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Johannes Zukertort vs Wilhelm Steinitz
"And the Rest is History" (game of the day May-10-2012)
Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Jan-11
Slav Defense: General (D10)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-24-10  kibitzwc: scratch my 12-27 post heres a full analysis
Jan-24-10  kibitzwc: (698) Zukertort,Johannes Hermann - Steinitz,William [D11] World Championship 1st USA (1), 11.01.1886
[Fritz 12 (30s)]
D11: Slav Defence: 3 Nf3 sidelines and 3...Nf6 4 e3 Bg4 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nf3 Nd7 6.a3 Bd6 7.c5 Bc7 8.b4 e5 9.Be2 Ngf6 10.Bb2 e4 11.Nd2 h5 12.h3 Nf8 13.a4 White plans b5 13...Ng6 14.b5 Nh4 15.g3 last book move 15...Ng2+ [15...Ng6 16.a5 Bxa5 17.bxc6 bxc6 18.Qa4 Bxc3 19.Bxc3µ] 16.Kf1= Nxe3+ 17.fxe3 Bxg3 18.Kg2 Bc7 [¹18...Qc7=] 19.Qg1?? [¹19.Qf1 Be6 20.Kf2=] 19...Rh6–+ 20.Kf1 Rg6 21.Qf2 Qd7 22.bxc6 [22.Rg1 Bxh3+ 23.Ke1 Ng4 24.Bxg4 Bxg4–+ (‹24...Rxg4 25.Rxg4 Qxg4 26.Nf1µ) ] 22...bxc6 23.Rg1 Bxh3+ 24.Ke1 Ng4 25.Bxg4 Bxg4 26.Ne2 Qe7 27.Nf4 [27.Kd1 Qg5 28.Kc2 Rf6–+] 27...Rh6 [27...Rf6 28.Qh4–+] 28.Bc3 [28.Rf1–+] 28...g5 29.Ne2 Rf6 30.Qg2 Rf3 31.Nf1 Rb8 [31...Bh3 32.Qxg5 Rxf1+ 33.Kd2 Rxa1 34.Bxa1–+] 32.Kd2?! [32.Rh1–+] 32...f5 [¹32...Bh3 33.Qxg5 Qxg5 34.Rxg5 Bxf1 35.Rg1–+] 33.a5?? [¹33.Nh2µ] 33...f4–+ 34.Rh1 [34.Kc1 fxe3 35.Be1 Qf7–+] 34...Qf7 35.Re1 [35.Kc2 fxe3 36.Be1–+] 35...fxe3+ 36.Nxe3 Rf2 37.Qxf2 [37.Rhf1 Rxg2 38.Rxf7 Rxe2+ 39.Rxe2 Kxf7 40.Nxg4 hxg4 41.Rg2–+] 37...Qxf2 38.Nxg4 Bf4+ 39.Kc2 hxg4 40.Bd2 e3 [¹40...Qf3 41.Nc1 Bxd2 42.Rh8+ Kd7 43.Rxb8 Bxe1 44.Rb3–+] 41.Bc1 Qg2 [¹41...Bc7 42.Bb2 Qf5+ 43.Kc1–+] 42.Kc3 [42.Rh8+ Kf7 43.Rxb8 Qe4+ 44.Kc3 Bxb8–+] 42...Kd7 [¹42...Bc7 43.Rh8+ Kf7 44.Rxb8 Bxa5+ 45.Rb4–+] 43.Rh7+ Ke6 44.Rh6+ Kf5 45.Bxe3 Bxe3 46.Rf1+ [46.Rh8 Rxh8 47.a6 Bf2 48.Rb1 Qf3+ 49.Kd2 Qe3+ 50.Kc2 Qxe2+ 51.Kb3 Rb8+ 52.Kc3 Bxd4+ 53.Kxd4 Qd2#] 46...Bf4 [46...Bf4 47.Rh7 Qxe2 48.Rxf4+ gxf4 49.Rh5+ Kg6 50.Rh6+ Kxh6 51.a6 Qf2 52.Kd3 Rb3#] 0–1
Aug-28-10  sillybilly47: Zukertort gets pushed around in this one.
Jan-15-11  Llawdogg: Steinitz just totally overwhelmed Zukertort on the kingside, while Zukertort never got anything going on the queen side. Tough start of the match for Zuke. However, he came back strong by winning a bunch of games in a row right after this.

But it was a long match and Steinitz eventually crushed him. The match took a lot out of poor Zuke and he died shortly thereafter. Had a stroke playing chess at a coffee house in London.

Jan-16-11  sillybilly47: Zukertort had his moments in the match. He put up a great fight.
Mar-22-11  sillybilly47: Nice to see how W.S.rips open White's King side.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: You've got to love the sequence 12...Nf8, 13...Ng6, 14...Nh4, 15...Ng2+ and 16...Nxe3.
May-10-12  Llawdogg: That was a very interesting knight sacrifice to open up the attack. It's fun to take another look at this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <We agree with Mr. Zukertort who stated to us that....>

I love Szeinitz's useage of pluralis maiestatis....:-D

May-10-12  TheTamale: This must have been a very disheartening way to begin the match for Zukertort. A 20 move rout would have been preferable--then he could have just written it off as an off day or a stupid blunder or whatever. Here, he must have been fighting the urge to think, "Uh oh... this guy is just better than I am..."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: And yet he won the next 4 in a row, so he couldn't have been too disheartened.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This game DIDN'T start a trend as Zuchy won the next four games!!

However,the "Austrian Morphy" won virtually the rest of the games in THIS fashion.

May-10-12  BlackSheep: A curious thing in the link to the New York Times article left by <chessical> on July 14 2008 on this page , even though not every move is listed you can clearly tell that this is the game that they are referring to but theres an issue and now I'll let the the article speak for itself "The question was then would Steinitz take this pawn with the one he first sent out or not . After a long pause he decided not to and sent another out to protect his first one . Then the chess experts declared that the game had began with "The Queens Gambit declined" and sat back in their chairs to await the next move. " Now whats happening here is it the case that "the slav" wasnt coined yet and just by declining the pawn made it a QGD regardless of which pawn (e or c) you protected your d pawn with or is there something else . And the writer is clearly versed in chess and even repeats themselves by further saying "Steinitz instead of taking the pawn moved P-QB3 and Zukertort replied P-K3 to defend..." so its not a mistake this is clearly what they are saying , if anyone knows something about it I'd be interested to know. On a humorous side note I liked the way the article started by saying "While neither man is a genius at the game like Paul Morphy was..." they knew then that if Morphy was alive and playing he could have beaten this pair of patzers .
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <<Game move: 32...f5??>

So far Black has played faultlessly. However, the evaluation shift resulting from this move is from 3.17 to 0.99, a shift of 2.18 from an easily won position for Black to a difficult but defensible position for White. <32…Bh3> and <32…Qf6> both win easily, retaining the +3 (extra piece equivalent) evaluation for Black.>

I think it is a good example of problems with purely mechanical use of engine's evaluations in assessment of quality of human play. While it is true that Steinitz had two alternatives, which were objectively tactically stronger and more convincing than the text continuation, 32...f5 is not per se a bad move and in fact it is natural and logical continuation of Steinitz's strategical plan of attack, which started with sac of the Knight in the 16th move. Despite of drop in engine's eval (especially at low ply level) I don't think that after 33.Nh2 Qe6 34.Nxg4 fxg4 (diagram) white has any chance to save the game against reasonably precise play of black. It is not Steinitz's fault that engine cannot see far enough to recognize that three monster passers on the Kingside in long run will win the game for black. To call 32...f5 a blunder I see as unfounded.

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Jul-13-13  Alpinemaster: The premier game of the first formalized Chess World Championship highlighted a few characteristic weaknesses of Zukertort that the Father of Modern Chess would focus on in a Prophylactic and Aggressive manner.

The first mistake comes on move 3. e3; weak play allowing a Baltic Defense minus the weaknesses for Black. Unarguably 3. Nf3 is better.

6. a3 also makes one wonder why the contender for the First WC Match would display such cowardice. 6. Bb4 is hardly frightening enough to delay development with a Flank Entrenchment.

And it is on Move 7 which we first come upon a gross distortion of Strategic understanding which Zukertort is fervently supportive of: 7. c5??, breaking the tension in the center and overextending the White stronghold in the center is a horribly poor choice. Observe how in this, and every ensuing game which Zukertort adheres to this horrid idea, Steintz begins a wholesale demolition of White's center, and activates the entirety of his forces.

From move 10, we can safely conclude that Black plays with the advantage. He has a powerful hold across the horizon, and the White Bishop on b2 is prisoner in his own diocese.

The rest is technique.


Sep-01-14  siegbert: Why did White play 37 Qxb2? What is wrong with 37 Qg1? Does Black simply push the pawns?
Dec-20-14  Smite: Takeaways: c5 punished by an early e5 break, the long knight maneuver and sac, which I don't view as entirely correct, but interesting. @ Siegbert,37 Qg1 Qf3 piles up on the pinned knight on e2 and wins faster.
Jan-22-15  poorthylacine: The rest is history indeed;
so, as history I will just notice at this pace that, after their quarrel, Steintitz forgave Zukertort but not Hoffer, whom he called "a soul of mud"; I am very thankful to Steinitz for giving to me the idea of using this expression when I think it's appropriate, like for the dirty minded, vulgar and professional liar journalist Sylvie Coma of "Charlie hebdo"; only because of her, I could no more say that "I am Charlie" before she will be fired.
May-10-15  A.T PhoneHome: I like how in this game, after 15.g3 Zukertort has an intact eight-pawn chain.

This being generally acknowledged as the first ever official World Championship game, for the sake of symbolism, I consider the wave-like pawn chain a warning, as in:

"Huge wave incoming Steinitz! Do something; prove that you are the World Champion of Chess!"

Jul-25-15  yurikvelo: <-- this game multiPV
Jun-06-16  Christoforus Polacco: If 38.Rhf1 which one rook black Queen should to kill ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Christoforus Polacco> On 38. Rhf1, <38...Rb2+> 39. Bxb2 Bxa5+ looks like a quick win for Black.
Jun-09-16  Christoforus Polacco: <beatgiant> You are rather good, I must say :) Much better than ancient famous monster of this site ''jaymthegenius'' :)) Thanks for inspiration.
Sep-03-17  PJs Studio: ...27 Rh6? Looked to me that 27...Rf6 was substantially better instantly. My engine agreed. The threats against e3 and the battery at f4 is very simple to see. I was taught early on that the first masters were 2300-2400 in modern strength. I'm beginning to rethink that assessment.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
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