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Johannes Zukertort vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
"Zukertort's Immortal" (game of the day Oct-06-15)
London (1883)  ·  English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  1-0
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Last move:

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Given 103 times; par: 67 [what's this?]

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sac: 31.Bxe5+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-04-11  LIFE Master AJ: Most chess minds think of Reti's books as landmarks ... and I happen to agree with that.
Nov-04-11  JoergWalter: <LIFE Master AJ: Most chess minds think of Reti's books as landmarks ... and I happen to agree with that.>

who cares about your agreement? Reti?
For Reti you would have been another example of Franz Gutmayer.

Nov-04-11  JoergWalter: <LIFE Master AJ: Most chess minds think of Reti's books as landmarks>

I do not think you own one and if so, that you have read it.

Nov-04-11  LIFE Master AJ: "Stupid is as stupid does ..."
- Forrest Gump
Nov-04-11  JoergWalter: <LIFE Master AJ: "Stupid is as stupid does ..." - Forrest Gump>

So, we'll call you LIFE Master Dump?

Nov-07-11  JoergWalter: The earliest mention of 31...Rg8+ I found as of now is in:

Schachmagazin 64 no. 18 in 1992.
Remembering the 150th birthday of Zukertort by Armin Heintze.

Nov-08-11  JoergWalter: <LIFE Master AJ: <patzer2> Seems someone borrowed an improvement ... and is trying to claim it for their own.>

Sue him.

Nov-09-11  Llawdogg: Wow! This is an amazing game.
Nov-09-11  Llawdogg: 28 Qb4! and 29 Rf8+! were two consecutive decoy moves! Amazing!
Jan-19-12  Archerforthelord: wow, this is the first flame war ive ever seen on a website for chess O.O
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: This game was in a fine balance until Black's 22nd move:

click for larger view

At this point, Blackburne played 22...Nxf6??, and then Zukertort found the winning line, matching Houdini's analysis exactly for the following moves: (4.68) (26 ply) 22...Nxf6?? 23.f5! Ne4 24.Bxe4! dxe4 25.fxg6!. On his 25th move, Blackburne made a very good try with 25...Rc2, and Zukertort had to find several more stunning moves to win this masterpiece.

Correct at move 22, with a nearly equal evaluation was 22...Qxf6!. Houdini indicates that after 22...Qxf6!, White has a choice of 29 moves that allow White an equal or slightly better position. Here is one of Houdini's top choices: (.18) (26 ply) 22...Qxf6! 23.Ree1 Ng7 24.Rc1 Rxc1 25.Rxc1.

The only commentator that I have found to make note of 22...Qxf6!, was Zukertort himself! In the tournament book, he stated that Black should have retaken with the queen, 22...Qxf6 23.Qe1 Ng7 24.g4, but in his opinion, Black even then would have a difficult game, with White having unlimited time to force a probably irresistible attack.

In the variation given by Zukertort, 22...Qxf6! 23.Qe1 Ng7! 24.g4, Houdini indicates White has a slightly better position: (.21) (26 ply) 24...Bc6 25.Rg3 Rf7 26.f5 gxf5 27.gxf5. As noted by Zukertort, White appears to have a good opportunity for an attack after 22...Qxf6!, but it was clearly Black's best move.

Apr-06-14  Howard: This game was the second one in Reinfield's Chess Masters On Winning Chess.

That's how I first came across it.

Oct-06-15  andrewjsacks: One of the great pleasures of one's chess youth is discovering games like this.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <LIFE Master AJ: <moaom> I first discovered this idea ... and wrote Larry Evans when I was a teenager. (He never responded.)>

He did respond:

Oct-06-15  piltdown man: Man, what a game! But it's hard to believe that it has never been GOTD before.
Oct-06-15  Bobby Fisch R: Zuckertorte would be correct spelling
Oct-06-15  Mating Net: "The fiend has offered his Queen and it cannot be taken without suffering mate." That was a comment from the peanut gallery after the famous move.
Oct-06-15  psmith: The Winter article linked to by <offramp> shows that 31. Rg8 was first found in 1957...

Oct-06-15  psmith: That's
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A Decoy immortal! One of the greatest series of moves ever!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Bobby Fisch R: Zuckertorte would be correct spelling>

On Zukertort's own page I give a fascinating letter-by-letter disquisition on his gravestone.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Oct-06-15  The Kings Domain: Brilliant game by Zukertort. Reminds me of why I've always loved these vintage classics.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: Brilliant combination.
Apr-30-16  litmus: The kibitzes on this game here are almost as entertaining as the game itself!

However, Edward Winter's webpage on this game, also mentioned here by a few people, is far more enlightening. It includes annotations by many great players, including Steinitz, Zukertort, and Blackburne and also by some lesser lights such as J.I. Minchin. Incidentally, Minchin appears to be the one who annoyed Blackburne enough to get a snide mention in two different articles as the "enthusiastic critic who, by-the-bye, was not present, says [the move 28. Qb4] literally electrified the lookers-on ..." Blackburne also graciously included this game in his article (also available on Winter's website) entitled _The Best Games Ever Played at Chess_.

In the modern (i.e., late 20th century and beyond) age, the game has been annotated by several grandmasters. Among these are Kasparov and Burgess/Nunn/Emms in their books. In my humble opinion, the most insightful analysis is by Artur Yusupov in the book _Training for the Tournament Player_. Here you will find not only a commentary on Zukertort's stunning combination but also a wonderful analysis of the opening moves. According to Zukertort, the opening was "conducted by both players with the utmost accuracy;" Yusupov, to the contrary, shows the nuances missed by both Zukertort and Blackburne. True, some of these nuances (such as "superfluous pieces" or "prophylactic moves") would not have been known to players of the 19th century, but they are very instructive nonetheless.

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