The Chess Prodigy Rodrigo Flores

Edward Winter


Rodrigo Flores (El Ajedrez Americano, December 1927, page 81)

Any future book on chess prodigies will, we hope, pay at least some attention to Rodrigo Flores of Chile, an unjustifiably forgotten player. Incidentally, although his date of birth is given by Jeremy Gaige as 23 August 1913, a feature about him on pages 81-82 of the December 1927 issue of El Ajedrez Americano stated that he was ‘only 12 years old’, whereas an article on pages 539-542 of L’Echiquier, December 1929 gave his birth-date as 23 August 1914.

El Ajedrez Americano published the following two wins by Flores against the then champion of Chile:

Rodrigo Flores – Mariano Castillo
Albin Counter-Gambit

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e5 3 e3 exd4 4 exd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 c5 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 Qb3 Nxd4 8 Nxd4 cxd4 9 Nxd5 Nxd5 10 cxd5 Qe7+ 11 Be2 Bg4 12 f3 Bf5


13 O-O Qxe2 14 Bg5 Bc5 15 Rae1 d3+ 16 Kh1 O-O 17 Rxe2 dxe2 18 Re1 Rae8 19 Qc4 Bf2 20 Rxe2 b5 21 Qxb5 Bd7 22 Qc4 h6 23 Rxf2 hxg5 24 h3 g6 25 f4 Rc8 26 Qd4 Rc1+ 27 Kh2 g4 28 hxg4 Bxg4 29 d6 Rd1 30 Qf6 Re8 31 Qg5 Bd7 32 f5 Ree1 33 fxg6 Rh1+ 34 Kg3 Resigns.


Rodrigo Flores – Mariano Castillo
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 c5 4 dxc5 d4 5 Nb5 Bxc5 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 Bf4 e5 8 Nxe5 Bb4+ 9 c3 Qf6 10 Nc7+ Kf8


11 Nd5 dxc3 12 bxc3 Qxf4 13 Nxf4 Bxc3+ 14 Ke2 Bxe5 15 Nd5 Bxa1 16 Qxa1 Be6 17 Nf4 Nf6 18 Nxe6+ fxe6 19 f3 Ke7 20 Kf2 Rad8 21 Qb1 b6 22 Be2 Rhf8 23 Rd1 e5 24 Rxd8 Rxd8 25 Bb5 Nd4 26 Bc4 Nd7 27 Ke3 g5 28 h4 g4 29 f4 g3 30 Bd5 Rc8 31 fxe5 Nc2+ 32 Kf4 Rc3


33 Qb2 Rc5 34 Kxg3 Ne3 35 Qa3 Nxd5 36 exd5 Nxe5 37 Qxa7+ Nd7 38 Qa3 Kd6 39 Qd3 Nf6 40 Qf5 Nxd5 41 Qxh7 Rc3+ 42 Kh2 Resigns.

The above-mentioned L’Echiquier article gave (in addition to a 1926 consultation game by telegraph in which Flores played alongside Klaus Junge’s father, Otto) the following two games:

Rodrigo Flores – A. Conejeros
Championship of Chile, Valparaiso, 1926
Two Knights’ Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d4 exd4 5 O-O Nxe4 6 Re1 d5 7 Nc3 Be6 8 Nxe4 dxc4 9 Neg5 Qd7


10 Nxf7 Qxf7 11 Ng5 Qf5 12 Nxe6 Kf7 13 Nxd4 Nxd4 14 Qxd4 Bc5 15 Qxc4+ Kf6 16 Be3 Bb6 17 Bxb6 cxb6 18 Re3 Kg6 19 Re6+ Kg5 20 h4+ Kh5 21 Qe2+ Resigns.


The next game, which appeared not only in L’Echiquier but also on pages 54-55 of the February 1928 Deutsche Schachzeitung, was played in the Argentinian capital. Flores accompanied his father on a visit there during the Capablanca v Alekhine world championship match.

Rodrigo Flores – Luis Palau
Buenos Aires, 18 September 1927
Two Knights’ Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d4 exd4 5 O-O d6 6 Nxd4 Be7 7 Nc3 O-O 8 Be3 Ne5 9 Be2 Nfg4 10 Bxg4 Nxg4 11 Qf3 Bf6 12 h3 Bxd4 13 Bxd4 Ne5 14 Qg3 f6 15 f4 Nc6 16 Rad1 Be6


17 e5 fxe5 18 Bxe5 Nxe5 19 fxe5 Rxf1+ 20 Rxf1 d5 21 Ne2 Qd7 22 Nd4 Rf8 23 Rxf8+ Kxf8 24 Nxe6+ Qxe6 25 Qa3+ Kf7 26 Qc3 Qb6+ 27 Kh2 c6 28 e6+ Kg8 29 Qe5 Qd8 30 e7 Qe8 31 Qe6+ Kh8 32 g4 h6 33 h4 d4 34 g5 hxg5 35 hxg5 g6 36 Kg3 b6 37 Kf4 Kg7 38 Qf6+ Kg8 39 Ke5 c5


40 b3 Qb8+ 41 Qd6 Qe8 42 Qd8 Kf7 43 Qxe8+ Kxe8 44 Kf6 b5 45 Kxg6 c4 46 Kf6 Resigns.

L’Echiquier (page 539 of the December 1929 issue) reported that Flores Senior, who had studied at the Sorbonne and was professor of modern languages at Santiago University, had taught Rodrigo how to play chess in 1924. His parents gave him Staunton’s Handbook and subscriptions to L’Echiquier and the BCM, and in 1926 he came fourth in a tournament which brought together Chile’s top nine players. Chéron’s Traité complet became a favourite book.

alekhine flores

Alexander Alekhine and Rodrigo Flores

The prodigy lost two games to Alekhine in simultaneous exhibitions in December 1927. An episode concerning one of them is related on page 155 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves.

From the early 1930s onwards Flores won the Chilean championship many times. He also studied in Germany for several years, before returning home to become a mining engineer (Deutsche Schachzeitung, February 1938, page 59). Subsequently he was ‘a civil engineer and professor of engineering at the University of Chile’ (Chess Review, March 1947, page 6), but it is the early years that interest us here. Can readers supply any other games played by Flores while in his teens?


Rodrigo Flores ( Supplement to L’Echiquier, December 1929)


Christian Sánchez (Rosario, Argentina) notes regarding the Flores v Palau encounter (L’Echiquier, December 1929, pages 541-542) that the Belgian magazine was criticized on page 3 of the January 1930 issue of El Ajedrez Americano for not specifying that it was a skittles game.

Our correspondent adds a feature from Caras y Caretas, 1 October 1927:


Finally, Mr Sánchez draws attention to a posthumous autobiography by Flores (Santiago, 2009), Mis años de ajedrez.


Addition on 8 August 2016: the above link no longer works.

Regarding the game Flores v Palau, Buenos Aires, 1927 (C.N. 7632), page 182 of Mis años de ajedrez refers to our article The Chess Prodigy Rodrigo Flores and states that the game was sent surreptitiously to L’Echiquier by somebody, much to Palau’s annoyance:

‘Una de [mis mejores partidas] es la que jugué contra Luis Palau, en 1927, con ocasión del match Capablanca-Alekhine. La misma que alguien envió subrepticiamente a la revista L’Echiquier, lo que provocó la molestia del maestro argentino que, espero, habrá sabido perdonarme.’



Latest update: 1 May 2022.

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