In conjunction with the London (Vizayanagaram) (1883) minor event, in the late Spring of 1883, 14 chess masters were invited to participate in a double round robin event in London, England (1). Among the attendees were the very best players in the world at that time, including Wilhelm Steinitz, Simon Winawer, Johannes Zukertort, and Joseph Henry Blackburne. The tournament was held from April 26th to June 23rd at Victoria Hall in the Criterion (2). The prize money up for the seven top places was broken down as such: 1st= £250, 2nd= £150, 3rd= £120, 4th= £90, 5th= £70, 6th= £50 and 7th= £25. In addition, a Löwenthal Consolation Prize of £50 was established to be distributed among the players who did not place, applying the Gelbfuhs system. It marked the first time at an international tournament that all the players' expenses would be covered to some degree. Games started promptly at noon and continued until 5pm where a two hour adjournment was held for supper. Then games would resume at 7 and continue until 11pm. The time control for the tournament was 15 moves every hour. A new innovation for measuring the players' time was introduced here, a pair of connected stop-clocks designed by Thomas Bright Wilson (based on advice from Blackburne). The premise behind the clocks was that one player stopped his clock after his move and his opponent's clock would then begin running and vice versa. Among the rules for this tournament, draws had to be replayed either until a decisive result was achieved, or until the third game where any result counted. Draws were scheduled to be replayed on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and only when no pairing conflicts existed. During the first cycle of games, a holiday was permitted to the players in order to attend the Derby. It was during this extra rest day that construction of platforms in the hall commenced so that visitors and spectators could observe the remainder of the games for the tournament. This resulted in over a hundred people attending on June 7th to watch the Steinitz-Zukertort game during the second cycle. Arthur Skipworth abandoned the tournament shortly after the resumption of the second half. His remaining games were forfeited to the opponents, and they have been excluded from this collection. Also of note is the missing replayed draw of Rosenthal and Blackburne's from the second cycle. It was determined by the organizers that since the tournament was continuing on prohibitively and that the game would not affect the standing of either player it was not required to be played. As result, neither player received a score for the game.|
The tournament was a runaway success for Zukertort. In the first twenty-three rounds his score was an astounding (+22 -1 =0)! However, the length and strain of the tournament took its toll on Zukertort and he used opium during the final three rounds to help himself relax, which would contribute to his losses in those games. James Mason held second place at the end of the first cycle of games, but would eventually fall to shared fifth with George Mackenzie and Berthold Englisch. He was replaced at second for the tournament final by Steinitz, followed by Blackburne at third employing a more solid approach, with Mikhail Chigorin taking fourth place. Though Steinitz crushed the weaker opposition, his unusual style of play that had won him Vienna a year earlier, proved inconsistent against the top players here and failed to secure him enough wins to challenge Zukertort for first. Samuel Rosenthal, another strong master who had contested a match with Zukertort three years earlier, fell victim to the tournament's draw policy. He was forced to replay a majority of his games, earning twenty-six decisive results, but through playing 45 games total over 59 days. His one consolation was a brilliancy prize he won for defeating Steinitz in a replayed game. During the prize ceremony at the end of the tournament, a toast was made to the best player in the world. Steinitz, who was crippled at the time, struggled to rise, but Zukertort was already standing and accepting the accolades. A red-faced Steinitz remained in his seat and was forced to endure the applause. Steinitz would prove the better player in his match with Zukertort three years later, a match which would be heralded as the first official world championship of chess. The fact remains, however, that Zukertort was seen by many at the time of this tournament as the best player in the world and some historians even regard the tournament itself as an unofficial world championship in the tradition of London 1851 and London 1862.
The final standings and crosstable:
*This tournament collection could not have been possible without the work of Mark Weeks and others.
1st Zukertort 22 /26 ** 01 11 11 10 11 11 11 11 11 11 10 10 11
2nd Steinitz 19 /26 10 ** 01 00 11 01 11 00 11 11 11 11 11 11
3rd Blackburne 16½/26 00 10 ** 01 00 10 11 1* ½1 01 11 11 11 11
4th Chigorin 16 /26 00 11 10 ** 11 01 01 01 10 10 10 11 10 11
=5th Mackenzie 15½/26 01 00 11 00 ** ½½ 01 01 01 01 11 ½1 11 11
=5th Englisch 15½/26 00 10 01 10 ½½ ** 00 ½1 01 01 11 11 11 11
=5th Mason 15½/26 00 00 00 10 10 11 ** 10 10 11 ½1 11 11 11
8th Rosenthal 14 /26 00 11 0* 10 10 ½0 01 ** ½1 10 01 01 11 11
9th Winawer 13 /26 00 00 ½0 01 10 10 01 ½0 ** 01 10 11 11 11
10th Bird 12 /26 00 00 10 01 10 10 00 01 10 ** 00 11 11 11
11th Noa 9½/26 00 00 00 01 00 00 ½0 10 01 11 ** 01 11 01
12th Sellman 6 /26 01 00 00 00 ½0 00 00 10 00 00 10 ** 11 01
=13th Mortimer 3 /26 01 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ** 01
=13th Skipworth 3 /26 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 10 10 10 **
References: (1) http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lond... , (2) http://www.victoriahall.com/ , (3) Original collection: Game Collection: London 1883, by User: suenteus po 147
| page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 242
| page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 242
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