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Esteban Canal

Esteban Canal (April 19, 1896 - February 14, 1981) was a leading Peruvian chess player who had his best tournament results in the 1920s and 1930s.

Birth and life

Born in Chiclayo, Peru, he moved to Italy in the 1920s and remained there.

As a chess player

Canal was placed second at Trieste 1923, tied for second at Merano 1926, tenth at Budapest 1929, tied for tenth out of 22 at Carlsbad 1929, tied for seventh at Rohitsch-Sauerbrunn 1929, second at Budapest 1932, tied for fourth at Bad Sliac, first Budapest 1933, fifth at Mähritsch-Ostrau 1933, and tied for first at Reus 1936. After World War II, he was tied for second at Venice 1947, tied for sixth at Bad Gastein 1948, tied for second at Venice 1948, and tied for twelfth at Venice 1949.

Canal had an even record against World Champion Max Euwe. He won in Venice in 1948:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bb4 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 d6 7. Ne2 Bg4 8. c3 Bc5 9. Ng3 Nh5 10. Nf5 Bb6 11. d4 exd4 12. cxd4 d5 13. h3 Bxf5 14. exf5 Nf6 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Be3 Ne4 17. Rc1 Re8 18. g4 Qf6 19. Qa4 Qe7 20. Rfe1 Rad8 21. Rxc6 Rd6 22. Rxd6 Nxd6 23. Qc6 Rb8 24. Qxd5 Qd7 25. Bf4 h6 26. Ne5 Qa4 27. Nc6 Rf8 28. f6 Re8 29. Re7 1-0.

Canal played his most famous game, sometimes called the "Peruvian Immortal", at a simultaneous exhibition in 1934. In just 14 moves he sacrificed both his rooks and his queen to finish with Boden's mate.

National teams

Canal played in one Chess Olympiad, representing Peru on board 1 in 1950 at Dubrovnik. FIDE made him an International Master in 1950 and an honorary Grandmaster in 1977.


He died in Varese, Italy on February 14, 1981.