The Stanley Random Chess Files - No. 5

Essential Reading on Russian GM Victor Seignovich

Last time GM Topov introduced the famous Russian GM Victor Seignovich. In this article he introduces some publications of Seignovich's games, in response to a question from a reader.

In response to last week's article about GM Seignovich, Eopithecus writes:

Have any of his games been published?

Certainly! In addition to the previously mentioned two titles, you should also consider getting hold of Sir Humphry Footscray's unauthorized autobiography entitled "From Humphry to Humpty: Personal Memoirs of My Rise and Fall as a British SR Chess Champion." In chapter five (appropriately called "From Russia Without Love: The Seignovich Mismatch"), Sir Humphry recounts his series of six friendly exhibition games against GM Seignovich, while he was preparing for the British SR Chess Championship title in 1929. The match was sponsored by the Royal British Equine Society, and featured some splendid presentations about pasture management, parasite control and horse handling before each game. Sir Humphry was himself an avid horse lover, although he documents that Seignovich (only 20 at the time) showed more interest in the lovely ladies who were handling the horses than the horses themselves. Seignovich's interest certainly returned when the chess boards appeared, however, because he won the match convincingly with five wins and a draw.

Sir Humphry's book has a complete record of all six games, along with his personal annotations. My favorite is his comment after Seignovich's obscure 4.a4!? in game three. This is now known as the Seignovich Crossfire Opening, with both bishops then being developed in synchronized meter on the third rank, in preparation for a Central Pawn Scissors attack. At the time it was a new move, however, and Sir Humphry remarks: "A genius at work, Seignovich was already thinking Central Pawn Scissors while I was still concentrating on warming up my seat and regretting the fact that I hadn't worn long underwear. The game lasted only another twelve moves, with the Scissors decapitating my short shrift knight on d5 shortly thereafter. Seeing as I couldn't create a twin pawn parrot formation to prevent a unmatched queen autarchy, I resigned with whatever dignity I could muster, and trudged home in disgrace, consoling myself by nursing my remaining pride with a glass of warm milk, a long bath, and a meditative read of the latest proceedings of British parliament." Incomprehensible to most players aside from grandmasters perhaps, but certainly a fitting commentary on Seignovich's brilliance.

SR Chess GM Gregory Topov

GM Topov welcomes feedback from others who are familiar with Seignovich's dashing play.

Posted Tuesday - 2004-03-16 - 11:23:12 EST
by Staff Reporter Verdra H. Ciretop in Toronto
All Rights Unreserved - Loof Lirpa Publishing
Text may be freely copied & redistributed

Article Archive

Hosted by