Speak, Memory! Information is to be added soon - including unique personal memoirs and reminiscences. If you are interested in chess history, we recommend to have a look at a fine Game is Afoot by Terry Crandall: http://www.pstat.ucsb.edu/~carlson/chess/
Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin (1850-1908)
The outstanding Russian chess player, the founder of the Russian school of chess, M. Chigorin, was born in Gatchina on October 31, 1850. His life was hard, also the conditions for developing his talent. Chigorin became an orphan very early. After graduating the orphanage in Gatchina, he became a clerk in one of Petersburg state institutions. He started to study chess seriously only when he was 23. In 1878, when he was 28, Chigorin has become the strongest player in Russia, in several years he achieves excellent results in the international tournaments in Berlin (1881, 3-4th place) and in London (1883, 4th place) where he competed with the best players of the world. The further successes in large international tournaments and his victory over Steinits in the two games match via telegraph has made it possible for Chigorin to struggle for the title of the strongest player of the world. From 1889 to 1892 Chigorin and Steinits played two matches for the World Champion title, though Steinits has won both, the games of Chigorin proved his top level class. His specific feature was a powerful creative fantasy, which was Chigorin's advantage versus his opponents. If Chigorin would not make a rough mistake in the last game of the second match, he would win the match and become the World Champion. Unfortunately, Chigorin underestimated the sport side of chess, therefore his sport results were lower than his creative results.
In 1899 Chigorin organized the 1st All-Russian Chess Tournament, where he won the 1st place and became the Champion of Russia. He also won 2nd and 3rd all-Russia tournaments.
Chigorin's theoretical research, for instance, in the theory of openings, occupy an important place in the history of chess. No one has made such a large input into the theory of openings, as Chigorin did. Many novelties of Chigorin are still actual, and his defense in Ruy Lopes is still one of the most popular openings.
Due to Chigorin, first correspondence chess tournaments took place in Russia; he organized annual student tournaments and matches between the teams of the educational institutions of the city. His magazine "Shakhmatny Listok" published on Chigorin's money, has played an important role in the development of chess. Therefore, due to his activities as a chess organizer and chess writer, we may call him the founder of the Russian school of chess.
Chigorin died on January 25, 1908.