A Georgian Prince
~ Remembering our friends in the independent country of Georgia. ~
Some of you might already know his name. Most who do generally have preconceptions based more on hearsay than on facts.
Andrei Davidovich Dadiani (b. 1850)
Having learned to play chess as a child from his parents, Dadian learned to really play from Thomas Wilson Barnes (the man with the best record against Morphy) in 1864 in Homberg, Germany where the Dadians and the Barnes were both vacationing. While there, Dadian entered and won his first tournament. In 1867 Dadian played Ignatz Kolisch, one of the strongest players of that time (and who would soon retire from active chess) in Paris.
Besides the tournament in Homberg. Dadian is said to have participated in tournaments at Rome, to have won the Petersburg amateur chess tournament in 1881-1882 as well as placing second in the Kiev city tournament, behind Nikolaev in 1900 and first in the Kiev city tournament in 1904.
Prince Dadian died in Kiev on June 12, 1910.
Those are the basic facts of his chess life, but there is so much more.
Dadian played a sparkling form of chess in the fashion of Anderssen and Morphy. He produced some lovely gems which he was able to have published in La Stratégie magazine and in Steinitz' New York Daily Tribune chess column particularly after enclosing a sizable check. Tschigorin, however, wasn't so enamored with Dadian and analyzed his games in a rather harsh light in his own chess column in the Russian newspaper, Novoe Vremya. Due in part to Tschigorin's criticisms (as well as to a perceived social snub by Tschigorin during a visit to Kiev where Dadian lived for about his last 20 years), Dadian and Tschigorin were on poor terms. This tension exploded when Dadian, who was sponsoring the 1903 Monte Carlo Tournament, effectively banned Tschigorin from participating after he arrived from Russia (while paying his for his time and expenses). Dadian gradually faded from the Chess scene and after his death various accusations began to surface. Among these was that Dadian paid players to lose to him in brilliant fashion. This accusation later morphed into one that claimed he invented his games.
But all indications point to the idea that Dadian was a clever and gifted player who was quite capable of creating his own brilliancies. Proof of this, to me, lies in a consultation game in which Dadian and Emanuel Schiffers played white against C.F. Lebedev and V. N. Yurevich. During this game Dadian insisted on a move that Schiffers vehemently disagreed with. When Dadian insisted, Schiffers left the game, but returned after he calmed down to find that Dadian's move had been brilliantly subtle.
Concerning White's ninth move, Isidor Gunsberg, in the London Daily News, wrote:
The above photograph of Prince Dadian comes from Tengiz Giorgadze's "Ygraet A. Dadian" published by "Soviet Georgia" in Tbilisi, 1972.