February 16, 2010
After his parents death he studied at the Gatchina Orphan Institute, where at the age of 16 he learned to play chess. After graduating the Institute he settled in St Petersburg. His first participations in a serious chess event came during the period of 1874/75 at the St Petersburg handicap tournament where he took the third place behind E. Schiffers and Schumov. He gained the fame of the strongest Russian player having won the match with E. Schiffers (+7-3 and +6=2-4), with E. Schmidt in 1879 and with S. Alapin (+7-3). His first participation at an international tournament was in 1881– the 3rd place at the Berlin together with S. Winawer with behind Blackburne and Zukertort.
In 1883 he took the fourth place at the 2-cycled strong tournament at London, having won two matches with Steinitz.
He was the captain of the Petersburg team won at the cable match with London team
At Havana in 1889 he lost the title-match to Steinitz with a score 6½-10½. But following matches confirmed his reputation of the strongest player.
In 1890 he drew matches with Gunsberg and 1893 with Tarrasch. In 1892 he won a match with A. Asharin scored 3-0, in 1892-93 he defeated Solovtsov with a score 4-0, and in 1895 beat Schiffers. The same year he played successfully at Hastings where he was the second the American G. Pillsbury.
In 1892 he met again W. Steinitz in the world title-match and once more Steinitz beat him with the score of 12½-10½. He continued participating to international events and won convincingly the 1896 Budapest contest and the 1903 Vienna tournament, ahead of F. Marshall, G. Marco, G. Pilsbury, G. Maroczy and J. Mieses . Showed good results at Cologne in 1898; being the second and Monte-Carlo in 1901, where he was the third. He did well at Cambridge-Springs in 1904 where he tied at 6th place with Schlechter; in 1906 in Lodz catching the second place and finally in Nuremberg finishing fifth and finally stood last in the famous six-sided masters’ tournament at Ostende 1907 and finally finish among the lowest players at the large 1907 Carlsbad tournament.
His play was characterized by universal style, high technique of the realization of advantages. His contribution to the theory of openings was invaluable let us mention the Evans, Danish and King’s Knight’s Gambits, Spanish Opening and the Slav Defence.
During the period of 1876-1881 Chigorin was the editor of “Skakhmatny Listok”, and later he patronized the publication of two other chess magazines “Shakhmatny Vestnik” 1885-1887, and in 1894 ” Shakhmaty”. He contributed for the best and the prestige of chess in Russia by founding a chess club in St Petersburg, giving lectures in different cities of Russia and writing articles for chess magazines. As the American Chess Bulletin wrote in 1908: ‘A analyst and gentleman, who had done in particular so much for the advancement of the royal game in his own country.’
Chigorin died of diabetes in Lublin, Poland. Elo Historical 2600.