Chigorin on Steinitz

Oct 20, 2007, 5:29 PM |


as told by M. S. Evenson  (translated from the original Russian by by WilhelmThe2nd)

     “He is, undoubtedly, a brilliant chess player and, what I respect most of all in him, he highly esteemed chess as an art. But at the same time he personally, when sitting down at a board or writing about chess, is diverted to its scientific treatment. He himself accepts this duality, explaining it by the fact that any art should have a scientific foundation.  Well, perhaps, he is right and that’s it, but in fact if a chess player appearing in competitions, is constantly distracted by thoughts about these foundations then when exactly will he give the same knowledge? The struggles with him across the chessboard forced me endure minutes of the greatest enjoyment, and periods of depression, Steinitz is, undoubtedly, one of greatest chess players who has appeared until now; but I personally do not like his exaggerated dogmatism.  I wanted to demonstrate in my struggles against him that it is possible to oppose his exaggeratedly solid positions with elements more characteristic of art: the personal treatment of a position, intuition,-fantasy, ultimately. This did not succeed for me, at least, it did not succeed completely. Our three matches gave Steinitz 20 points against my 16. But is the whole matter really about points? I consider that Steinitz and I represent simply two different directions in our art. And if it did not sound like an exaggeration, I would have said that he reminds me of Salieri, whereas I would like to be Mozart.”