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1886 World Chess Championship
Compiled by driley754522002
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★★★ INTRO ★★★

The 1886 World Chess Championship was between 49 year old Wilhelm Steinitz of Austria and 46 year old Johannes Zukertort of Poland.

★★★ BACKGROUND ★★★

Previous, there were unofficial world championships (e.g. Anderssen-Steinitz, 1866). However, in 1886, the first official one started. Zuketort likely earned his qualification by winning the London 1883 tournament (see Game Collection: London 1883 for games and more information), which included placing 3 points ahead of second place finisher, Steinitz.

★★★ CONDITIONS ★★★

The time controls were 30 moves in 2 hours, and 15 moves for every hour. The winner would be the first to get 10 wins (draws not counting). Game 1 began on January 11th, 1886. The first 5 rounds took place in New York City, New York. The next five were played in St. Louis, Missouri. The remaining 10 rounds were played in New Orleans, Louisiana. Note: This match is measured in wins. Total points in brackets.

★★★ NOTABLE GAMES ★★★

Game 1: Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 ♗f5 4.♘c3 e6 5.♘f3 ♘d7 6.a3 ♗d6 7.c5 ♗c7 8.b4 e5 9.♗e2 ♘gf6 10.♗b2 e4 11.♘d2 h5 12.h3 ♘f8 13.a4 ♘g6 14.b5 ♘h4 15.g3 ♘g2+ 16.♔f1 ♘xe3+ 17.fxe3 ♗xg3 18.♔g2 ♗c7 19.♕g1 ♖h6 20.♔f1 ♖g6 21.♕f2 ♕d7 22.bxc6 bxc6 23.♖g1 ♗xh3+ 24.♔e1 ♘g4 25.♗xg4 ♗xg4 26.♘e2 ♕e7 27.♘f4 ♖h6 28.♗c3 g5 29.♘e2 ♖f6 30.♕g2 ♖f3 31.♘f1 ♖b8 32.♔d2 f5 33.a5 f4 34.♖h1 ♕f7 35.♖e1 fxe3+ 36.♘xe3 ♖f2

After 36...♖f2


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White is up a piece, but black's attack forces white to be down a piece.

37.♕xf2 ♕xf2 38.♘xg4 ♗f4+ 39.♔c2 hxg4 40.♗d2 e3 41.♗c1 ♕g2 42.♔c3 ♔d7 43.♖h7+ ♔e6 44.♖h6+ ♔f5 45.♗xe3 ♗xe3 46.♖f1+ ♗f4 01

46...♗f4 0-1


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Zukertort resigns as white is already down a rook for a queen and 2 pawns, and things don't get better from here. According to Little ChessPartner, black can mate after 47. ♖xf4+ gxf4 48. ♖h5+ ♔f6 (48...♔e6?? 49.♘xf4+, forking the king and queen) 49. ♖h6+ ♔g7 50. ♖e6 ♕f3+ 51. ♔c2 ♕b3+ 52.♔d2 ♕a2+ 53. ♔e1 (53. ♔d1 ♖b1#) ♖b1+ 54. ♔f2 f3 55.a6 ♔f7 56. ♖xc6 ♕xe2+ 57. ♔g3 ♖g1+ 58. ♔f4 (white can delay mate a move longer by playing 58.♔h4 ♖h1+ 59.♔h5 ♕e8 60. ♔g5 ♕xc6 61. ♔f4 f1=♕+ 62.♔g5 ♕c1+ 63.♔h4 ♕1h6# 0-1 or 63...♕6h6# 0-1) 58...f2 59.♖c7+ ♔g6 60.♖c6+ ♔h5 61.♖h6+ ♔xh6 62.c6 f1=♕# 0-1 (or 62...f1=♖# 0-1)


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Game 9: Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♘f6 4.♘f3 dxc4 5.e3 c5 6.♗xc4 cxd4 7.exd4 ♗e7 8.00 00 9.♕e2 ♘bd7 10.♗b3 ♘b6 11.♗f4 ♘bd5 12.♗g3 ♕a5 13.♖ac1 ♗d7 14.♘e5 ♖fd8 15.♕f3 ♗e8 16.♖fe1 ♖ac8 17.♗h4 ♘xc3 18.bxc3 ♕c7 19.♕d3 ♘d5 20.♗xe7 ♕xe7 21.♗xd5 ♖xd5 22.c4 ♖dd8 23.♖e3 ♕d6 24.♖d1 f6 25.♖h3 h6 26.♘g4 ♕f4 27.♘e3 ♗a4 28.♖f3 ♕d6 29.♖d2 ♗c6 30.♖g3 f5 31.♖g6 ♗e4 32.♕b3 ♔h7 33.c5 ♖xc5 34.♖xe6 ♖c1+ 35.♘d1 ♕f4 36.♕b2 ♖b1 37.♕c3 ♖c8

After 37...♖c8


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An excellent move for black, as it tries to deflect the queen away from the defense of the rook. Once the rook falls, the knight will, and then the king.

38.♖xe4 ♕xe4 01

38...♕xe4 0-1


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White resigns, and Steinitz ties up the match at 4-4 with the black pieces. Once again LCP will try to analyze why (in fact, from now on, all analysis will be from LCP unless stated not). So after 38...♕xe4, black can force a win with 39.♕e3 ♖c2 40.♖d3 ♖e2 41.♕xe4 fxe4 42.h4 exd3 0-1 and the win becomes clear. Black is already up 2 rooks to none (the knight will be won), and white has no threats whatsoever.


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Game 19: Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♘f6 4.♗g5 ♗e7 5.♘f3 00 6.c5 b6 7.b4 bxc5 8.dxc5 a5 9.a3 d4 10.♗xf6 gxf6 11.♘a4 e5 12.b5 ♗e6 13.g3 c6 14.bxc6 ♘xc6 15.♗g2 ♖b8 16.♕c1 d3 17.e3 e4 18.♘d2 f5 19.00 ♖e8 20.f3 ♘d4

After 20...♘d4


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Black sacrifices a knight, but in the end, will get pawn promotions.

21.exd4 ♕xd4+ 22.♔h1 e3 23.♘c3 ♗f6 24.♘db1 d2 25.♕c2 ♗b3 26.♕xf5 d1=♕ 27.♘xd1 ♗xd1 28.♘c3 e2 29.♖axd1 ♕xc3 01

29...♕xc3 0-1


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Without a machine, I can find white's end: (white will try to delay mate by playing computer like moves) 30.♕xh7+ ♔xh7 31.♖de1 exf1=♕+ 32.♖xf1 ♖e1 33.h4 ♖bb1 (or something along those lines) 0-1. White will not only forcefully lose their rook, but their last defender for the king: the bishop.


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★★★ FINAL ★★★

Steinitz would have the white pieces, and with a lead of 9-5, he needed just 1 more win to secure the match.

Game 20: Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886

1.e4 e5 2.♘c3 ♘c6 3.f4 3...exf4 4.d4 d5? 5.exd5 ♕h4+ 6.♔e2 ♕e7+ 7.♔f2 ♕h4+ 8.g3 fxg3+ 9.♔g2 ♘xd4 10.hxg3 ♕g4 11.♕e1+ ♗e7 12.♗d3 ♘f5 13.♘f3 ♗d7 14.♗f4 f6 15.♘e4 ♘gh6

After 15...♘gh6


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Black tries to get another piece out, but it actually is a blunder.

16.♗xh6 ♘xh6 17.♖xh6 gxh6 18.♘xf6+ ♔f7 19.♘xg4 10

19.♘xg4 1-0


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Black, down a rook for queen, in addition to terrible development, has no hope. White can also try to create passed pawns on the queenside starting with 19...♗xg4 20.♕e5 ♗xf3+ 21.♔xf3 ♔f7 22.♕xc7, etc.


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With the win, Steinitz won the match 10-5 (12 1/2-7 1/2 including draws) on March 29th, 1886 to become the first official world chess champion.

★★★ MINI TABLE ★★★

Steinitz 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1/2 1 1/2 1 1 0 1/2 1/2 1 1/2 1 1 1 (10 wins, 5 losses, 5 draws) <62.5% score>

Zukertort 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1/2 0 1/2 0 0 1 1/2 1/2 0 1/2 0 0 0 (5 wins, 10 losses, 5 draws) <37.5% score>

★★★ OTHER LINKS ★★★

See also: Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886)

Head to head match up prior to 1886: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches... (9 wins, 4 losses and 7 draws in favour of Steinitz)

Next World Championship: Game Collection: 1889 World Chess Championship

Game 1, Steinitz leads 1-0 (1-0)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 46 moves, 0-1

Game 2, Match tied 1-1 (1-1)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C45) Scotch Game, 46 moves, 0-1

Game 3, Zukertort leads 2-1 (2-1)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 47 moves, 1-0

Game 4, Zukertort leads 3-1 (3-1)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 39 moves, 0-1

Game 5, Zukertort leads 4-1 (4-1)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 32 moves, 1-0

Game 6, Zukertort leads 4-2 (4-2)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 61 moves, 1-0

Game 7, Zukertort leads 4-3 (4-3)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 35 moves, 0-1

Game 8, Zukertort leads 4-3 (4 1/2-3 1/2)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 9, Match tied 4-4 (4 1/2-4 1/2)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 38 moves, 0-1

Game 10, Match tied 4-4 (5-5)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 21 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 11, Steinitz leads 5-4 (6-5)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(C49) Four Knights, 42 moves, 0-1

Game 12, Steinitz leads 6-4 (7-5)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 44 moves, 1-0

Game 13, Steinitz leads 6-5 (7-6)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 86 moves, 1-0

Game 14, Steinitz leads 6-5 (7 1/2-6 1/2)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 48 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 15, Steinitz leads 6-5 (8-7)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 49 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 16, Steinitz leads 7-5 (9-7)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 49 moves, 1-0

Game 17, Steinitz leads 7-5 (9 1/2-7 1/2)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D55) Queen's Gambit Declined, 52 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 18, Steinitz leads 8-5 (10 1/2-7 1/2)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 40 moves, 1-0

Game 19, Steinitz leads 9-5 (11 1/2-7 1/2)
Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886  
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 29 moves, 0-1

Game 20, Steinitz wins 10-5 (12 1/2-7 1/2)
Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 
(C25) Vienna, 19 moves, 1-0

20 games

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