Eugene A. Znosko-Borovsky

28 August 1884 - 31 December 1954

This Russian-born chess master took part in the Third Russian National Tournament at Kiev 1903, coming out 6th. At the Fourth National Russian Tournament he took 4th place, and at the Fifth of these tournaments at Lodz he tied 3rd and 4th behind Rubinstein and Alapin. He made his international debut at Ostend 1906, just failing to qualify for the prizes. At Ostend 1907 he scored 15 points to the winner's 19½. In 1913 in St Petersburg, he was the only player to defeat Capablanca in a special tournament where the future World Champion played two games each against Alekhine, Dus-Chotimirsky and Znosko-Borovsky.

He was a soldier in the Russo-Japanese war and the First World War, being wounded in both conflicts. After the Soviet revolution he made his home in Paris. He visited Britain on many occasions, to play in tournaments and give chess exhibitions and lectures. He was a noted literary and theatrical critic, contributing articles to many publications. He was the author of several well received chess books, including The Middle Game in Chess (1922), How Not to Play Chess (1931), and The Art of Chess Combination (1936).

1926 Znosko-Borovsky carried out a major tour of Britain in late 1926. beginning on October 4th, he visited 21 towns, gave 24 simultaneous displays, played 454 games, and gave several lectures. Included in this schedule was a week each at Glasgow and Edinburgh. While in Glasgow he gave the following simultaneous displays:


Nov. 12

Glasgow CC
Nov. 15 Greenock CC
Nov. 16 Bohemian CC (Glw)
Nov. 18 Glasgow Ladies' CC
Nov. 19 Paisley CC



Znosko-Borovsky was invited by Edinburgh Ladies' CC to give a series of lectures at the club. He held three classes daily at the club, discussing openings and middle game concepts.

'His methods, on a scientific basis, opened out new lines of play, the elements of force, time and space being specially insisted on as necessary to a well played game. The classes were very well attended, and aroused great enthusiasm among the members of the Club. Some consultation games were also played. It is believed that this is the only time that a chess master has been engaged for a course of lectures by an Edinburgh Chess Club.'

Source: BCM 1926, p 539 (pagination error); BCM 1927, p 5.

1927 The success of the above tour was so great, with his lectures being particularly appreciated, that Znosko-Borovsky was invited to make another tour of Britain in early 1927. This tour included a week's stay in Glasgow, where he gave two lectures each day in Glasgow CC. He also gave a simultaneous display at the Glasgow Jewish Institute CC, where he won15 games, lost 1, and drew 2.

Source: BCM 1927, p 112.

1930 Another major tour between October and December. Znosko-Borovsky visited the Paisley and Dundee CC's, with the following results:

November 21 - Paisley CC: Won all 22 games in a simultaneous display.
November 22 - Dundee CC: In the afternoon 2 consultation games were played, one against D. Spankie, W.A. Forbes, P. Dickson and F. Morrison, and the other against H.J.M. Thoms, T. Pratt, H. Clare and E. Milne. The master won both. In the evening there was a simultaneous display against 15 opponents, the master playing white and black on alternate boards. He won 13, lost 1 (D. Spankie) and drew 1 (J. Finlayson).

Source: BCM 1931, p 24; The Story of Dundee Chess Club, by Peter W. Walsh (1984).

From Courier and Advertiser, 24 November 1930, p. 5.

1932 On page 43 of The Story of Dundee Chess Club, by Peter W. Walsh (1984), in discussing the 1930 visit, the author states: 'Two years later Znosko-Borovsky visited the club again and engaged in two consultative matches, winning them both. He also gave a simultaneous display against thirteen players, winning 12 of the games and losing only to H.J.M. Thoms. In the evening he gave an instructive lecture on chess openings and their general principles.

1936 The BCM of 1937, p 93, mentions a tour of Britain commencing November 3, 1936, including visits to Dundee and Aberdeen. It does not give detailed information about his appearances in these cities, other than to say that he had a 'clean sheet' at each of them.

1939 On Wednesday, 15 February Znosko-Borovsky gave a simultaneous display at Glasgow Ladies' CC. He played 19 games, winning 18. Mrs Budge secured a draw.

Source: Glasgow Herald chess column of 17 February 1939; BCM 1939, p 164.

Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland