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Monday, November 2, 2015

The Chess Playing Golmayos

Who they were:
Celso Golmayo y Zúpide (1820-1898)

Celso (Celsito) Golmayo y de la Torriente (1879-1924)

Manuel Golmayo y de la Torriente (1883-1973)

     Celso Golmayo y Zupide (24 April 1820, Logroño, Spain – 1 April 1898, Havana), was a Spanish–Cuban master. A neat, calm man, he was known for his kindness, but when he sat down to play, it was a different story. Morphy said that Golmayo was one of the few players that he was unable to give the odds of a Knight. One prominent Cuban master of the day wrote of Golmayo that he was the best endgame player in the world. Golmayo played a lot of matches against prominent players of his day, losing most of them, but winning some nice games in the process. His best moment also came in a match he lost...to Blackburne. Golmayo's supporters always regretted that he never dedicated himself more seriously to chess.
     He was generally accepted as Cuban champion since his 1862 match defeat of Felix Sicre and he participated in the famous Paris 1867 tournament where he tied for 7–8th. In matches, he won against Paul Morphy 3-2 at Havana 1864 although it needs to be pointed out that this was a blind simultaneous where Morphy gave odds of a Knight).

In Paris in 1867 he lost a match to Gustav Neumann with a score of 0-3.

He lost twice to Wilhelm Steinitz 2-9 in 1883 and 0-5 in 1888

He twice defeated Andres Clemente Vázquez: 7-0 in 1887 and 7-4 in 1890

He lost three matches to George Henry Mackenzie: 3-6 and 0.5 -5.5 in 1887 and 4.5-7.5 in 1888

In 1891 he lost to Blackburne 4-6

In 1893 he lost to Emanuel Lasker 0.5-2.5

     Celso (Celsito) Golmayo y de la Torriente (1879 in Havana – 22 January 1924 in Seville) was a Cuban–Spanish master. He was the brother of Manuel Golmayo y de la Torriente.  Celsito won the 1897 Cuban championship in Havana after a play-off against Andrés Clemente Vázquez. In that tournament Enrique Ostolaza came third, Juan Corzo fourth and Manuel Golmayo fifth. Golmayo's victory was unusual because national championships were rarely won by teenagers in the 19th century. Edit: According to readers there are no known photos of Celsito.


     Manuel Golmayo y de la Torrienter (12 June 1883, Havana, Cuba – 7 March 1973, Madrid) was a Cuban-Spanish master.  Born into a chess family (father Celso Golmayo Zúpide, elder brother Celso Golmayo Torriente), he was Spanish Champion on numerous occasions (1902, 1912, 1919, 1921, 1927, 1928) and in 1929/30 he lost the title in a match (+1 –4 =2) to Ramón Rey Ardid.
     In 1922, he lost a mini match to Alexander Alekhine (+0 –1 =1) in Madrid. in 1924, he took 8th in first unofficial Chess Olympiad (Championship Final) at Paris 1924 (Hermanis Matisons won). In 1928, he took 4th in the Amateur World Championship in The Hague (Max Euwe won).
     He played for Spain in three official Chess Olympiads: 1927, at first board in 1st Chess Olympiad in London (+2 –4 =9); In 1930, at second board in 3rd Chess Olympiad in Hamburg (+3 –4 =3); In 1931, at first board in 4th Chess Olympiad in Prague (+3 –5 =7).
     In tournaments, he took 6th at Barcelona 1929 (Capablanca won), took 7th at Sitges 1934 (Andor Lilienthal won), took 3rd at Madrid 1934, took 4th at Paris 1938 (Hönlinger won), tied for 9-10th at Barcelona 1946 (Najdorf won), took 6th at Gijon 1948 (Antonio Rico won), tied for 8-9th at Almeria 1948, and won both at Madrid 1947 and Linares 1951. In 1951, FIDE awarded Golmayo the title International Arbiter.
     Manuel was also a strong bridge player and the author of Bridge Contratado, published in Madrid, 1946. Edward Winter's Chess History site has a really nice photo from 1928 that includes Manuel Golmayo de la Torriente, Ion Gudju and many others.

This game features Manual's win against Ion Gudju; I posted Gudju's famous miniature loss to Horowitz a couple of years ago. Perhaps it's about time to post one of his wins! Edward Winter's Chess History site has a very nice 1928 photo of Manuel Golmayo de la Torriente and Gadju along with many other players HERE.

Let me make some comments about the Open Ruy Lopez used in this game. The Open Ruy is an lively defense where Black loosens his position, but it can give him active play. Like any opening, to play it well black must be familiar with the ideas and tactical themes. A few years ago one reviewer of a book on the Open Ruy Lopez commented that for lower-rated players getting into a passive position often leaves them doomed because they don't have the positional skills to hold the game, so he recommended the Open Ruy as a great starter opening. Let me add that it might also be said we lower rated players often are doomed when we get into tactical situations because we don't have the tactical skills to hold the game. So much for hype trying to peddle another opening book.


  1. La segunda imagen que indica Celsito, corresponde a Manuel Golmayo de la Torriente.
    No conozco ninguna imagen de Celso Golmayo de la Torriente.
    Saludos. Joaquim Travesset

  2. A friend of mine ( Joaquim Travesset, see above ) tells - in Spanish - second photo is also from Manuel, not Celsito. Any photo of Celsito is known so far.
    A long article of Golmayo's,in Spanish, can read at

  3. Thanks to both readers for the correction. Trying to locate a photo of Celsito got very confusing and I was aware a couple I looked at were of his father, not him. I finally thought I had one...I guess not. Thanks again.