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Anderssen - Steinitz Match

Wilhelm Steinitz8/14(+8 -6 =0)[view games]
Adolf Anderssen6/14(+6 -8 =0)[view games] Chess Event Description
Anderssen - Steinitz (1866)
Traditionally this match marked the beginning of Steinitz's reign as World Champion, an idea not generally accepted today. Any claim that Anderssen was "World Champion" would have been based on his victory at London (1851) and Paul Morphy 's retirement. While Anderssen had won a major tournament victory at London 1862, he had also lost a number of matches before this one.

At any rate, it did mark an important step in Steinitz's unbroken match dominance that lasted until 1894. This was truly a blood-thirsty affair, with gambits breaking out all over the place, both players enjoying four game winning streaks, and not a single draw.

London, 18 July - 10 August 1866

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 1 Steinitz 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 8 2 Anderssen 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 6

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Anderssen - Steinitz 1866), by User: Benzol.

 page 1 of 1; 14 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Anderssen vs Steinitz 1-036 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC51 Evans Gambit
2. Steinitz vs Anderssen 1-053 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC37 King's Gambit Accepted
3. Anderssen vs Steinitz 0-163 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC51 Evans Gambit
4. Steinitz vs Anderssen 1-043 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC37 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Anderssen vs Steinitz 0-144 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC51 Evans Gambit
6. Steinitz vs Anderssen 0-154 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzB20 Sicilian
7. Anderssen vs Steinitz 1-034 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC51 Evans Gambit
8. Steinitz vs Anderssen 0-124 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC37 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Anderssen vs Steinitz 1-042 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC51 Evans Gambit
10. Steinitz vs Anderssen 1-036 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC37 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Anderssen vs Steinitz 0-143 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC51 Evans Gambit
12. Steinitz vs Anderssen 0-161 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzB20 Sicilian
13. Anderssen vs Steinitz 0-143 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. Steinitz vs Anderssen 1-085 1866 Anderssen - SteinitzC30 King's Gambit Declined
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: "A blood-thirsty affair" indeed! Also, a beginning of Steinitcz's great matches run, which lasted for 28 years!
Sep-08-13  Alpinemaster: There is a question of the legitimacy of this match as the start of Wilhelm Steintz reign as the First Official World Chess Champion...

This match certainly was not an "Official World Championship Match", as no terms were agreed upon that utilized such terminology. However, it is obvious that global opinion during the Steintz-Zukertort World Championship Match of the 1880's was NOT that Steintz was challenger; Zukertort was the man most capable of challenging Steintz, not vice-versa. That opinion, was due in no small part to this match.

So while the Anderssen-Steintz (1866) match may not have cemented Wilhelm Steintz as World Champion, it certainly cemented him as World #1, in a day before any formal rating system could exist.

One thing that may be of note is that Steintz is a far more conservative and modern player in the Zukertort match; this however, was really the start of a new era. In the 1860's, Romantic chess play was the norm and a Youthful Steintz would not have been wise to attempt a groundbreaking style in such a high profile match, as in the event of failure to win, Steintz's career (due greatly to the crippling effect of losing future prospective match/tournament invitations) would likely have never recovered. By the 1880's, after years of global dominance and acknowledgement as World #1, plus the allowance of time to polish his pioneering strategies, Steintz was able to confidently usher the world into the Modern Era of Chess.

Good studies,


Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Winner received 100 and the loser 20.

It hardly seems worth it to lose.

May-12-16  Olavi: According to one converter, 100 in 1866 is appr. $12 100 today. In the Sherlock Holmes story A case of Identity a young lady says that she could live with far less than 60 a year (in the 1890's). I suppose Conan Doyle didn't make that up. So it was something.
May-12-16  AlicesKnight: IN the UK, 100 in the 1860s represented about two years' wages for an unskilled labourer - 1 year for an engineer or similarly skilled person. So no mean sum - <TheFocus> even the loser's purse means something in these terms. Steinitz was known to be poor. NB I don't know about their living costs - any ideas out there?
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Anderssen got crushed by Morphy, but certainly was competitive against Steinitz ( 11 wins, 11 losses ). No draws between Anderssen and Steinitz - I guess both sides took turns going for the throat.
May-13-16  morfishine: <RookFile: Anderssen got crushed by Morphy....> True, Anderssen did not fare so well. But, and all due fairness to Anderssen's shortcomings, this match brought out a side of Morphy we hadn't seen much of: His positional acuity was precise and if nothing else, exemplary


Dec-17-16  The Kings Domain: Fascinating historical match. This is the kind of match that gets the Chess romantic's imagination and sense of wonder going.
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