Sarah's Chess Journal

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         The History and The Culture of Chess

Andrei Davidovich Dadiani
July 2005


Cast  of   Characters


Mikhail Ivanovich Tschigorin (Chigorin)

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 expense.

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 result.
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.


Leopold Hoffer


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 his own.
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.

[According to Hardinge 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.


Emil Kemény  

(January 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 that respect.
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 (1830–1905)

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).

Obituary of Jules Arnous de Rivière



Vasily Nikolayevich Panov (Nov. 1, 1906 - Jan.18-1973)

Panov 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 [19],1912 )



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