Carl Jaenisch

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Carl Jaenisch

Carl Ferdinand von Jaenisch[1][2] (Russian: Карл Андреевич Яниш; Vyborg, April 11, 1813 – Saint Petersburg, March 7, 1872) was a Finnish and Russian chess player and theorist. In the 1840s, he was among the top players in the world.[3]

Life and career[edit]

He began a military career in Finland, but soon moved to Russia to teach rational mechanics in Petersburg (now Saint Petersburg). He dedicated his life to mathematics and chess, two subjects which he considered closely related. He tried to show their connections in his work Découvertes sur le cavalier (aux échecs),[4] published in Petersburg in 1837.

In 1842–43 he published a book on the openings in two volumes: Analyse Nouvelle des ouvertures. In 1862–63 he published his major work: Traité des applications de l'analyse mathématique au jeu des échecs, in three volumes.

He wanted to take part in the London 1851 chess tournament, but arrived late and instead played a match with Howard Staunton, which he lost (+2 –7 =1). Three years later he also lost to Ilya Shumov (+3 –5 =4).[3]


Jaenisch is best remembered for having analyzed and helped develop Petrov's Defence with Alexander Petrov, and for his work on the Schliemann–Jaenisch Gambit of the Ruy Lopez, which begins 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5!? The dubious gambit 1.c4 b5 is sometimes referred to as the Jaenisch Gambit;[5] Jaenisch mentioned this move but did not advocate it.[6]

Staunton was most upset at his death in 1872, writing to Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa in November of that year:

I was sorry to lose Lewis and St. Amant, my dear friends Bolton and Sir T. Madden, and others of whom we have been deprived, but for Jaenisch I entertained a particular affection, and his loss was proportionately painful to me. He was truly an amiable and an upright man.[1]

After Jaenisch's death a scholarship fund in his honor, which survives to this day, was established by his sister[7]

Notable game[edit]

Ilya Shumov vs Carl Friedrich von Jaenisch, St Petersburg (1845), Italian Game, a game later attributed to Pope Leo XIII.


  1. ^ "Finland Baptisms, 1657-1890," database, FamilySearch ( : 7 December 2014), Carl Ferdinand Jaenisch, 20 Apr 1813; citing Church of Finland, ; FHL microfilm 55,715.
  2. ^ An obituary in Deutsche Schachzeitung, September 1872, gives Friedrich as his middle name, and this has been widely copied.
  3. ^ a b Adriano Chicco, Giorgio Porreca: Dizionario enciclopedico degli scacchi, Mursia, Milano 1971
  4. ^ "Découvertes sur le cavalier (aux échecs)". Imprimerie de C. Wienhoeber. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Jaenisch's Chess Preceptor: A New Analysis of the Openings of Games London, 1847 (original in French, 1843), page 29
  7. ^
    "Grundar sig på friherrinna Amalie Boijes (f. Jaenisch) donation 1873 samt testamentdonation 1879. Fonden inrättades till minne av Boijes bror Carl Ferdinand Jaenisch och ur den beviljas stipendier till mindre bemedlade men lovande elever från lyceet i Åbo och Viborg som antagits till universitetet."
    Based on a donation of Baroness Amalie Boijes (nee Jaenisch) in 1873 and bequest in 1879. The Fund was established in memory of Boijes's brother Carl Ferdinand Jaenisch and is for the granting of scholarships to needy but promising students from the lyceums of Turku and Vyborg admitted to the university.

External links[edit]