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Zukertort vs Steinitz 1886
New York / St. Louis / New Orleans

Born in Prague, Wilhelm Steinitz was regarded the best player in the world ever since his victory over Adolf Anderssen in their 1866 match.[1]

 Steinitz and Zukertort, 1886
 Zukertort (left) and Steinitz.
The Polish-Jewish master Johannes Zukertort gained worldwide recognition when he won the international tournament in Paris, 1878. In 1883, he won the international tournament in London, defeating nearly every leading player in the world. Steinitz, who placed second, trailed Zukertort by three full points. After such a commanding performance, Zukertort was considered by many to be the unofficial World Champion.[2]

In 1886 these two great chess minds sat down to play what is now regarded by most chess historians as the first official World Chess Championship. The conditions were that the first player to achieve 10 wins (draws not counting) would be crowned champion. (This method, "first to 10 wins", was to become the center of a controversy almost a hundred years later, when Fischer and FIDE came to an impasse over the World Championship format.)

Steinitz suffered a series of defeats at the beginning of the match, but soon overcame his deficit. In the 20th game, Steinitz played a combination right out of the opening which netted Zukertort's queen, forcing him to resign, ending the match with a score of 10 to 5.

click on a game number to replay game 1234567891011121314151617181920
Zukertort0111100½0½001½½0½000
Steinitz1000011½1½110½½1½111

FINAL SCORE:  Steinitz 10;  Zukertort 5 (5 draws)
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Steinitz-Zukertort 1886]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #19     Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886     0-1
    · Game #1     Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886     0-1
    · Game #9     Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886     0-1

FOOTNOTES
1. Johannes Zukertort article at Wikipedia.com

 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-146 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
2. Steinitz vs Zukertort 0-146 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC47 Four Knights
3. Zukertort vs Steinitz 1-047 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
4. Steinitz vs Zukertort 0-139 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Zukertort vs Steinitz 1-032 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
6. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-061 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
7. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-135 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Steinitz vs Zukertort ½-½22 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
9. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-138 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Steinitz vs Zukertort ½-½21 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
11. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-142 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC49 Four Knights
12. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-044 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
13. Zukertort vs Steinitz 1-086 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Steinitz vs Zukertort ½-½48 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
15. Zukertort vs Steinitz ½-½49 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-049 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
17. Zukertort vs Steinitz ½-½52 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-040 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
19. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-129 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchD53 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-019 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort World Championship MatchC25 Vienna
 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-28-12  AVRO38: <Shams><His taking the bait means you're not a troll?>

Apparently you're just as stupid as Scott Thomson, and that's a tall order!!

Go learn basic reading comprehension and leave blogging to people who have a command of the English language.

Jan-28-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Apparently you're just as stupid as Scott Thomson, and that's a tall order!!>

That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.

<Go learn basic reading comprehension and leave blogging to people who have a command of the English language.>

This site is not a "blog". We are not "blogging" here. Do you have one of those Internet Dictionaries for Grandmothers by your side?

I'll leave you one brilliant retort before you're off to the sandbox. Please don't disappoint me, I'm hoping for something really special here. Dig deep. Pretend you are the Lance Armstrong of trolls, staring up at l'alpe d'huez. That's the frame of mind I need you to be in.

Jan-28-12  King Death: <Shams> You better explain it to <AVRO38>, it's not like you just didn't but this boy's really something.
Jan-28-12  AVRO38: <We are not "blogging" here>

<The word blog is a portmanteau of the words web log. Simply put, a blog is a website with content that is written frequently and added in a chronological order.>

Sounds like a blog to me...Apparently this site is a magnet for really stupid people!!

You say I'm a troll but you keep responding to me!!! If I am a troll, then I'm doing an excellent job of exposing what a bunch of idiots you are by making you jump like a bunch of dogs every time I toss a bone.

Jan-28-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Notice how you're the only one posting responses..LOSER!!>

Interesting. What does that say about the person to whom the response is directed? A self-hating kibitzer maybe?

Jan-28-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <AVRO38> Frankly, I think I deserved a better effort than that. Well, it is what it is. Goodbye.
Jan-28-12  King Death: <twinlark: <Notice how you're the only one posting responses..LOSER!!> Interesting. What does that say about the person to whom the response is directed? A self-hating kibitzer maybe?>

I'd think it would say more about the person who used it than about the target of the abuse. Other than that I agree with your evaluation.

Jan-29-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <KD> we're on the same page. Your interpretation is actually the interpretation I intended, as the response I'm referring to is the one referred to in the bracketed quote rather than the bracketed quote per se.
Jan-29-12  ughaibu: Interesting that Steinitz said "Zukertort, Blackburne and Martínez contested it twice each in Matches". Why are all but one of these not generally considered to be championship matches? If one takes Steinitz seriously about this, then one should accept that he wouldn't have considered himself to be champion had he lost any of these.
Jan-29-12  King Death: <twinlark> Enough said, but I wasn't about to put words in your mouth. Way too much has been said and I'd already put the abuser on ignore.
Jan-29-12  AVRO38: <keypusher><King Death><twinlark><Shams>

Watch the doggies jump...here doggie doggie...

Jan-29-12  AVRO38: Since silence is an admission of defeat, I accept your admission.

How anyone can claim that Wilhelm Steinitz was world champion before 1886 or after 1889 is beyond comprehension. Even the years 1886-1889 is a stretch when you consider the circumstances of the 1886 match.

After Zukertort wiped the floor with Steinitz in New York (+4-1=0) most commentators at the time were predicting a final score of +10-1=0. This is perfectly reasonable considering the strength of the two players. Unfortunately, on the way to St. Louis, Zukertort suffered what we would call a mini-stroke today and asked for a postponement of the match. Nobody expected Steinitz to act honorably under these circumstances, and he didn't disappoint.

Zukertort's stroke on the train to St. Louis is the only reason Steinitz is considered a world champion at all today.

Steinitz was clearly one of the weakest players of the late 19th century, having failed to win a single international competition for over 25 years (1874-1899). He did tie one tournament with Winawer, but failed to win the playoff. I know of no other world champion that lost every international competition he participated in for a 25 year period!

His only success in this 25 year period was in offhand matches that were little more than skittles games. Some matches being played entirely in one day!

Jan-29-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Warning: don't feed the troll.
Jan-29-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <King Death>: Thanks for pointing out the ignore feature!
Jan-29-12  ughaibu: Zukertort didn't need a stroke, it was a miracle that he wasn't 4-1 down after the first five games. He only had two convincing wins in the entire match. What kind of idiots were predicting a 10-1 result? They cant have been chess players.
Jan-30-12  RookFile: I can't imagine anybody predicting 10 to 1.
Jun-10-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: AVRO38's statement "<Steinitz was clearly one of the weakest players of the late 19th century, having failed to win a single international competition for over 25 years (1874-1899)>" is incorrect; refuted by the record.

From 1859, Steinitz's worst tournament was London 1862 (although he was awarded the brilliancy prize for his win over Mongredien), nearly all the rest were first or second places. For example:

1861, Vienna championship, 1st
1862, London championship, 1st
1865, Dublin, 1st-2nd, tied with MacDonnell.
1866, London handicap tournament, 1st
1872, London,1st
1873, Vienna, 1st-2nd, won the tournament after a play-off with Joseph Henry Blackburne.

1882, Vienna, 1st-2nd, tied with Winawer and drew the play-off. 1894, New York championship, 1st
1897, New York, 1st-2nd

As tournament became more frequent at the end of the 19th century, he played succesfully in the following super-tournaments:

1895-6, St Petereberg - 2nd to Lasker
1896 Nuremberg - 6th on 11/18, the winner Lasker scored (13.5) 1898 Vienna 4th, in a very large field and ahead of Schlechter, Chigorin, Burn, Paul Lipke, Maroczy, Alapin, Blackburne, Schiffers, Marco, Showalter, Walbrodt, etc

1898 Cologne, 5th ahead of Schlechter, Showalter, Johann Berger, Janowski and Schiffers

Steinitz's one big failure being his last tournament 1899, London. He was 10-11th.

Jun-10-12  Petrosianic: <AVRO38's statement... is incorrect; refuted by the record.>

Have you guys not figured out yet that AVRO makes mistakes deliberately just to get attention that he couldn't get any other way?

Jun-10-12  AVRO38: <Petrosianic><Chessical><AVRO38's statement "<Steinitz was clearly one of the weakest players of the late 19th century, having failed to win a single international competition for over 25 years (1874-1899)>" is incorrect; refuted by the record.>

You say my statement is refuted by the record and for proof you offer pre-1874 tournaments and a national U.S. tournament in 1897!

I'm still waiting for you to refute the ACTUAL statement that Steinitz "failed to win a single international competition for over 25 years (1874-1899)".

Jun-12-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Petrosianic> You were quite right.
Jun-23-12  King Death: < Chessical: AVRO38's statement "<Steinitz was clearly one of the weakest players of the late 19th century, having failed to win a single international competition for over 25 years (1874-1899)>" is incorrect; refuted by the record...>

Steinitz was one of the weakest players of the late 19th century? Shows what I know, I thought he could really play. Reading this gave me the best laugh I've had in a few days.

Jun-23-12  RookFile: I'm curious. What do you make of Vienna 1882?
Jun-23-12  Open Defence: from the bio

<Tournaments

Steinitz was more adept at winning matches than tournaments in his early years, a factor, which alongside his prolonged absences from competition chess after 1873, may have prevented more widespread recognition of his dominance of chess as world champion until the first “official” world championship match in 1886. Nevertheless, between 1859 and his death in 1900, the only tournament in which he did not win prize money was his final tournament in London in 1899>

Dec-31-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: Did I ever tell anyone that when Steinitz's clock broke he had it fixed in a jewelers called Fatorini's in my hometown?

No? Okay, I'll copy and paste some lengthy articles and post them here later. 👌

Dec-31-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Mark Finan>

<Did I ever tell anyone that when Steinitz's clock broke he had it fixed in a jewelers called Fatorini's in my hometown?>

Are you referring to an earlier <Stenitz> match that was played in England?

This match was played in New York, St. Louis, and New Orleans. Wouldn't your hometown be in England?

There is a broken clock being sent to the jeweler's story from this match, though it might be a different incident then the one you refer to.

<Zukertort's> clock broke during the 3d game in St. Louis: Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886

<"The third game attracted an even larger audience, but was interrupted when <<<Zukertort's clock broke down>>> and refused to tick. While the time-piece was carried to a neighboring jeweler, the two players wandered about and conversed with those who approached them...">

The clock was repaired in time to restart the game, but then it stopped again. Both <Steinitz> and then <Zukertort> shook the clock until it started again, and they were able to finish the game.

-Kurt Landsberger, "Wilhelm Steinitz, Chess Champion." (McFarland 1995), p. 161.

If your story is from a different match, it would be excellent if you gave us more information and a source for it. Sounds intriguing.

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