Oct. 30, 1850 - Jan. 25, 1908
(The Soviet Encyclopedia gives October 31 and
Wikipedia gives November 12 as birth date - it seems that, since
Russia used the Julian calendar until 1918, it was 13 days behind the
Gregorian calendar which had been adopted by most European countries by
1800. Oct. 31 and Nov. 12 are the same day and not a discrepancy )
Tschigorin, born in Gatchina, a city near St. Petersburg, grew up in an
orphanage. After leaving the orphanage, he took a job as a clerk in a
state institution. While he learned the game at age 16, it wasn't until age 23 that he started studying chess
seriously and by age 28 he was the strongest player in Russia. He placed
high in international tournaments and challenged Steinitz for the world
championship in both 1889 and 1892, losing both. In between these two
matches, Tschigorin did defeat Steinitz in two telegraph games
Although he never became World Champion, he contributed to the growth and
development of chess in more tangible ways.
He organized the first All-Russian Tournament.
He developed opening theory beyond what any
before him, or after him have done.
Helped organize the first correspondence chess
tournaments in Russia.
He organized the first inter-scholastic
tournaments in Russia.
He published a regular chess periodical at his own
Many consider Chigorin the founder of the Russian School of Chess.
Emanuel Stepanovich Schiffers
(May 4, 1850 - Dec. 12, 1904 [elsewhere as Nov. 29, 1904])
Schiffers parents immigrated to St. Petersburg from Germany. He
graduated in 1871 with specialties in physical science and
mathematics and, speaking Russian, German, French and English fluently,
became a private tutor. Born the same year as Tschigorin, Schiffers was
the strongest player in Russia from around 1870-1880, having only learned
chess in 1865 at age 15. When Schiffers met Tschigorin in 1873, he could
offer him knight odds. In 1878 Schiffers played Tschigorin two matches
even, losing the first (+3-7=0) but winning the rematch (+7-6=1).
With his loss to Tschigorin in 1880 (+1-5=2), he became the second
strongest Russian chess-player. [He also played matches with Tschigorin in
1879 (+4-7=2), 1895 (+3-7=3) and 1897 (+1-7=6); he won matches against A. Chardin in 1874, F. Amelung in 1877, J. Schmidt in 1877,
Mitropolsky and Simon Alapin in 1879; and lost a match to Steinitz at
Rostov on Don in 1896, losing (+4-6=1)]. At Hastings, 1895, Schiffers came
in 6th out of 22 for his most impressive tournament
Schiffers is remembered more for his teaching and publications than for
his playing, giving the first public chess lecture in Russia in 1889. He
edited chess columns in various St. Petersburg newspapers as well as in
the magazine Niwa and was both publisher and editor of the chess
periodical, Schachmatny Schurnal. His book, Samouchitel
shakhmatnoi igry, was published posthumously in 1906. He was confined
to a St. Petersburg asylum in 1899, suffering from severe depression. In
1904 he received some injuries from a fall and never recovered.
by Rev. G. A. MacDonnell (1830-1899)
No foreign chess player has had
a more distinguished or more successful career in this country than Mr.
Leopold Hoffer. He was born at Buda Pesth, and came to London in 1870, at
that time knowing neither our language nor any of our chess potentates.
The day of his arrival I was introduced to him, and about an hour
afterwards (or more) he was speaking a few words of good English, and
before the lapse of a week he was telling anecdotes and cracking jokes in
our vernacular. A general mental readiness and an overflowing fun in
conversation distinguish Mr. Hoffer.
On his first arrival in this country he "homed" himself at the Westminster
Chess Club, but not long afterwards removed his headquarters to the Divan,
where for many years he held daily levees and administered sparkling
mates. His rapid and brilliant play, coupled with his pleasing manners and
exuberant humor, soon made him a general favorite in the principal chess
circles. For a time he was one of Mr. Steinitz' lieutenants, but as that
gentleman's yoke galled him, he threw it off, and formed a principality of
In 1882 Mr. Walsh offered him the editorship of the Field column,
just then vacated by Mr. Steinitz, and so anxious was Mr. Hoffer to avoid
giving offence to his great rival, that he requested Mr. Walsh to allow
him time to consider the offer and consult Mr. Steinitz about it. He then
approached Mr. Steinitz, and suggested to him to arrange the differences
with the Field, and return to the editorship of the column; but the
Austrian proved himself obdurate and irreconcilable. Mr. Hoffer wisely
accepted Mr. Walsh's offer, and was duly installed as chess editor of the
Field. From that day to the present time (1889) he has discharged
his duties with unswerving fairness, and conspicuous ability.
Simpole Publishing: "Leopold Hoffer was a
Hungarian chess enthusiast who made his home in London. At first a protégé
of the great Steinitz, Hoffer's talents lay in the journalistic rather
then playing area, and he succeeded Steinitz as chess editor of The Field
and later set up his own magazine Chess Monthly. However, a falling out
with his erstwhile mentor led to one of the most bitter disputes of 19th
century chess. With Hoffer and the champion Steinitz each hurling
scatological, scurrilous and scabrous insults at the other with the force
of Jovian thunderbolts, this fracas would doubtless have led to the libel
courts in modern times."]
Mr. Hoffer has also for many years edited the Chess Monthly with
great success, and written capital articles on chess in the Fortnightly
and other magazines. He is a man of tender heart and sympathetic spirit.
No deserving person connected with chess ever seeks in vain for his help
or his advice: and more than one master owes to him the "testimonial" that
has enabled him to baffle disease or triumph over difficulties. Sympathy
is, indeed, one of Mr. Hoffer's chief moral characteristics. A beautiful
thing is sympathy. Nobly did Mohammed exclaim, "Allah might have made us
having no compassion on one another - how had it been then?"
Let me now record one little incident thoroughly illustrative of Mr.
Hoffer's character. When I announced at the Divan the death of Mr. Boden,
Hoffer, with many others, gathered round me and bemoaned our loss. "Oh, I
am very, very sorry," said the Hungarian; and then, stretching out his
hand to me (we had not been very good friends for some time), his eyes
tear-dewed and his voice faltering, he exclaimed, "I think we ought to
shake hands over the poor fellow's grave" - and we did so.
13, 1860- May 1, 1925)
Like so many great chess personalities, Kemény was born in Budapest,
Hungary. He emigrated to the United States in the late 1800's and lived in
various cities (New York, Philadelphia and Chicago) but returned to
Budapest in the early 1900's. He went to work for the Pennsylvania
Railroad in 1893 and at the same time edited and published the American
Chess Weekly in Philadelphia. It was in this paper where he gave his
detailed account of the 1903 Monte Carlo tournament. He would also go on
to edit a chess column in the Philadelphia Public Ledger and in the
North American. A strong player, he was the Philadelphia champion
and the Franklin Chess Club champion from 1892 to 1894. He was
unparalleled as a chess analyst and compared favorably with Steinitz in
His friend, Walter Penn Shipley, described him as "...tall, standing over
six feet in height. Kemény was a genial companion with a keen sense
of humor, well read, spoke several languages fluently and besides being an
able chess player was
passionately fond of good music."
Jules Arnous de Rivière
One of Morphy's most ardent admirers and most frequent
opponents in Europe, Jules Arnous de Rivière was born in Nantes, France. A
publisher by profession, he was also a prolific chess-writer and editor.
He published La Régence chess periodical 1856-1857.
In 1857 he wrote the instructional chess book, Nouveau Manuel illustré
du Jeu des Échecs. Lois et Principes. Classifications des Débuts, Parties
modèles, Fins de Parties, etc. Études et Observations nouvelles.
He also wrote a book on billiards:
He was, at one time, considered the strongest player in France.
His usually accepted record against Morphy indicates Morphy 18,
Rivière 6, drawn 2, Rivière himself, in La Strategie,
November 1880, claimed five wins against Morphy's 10. His most
notable achievement later was the defeat of Tschigorin in 1885 (+5-4-1).
of Jules Arnous de Rivière
Vasily Nikolayevich Panov (Nov. 1, 1906 - Jan.18-1973)
was born in Kozelsk, Russia. When titles were issued by FIDE in 1950, he
was awarded the title of IM. He was a strong played as well as a chess
historian. He wrote a chess column for the Russian newspaper,
Izvestia from 1942 to 1965.
In 1929 he won the Moscow Championship.
A theorist, he
helped develop the Panov Attack
(1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4)
and the Panov-Botvinnik Attack in the Caro-Kann
(1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6).
Fyodor Ivanovich Duz-Khotimirsky (Sept. 26,1879 - Nov. 5, 1965)
Duz-Khotimirsky's greatest claim to fame is that he supposedly introduced
Alekhine in chess. A strong master, he played in five Soviet chess
championships. Between 1900 and 1907 he played in 4 All-Russian
Championship tournaments (his best result was sharing 8th-9th
place in 1907). He won the Kiev title a few times but left that city in
1907 for Moscow after having been arrested 4 times there for his political
activities. In 1908 he drew a match with Frank Marshall (+2-2=2). He beat both Lasker and Rubinstein in their games with him at
St. Petersburg 1909 for which he was awarded a special prize. As with Panov, when titles were issued by FIDE in
1950, he was awarded the title of IM.
Pavel Pavlovich Bobrov (Lashin)
from Bobrov's Obituary
On the 10th of December one of the most prominent chess figures in Russia,
Pavel Pavlovich Bobrov, died of sclerosis of the heart. He was not a bad
player and problemist, however he acquired his fame mainly in
chess-literature and by his organizational role. In 1891 he founded the
journal “Shashechni’tza”, subsequently renamed “Shakhmatnoe
Obozrienie”. Furthermore, P.P. edited chess columns at various times
in “Odesskii Novosti”, “Russkie Viedemostie”, “Utre
Rossii”, “Golos’ Moskvii” and other organs but, of course, it
was in the journal that his deep devotion to chess affairs was most fully
reflected. He managed to attract the participation great forces, to
provide the columns of analysis and problem art appropriate
respectability, P.P. himself was irreplaceable as editor owing to the
literary style and wide knowledge with which each volume of “Shakhmatnoe
Obozrienie” presented a graphic picture of contemporary chess
life, particularly in Russia, and if P. P.’s journal is some day
recognized as unquestionably the best we have ever had published, then it
would be due most of all to its chronicles of Russian chess events, which
in the skillful hands of P. P. became models of thoroughness and interest.
Owing to this quality, P. P.’s journal acquired popularity in the
provinces, introducing a serious interest in chess to a great number
of amateurs, in whom he also awoke a love for chess books and a readiness
to respond to undertakings having a common importance. In this manner P.
P. paved the way for the success enjoyed by the organization of the first
three All-Russian tournaments (1899,1901 and 1903), which were completely
his doing. Side by side with these extensive activities P. P. for a number
of years took close part in the Moscow Chess Club, of which he was
secretary. P. P.’s beloved cause yielded some disappointments; the
excessive costs of printing the journal more than once led to its
suspension, and, consequently, the censure of readers. But all these
failures could not shake in P.P. the hope of a better future and as soon
as the slightest possibility of such appeared, he would undertake his work
with redoubled energy. And what he did succeed in creating deserves the
grateful memory of Russian chess players.
( B.E.Maliutin, in his column in the St. Petersburg paper Ry'ech of
January 6 ,1912 )