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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Emanuel Schiffers

     Emanuel Schiffers (1850 - 1904) was a Russian player and writer that was for many years the second leading Russian player after Mikhail Chigorin. Schiffers parents emigrated to Russia from from Germany and Shiffers was born and died in Saint Petersburg. 
     He was Russian champion for 10 years before finally being dethroned by his student, Mikhail Chigorin, in 1880. When they first met in 1873, Schiffers was able to offer Chigorin (who also from St. Petersburg) Knight odds, but by 1878 they were on even terms. The two played a total of four matches, Schiffers losing the first by a score of 7-3, but winning the second 7.5-6.5. They later played two more matches with Chigorin winning both. 
     Shiffers played a match at Rostov on Don in 1896 against former World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz, losing 6.5–4.5. He played eight major foreign tournaments with his best result being at Hastings 1895 where he finished sixth, scoring 12-9. In 1899 and 1900/01, he finished second behind Chigorin in the All Russian Masters Tournament, aka the Russian Championship. 
     Known as "Russia's Chess Teacher," in 1889, Schiffers gave the first public lectures on chess theory in Russia at the St Petersburg Chess Association and in other cities. In 1906 he authored Chess Self Taught. According to The Soviet School of Chess by Kotov and Yudovich, Schiffers pointed out in Chess Self Taught that the opinion that the study of theory was detrimental to original play was wrong.  He reminded readers that in any field of knowledge, the duplicated discovery of truths that are already known may be highly interesting and instructive, but duplicating efforts of somebody takes too much time. He also edited a magazine titled Chess Journal
     In its November 1899 edition the Sheffield Independent carried a report that Schiffers had been admitted to the St. Nicholas Asylum in Saint Petersburg shortly after he participated in a tournament in Moscow where he finished in second place. According to the report, shortly after the tournament while on his way back to Saint Petersburg "violent symptoms" manifested themselves. 
     The following game is riddled with tactical blunders, but they make the game more interesting!

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