The Prince of Mingrelia, Part I


     A dozen or so years ago I was reading a little book by I.A. Horowitz [although sometimes credited to Francis J. Wellmuth, sometimes to both Horowitz and Wellmuth, sometimes to the Editors of Chess Review] called The Golden Treasury of Chess.  The book is a simple collection of brilliancies categorized by the different ages of chess. In the Romantic Era, Horowitz presented one perfectly lovely game from Prince Dadian of Mingrelia.  I was amazed, first that a prince had played high level chess and second that he was so tactically amazing. I was immediately enamored with Andrei Dadiani. With the help of a friend of mine, I eventually created a fairly large site dedicated to Prince Dadian.
     For a few weeks I've been exploring some old magazines for things I may have missed. That's what this posting's about.

Prince Andrei Dadian of Mingrelia
  Prince Andrei Dadiani of Mingrelia 


 Concerning the time after the Monte Carlo tournaments at the turn of the 20th century, very little has been said about Dadain's activities.  Although he was a brilliant and daring chess player, his position didn't allow him to participate in tournaments. However, his love of chess led him to contribute to the game by sponsoring many events. Even after the Monte Carlo tournaments and the unfortunate incident involving Tschigorin, Dadian is known to have sponsored some events.

     BCM 1905
          A grand Chess Congress will be opened at Barmen on August 12th 
          by the Prince Dadian of Mingrelia, and the fighting will begin on
          the 14th. There will also be an Italian National Congress this year 
          at Florence, President, His Majesty the King of Italy, who will give
          a prize.


     Lasker Magazine August, 1905
          The international tournament at Barmen, Germany, was scheduled 
          to be commenced August 12 and to continue to the 30th. The
          reports at hand indicate a most successful gathering of experts and
          amateurs, the entry list in the minor tournaments aggregating
          sixty-eight while in the two divisions of the master class there are
          thirty-two players. In the A class of the masters, which is limited 
          to players who have won at least two prizes in international
          tournaments or other chess tournaments of importance, the entries
          are:      Alapin, Berger, Burn, Bernstein, Gottschall, Janowski,
           Leonhardt, Marcozy, Marshall, Mieses, Schlechter, Tschigorin, 
          Wolf, Suchting, Bardeleben and John. In the B class, which is 
          limited to sixteen players, eight of the master class who have not
           reached the distinction required for entrance in the A tournament,
           and eight minor players, the entries are; Caro, W. Cohn, 
          Swiderski, Neumann, Lee, Taubenhaus, Przepiorka, Bordenstein,
           Hanin, Spielmann, Leussen, Reggio, Schwan, Salve and Peterson. 
          The prizes for the B class are donated, the first prize being
           contributed by the city of Barmen. The distribution of prizes 
          in the B class is arranged so that of the first six prizes three are 
          for the masters and three for the amateurs, and if the first four 
          are masters the fourth will receive the seventh prize, etc. The
          officers of the Congress include Prince Dadian, patron, A. Molineus,
          president. Among the contributors is Isaac L. Rice.

     American Chess Bulletin, 1908
          Next year, Venice will have an international chess tournament. 
          It is stated ,that the congress will be held under the patronage of
          Prince Dadian of Mingrelia.

     The Chess Weekly, 1908
          Award has been made of the two brilliancy prizes donated by 
          Prince Dadian, of Mingrelia for the finest games played in the 
          recent international masters' tournament, at St. Petersburg. 
          Leo Fleischmann, of Budapest, received the first honor for his 
          victory over S. Tartakower, of Vienna, and Tartakower was made 
          the recipient of the second prize for his win against his townsman, 
          Carl Schlechter.

Very little has been said about Dadian's simultaneous play -
     BMC 1895
          Last winter the Prince Dadian of Mingrelia, played fifteen
          simultaneous games at the Chess Club of Tiflis, and won them all.
          With the officers of a Russian regiment at Odessa he was less
          successful, only winning in a series of games 7 to 3, but there are
          some good players at Odessa, and a club is shortly to be founded

The American Chess Magazine, 1898, put forth this brief biography -
Leaders of European Chess
   One of the greatest lights in the realm of chess brilliancy is the ruler of the little Principality of Mingrelia, in Southern Russia, Prince Dadian. Some of the most ingenious endings that have ever occurred in over the board play have been evolved by him, and his success in matches with strong amateurs and in tournaments in clubs have placed him among the leading amateurs of Europe. None of the biographies give more than the place of his birth, Zongdidi, Mingrelia, Southern Russia. His parents passed several months of the year annually in Paris, and his knowledge of the moves was gained in the French capital during these visits. When the Prince was fourteen years of age he met the English Master Barnes in Paris and a strong friendship sprung up between them. Barnes played many games with the young learner and was surprised at the readiness with which he gained a knowledge of the deeper parts of the game, and predicted a great future in chess for the Prince. During Barnes' stay a tournament was arranged among the amateurs of the hotels, and the Prince won first prize without losing a game. In 1867 Dadian met Kolisch at Homburg. The great master being then fresh from his triumph in the Paris tournament of that year was making a starring tour of the Continent. Many games were played by them at that time and the Prince materially increased his strength.
   In 1873, after completing his studies at Heidelberg, where he showed great natural talent for his studies, mastering six languages, Prince Dadian again took up chess, and in that year encountered several French amateurs with marked success. In 1874, having commenced his career as an officer in the Russian Hussars of the Guard, the Prince met at St. Petersburg the best Russian amateurs and easily vanquished them. He won first prize In two tournaments of the St. Petersburg Chess Club, 1881 and 1882. without losing a game. In matches he was equally successful, defeating a very strong amateur, M. de Marcovan, by 4 to 0 and 2 draws. During a visit to Rome he met the great Italian player. Signer Dubois and contested several games with him with even scores. In 1888, in a match at Tiflis, the Prince defeated M. de Smitten, a strong player, with the excellent score of 7 to 2 and 3 draws.
   As a blindfold player Prince Dadian displays remarkable talent.though opposed to that form of play on account of its tax upon the brain. He has frequently contested three and four games, and displayed the great powers of memory he possesses by dictating the moves of important master gamps under trying circumstances.
We give a few of his endings, which will be found interesting:—