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

 Steinitz and Zukertort, 1886
 Zukertort (left) and Steinitz.
Wilhelm Steinitz was born in Prague, Bohemia (today Czech Republic) in 1836.[1] He dominated the chess world for most of the second half of the 1800s,[2] and beat his strongest active contemporaries in matches: Anderssen - Steinitz (1866), Steinitz - Zukertort (1872) and Steinitz - Blackburne (1876). Steinitz considered his world championship tenure to have started with his win over Adolf Anderssen,[3] although in these matches the title of world champion was probably not officially at stake.[4] In 1882, Steinitz challenged Johannes Zukertort to another match but the negotiations failed.[5] Zukertort was born in Lublin, Poland in 1842,[6] and by the 1870s he had become one of the world's strongest chessplayers.[7] Zukertort scored an overwhelming victory at London (1883) ahead of Steinitz. Contemporaneous periodicals openly questioned Steinitz's superiority.[8] At the end of June 1883, Steinitz again challenged Zukertort to a match, and proposed conditions.[9] Zukertort agreed in principle to the match, but his poor health after his tournament victory did not permit the stress of such a match in the near future.[10]

Steinitz emigrated to the USA in late 1883.[11] The negotiations for a match with Zukertort now dragged on. The main disagreement was location: Steinitz wanted to play in the USA, but not in London, where he had encountered unfairness and hostility.[12] Zukertort, on the other hand, insisted on a match in London, where his financial backers resided.[13] Finally, in mid-1885 Zukertort agreed to a match in the USA and Steinitz agreed to play a return match in London.[14] At first, the preliminary seconds were to be Gustave Simonson for Steinitz and James Innes Minchin for Zukertort, but by the time the match started, Steinitz had chosen Thomas Frere and Zukertort Charles Moehle as their respective seconds. Frère and Minchin went on to conduct the match negotiations.[15] A forfeit deposit of $250 was imposed.[16] Steinitz forwarded the sum at the beginning of December 1885.[17] Zukertort arrived in New York on December 13 but the transmission of his deposit was delayed, so the match began later than originally planned.[18]

The conditions for the first official world chess championship match were signed on December 29, 1885. The stakes were $2,000 a side,[19] with a guarantee of at least $750 to the winner and $500 to the loser.[20] The winner would be the first to win 10 games. In case of 9:9 (draws not counting), the match was to be declared drawn. The time control was 30 moves in 2 hours and then 15 moves in 1 hour. The match was to begin in New York and remain in that venue until one player had scored 4 wins. Then it would move to St. Louis until one player had won 3 games there. The rest of the match was to take place in New Orleans. An umpire for each player was chosen from the chess club hosting the match during each of the three legs. The two umpires supervised the games and settled all disputes. In the case of a disagreement between the umpires, or of a player feeling that an umpire's decision contradicted the rules, the referee had the final say.[19] A change was made in St. Louis that the match would be considered drawn if the score reached 8:8, draws not counting.[21]

The match began on January 11, 1886 [18] in Cartier's Hall, Fifth Avenue, in New York.[22] The New York leg ended January 20, when Zukertort scored 4 consecutive victories after losing the first game. Play was resumed on February 3 in St. Louis.[23] The games were played during the day in the Harmonie Hall and at night in the Chess, Checkers and Whist Club.[24] The umpires were Ben R. Foster for Steinitz and William Duncan for Zukertort.[25] The St. Louis leg ended on February 10 after Steinitz scored 3 wins and a draw.[23] After a rest of almost 2 weeks, the New Orleans leg began on February 26.[26] Charles Francis Buck was the referee. The umpires were Fernand Clairborne for Steinitz and Charles Maurian for Zukertort.[27] Play took place in the New Orleans Chess, Checkers and Whist Club at the corner of Baronne and Canal Street.[28] Carnival activities led to a suspension of the match for a few days.[29] After a draw, Steinitz pulled ahead with 2 wins. Zukertort struck back with a win, but managed only 3 draws and another loss in the next games. Steinitz then went on to win the last 3 games, becoming the first official world champion on March 29, 1886 with a final score of (+10 -5 =5).[23]

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. Jeremy Gaige, Chess Personalia: A Biobibliography, (McFarland 1987, softcover reprint 2005), p. 406
  2. Rod Edwards, Wilhelm Steinitz
  3. Obituary in the New York Times, 14 October 1900, quoting Steinitz from My advertisement to anti-Semites in Vienna and Elsewhere. In Edward Winter, Early Uses of ‘World Chess Champion’
  4. Edward Winter, Early Uses of ‘World Chess Champion’
  5. Kurt Landsberger, William Steinitz - Chess Champion 2d ed. (McFarland 1995), p. 168
  6. Gaige, pp. 481-482
  7. Rod Edwards, Johannes Zukertort
  8. The Chess Player's Chronicle mentions that Zukertort had become champion "in the opinion of some" (18 July 1883, p. 50. In Edward Winter, Early Uses of ‘World Chess Champion’). According to the Cincinnati Commercial, the "indications are that Mr. Z. is the strongest living player" (7 July 1883. Reprinted in Jacques N. Pope, Chess Archaeology, Item 2). The Baltimore Sunday News was quoted as saying that Zukertort was now the acknowledged world champion chessplayer (Newark Sunday Call, 8 July 1883. Reprinted in Jacques N. Pope, Chess Archaeology) and the New York Turf, Field and Farm announced Steinitz's soon to be published match challenge to be a challenge to Zukertort's "title to the championship" (6 July 1883. Reprinted in Jacques N. Pope, Chess Archaeology, Item 1). Johannes von Minckwitz writes, that their rivalry grew more and more acute after the tournament, and a match between them moved closer and closer (Source #cite_15>15, pp. 4-5. Reprinted in Internet Archive). Charles Devide described the tournament as a bitter disappointment and that then all of Steinitz' energies were bent on securing a match (Devidé, A Memorial to William Steinitz, New York and London, 1901, p. 7. Reprinted in Internet Archive).
  9. New York Turf, Field and Farm, 13 July 1883. Reprinted in Jacques N. Pope, Chess Archaeology, Item 1
  10. British Chess Magazine, August-September 1883, pp. 282-283
  11. Landsberger, p. 138
  12. Landsberger, p. 146
  13. Landsberger, p. 145
  14. Landsberger, p. 148
  15. Johannes von Minckwitz, Der Entscheidungskampf zwischen W. Steinitz und J. H. Zukertort um die Meisterschaft der Welt, Leipzig, 1886, pp. 7-8. Reprinted in Internet Archive
  16. Landsberger, p. 150
  17. Nashville Union, 6 December 1885 (originally from the New Orleans Times Democrat). Reprinted in Jacques N. Pope, Chess Archaeology, Item 3
  18. British Chess Magazine, February 1886, p. 69
  19. Chess Monthly, January 1886, pp. 136-137. In Edward Winter's World Chess Championship Rules
  20. Landsberger, p. 150
  21. British Chess Magazine, May 1886, p. 184
  22. British Chess Magazine, February 1886, p. 54
  23. Rod Edwards, Steinitz-Zukertort (1886)
  24. British Chess Magazine, March 1886, p. 116
  25. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 3 February 1886. Reprinted in Jacques N. Pope, Chess Archaeology
  26. Charleston Sunday News, 21 February 1886. Reprinted in Jacques N. Pope, Chess Archaeology, Item 1
  27. British Chess Magazine, April 1886, pp. 139-140 (originally from the New Orleans Times-Democrat, 28 February 1886)
  28. Landsberger, p. 163
  29. Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, 15 March 1886, volume 4, number 6, p. 81. Reprinted in HathiTrust Digital Library

 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1461886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
2. Steinitz vs Zukertort 0-1461886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC45 Scotch Game
3. Zukertort vs Steinitz 1-0471886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
4. Steinitz vs Zukertort 0-1391886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
5. Zukertort vs Steinitz 1-0321886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
6. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0611886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
7. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1351886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
8. Steinitz vs Zukertort ½-½221886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
9. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1381886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
10. Steinitz vs Zukertort ½-½211886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
11. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1421886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC49 Four Knights
12. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0441886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
13. Zukertort vs Steinitz 1-0861886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Steinitz vs Zukertort ½-½481886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC67 Ruy Lopez
15. Zukertort vs Steinitz ½-½491886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0491886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
17. Zukertort vs Steinitz ½-½521886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0401886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
19. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1291886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0191886Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship MatchC25 Vienna
 page 1 of 1; 20 games  PGN Download 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 9 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-23-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <off> I think perhaps the Alekhine--Capablanca (1927) might be included.

It was in Sept, keep in mind, when looking at this graph:

http://chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/Sing...

And also this early 1927 tournament:

New York (1927)

OK, some people might contest "indisputable", but who's to say who's "officially" #1 and #2?

Feb-23-17  Retireborn: I would add the 1974 & 1978 Karpov vs Korchnoi matches as well, although the Fischer fans probably won't agree :)
Feb-23-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Retireborn> Well then using that logic, Steinitz was never number one!! 1.) Morphy and Steinitz were separated by 13 months, which is basically NADA. 2.) Had they played a few games, and then Morphy stopped, one could have a legit argument as to who was better. With Fischer and Karpov, you've got eight years of separation. But seeing how Korchnoi gave Karpov everything he could handle and almost prevailed a couple of times in their matches, it's safe to say Fischer would have been number one at least until 1981..and it's even possible Bobby could have won the 1981 match. But Bobby would and should have been number one until 1981 for sure, IMHO.
Feb-23-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Actually, the case could be made that Fischer--Spassky (1972) wasn't really between the #1 and #2 best players.

Certainly the #1 was there, but the #2, ah, there's the rub:

http://chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/Summ...

Feb-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Lambda: Steinitz-Zukertort.
Lasker-Capablanca.
All the Karpov-Korchnoi/Kasparov matches. (Looking at someone who last played serious chess six years ago and has clearly retired is silly.)

And I think you can make an argument for Kramnik-Anand.

Lasker-Tarrasch deserves to be thought about since absolutely nobody would have disputed it at the time, but we trust statistics more nowadays.

Capablanca-Alekhine happened far too close to Lasker's tournament successes of the mid-20s, since it wasn't clear that he had retired again at the time. (What is anyone doing quoting "Fischer" over Karpov-Korchnoi 1978 but not "Lasker" over Capablanca-Alekhine 1927?)

Nothing in the 50s/60s, the top players were far too closely matched. And Spassky as mentioned was losing his lustre by 1972.

Jan-06-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <CG> this link in the footnotes is stale

fn8 ... <#cite_15>15> ...

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/%3Ci

Jan-06-18  sudoplatov: Edo has for 1908 the following rankings.
1 Lasker, Emanuel 2712
2 Rubinstein, Akiba 2629
3 Schlechter, Carl 2629
4 Dùras, Oldøich 2620
5 Maróczy, Géza 2616
6 Capablanca, José 2594
7 Teichmann, Richard 2590
8 Tarrasch, Siegbert 2588
9 Bernstein, Ossip 2588
10 Vidmar, Milan 2579
11 Marshall, Frank 2556
12 Janowsky, Dawid 2549
13 Nimzowitsch, Aron 2528
14 Leonhardt, Paul 2526
15 Spielmann, Rudolf 2525
16 Tartakover, Saviely 2524
17 Salwe, Georg 2513
18 Perlis, Julius 2508
19 Fleischmann, Léo 2508
20 Mieses, Jacques 2507

Lasker was only #8

Jan-07-18  sudoplatov: Actually, I meant Tarrasch was only #8.
Jan-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <sudoplatov> I like seeing the graphs too...

http://www.edochess.ca/top.graphs/g...

Other years available too:

http://www.edochess.ca/Edo.top.html

Jan-24-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  The Boomerang: "But seeing how Korchnoi gave Karpov everything he could handle and almost prevailed a couple of times in their matches, it's safe to say Fischer would have been number one at least until 1981."

Based on what metric or logic?....didnt Fischer have an even score with Korchnoi?

Didnt Karpov beat spassky 4-1 in the 1974 candidates? Didnt Fischer beat Spassky 7-2 wins in 1972?

Jan-24-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  The Boomerang: It would have been close, Karpov may very well have stopped Fischer, atleast thats what Nigel Short thinks.
Mar-20-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: I think Karpov in the 70s was the best of the bunch but Fischer was in a league of his own. Karpov could barely handle Korchnoi and Korchnoi was a leftover from a different era.
Mar-20-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <blathering pontificator: I think Karpov in the 70s was the best of the bunch but Fischer was in a league of his own....>

During his purple patch of 1970-72, agreed.

<....Karpov could barely handle Korchnoi and Korchnoi was a leftover from a different era.>

This proves that you really need to stick to Rogoff; Korchnoi was at his peak in the late 1970s.

Mar-21-18  FredGambit: I think the logic is that Korchnoi was in his mid to late 40s back when he was the world #2, ergo, pro chess was weak at that time if a guy that old performed that so strongly.

Isn't it possible Korchnoi simply aged better than any other player in history? He was still in the top five back when he was about 60. He won strong events at 70 and 73. He was in the Top 100 in the mid 2000s. Just because virtually every guy pushing 50 falls by the wayside doesn't mean exceptions don't exist.

I guess chess in the late 90s was terrible too since there was a girl in the top 10.

Mar-21-18  Olavi: Korchnoi, far from being <a leftover from a different era.> got clearly stronger in his 40s.
Mar-21-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Big Pawn: < FredGambit: I think the logic is that Korchnoi was in his mid to late 40s back when he was the world #2, ergo, pro chess was weak at that time if a guy that old performed that so strongly.>

In essence that is correct, although I think the word "weak" is inaccurate. There's nothing weak about top level chess in any era by definition. It's top level. But none the less, the top level chess of the late 70s allowed an aging chess player to score well. Even Tal had a resurgence during this period. He suddenly rose up to be #3 in the world again.

http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/...

Regarding Fischer, I think if he had played for another year after winning his championship and had enjoyed the same kind of results he had in 1970-72, his rating would be been 2850.

The other day I was at 2700 chess https://2700chess.com/ and I see that Fischer's last live rating was 2789.7. That would put him in the middle of the pack of the top ten today in 2018. He achieved that rating before all of the rating inflation which makes it even more incredible. Perhaps if he had been playing in the inflated ratings era, his ELO would have been near 3000.

Karpov thinks that he and Fischer were stronger than Carlsen. He also thinks that ratings are way overinflated.

<Karpov: I think both Fischer and I were stronger, but Magnus is still developing and he really knows what he’s doing. His opening repertoire could be more varied and he could also work more, but nevertheless, he has a wonderful memory and his own take on the opening and other issues.>

He goes on to talk a little bit about ratings and rating inflation.

<Ratings are now rising – I haven’t looked into the mathematical formulae for why it’s happening, but it seems to me there’s an issue – since Fischer had 2760 at his peak, and I got to 2730 or 2735, but when I was rated 2720 Korchnoi was second and he was 2670, so there was a 50-point gap. That indicates something, of course, as it does that Fischer, when he reached that peak, was dozens of points – even close to a hundred – above his rivals. That’s significant. But as for ratings having an absolute significance… well, now they’ve got to 2800. In my day I became World Champion when the best chess players had ratings at about 2600, 2700. After Fischer I was the first to reach 2700, but at that time 2650 was a great rating, while now 2650 – perhaps even… no, maybe you still make it into the Top 100 with 2650.

Rating inflation has taken place?

Inflation is obvious, yes. >

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/ka...

I think Karpov deliberately underestimated Fischer's rating when he said he peaked at 2760. I think Fischer's top rating was 2785, as is indicated on his player page Robert James Fischer

Yes, Karpov was about 50 points ahead of Korchnoi, as Karpov pointed out, but Fischer was 120 points ahead of Spassky who was #2 at the time.

Apr-10-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  OrangeTulip: Could it be that Zuckertort after his 4 first wins in a row became too easy in his mind? Like tennis: after winning the first set you are going to think to have the match in the pocket. Chess like tennis is a highly psychological game
Jun-30-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp:
WHICH BEVERAGE?

Wilhelm Steinitz. Austria, so COFFEE.
Emanuel Lasker. German, but TEA.
Jose Raul Capablanca. Certainly COFFEE.
Alexander Alekhine. TEA.
Max Euwe. COFFEE.
Mikhail Botvinnik. TEA.
Vasily Smyslov. TEA.
Mikhail Tal. COFFEE.
Tigran PetrosiaN. COFFEE.
Boris Spassky. TEA.
Robert James Fischer. COFFEE.
Anatoly Karpov. TEA.
Garry Kasparov. TEA.
Vladimir Kramnik. TEA.
Viswanathan Anand. TEA.
Magnus Carlsen. COFFEE.

Jun-30-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: You mean Sachertort COFFEE:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/33111...

Jun-30-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <CHC> yum!

<Offramp> <Alexander Alekhine. TEA.>

Do you mean Long Island Iced TEA?!

Jul-01-18  Retireborn: Irish coffee, I should have thought.
Jul-01-18  ZonszeinP: TEA wins!
Jul-01-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <ZonszeinP: TEA wins!>

Yes! Hooray!!

Jul-01-18  ZonszeinP: I associate tea with well-being at home

Coffee with "hurry up, I'm late for work"

Jul-01-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <ZonszeinP: I associate tea with well-being at home>

You must be thinking of domestici tea, but what about publici tea?

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