy Lopez de Segura (1561) named <2...f6> "Damiano's Gambit"; much of his book was devoted to trying to prove that his analysis was better than Damiano's, and the name was part of his negative propaganda."

Hugh Edward Myers, MOB 34 (3q84)

Feb-11-09  felixbb: Alex Magnus said: "First, Lucena lived the same time as Damiano (You can find even a game between the both). "

But where's the game? Can someone write it here please?

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <"In 1997,the chess player and composer Rui de Carvalho Nascimento founded in Lisbon the <Tertúlia Damiano de Odemira>, with the participation of Gabriel Mariz Graça, José Vinagre, Vasco Santos, Mário Silva Araújo, Pedro Silva Araújo, Dagoberto Markl, M.I. Joaquim Durão e António Pedro Vinagre. The 'Tertúlia' sin not exclusivelly dedicated to chess , but also to various themes - cultural, artistical, cientifical or literary.">

Nascimento, born June 14th 1914, a recognized chess composer and author (wikipedia article in portuguese) perhaps the eldest active chess composer. His reminiscences include accounts of his memories on Alekhine's staying in Portugal.

Aug-26-09  Knight13: <In spite of his denouncement of 2...f6, the opening 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 is now known as "Damiano's Defense".> Whoever coined this defense to his name must've hated Damiano to stinkin' heaven. Who the hell wants to be named after a blunder move, especially when he himself has harshly condemned it?
Oct-26-09  Qb6: <<In spite of his denouncement of 2...f6, the opening 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 is now known as "Damiano's Defense".> Whoever coined this defense to his name must've hated Damiano to stinkin' heaven. Who the hell wants to be named after a blunder move, especially when he himself has harshly condemned it?> Uh, isn't 3. ♘xe5 ♕e7 fine for Black?
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: 3.Nxe5 is not the strongest move. 3.Bc4 is.
Oct-26-09  Qb6: I can see that. Face it, if you want to play 3. ... ♕e7 to skewer, why not play 2. ... a6? That doesn't weaken your king position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: In case that somebody would like to do more research on Senhor Damiano: Herewith a (German-language) interview with Senor Araujo who has written a biography on that great chess writer from Portugal, please see , and in case that somebody speaks Spanish, herewith the Spanish-language version of the interview + annex: , apart from that the text seems to be pretty self-explanatory because of the optics. Greetz, Nightsurfer
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: OOPS!! I have got the two links wrong in my foregoing post. The German-language version of the interview with Lisbon-based author Mario Silva Araujo on his biography on Damiano can be found here: , and the Spanish version of that interview can be found here: , sorry, folks!
Sep-02-10  Lil Swine: nobody likes to play the damiano or the phillidor
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: I think Sam Sloan plays the Damiano defense.
Apr-11-11  squaresquat: Qb6: moves like 2...a6 shouldn't even enter your mind; in the opening, you play in the center.
Jun-28-11  bartonlaos: Public Domain:

The origins of Castling-

In 1283, the first Spanish Chess Code was compiled in deference to the wishes of Alphonso X. The manuscript is in the library of the monastery of St. Lorenzo del Escorial. It contains the rules of chess, the rules for playing dice and "tit-tat-to" or Fox and Geese, as well as the rules for playing on a 12x12 board and of a four-handed chess variant known as the "game of the four seasons".

The document contains five drawings, representing the king teaching chess to a noble youth, a Moorish prince playing with an expert, the different chessmen then in use, and the king dictating the rules of dice in the presence of the people. The fifth chapter deals with the invention and rules of the game, and gives a few problems, mostly of an Arabian origin. The resemblance of the game to Shatranj is shown by the remark of the author in the introduction: <"Men are more fond of problems, as they are apt to get tired of the game if played to the end. For this reason dice are employed in order to hasten its progress."> The rules were those used by the Arabians, but the King was allowed to jump once in the game to the third square, in any direction, provided he had not been moved and that he did not leap into check.

Multiple variations of the king's leap existed, some allowing a leap of two or three squares (steps), while others restricted that the king's leap should be executed in the manner of the knight, with allowance if necessary, to simultaneously move a pawn out of the way to provide a space for the king on a single turn. Nevertheless, the King's leap was always considered as an essential part of strategy and given by Damiano in the Gottingen Manuscript (1450) as one of the rules to follow - here added to the list of <whiteshark> above:

< 7. It is especially desirable to place the king in safety by means of a leap to a good square. >

Jul-09-11  bartonlaos: <the king's leap> may be one reason why Chess had to wait so long to advocate the use of the fianchetto. Here is an excerpt from about page 88 of <Lasker's Manual of Chess>:

"The Queen's Fianchetto:

Ancient Openings presumably invented at a time before our rule of Castling was introduced, and when another form of Castling, a jump of the King over two squares was lawful. These were sane rules, and it would have been better if they had not been changed. After that unforunate change, the Fianchetti lost their original purpose of providing a safe square for the King and developing the Rooks. To-day they present a weakness in that they leave the centre of the board in the control of the enemy. True, they do not present targets in the centre either, but a fighter is used to being a target as well as a shot."

Jul-17-11  squaresquat: Damiano's defense is good for strong players to play against rote beginners; it's a good way for lovers to get the game over with.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: Herewith a statue that Odemira has erected in order to commemorate the great son of that city, <Pedro Damiano>:

But the way the artist has depicted Damiano that is fiction, however, since it is not known how Damiano has looked like.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: The notorious <"Damiano's Defense"> has been wrongly attributed to <Pedro Damiano>, since <"Damiano's Defense"> has been assessed by <Pedro Damiano> as being an insufficient defense, please compare the German-language feature <"Damiano war es nicht ...">, herewith the link, and the Spanish-language version of that feature <"No fue Damiano ...">, herewith the link: (for those members of the community here who can speak Spanish, and I think that should be more than those who eventually speak German ... :-) ...).

That very feature is based on an interview with <Mario Silva Araujo> who has published a biography on Damiano, the title: <"Damiano, O Portugues E A Sua Obra">. Herewith the link that leads to a photo that depicts <Damiano>'s biographer <Mario Silva Araujo>:

Aug-02-13  GumboGambit: In a just world 2 Nc6 would be known as the Damiano defense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Damiano actually refuted the defense he is "credited" for. He was a Portuguese Pharmacist- maybe history will record him as a "drug dealer"
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: If he were time-slipped to the present day he'd need just a few minutes to learn the modern moves, rules and opening & endgame theory then he'd be off like a rat-up-a-drainpipe winning game after game after game against these <so-called> super-grandmasters AND he'd do it blindfold and with a time handicap!
Dec-27-14  Oliveira: The Portuguese contribution to chess:

<A book written in Italian by an apothecary>


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