M.I. Chigorin Chess Club: St. Petersburg, Russia

04.27.08 Dr. Paul A. Wlodkowski, Associate Professor of Engineering at Maine Maritime Academy, will be giving a series of lectures at the Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy (AMSMA) in St. Petersburg, Russia as part of a faculty exchange with Maine Maritime Academy. On a recent trip to St. Petersburg, Dr. Wlodkowski visited the Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin Chess Club and returned with these images and impressions.

The memorial reads "Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin 1980-1908, Great Russian Chess Player, Founder of the National School, Leading Theoretician, and Organizer of the Chess Movement in Russia."

Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin (also spelled Tchigorin, Tjigorin) was born November 12, 1850, in Gatchina, Russia, and was the first ever Russian grandmaster. He influenced the subsequent Soviet School of Chess, which dominated the world in the latter half of the 20th century. He played two World Championship matches against Wilhelm Steinitz; he lost once in 1889 10.5-6.5, and again in 1892 12.5-10.5. Chigorin has many openings named after him, most notably the Ruy Lopez Chigorin (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5) and Chigorin's defense (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6).

The placard is titled "Chess Champions of Our City." What's notable is that two of the club players went on to win the World Championship. Mikhail Botvinnik is pictured in the first (top) row, fourth from the left, and Boris Spassky is located in the fourth row from the top, fifth from the left.

This is a view of Dr. Wlodkowski in the main hall of the chess club with M.I. Chigorin's portrait hanging in the background.

This is a closer view of Chigorin's portrait.


Thanks Paul for sharing this trip. I enjoyed looking closely at the painting of Tchigorin in the close style of Veronese the painter which I always admired. Roger Morin

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