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London Tournament

Johannes Zukertort22/26(+22 -4 =0)[view games]
Wilhelm Steinitz19/26(+19 -7 =0)[view games]
Joseph Henry Blackburne16.5/25(+16 -8 =1)[view games]
Mikhail Chigorin16/26(+16 -10 =0)[view games]
George Henry Mackenzie15.5/26(+14 -9 =3)[view games]
Berthold Englisch15.5/26(+14 -9 =3)[view games]
James Mason15.5/26(+15 -10 =1)[view games]
Samuel Rosenthal14/25(+13 -10 =2)[view games]
Simon Winawer13/26(+12 -12 =2)[view games]
Henry Edward Bird12/26(+12 -14 =0)[view games]
Josef Noa9.5/26(+9 -16 =1)[view games]
Alexander G Sellman6.5/26(+6 -19 =1)[view games]
James Mortimer3/26(+3 -23 =0)[view games]
Arthur Skipworth3/26(+3 -23 =0)[view games]
* Chess Event Description
London (1883)
In conjunction with the London (Vizayanagaram) (1883) minor event, in the late Spring of 1883, fourteen 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 (2) in the Criterion. 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 5 pm where a two hour adjournment was held for supper. Then games would resume at 7 pm and continue until 11 pm. 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.

London, 26 April - 23 June 1883

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 **

Skipworth abandoned the tournament shortly after the resumption of the second half. His remaining games were forfeited to the opponents. 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 (1882), 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).

This tournament collection could not have been possible without the work of Mark Weeks and others.

(1) Wikipedia article: London 1883 chess tournament, (2) http://viewfinder.historicengland.o..., (3) Original collection: Game Collection: London 1883, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 242  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Blackburne vs Sellman ½-½29 1883 LondonC11 French
2. Steinitz vs Winawer 1-052 1883 LondonC25 Vienna
3. A Skipworth vs J Mortimer 1-047 1883 LondonA20 English
4. S Rosenthal vs Bird ½-½47 1883 LondonC44 King's Pawn Game
5. J Noa vs Englisch 0-133 1883 LondonC78 Ruy Lopez
6. J Mason vs Mackenzie 1-052 1883 LondonC50 Giuoco Piano
7. Chigorin vs Zukertort 0-129 1883 LondonC67 Ruy Lopez
8. Steinitz vs Englisch 0-134 1883 LondonC25 Vienna
9. Sellman vs S Rosenthal  ½-½34 1883 LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
10. J Noa vs Chigorin  ½-½59 1883 LondonB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
11. J Mortimer vs Zukertort 0-151 1883 LondonC45 Scotch Game
12. J Mason vs A Skipworth 1-030 1883 LondonC50 Giuoco Piano
13. Blackburne vs Mackenzie  ½-½64 1883 LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
14. Bird vs Winawer ½-½37 1883 LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
15. Winawer vs Bird 0-169 1883 LondonB23 Sicilian, Closed
16. S Rosenthal vs Sellman  0-147 1883 LondonC42 Petrov Defense
17. Mackenzie vs Blackburne 1-068 1883 LondonA13 English
18. Chigorin vs J Noa 1-061 1883 LondonA02 Bird's Opening
19. Winawer vs Sellman  1-038 1883 LondonC49 Four Knights
20. Steinitz vs Chigorin 0-130 1883 LondonC25 Vienna
21. S Rosenthal vs Blackburne  ½-½58 1883 LondonC01 French, Exchange
22. J Mortimer vs J Noa  0-138 1883 LondonC11 French
23. J Mason vs Zukertort 0-173 1883 LondonA13 English
24. Mackenzie vs A Skipworth  1-062 1883 LondonC13 French
25. Bird vs Englisch ½-½44 1883 LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 242  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-16-13  Diademas: I think something went terrible wrong here.
In this (26 round) tournament, some players played 43 games and others 17.

It seems like any game in the base between two of the participants played in London in 1883 has been included.

I suppose someone has spent some time on this work, but this is rather useless.

Jan-16-13  Blunderdome: Why not read the intro?

<draws had to be replayed either until a decisive result was achieved, or until the third game where any result counted.>

Jan-16-13  Diademas: Still does not explain why Skipworth played 17 games. Or why these results are included in the tournament standings.
Jan-16-13  Blunderdome: The standings at the top are just a CG program that tallies the results of all games. If you'd read the intro, you'd see the table with the final standings.

There's also a note on Skipworth in the tournament description: <Arthur Skipworth abandoned the tournament shortly after the resumption of the second half.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This is a great collection from <suenteus po 147>.

Thanks, <PAF>! There's a lot of hard work gone into this!

Premium Chessgames Member
  thomastonk: Can someone tell me the relation of this tournament to the "Victoria Hall Student accomodiation", which is established in the introduction by the link given as source (2)?

The Victoria Hall of the Criterion, where the tournament was held, has also been used for the BCA congress of 1886, and therefore I found the additional information Piccadilly, London. So, it could be this one:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <thomasstonk> The Criterion Theatre And Restaurant at 224 Piccadilly included the <Victoria Hall> and the Grand Hall, on the first floor, which could be rented out. A contemporary photograph of its Edwardian splendour:


The link given in note 2 appears to be to an unconnected student accomodation company.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thomastonk: <Chessical> Thank you for the additional details. My question was a rhetorical one, of course. There are other, less nonsensical mistakes, too. But I'm still concerned with Paris, 1867.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thomastonk: <Chessical> BTW, it's similar to Steinitz-Blackburne (1876): the tournament book is available at Google books (as well as the BCM of 1883; only the Chess Monthly, volume 4 is apparently missing).
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: The opium usage statement definitely needs a reference.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Thanks to Spannard we have this ref: <BCM v08 Aug-Sep 1888 p338>

<So severe a contest as the Tournament of 1883 was not as may be supposed, without its effect upon the winner. Zukertort, who from an early stage had been compelled to sustain himself by terrible doses of aconite, almost broke down at last, and his health, never robust, began to give his friends grave anxiety. The doctors were unanimous in insisting upon the necessity of a thorough rest, and could he have been induced to take this, there is reasonto believe he might have recovered. Rest however, he did not, and much against general advice, started almost immediateely for a playing tour through the United States and Canada.>

More on aconite, aka wolfsbane (or wolf's bane):

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