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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fedor Duz-Khotimirsky

     Duz-Khotimirsky (25 September 1881, Chernihiv – 5 November 1965, Moscow) was a Ukrainian master. And he was awarded the IM title in 1950. See Wikipedia for a complete list of his tournaments and matches. An interesting excerpt about his first meeting with Chigorin taken from his autobiography can be read HERE
     When the 26-year old Duz-Khotimirsky arrived in Carlsbad in 1907 to compete in his first international tournament everybody predicted that he would fare poorly. After all, he didn't even have the master title. Chigorin, who was familiar with Duz-Khotimirsky's play, predicted that people would see for themselves that he a dangerous opponent. 
     Although Duz-Khotimirsky got off to a bad start, he ended up scoring 10 out of 20. Fifty percent may not sound impressive, but it tied him for 11th place with Frank Marshall and he was then recognized as a master. Chigorin himself only managed to tie for 16-18 with 7.5 points. 
     He learned to play chess at the age of 17 and two years later was one of the strongest amateurs in Kiev. In 1903 he competed in the Third All-Russian Tournament and in the same year he won the Kiev City Championship. He played in the Forth and Fifth All-Russian Championships in 1906 and 1907. But it was in two small tournaments in Moscow in 1907 that he demonstrated his prowess. In one of them he finished first ahead of the well known Georg Marco and in the other he obtained a plus score. 
     Professional players had it tough in Russia in those days and even top players like Chigorin and Schiffers had to depend on the whims of rich patrons. When the officials of Russia's chess organizations selected Duz-Khotimirsky for Carlsbad based on his impressive performances, they wished him luck and sent him off to Carlsbad, but gave him no expense money. By the time he arrived he was almost broke and almost starved. Eventually Chigorin and the other Russian masters noticed his predicament and helped him out. This may explain his results.  In the first rounds at Carlsbad he only manged 2.5 points, but in the second half he scored wins over Nimzovich, Salwe, Spielmann, Janowsky, Berger, Mieses, Cohn and Johner. 
     Duz-Khotimirsky was recognized as a brilliant and original master. In St. Petersburg 1909 he defeated Lasker and Rubinstein in sensational style. A serious test for him was in 1910 when he faced Frank Marshal, then at the height of his powers, in a match. The result was a 3-3 tie. 
     After what was known in Russia as the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 Duz-Khotimirsky began promoting chess in Russia by touring the country giving lectures and simuls. He also continued playing in tournaments and as a master of attack, he produced many brilliant combinations that were widely published. He was awarded the title of Honored Master for his extensive work in Soviet Chess. 
     In his later years he headed the Locomotive Sports Society's chess section. He also authored a book of his best games. Duz-Khotimirsky never made any special studies of opening theory, usually following his own ideas, but he did test a number of variations in the K-Indian which was his favorite defense with black. He also, on rare occasions, played the Albin Counter Gambit. 

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