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Frankfurt Tournament

George Henry Mackenzie15/20(+13 -3 =4)[view games]
Joseph Henry Blackburne13.5/20(+11 -4 =5)[view games]
Max Weiss13.5/20(+9 -2 =9)[view games]
Curt von Bardeleben13/20(+8 -2 =10)[view games]
Johann Nepomuk Berger12/20(+6 -2 =12)[view games]
Siegbert Tarrasch12/20(+11 -7 =2)[view games]
Berthold Englisch11.5/20(+8 -5 =7)[view games]
Louis Paulsen11/20(+10 -8 =2)[view games]
Emil Schallopp11/20(+9 -7 =4)[view games]
Emmanuel Schiffers10/20(+7 -7 =6)[view games]
Semion Alapin9.5/20(+5 -6 =9)[view games]
Amos Burn9.5/20(+9 -10 =1)[view games]
Josef Noa9/20(+7 -9 =4)[view games]
Isidor Gunsberg8.5/20(+5 -8 =7)[view games]
Johannes Metger8.5/20(+3 -6 =11)[view games]
Johannes Zukertort8.5/20(+6 -9 =5)[view games]
Hermann von Gottschall8/20(+6 -10 =4)[view games]
Theodor von Scheve8/20(+6 -10 =4)[view games]
Jean Taubenhaus6.5/20(+4 -11 =5)[view games]
Alexander Fritz6/20(+3 -11 =6)[view games]
Max Harmonist5.5/20(+4 -13 =3)[view games]
* Chess Event Description
Frankfurt (1887)

This was the Fifth German Chess Congress of the Deutschen Schachbund (DSB - German Chess Federation). It took place in Frankfurt am Main, the venue being the Assembly Rooms of the Zoological Gardens. (1) German chess benefitted from the expansion of the economy after 1880, the period known as the "Gründerzeit" (Founding period), when many large and soon to be prominent industrial companies were created, such as Krupp, Stinnes, Hoesch and Thyssen. A period of economic prosperity extending until the First World War provided the means for German chess to stage large international tournaments. For our chess masters, Frankfurt would have been a prosperous and confident city; it had built a new Stock Exchange (1879), an Opera House (1880), and a large new Central Station nearing completion (1888). (2)

The Congress

Using Chessmetrics' data, the Fifth German Chess Congress was the strongest tournament held between 1885 and 1895. (3) With the exceptions of Wilhelm Steinitz (1st) and James Mason (8th), it involved all the top players of the time. (4) The next strongest tournaments in this period were New York (1889) and Bradford (1888). The strength of Frankfurt’s assemblage of masters was not surpassed until Hastings (1895). (5) The tournament comprised a Masters tournament (Meisterturnier), a Major tournament (Hauptturnier), a First Class tournament, a Second Class tournament, and an Open tournament "for participants in the major and minor tournaments". Due to a small number of players, the Hauptturnier was divided into two preliminary groups, Hauptturnier A and Hauptturnier B, the top players of each then progressing into a final "Siegergruppe" (Winning group). There were also Problem Composing and Problem Solving tournaments, as well as consultation games. (6) The Congress was significant as it functioned as the administrative congress for German chess. The financial and bureaucratic issues of developing chess within the German Empire were debated.

The social life of the Congress

Happily, it was not all administration and regulations. There were many social events. Despite a schedule of two games a day on most days, there was also a carefully organized social aspect. "On Thursday, 21st, the unfinished games were played, and Alexander Fritz gave his blindfold exhibition, in which he won 7, drew 2, and lost only one game". (7) "Besides the many entertainments which have been arranged for the participants and visitors to this great gathering of chess players, there will be a blindfold exhibition by one of the German masters, who will play ten games without the sight of board or men. And for the lovers of chess poetry there is provided a Problem and a Solution tourney with prizes. Before the contest begins, a social festival will be held by the players and visitors at the Frankenbräu, Goetheplatz on Saturday, July 16th". (8) "On July 18, in the evening a great banquet was held. The usually unpretentious Congress Room now offered a very different appearance. The numerous small tables where the chess master had spent their days in battle were deployed, and the sobriety of the battle field yielded to the Hall’s festive decoration. The hall was resplendent in festive splendour. Four long, horseshoe shaped tables, with their dazzling white covers; flowers and enticing Mediterranean fruits invited guests to the banquet, while the most beautiful Rhine wines were agents of reconciliation for adversarial minds, and composure for those who had already suffered defeats. They peered out, their coloured caps emerging from the ice buckets wishing to make the further acquaintance of chess players". (9)

Time was also set aside for sightseeing trips: "Saturday the 23rd of July ... In the afternoon: free for the end of the unfinished games. In the evening: Cosy gathering in the Palmengarten or the Forsthaus. Sunday, July 24th. Excursion to the Rhine and the Niederwald. (10) "July 24th, being Sunday no play occurred Instead an excursion was made to Bingen, and in the evening a banquet was held at Frankfort, during which Secretary Zwanzig proposed the health of Johannes Zukertort. In his toast he prominently mentioned the great efforts shown by Z. in the advancements made in chess during the last twenty years, encouraging him to be of good cheer, and not to be disheartened by the suffering caused by his bodily affliction". (11) "Sunday, July 31st. Morning: sightseeing. In the afternoon: an excursion to the countryside around Frankfurt". (12)

The opening of the Congress

It was a prestigious event. "Officially, the Conference was opened on Sunday afternoon 4 pm, in the sumptuously decorated Hall of the Zoological Garden, with a warm, cordial welcoming speech of the President of the local committee, Mr. J. Günther, who gained lively applause from the packed meeting. Matters closed with the draw for the Masters tournament." (13) It was also a tournament of the leading players of the time, dissuading some minor masters from endangering their reputation by participating. "There was a proud number of ear-catching names. Never before had so many standard bearers from all nations flocked to a tournament. Dr. Schmid (Carl Friedrich Schmid), from Blasewitz, who was present, nevertheless preferred not to join in the struggle. Similarly, Johannes Minckwitz and Arnold Schottlaender, both for reasons of health, and in view of the length of the tournament, declined to play ... The two Russian players, as well as Theodor von Scheve had to be put to a ballot of the masters as to whether the provisions of the German Chess Federation allowed them to be admitted to the Masters Tournament ... The other masters, of course, did not hesitate to give their consent, Master Mikhail Chigorin from Petersburg by letter, and Zukertort by announcing it directly. Moreover, they readily agreed to Mr. v. Scheve, in view of his recent and favorable results in particular in German tournaments ... Dr. Josef Noa, who was not yet present, had signalled his impending arrival by telegraph, so that the draw could be readily held. Twenty one masters thus came to gallantly fight." (14)

"The official opening of the tournament was July 17th, but play did not begin until July 18th. The games were played between 9 am and 1 pm, and then after lunch from 4 pm to 8 pm. Alternate afternoons were left for adjourned games to be played out. The rate of play was 20 moves per hour". (15) "Sunday, July 17th. In the afternoon at 4 o'clock: Assembly of the participants in the congress hall in the Zoological Society Garden, issue of the congress tickets, welcoming of the guests, draws for the Master and Major tournaments". (16)

The Major tournament (Hauptturnier)

Johann Hermann Bauer came 2nd in Hauptturnier A and then won the Siegergruppe. This entitled him to participate in the next Meisterturnier. "The Major Tournament was completed on the 27th, Mr. J. H. Bauer winning the first prize of 300 marks and the mastership title .. Mr. Bauer is 26 years old, and has proved to be a strong player only during the last two years. He won the first prize in two local tournaments (Vienna and Prague) in 1885. In the tournament of the Vienna Chess Club of 1886 he won the second prize, and in the tournament of the same club he won first prize in 1887." (17)

The Masters tournament (Meisterturnier)

Each participant had to play all his games. After paying an entrance fee of 25 marks, each made a further deposit of 25 marks (about Ł123/$153 in 2016 values). This was a guarantee to the organizer against defaulting. It would only be returned to them after the completion of all their games. Prizes:

1st prize: 1000 marks
2nd prize: 750 marks
3rd prize: 500 marks
4th prize: 300 marks
5th prize: 200 marks
6th prize: 150 marks

and a special prize "for the most beautiful game" of Ł5, donated by Mr. Frederic Hyman Lewis in London. (18)

"The appearance of the Englishman Amos Burn, an unknown personality in Germany but the winner of two English tournaments, was especially anxious. He had arrived worn out to exhaustion, he had walked from Cologne to Frankfurt (about 172 kms/107 miles e. d.) and could have to walk back. His prospects for success in the tournament, if not now impossible, had thereby deteriorated significantly." (19) "Many are the gallant Knights who have entered the list. There is Louis Paulsen, the bellicose giant; Fritz and v. Scheve, the coming champions; Emil Schallopp, who split his lance in times of old with Adolf Anderssen and Ignatz von Kolisch. He is one of the greatest of blindfold players and a dangerous antagonist, but lacking steadiness which is indispensable to achieve the highest honors in tournament play. Curt v. Bardeleben, the Victor in London (Vizayanagaram) (1883) and Editor of the German Schach-Zeitung. Hermann v. Gottschall, his co-editor the son of the Poet and problem composer. Metger, from Kiel, a chess veteran of more than mere local fame, and Harmonist, one of the most promising Berlin players. Dr. Tarrasch, who came near winning the first prize in the Hamburg Tournament, and who may be better favored by fortune now, and last but not least the genial, but eccentric Arnold Schottlaender. From allied Austria there is Berthold Englisch, the "Great Drawing-Master," one of the strongest players in the world. The renowned Analyzer and Problemist, Prof Johannes Berger, and also Max Weiss, who, easily satisfied with a draw, is dangerous to competitors with higher aims. From Hungaria (sic) the only player is the chivalrous Dr. Noa. He fights for sheer love of conquest. In two tournaments he played in the first round only, being too busy to play in the second, showing that he does not play from pecuniary motives. He is a dashing and brilliant player and some gems may be anticipated. The English contingent is strong both in number and in calibre. Blackburne, the pride of "Haughty Albion," fresh with laurels from his recent victory; Zukertort, who has made the most wonderful record in tournament play in London (1883) and although he had to lower his flag to both Steinitz and Blackburne, he may again force victory to his side. "Mephisto" Gunsberg may repeat his Hamburg triumph, and Amos Burn will, no doubt, prove a formidable opponent, as will Henry Edward Bird and Mason. America is represented by your gallant Capt. Geo. H. Mackenzie. Russia by her second strongest player, Alapine; and by Schiffers. And France by Taubenhaus, who won the brilliancy prize in Hamburg (1885). Since Chess Congresses have been held none has been so important, and it may be safely predicted that in view of the number and the strength of the participants in the present Tournament, it will be the most eminent of all that have yet taken place, not only in Frankfort, nor in Germany alone, but surpassing all that have hitherto been held." (20)

Mackenzie won the first prize of 1000 marks which in 2016 value represents £4,914.00/$6,100. (21) Despite the prestige of the tournament, the prize was modest. For Mackenzie, it gave him $238 dollars (1887 value). As a rough comparison, an American plumber in 1890 would earn about $3.37 a day, so this prize would represent about 71 days of an average plumber's wages. (22) Blackburne and Weiss shared second and third prizes of 750 + 500 marks. Von Bardeleben fourth prize, 300 marks. Berger and Tarrasch shared fifth and sixth prizes of 200 + 150 marks. Englisch seventh prize - 100 marks. Paulsen and Schallopp shared eighth prize of 80 marks. The prizes were awarded on Tuesday evening, August 2. (23) "In the banquet in honor of the victors President Günther proposed the health of the successful masters. Capt. Mackenzie responded to the Toast of the Committee of the Congress, but the sensation of the evening was brought on by Secretary Zwanzig taking the floor and challenging, in the name of the German Chess Association, England to play a Team Match; 30 players on a side, and the match to be played on neutral ground, either in Belgium or in Holland, and to be fought for the glory attending victory, and the intrinsic value of the prizes to be of secondary consideration." (23)

The rounds

1st Round. Monday, July 18, morning. Tarrasch had the bye
2nd round. Monday, July 18, afternoon. Schiffers had the bye
3rd round. Tuesday, July 19, morning. Scallopp had the bye
4th round. Wednesday, July 20, morning. Metger had the bye
5th round. Wednesday, July 20, afternoon. Mackenzie had the bye
6th round. Thursday, July 21, morning. Weiss had the bye
7th round. Friday, July 22, morning. Alapin had the bye
8th round. Friday, July 22, afternoon. Von Scheve had the bye
9th round. Saturday, July 23, morning. Berger had the bye
10th round. Monday, July 25, morning. Noa had the bye
11th round. Monday, July 25, afternoon. Paulsen had the bye
12th round. Tuesday, July 26, morning. Burn had the bye
13th round. Wednesday, July 27, morning. English had the bye
14th round. Wednesday, July 27, afternoon. Taubenhaus had the bye
15th round. Thursday, July 28, morning. Von Bardeleben had the bye
16th round. Friday, July 29, morning. Von Gottschall had the bye
17th round. Friday, July 29, afternoon. Blackburne had the bye
18th round. Saturday, July 30, morning. Zukertort had the bye
19th round. Monday, August 1, morning. Gunsberg had the bye
20th round. Monday, August 1, afternoon. Harmonist had the bye
21st round. Tuesday, August 2, morning. Fritz had the bye (24)

Frankfurt am Main, German Empire, 18 July - 2 August 1887

M B W V B T E P S S A B N G M Z V V T F H 1 Mackenzie * 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 1 15 =2 Blackburne 0 * 1 0 ½ 1 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 0 13½ =2 Weiss ½ 0 * 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 13½ 4 Von Bardeleben ½ 1 0 * ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 13 =5 Berger ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 12 =5 Tarrasch 0 0 0 ½ ½ * 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 12 7 Englisch 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 * 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 0 1 11½ =8 Paulsen 0 1 0 0 ½ 0 1 * 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 11 =8 Schallopp 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 1 0 * 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 0 11 10 Schiffers 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 0 1 * ½ 0 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 10 =11 Alapin 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ * 1 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 9½ =11 Burn 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 * 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 9½ 13 Noa 1 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 ½ 0 * 0 ½ 1 1 0 1 ½ 1 9 =14 Gunsberg 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 1 1 1 * ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 0 8½ =14 Metger 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 0 1 1 0 ½ ½ * 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 8½ =14 Zukertort ½ 0 1 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 * 1 0 1 1 1 8½ =17 Von Gottschall 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 ½ ½ 0 1 0 0 ½ 0 * 1 ½ 1 1 8 =17 Von Scheve 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 0 * 0 1 ½ 8 19 Taubenhaus 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 1 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 * 1 0 6½ 20 Fritz 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 * ½ 6 21 Harmonist 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ * 5½

Progressive scores:

R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 R14 R15 R16 R17 R18 R19 R20 R21 Mackenzie ½ 1½ 2½ 3½ 3½ 4½ 5 6 6 6½ 7½ 8½ 8½ 9½ 10½ 11 12 12 13 14 15 Blackburne 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 7 8 8½ 8½ 9½ 10 10 11 11 11 12 12½ 13 13½ Weiss 0 ½ 1½ 2 2½ 2½ 3½ 4 5 5½ 6½ 6½ 7½ 8½ 9½ 10 11 11 12 12½ 13½ Von Bardeleben 1 2 2½ 3½ 4½ 5 6 6½ 7½ 8 8½ 9 10 10 10 11 11½ 12 12½ 13 13 Berger 1 1 2 3 3½ 4 4½ 5 5 5½ 6 6½ 7 7½ 8½ 8½ 9 9½ 10 11 12 Tarrasch 0 0 0 1 1½ 2½ 2½ 3 3 4 4 5 6 6 7 8 8 9 10 11 12 Englisch 1 2 2½ 3½ 4 5 6 6 7 7½ 8 8 8 9 9 9½ 9½ 9½ 10 10½ 11½ Paulsen 1 1 1 2 3 3 4 4 4½ 5 5 6 6 7 8 9 10 10 10 10 11 Schallopp 0 1 1 1 2 2½ 2½ 3½ 3½ 4 5 6 6 7 7 7½ 7½ 8½ 9½ 10 11 Schiffers ½ ½ ½ 1 2 2 2 2 2½ 3½ 4½ 4½ 5½ 5½ 6 7 7 8 8½ 9 10 Alapin 1 1½ 2½ 2½ 2½ 2½ 2½ 3 3½ 4 4½ 4½ 4½ 5½ 6 6 6½ 7 7½ 8½ 9½ Burn 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1½ 2½ 3½ 3½ 4½ 5½ 5½ 6½ 6½ 7½ 8½ 9½ 9½ 9½ 9½ 9½ Noa 0 0 0 0 ½ 1½ 2 2½ 2½ 2½ 2½ 3½ 4½ 5½ 6½ 6½ 7½ 8½ 9 9 9 Gunsberg ½ 1 1 2 3 3½ 4½ 5 5 5 5 5 6 6½ 6½ 7 7½ 7½ 7½ 8½ 8½ Metger ½ 1 2 2 2½ 2½ 3 3 3½ 4 4 4½ 4½ 4½ 4½ 5½ 6 7 7½ 8 8½ Zukertort ½ 1 1 1 1½ 2 2 2½ 3½ 3½ 4½ 5½ 5½ 5½ 5½ 6½ 7½ 7½ 8½ 8½ 8½ Von Gottschall 0 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3½ 4 4 5 5 6 6½ 6½ 6½ 7½ 7½ 8 8 Von Scheve 0 0 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5½ 5½ 6 6 6½ 7 8 8 Taubenhaus 0 1 1½ 1½ 1½ 2 3 4 4½ 5 6 6 6 6 6½ 6½ 6½ 6½ 6½ 6½ 6½ Fritz ½ 1 1 1 1½ 1½ 1 1½ 1½ 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5½ 6 6 6 Harmonist 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 3½ 3½ 4 4 4½ 4½ 4½ 5½ 5½ 5½ 5½ 5½

71% of the games were decisive. White won 42% of the games, 30% were drawn and Black won 28%. Tarrasch's score is notable in that after a very poor start, he played with great determination to come in with the second highest tally of wins (11) along with Blackburne. His losses meant that he could only secure a shared of 5th place. Similarly, Paulsen with 10 wins and 8 losses could only come in to share 8th place. Outside of the prize list, Burn had 9 wins but 10 losses.


The openings were predominantly King-Pawn, the most popular variations being:

Played in 12 games: Ruy Lopez (c77)
Played in 10 games: Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense (c65), Vienna (c25), French, Classical (c14)
Played in 7 games: French, Exchange (c01), Four Knights (c47)
Played in 6 games: Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto (B34), Queen's Pawn Game (D05)


This represents an analysis using SCID (25) of the recorded games:

Same side castling - 61%
Opposite side castling - 10%
Kingside pawn storm - 9%
Queen exchanged - 51%
Only one side has bishop pair - 7%
White isolated Queen pawn - 6%
Black isolated Queen Pawn - 12%
White pawn on 5/6/7/th rank - 54%
Black pawn on 5/6/7/th rank - 37%
Open c/d/e/ file - 44%

Shortest games (excluding draws)

Harmonist vs Englisch 0-1 (15) 6th round Harmonist vs Burn 0-1 (18) 18th round Tarrasch vs Zukertort 1-0 (17) 21st round Metger vs Mackenzie 0-1 (19) 15th round Paulsen vs Schallopp 1-0 (19) 7th round Burn vs Zukertort 1-0 (19) 15th round

Whereas the longest game was Paulsen vs Burn 1-0 (99) in the 1st round.

Missing games

The tournament book by Von Gottschall is incomplete. It states that various unspecified issues had delayed its timely publication. The following seven games are missing without explanation:

Burn vs Blackburne 0-1 4th round Englisch vs Tarrasch 0-1 7th round Metger vs Taubenhaus ½-½ 9th round Weiss vs Von Gottschall 1-0 11th round Harmonist vs Von Scheve ½-½ 14th round Noa vs Harmonist 1-0 15th round Blackburne vs Schiffers ½-½ 20th round

A fragment of Burn vs Blackburne (4th round) has been preserved in contemporary publications:

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41...g4 42.Rfc2 g3 43.h3 Kxf5 44.Rb5 g5 45.Kg2 Rxh3 46.Kg1 Rh6 47.c5 Be5 48.Rc4 Bf4 49.Rb3 e3 50.d6 Rch8 51.Bg2 e2 52.Re4 Rh1+ 53.Bxh1 0-1 (26)

Highlights of each round

1st Round
In a winning position, Schallopp panicked himself into playing

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28.Rfe2?, believing he was in danger of being mated by Harmonist. Instead, after 28.Rf3 Rh1+ 29.Kf2 Rxe1 30.Qxe4 Rxe4 31.Kxg3, he would have won the game. Von Scheve played a careless

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21...Nxf6?, and Von Bardeleben won by the crushing 22.Ng4!

2nd round
After a 99-move loss in Round 1, and no doubt still tired from his epic journey to the tournament, Burn played 30.Rh2?, only to further walk into Englisch's magnificent combination:

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30...Nfxd3+!! 31.Bxd3 Nxd3+ 32.Qxd3 e4 33.Qxe4 Qxh2, winning. Von Gottschall was in good combinational form against Berger:

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32.Qxe6+!! Rxe6 33.Rd8+ Qf8 34.Rxf8+ Kxf8 35.gxh7 1-0

3rd round
Tarrasch lost a Bishop to Mackenzie by missing a simple two-move combination. The game is interesting in that Tarrasch played an Accelerated Dragon in a very modern fashion. Gunsberg also lost to a one-move oversight. Blackburne won against Noa by playing

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25.Rxd6! Rxg3+ (25...Rxd6 26.gxf4) 26.Kf2!

4th round
Schiffers was oblivious to the fact that he had a winning position, and offered Weiss a draw. Gunsberg sacrificed a Rook to mate Noa:

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40...Rh2+!, and Tarrasch found a neat way to win an exchange against Alapin:

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25...Rxb2? 26.Ng6+! Nxg6 27.Qxe5 Nxe5 28.Rxb2

5th round
Blackburne again showed his imaginative powers, but was inaccurate in his execution:

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34.Rxg6! hxg6 35.Bxf4+ Kg8 36.Be5?! (36.Rxg6+ is stronger) 26...Rg7, and now Taubenhaus should have been able to draw.

6th round
This round was marked by several egregious blunders deciding the games. Harmonist left a Rook en prise and lost as White to Englisch in 15 moves. Noa too allowed his opponent, Schiffers, to win a piece in an otherwise equal position. Schallopp sacrificed a rook against Berger, but then played imprecisely and could only draw when he should have won. Paulsen put his Queen in danger and had to give up two pawns to extricate her.

7th round
Burn won an effective attacking game against Metger, as did Mackenzie against Paulsen. Zukertort's poor form continued, when barely out of the opening he blundered to a loss against Blackburne. After 23...Qd6? he was felled by

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24.Bxh7+! Kxh7 25.Ng5+. Gunsberg too was on form to call Von Gottschall's errors to account:

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24.Rxh5!! Bg4 (24...gxh5 25.Qg5+) 25.Rxh8+ 1-0 (25...Kxh8 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27. Qg7#). Harmonist lost suddenly to Von Bardeleben by grabbing a pawn with unexpected but elegant consequences:

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30...Qxc4? 31.Qxe4!! (31...Qxe4 32.Ng5+ Kg7 33.Nxe4) 1-0

8th round
Blackburne's run of seven successive wins suddenly ground to a halt. Surprisingly, this was at the hands of the backmarker Harmonist, who had lost seven games in a row. Schiffers blundered a won ending into a draw against Von Gottschall.

9th round
Blackburne showed his resilience and recovered from his unexpected loss in the previous round, using a trap he had thought up over breakfast to win against Tarrasch. (27) Englisch outplayed Mackenzie in a long game, consistently targeting his opponent's weak pawns. Gunsberg and Harmonist played a game of blunders. Gunsberg saw phantoms and allowed his King to be driven to <e5> where it shortly expired. Thus, Harmonist won his second successive game after a disastrous start. Schiffers should have beaten Von Gottschall in the ending:

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70.g4! would cover <f2> and also win the <h> pawn. Instead, Schiffers played 70.Kg6, allowing Von Gottschall to play his Rook to <a8> and draw. Von Bardeleben neatly liquidated into a won ending against Schallopp with

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10th round
Noa defended with a Modern Defence, and achieved a good position, but did not know how to play it and so collapsed ignominiously in 20 moves. The game of the round was Tarrasch's ferocious attack, piling his Rooks up against the pawns sheltering Gunsberg's King.

11th round
In contradistinction to his scintillating play in the previous round, Tarrasch obtained a miserable position with Black in a French Defence, and lost against Fritz. Metger presented Zukertort with an easy point, by overlooking an obvious Knight fork. Harmonist believed he had won the exchange from Schiffers, but overlooked that in so doing he exposed his King to an ineluctable attack. Blackburn (8˝) lost to his rival Mackenzie (6˝) despite having an advantage out of the opening. Late in the game he allowed his pieces to lose control of key squares, and his game fell apart. "The very strong German Chess Federation Congress at Frankfurt-am-Main became the greatest success of G.H. Mackenzie's career. Yet until halfway Blackburne looked like winning first prize. He began with seven straight wins before losing to Harmonist. He recovered and beat Tarrasch and it was his heartbreak game with Mackenzie that spoilt his result; after that he lost two more games". (28) Taubenhaus played a splendid combination against Von Scheve:

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28...Rxb2+!! 29.Kxb2 Ba3+!! 30.Kxa3 Qxc2 and wins.

12th round
MacKenzie overwhelmed Gunsberg with a kingside attack culminating in a mating sequence. Englisch, who had lost impetus after a good start, lost a Bishop to Paulsen by underestimating the vulnerability of his King. Fritz allowed Schallopp's Queen to penetrate his kingside late in the game and force a mate. Schiffers held Tarrasch for a long time, but overlooked a perpetual check and then lost. Taubenhaus sacrificed a Knight for two pawns and an attack, but misplayed it and lost against Noa. Weiss lost to Zukertort in a long manoeuvring game. Burn once again played an effective kingside attack, and Taubenhaus could not stop the onrush of heavy pieces against his King.

13th round
The surprise of the round was Fritz breaking through Mackenzie's Sicilian Defence to win in only 27 moves. Gunsberg stormed Alapin's French Defence, and won his Queen, for a Rook and a Knight which could not hold the position together. Tarrasch established a pawn on <d3> as Black against Metger. Instead of neutralising this advancing pawn, Metger thought he had time to hunt another, allowing Tarrasch to win in short order. Noa defeated Von Gottschall, whose King became trapped by advancing <d> and <e> pawns which reached the 7th rank. Schallopp lost a drawn Rook + Pawn ending to Schiffers by not knowing the theory. Zukertort listless performance continued - he was outplayed by Von Scheve and lost a Knight.

14th round
Blackburne lost to Paulsen by pushing too hard for a win. Tarrasch lost with White against Weiss. From a promising position Tarrasch was outplayed, and after losing a pawn, he could not hold the endgame. Zukertort blundered and allowed Noa a passed <f> pawn which he then found he could not blockade.

15th round
Zukertort's poor form continued, and he lasted only 19 moves against Burn. As in his game with Blackburne, he overlooked a tactical threat to his kingside. Gunsberg attempted, as White, to storm Paulsen's King in a sharp Sicilian Defence. Paulsen managed to swap off material to enervate the attack, and then won the endgame. Metger self-mated himself against Mackenzie just out of the opening. Von Gottschall was content to draw a very advantageous position against Taubenhaus. Blackburne neatly mated Englisch:

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34.Rxg6 fxg6 35.Rh4+ Kg8 36.Rh8#

16th round
Schallopp missed his way in a winning ending and allowed Von Scheve to draw. Blackburne miscalculated and lost by playing a completely unsound Bishop sacrifice against Von Bardeleben. In a losing position, Berger overlooked the immediate loss of a Knight when he moved its guardian Rook away. Englisch let Gunsberg off the hook most probably under the mistaken impression he was winning a piece. Instead, he overlooked a subtle retreat and Gunsberg secured a draw. Burn, as Black, destroyed Harmonist with a subtle but powerful combination:

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13...Bh3!! 14.Kf1 (if 14.gxh3 Qf3 15.Rg1 Nxd3+) 14...Bxg2+ 15.Kxg2 Qf3+ 16.Kg1 Qg4+ 17.Kf1 Qh3+ 0-1 (18.Ke1 Nf3#)

17th round
Burn beat Tarrasch in a game that swung wildly between the players. Tarrasch mishandled his kingside attack, and Burn was able to smash his way through to Tarrasch's King on the opposite wing. Taubenhaus lost to Harmonist after misplaying a kingside attack and then losing the thread of the game. Zukertort found some of his old form to defeat Von Gottschall in a proficient style as Black. MacKenzie also won as Black, after Von Scheve sacrificed a Bishop for a kingside initiative which never materialised.

18th round
The round of controversy, concerning Blackburne vs Gunsberg, 1887. "The whole Meisterturnier proceeded without a major disruption. A small difference between Prof. Berger and Burn (Burn vs J N Berger, 1887) was of no great significance. The only discernible dissonance was the unexpected result of the game between Blackburne and Gunsberg. Gunsberg wasted a big advantage from his adjourned game, under aggravating circumstances, whereby Blackburne received a better chance of a prize. There has been much debate about this incident - the matter can in any case allow for manifold interpretation." (29) It seems clear that the Germans believed that Gunsberg threw his game in favor of Blackburne, so that the latter could secure a top prize. Gunsberg quickly dissipated an advantage, despite having an adjournment to study the position. He then blundered into a straightforward perpetual check, but still lost the game with a further blunder. The authors of the tournament book decided to use comments (which are acid in tone) taken from the Deutsche Schachzeitung:

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"There now follows a series of inept moves of Gunsberg. It is hardly necessary to mention that the black game is easily won even for a far weaker player than Gunsberg. The unexpected result of the game and the way it ended created a stir, as Blackburne by winning now had a chance for a prize. Had he drawn with Gunsberg ... he had no chance for a prize at all." (30) Position after 44.Rde1:

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"The rook move is actually a severe error. If Blackburne ever wanted to continue playing at all, he had to take the Rook on c7, he, however, seems to have been inspired by some higher influence and to have suspected that his opponent would make the worst possible response. It is difficult to find the appropriate epithet for such an error. The obvious move 44...Re5 would have secured the second player the material superiority of Rook and Knight with good position. Even 44...Qf7 would have won the game." (30) Blackburne's score sheet after 44...Qf6? 45.Qa6+ stated: "Black having touched the rook must interpose it at b7 where upon mate follows in 3 moves." (31)

"In October's issue of the "International Chess Magazine", Steinitz published the Blackburne-Gunsberg game ... and gave the comments of the "Deutsche Schachzeitung" in literal translation, and then added, that in his view, it should not be permitted that any player, even if he has made the grossest blunders should then be suspected of a lack of fair play ... the facts that Gunsberg resigned a drawn game, and that Blackburne himself had sought to clarify this by means of a written declaration on his scoresheet that Gunsberg had "touched a piece", a claim, contrary to the perceptions of the very large number of spectators gathered around who believed the direct opposite ... On another page in the same issue (p. 297), Steinitz notes that the game Blackburne-Gunsberg was lengthy and finds that Gunsberg's weak play was only due to his excessive effort. On this occasion, Steinitz takes recourse to a comparison which is so strange that we cannot avoid mentioning it. He thinks that the game Blackburne-Mackenzie has an almost equivalent number of serious mistakes on Blackburne's part to those Gunsberg made in the Blackburne-Gunsberg game. Steinitz is an authority of the first rank in chess ... (but) even with the best will, we cannot endorse Steinitz's opinion." (31)

In the other games, the flagging Englisch was dispatched by a stylish Bishop sacrifice by Schiffers. Von Gottschall played inventively to destroy Harmonist in only 22 moves. Burn and Schallopp attacked each other furiously, until Burn overlooked a Queen sacrifice and Schallopp forcing mate. Taubenhaus blundered away a won then a drawn endgame against Tarrasch.

19th round
Blackburne missed a win against Fritz, just when every half point counted. Mackenzie sacrificed his Queen, for a Rook and two minor pieces against Burn. Von Bardeleben agreed a draw in a winning position against Schiffers. Tarrasch allowed Von Gottschall a fleeting chance to draw in the ending, but the opportunity was missed. Zukertort defeated Harmonist in a brisk attack, and Weiss played a beautiful breakthrough attack against Paulsen:

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39.g5! fxg5 40.f6! Ra7 41.fxg7+ Qxg7 42.Rxh6+ Kg8 43.Qe8+ Qf8 44.Rh8+!

20th round
Burn lost with three pawns against a rook:

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He could have drawn but pushed the wrong pawn letting Alapin's King in. Berger sacrificed the exchange to leave Noa without any useful moves. Fritz sacrificed a Knight against Gunsberg, only to discover he had no resulting attack. Von Scheve broke through on the kingside to skewer Paulsen's Queen to his King. Zukertort's recovery of form proved to be transitory as he blundered a piece away on move 11 to Tarrasch by 11...Qd7?

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12.Nxe6 fxe6 (12...Qxe6 13.Rxe4) 13.Rxe4!

21st round
Mackenzie defeated Von Gottschall, and so become the first American chess player to win an international tournament. Burn made one careless move and Noa took immediate and decisive advantage:

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35...Nd3! Harmonist once again went wrong in the opening but Tarrasch made heavy weather of winning the game. Taubenhaus too went badly wrong in the opening, and Schiffers won in elegant fashion with his knights. Zukertort's miserable tournament ended with a defeat at the hands of Schallopp:

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"The above two problems were presented to the solvers of the Frankfort International Tournament. The three-mover was first solved by H. v. Gottschall and the four-mover by Jacques Mieses, after laborious work of one hour and twenty minutes." (32)

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Mate in 3. This is actually a mate in 5: 1.Qe6 Bb8 2.d6 Bxd6 3.Bxd6 exd6 4.Qxd6+ Ke4 5.Qxe5#

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Mate in 4. 1.Bxa3+ Kd4 2.Nb4 Be4 3.Nxe4 Ke5 4.Qd5#


"The victory of Capt. Mackenzie at Frankfort is of course very popular in America, as it is also in Europe. Mr. Steinitz in his magazine seems rather annoyed at the title of "Champion" being applied to the Captain and challenges him for a match of then games up for a minimum of $1,000 a side, allowing him two games to start with." (33)

Zukertort was in obvious decline. He had lost a match to Blackburne just before the Franfurt Congress (Blackburne - Zukertort (1887)). "It is only five years ago that, after winning the London International Tournament (London (1883)), Dr. Zukertort was universally admitted to be preeminent as a chess player. The great strain of that contest, however, undoubtedly had an injurious effect upon his delicate constitution, and this effect was increased by the match he played with Steinitz in 1885 (Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886)). He engaged in this contest in spite of urgent medical advice to the contrary, and he returned from America after his defeat in a seriously debilitated state of health. After that time he showed a marked falling off in his powers of chess combination". (34) On 20 June 1888, Zukertort collapsed and died suddenly at the age of only 46. "Dr. Frank Jeeves ... had since made a post-mortem examination, and found that death was due to cerebral haemorrhage. The kidneys of the deceased were slightly unhealthy ... and the arteries and the base of the brain were diseased ... the jury accordingly returned a verdict of death from natural causes." (35)

Blackburne and Gunsberg returned to England, and in September fought out a match which Gunsberg won 8-5 (Blackburne - Gunsberg (1887) ). This was an important step on Gunsberg's progress to the Steinitz - Gunsberg World Championship Match (1890).

Frankfurt (1887) was an early sign of the emergence of a new generation of players. The greatest progress was to be made by Tarrasch. The next years were to be a peak period of success for him, as he won four international tournaments: Breslau (1889), Manchester (1890), Dresden (1892), and the 9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894).


1) British Chess Magazine, 1887, p. 339. The modern address for the Zoological Gardens is Bernhard-Grzimek-Allee 1, 60316 Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany.
(2) City of Frankfurt am Main homepage (#2016),
(3) Chessmetrics, Frankfurt 1887,
(4) Chessmetrics, July 1887 rating list,
(5) Chessmetrics, Summary: 1885 - 1895, See also Edo Historical Chess Ratings, Frankfurt 1887 (4),
(6) Der Fünfte Kongress Des Deutschen Schachbundes, Frankfurt A. M. 1887, herausgegeben (edited by) Von С. V. Bardeleben, H. V. Gottschall und J. Mieses. Verlag Von Veit & Comp., Leipzig 1889, pp. 5-6. (Hereafter referred to as the Tournament book.)
(7) Columbia Chess Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 6, Saturday 6 August 1887, p. 41 (
(8) Columbia Chess Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 5, Saturday 30 July 1887, p. 34.
(9) Tournament book, p. 25.
(10) Tournament book, p. 4. The Niederwald park was then famous for its recently completed monument to commemorate the Unification of Germany, see Wikipedia article: Niederwalddenkmal.
(11) Columbia Chess Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 6, Saturday 6 August 1887, p. 50.
(12) Tournament book, p. 4.
(13) Tournament book, p. 7.
(14) Tournament book, p. 8.
(15) British Chess Magazine, Vol. 7, August 1887, p. 339.
(16) Tournament book, p. 3.
(17) Columbia Chess Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 7, Saturday 13 August 1887, p. 51.
(18) Details provided in the Tournament book, p. 3.
(19) Tournament book, p. 7.
(20) Columbia Chess Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 5, Saturday 30 July 1887, pp. 33-34.
(21) Ł1 being valued at 20.43 goldmarks = Ł49 at the contemporaneous exchange rate. See Currency Conversion Tables, by R. L. Bidwell, pp. 22-23. See also: Wikipedia article: German gold mark. The exchange rate for pound to dollar in 1887 was about $4.864 to the pound. See Handbook of World Exchange Rates 1590-1914, by Marcus A Denzel, p. 420. A 2016 value is Ł4,914.00 using the percentage increase in the RPI from 1887 to 2015. See
(22) Earnings data from Wages and Earnings in the United States, 1860-1890, by Clarence D. Long. Princeton University Press, 1960. See
(23) Columbia Chess Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 8, Saturday 20 August 1887, p. 64.
(24) Tournament book, pp. 9-11.
(25) Shane's Chess Information Database (SCID) is an open source chess database management system.
(26) Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography, by Timothy David Harding, Game #522 (p. 247); The Field, 1887.08.06; Blackburne's Chess Games, ed. by Peter Anderson Graham. Dover, New York 1979, Game #228.
(27) Blackburne's Chess Games, p. 114.
(28) Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography, by Tim Harding, p. 246.
(29) Tournament book, p. 12.
(30) Tournament book, pp. 211-214.
(31) Deutsche Schachzeitung, No. 12, December 1887, pp. 377-378.
(32) Columbia Chess Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 10, Saturday 3 September 1887, p. 88.
(33) British Chess Magazine, Vol. 7, October 1887, p. 381 ("Foreign News").
(34) Morning Post, Thursday 21 June 1888, p. 3.
(35) Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Monday 25 June 1888, p. 8.

Original text and tables by User: Chessical. Copy editing by User: Tabanus. The collection was compiled by cloning a previous game collection of User: suenteus po 147 - this significant work is acknowledged and greatly appreciated. One further game E Schallopp vs Metger, 1887 has been added.

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Mackenzie vs Zukertort ½-½48 1887 FrankfurtC49 Four Knights
2. Metger vs A Fritz  ½-½40 1887 FrankfurtC41 Philidor Defense
3. A Fritz vs Schiffers  ½-½41 1887 FrankfurtC50 Giuoco Piano
4. Paulsen vs Burn  1-099 1887 FrankfurtC46 Three Knights
5. Burn vs Englisch  0-141 1887 FrankfurtC77 Ruy Lopez
6. Alapin vs Von Gottschall 1-056 1887 FrankfurtB31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
7. Zukertort vs Alapin  ½-½42 1887 FrankfurtC29 Vienna Gambit
8. Englisch vs J Noa 1-056 1887 FrankfurtE21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
9. Tarrasch vs E Schallopp 0-147 1887 FrankfurtC47 Four Knights
10. Taubenhaus vs Paulsen 1-054 1887 FrankfurtC60 Ruy Lopez
11. Gunsberg vs Metger  ½-½35 1887 FrankfurtD05 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Max Weiss vs Gunsberg ½-½30 1887 FrankfurtC77 Ruy Lopez
13. Harmonist vs Mackenzie 0-140 1887 FrankfurtC45 Scotch Game
14. E Schallopp vs Harmonist 0-128 1887 FrankfurtC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation, 6.d4
15. J N Berger vs Taubenhaus  1-060 1887 FrankfurtC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
16. Blackburne vs Max Weiss 1-039 1887 FrankfurtD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Von Bardeleben vs Von Scheve  1-032 1887 FrankfurtC01 French, Exchange
18. Von Gottschall vs J N Berger 1-035 1887 FrankfurtC46 Three Knights
19. Von Scheve vs Blackburne  0-124 1887 FrankfurtD00 Queen's Pawn Game
20. J Noa vs Von Bardeleben  0-140 1887 FrankfurtC49 Four Knights
21. Schiffers vs Metger 0-134 1887 FrankfurtC01 French, Exchange
22. Mackenzie vs Tarrasch 1-030 1887 FrankfurtB34 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
23. A Fritz vs Max Weiss 0-151 1887 FrankfurtC49 Four Knights
24. Blackburne vs J Noa 1-030 1887 FrankfurtE12 Queen's Indian
25. Englisch vs Taubenhaus  ½-½29 1887 FrankfurtD06 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 203  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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