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  WCC Overview
 Steinitz and Tchigorin, 1892
  Cover of Russian chess magazine СТРЕКОЗА.
Steinitz vs Chigorin 1892

In 1892, Wilhelm Steinitz defended his title against his old rival, Mikhail Chigorin. Just as in the the first Steinitz-Chigorin match, this contest took place in Havana, Cuba--and once again, Steinitz emerged triumphant.

The highlight of this match is the biggest shock ending in the history of the Championship. In game #23, Chigorin, a piece ahead, was on the verge of tying the score at 9-9 and sending the match into overtime. Rather than sealing his move, he made it on the board, and in so doing, unprotected his h-pawn allowing Steinitz a mate-in-two that ended the match.[1]

And so, after 23 games Steinitz won his fourth World Championship match, by a score of +10 -8 =5.

click on a game number to replay game 1234567891011121314151617181920212223

FINAL SCORE:  Steinitz 10;  Chigorin 8 (5 draws)
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Steinitz-Chigorin 1892]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #4     Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1892     1-0
    · Game #1     Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1892     1-0
    · Game #23     Chigorin vs Steinitz, 1892     0-1


  1. Graeme Cree, World Chess Championship History Website.

 page 1 of 1; 23 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Chigorin vs Steinitz 1-0311892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
2. Steinitz vs Chigorin ½-½321892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
3. Chigorin vs Steinitz ½-½321892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
4. Steinitz vs Chigorin 1-0281892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
5. Chigorin vs Steinitz ½-½551892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
6. Steinitz vs Chigorin 1-0471892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC59 Two Knights
7. Chigorin vs Steinitz 1-0281892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
8. Steinitz vs Chigorin 0-1241892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC58 Two Knights
9. Chigorin vs Steinitz ½-½341892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
10. Steinitz vs Chigorin 0-1301892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC58 Two Knights
11. Chigorin vs Steinitz 0-1451892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
12. Steinitz vs Chigorin 0-1261892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC59 Two Knights
13. Chigorin vs Steinitz 0-1381892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
14. Steinitz vs Chigorin 1-0331892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
15. Chigorin vs Steinitz 1-0471892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
16. Steinitz vs Chigorin 1-0381892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC77 Ruy Lopez
17. Chigorin vs Steinitz 1-0391892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC52 Evans Gambit
18. Steinitz vs Chigorin 1-0391892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchA04 Reti Opening
19. Chigorin vs Steinitz 1-0321892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC45 Scotch Game
20. Steinitz vs Chigorin 1-0411892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchD05 Queen's Pawn Game
21. Chigorin vs Steinitz ½-½471892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC28 Vienna Game
22. Steinitz vs Chigorin 1-0491892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Chigorin vs Steinitz 0-1321892Steinitz - Chigorin World Championship RematchC34 King's Gambit Accepted
 page 1 of 1; 23 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-12-06  jamesmaskell: How unlucky.
Sep-16-06  Bobak Zahmat: Chigorin was probably getting a little bit nervous. :)
Sep-20-06  percyblakeney: Chigorin had the lead with 1-0, 5-3, 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7 but Steinitz equalised five times and won in the end.
Sep-20-06  capanegra: It is curious that Steinitz chose to play a close opening with White only in the last three games (#18, #20, #22), knowing that Chigorin always felt uncomfortable with such openings. In the three games mentioned, he had very easy victories. Moreover, in their 1889 match, Steinitz played closed in the eight games he had White, and his score was (+7 -1 =0). My presumption is that if he had played close openings in the other games of this match he would have won for a larger margin.
Jun-23-07  Marmot PFL: 5 draws in a 23 game match. Today 5 wins would be more likely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <In game #23, Chigorin, a piece ahead, was on the verge of tying the score at 9-9 and sending the match into overtime. > That overtime was to 3 wins by one of the players.
Feb-28-08  Knight13: <My presumption is that if he had played close openings in the other games of this match he would have won for a larger margin.> Chigorin the Knight Lover hating closed openings? I thought Knights are attracted to closed openings; he should've been happy.
Feb-28-08  Knight13: Steinitz adopted the 6...d6 move against Captain William Davies Evans Gambit instead of moves like ...Qf6 in his previous match against Chigorin, and did well with it!
Premium Chessgames Member

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

Part Six:

Apr-14-11  Tigranny: Couldn't 32.Bb4?? in Game 23 be the greatest blunder ever committed, even more than 34...Qe3?? by Kramnik was? I have it as #1 in my game collection about the top 10 greatest blunders because it cost Chigorin the entire match.
Nov-21-13  Method B: <<Gypsy>That overtime was to 3 wins by one of the players.>>

So this paragraph below was meant only for the 20 game match?

<If it reached a score of nine games each, the match would end in a draw and the defending champion Steinitz would retain the title.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: For the 1892 match, Steinitz reported:

<The following is one of the rules governing the contest: "In case of both players winning nine games all, a match of three games up, draws not counting, shall be played between them, the winner of this match to be declared the victor."> source: New York Daily Tribune, 1892.02.28

I'm not sure where the "a 9-9 tie"="retains the title" came from.

Nov-21-13  Method B: <jnpope> Thanks for the quick response!

The Steinitz-Gunsberg match had a similar clause mentioned on this site's WCC overview article:

<The conditions for this match were: Best of 20 games or 10 wins to win; in the event of a 10 points to 10 points tie, play continues until one player has won 10 games; in the event of a 9 wins to 9 wins tie, Steinitz retains the title.>

Steinitz-Gunsberg World Championship Match (1890)

It seems they assumed Steinitz/Chigorin rematch & Steinitz/Gunsberg match had the same regulations (tie breaking system).

Or the Gunsberg match is incorrect as well?

Nov-21-13  Karpova: Steinitz-Gunsberg:

Winner is the player winning 10 games (draws not counting) with following exceptions: a) in case of 9-9 match is declared as drawn; b) 20 games maximum and if 20 games were played, winner is he who has most wins.

Source: 'International Chess Magazine', November 1890, pages 325-328.

Steinitz-Chigorin 1892:

<The winner of the first ten games, exclusive of draws, will be the victor, and in that respect this match will greatly differ from and will be more of a test than the previous contest between the two players in 1889, and the one between Steinitz and Gunsberg, played in the early part of the present year, in which the number of games were limited to a maximum of twenty. Otherwise, however, the regulations will be the same in the main as in the last-named match, with some alterations to suit the different local conditions and the possible increase in the number of games.>

Source: 'International Chess Magazine', July 1891, pages 200-201.

Both from Edward Winter's <World Chess Championship Rules>:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Steinitz vs Chigorin 1892

A contemporaneous newspaper report of the initial negotiations for the match.


From advices just received from Havana we learn that the following letter has been addressed to Mr. Steinitz by Senor Adolfo Moliner, secretary of the Havana Chess Club. Mr. Steinitz has, it is reported, already opened communications with M. Tschigorin, and it is thought the challenge will accepted:

Havana, April 25th, 1891.

My dear Sir. I have the honour to inform you that your Havana friends are willing to back you against M. Tschigorin, of St.Petersberg, for the sum of $2,000 in gold, as minimum stakes, andl subject to increase for a match of ten games up, draws not counting, to to be played next winter in this city in the months of December and January under the auspices of the Havana Chess Club.

Mr. Enrique Conill guarantees the above sum of $2,000. If, as I hope you will, you accept please enter immediately into negotiations with the Russian master for rules, conditions etc., that are to govern the projected match. The trems with the club will be easily arranged after your acceptancve to play, and will be on the usual basis as heretofore, but subject the discussion any modification proposed by yourself.

Hoping for a favourable answer,
I remain, dear Sir. yours very truly,

Adolfo Moliner.

<Source: "Yorkshire Evening Post", Thursday 21st May 1891, p.4.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <StEINITZ v TSCHIGORIN.>

The Stakes, £400 a side, having been duly deposited, this important match is announced to commence at Havana on Dec. 15th. <(sic)> Considerable interest is evinced in the match among chess players, who are curious to see whether Mr. Steinitz will give another trial to the lines of play which he adopted in the Evans Gambit and Two Knights Defence in his cable watch with Mr. Tschigorin. The enthusiastic Cuban amateurs have once more come forward liberally, and have guaranteed £180 as expenses to Tschigorin, who, travels from St. Petersburg, and £120 to Steinitz, who journeys from New York. The player who first wins ten games, draws not Counting, will be the victor.

<Source: "Liverpool Mercury", Saturday 12th December 1891, p.7.>

It appears that Steinitz left from New York on December 26th.

It is interesting to compare the $2,000/£400 prize with a top boxing purse of the time:

<A telegram from Chicago, dated Saturday, says that "Tommy" Ryan, the Champion Welter-weight Pugilist the World, and "Danny Needham," the ex-champion, are matched for a fight at the Californian Athletic Club for 15,000 dollars a-side, and a purse of 2,000 dollars.>

<Source: "Yorkshire Evening Post", Monday 21st December 1891, p.4.>

Tommy Ryan (1870 – 1948) beat Danny Needham (1867 - 1912) "The Saint Paul Terror" on Tuesday, February 17th 1891 in Minneapolis. The fight was bloody taking five hours/76 rounds!

Feb-26-17  zanzibar: Goodness gracious <CG>, can't you put the exact bracket date for the tournament in the intro?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: "THE CHIGORIN-STEINITZ CHESS CONTEST. (Through Reuters Agency.) ST. PETERSBURG, April 24.

In a recent interview with some St. Petersburg journalists M. Chigorin, the Russian Chess champion furnished an explanation of the causes to which he attributed his recent defeat by Mr. Steinitz at Havana. M. Chigorin stated that the intellectual duel, as he termed his match with the American Champion, had greatly fatigued him, and that during the whole of its duration he had obtained very little sleep. Moreover, Mr. Steinitz, who was of a much less nervous disposition than himself, and who had devoted himself more exclusively to the style of play adopted at the last match, had the inestimable superiority over him of possessing an imperturbable coolness, which enabled him, without being a really stronger player, to take advantage of the least mistakes made by his adversary.

M. Chigorin admitted having played several games rather badly, but ascribed this to the unfavourable influence of a climate to which he was not accustomed. He, however, expressed the hope of being able to defeat Mr. Steinitz in a match which would shortly be played by telegraph between the Russian champion at St. Petersburg and his American competitor at Havana. That match, M. Chigorin said, he would be able to play with the calm necessary for such a contest. Should he afterwards return to America to play, it would only be to the United States, the climate of which was best adapted to his temperament.

In the further course of conversation, M. Chigorin expressed himself highly pleased with the kind hospitality extended to him and his competitor by the Havana Chess Club. He said that at the beginning of the match between himself and Mr. Steinitz, they played four games there a week, and later on three. These games commenced towards two o'clock in the afternoon, and, after a short pause at six o'clock, ended very late in the evening."

<Source:> "London Evening Standard", Tuesday 26th April 1892.

Nov-13-18  The Kingfish: Comparing the WCC of today and recent years with this match, I'm envious because these guys (old timers) played exciting, risky, attacking chess! Look at all those Evan's Gambits! Just a generation later, Capablanca and Alekhine would bore us to death with draw chess. Steinitz and Chigorin were fighting for their chess principles and went all in. It doesn't matter to me that they were much weaker than our current champs.

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