The Greatest Chess Scoundrel? - Prince Andrey Dadian of Mingrelia vs. Col. Boutourlin, 1883
Is Prince Andrey Dadian a great chess promoter and amateur or the greatest scoundrel in chess history?

The Greatest Chess Scoundrel? - Prince Andrey Dadian of Mingrelia vs. Col. Boutourlin, 1883

SamCopeland
NM SamCopeland
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8

Prince Andrey Dadian of Mingrelia (good name) is one of my favorite historical figures. An actual prince from the actual province of Mingrelia (a part of modern Georgia and not depicted in either "Duck Soup" or the "Princess Diaries"), Dadian was a strong amateur and a wealthy supporter and promoter of chess.

Dadian's published games were invariably brilliant and daring, classics of the romantic era of chess. You can even see a subset of them played against @DanielRensch on April 1st, 2017 when for a brief moment Dadian's spirit conquered the number-one blitz spot on Chess.com.

Later in his life, the legitimacy of Dadian's games were called into question, and his detractors alleged that he had fabricated the games and possibly played his "opponents" to say they had lost these brilliant games against him.

Personally, I am skeptical of this claim, there seems to be clear evidence that Dadian was a strong amateur, capable of playing a brilliant game. At the same time, most of the games strike me as being pretty casual in nature, and I wonder if the players might have allowed takebacks and somewhat mutually contrived to go down the most exciting paths.

Today's game against another enthusiastic amateur, Col. Boutourlin, is an excellent example as 10.Qh5?!? is both great fun quite dubious from a competitive perspective.

For those interested in knowing more about Dadian's life, including his conflicts with the great Chigorin and Duz-Chotimirsky, I HIGHLY recommend @batgirl's fantastic article.

I've included my notes below. One should not view the game too critically given the casual and freewheeling nature of the play, but there are many beautiful variations worth review.

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