USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Loving tribute by chess master's daughter

Mikhail Chigorin (1850 – 1908)

Hello Everyone,

It's always interesting to know what went into the making of a great chess master. How he was as a person beyond all that genius of a mind... Was he emotional? Or was he as clinical in his approach to life as in chess? And so much more.

It was therefore, very interesting to read this English translation of an article by Chigorin's daughter on on the 50th anniversary of her father's death. You can read the article in Russian as part of Alexander Kentler's chess column in the

Mikhail Chigorin (1850 – 1908) was one of the founding fathers of Russian chess, and one of the great contemporaries of players like Steinitz, Lasker and Tarrasch. Little seems to be known, however, about his life outside chess.

Here is an excerpt:

Olga M Kusakova-Chigorina

'My Father, Mikhail Chigorin'

On the 50th anniversary of his death (1908-1958)

"I can only picture my father bent over the chessboard or the writing table, or prancing with measured steps around the rooms with a rhythmical nodding of his head, his gaze focused, almost absent, not noticing anything around him.
Chess combinations would often come to him suddenly. In such situations he could leave his guests at the dining table and go off to his study in order to set up the new arrangement of the pieces on the chessboard. We ended up having to apologise to our guests, but the majority of them were chess players and admirers of my father, so it was taken with good grace and not held against him.

It was worse when the three of us were having lunch, as there would be intervals not only between the dishes served, but also between the first and second spoonful of soup. It was rare for a dinner to pass without pauses. The maid would first be sent to inform him that the food was getting cold, then I’d go, and finally, mother herself. So that dinners often took place in a nervous atmosphere.

My father was very picky about his food, and his greatest praise was the phrase: “Not bad, it’s edible.” The table had to be covered with a pristine white tablecloth and well served. The glass had to be delicate. In the flat there should be cleanliness and order. Our home life took place under the banner “all for chess”. It dominated everything: the apartment had a minimum of three chess tables, while the walls had portraits of Steinitz, Lasker, Pillsbury and other chess masters.

In my father’s study there were two writing tables with piles of papers: letters and clippings from newspapers (the chess section). A glass case contained many books of chess literature. Beside the bed there was a small redwood table carved with the initials “M. Ch”. The postman told the servant: “What a strange master you have, why do they write so much to him?” Once a letter was delivered with the address on the envelope: “Chigorin, Russia” and it turned out that address was sufficient."

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home