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Johannes Zukertort vs Wilhelm Steinitz
"And the Rest is History" (game of the day May-10-12)
Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886)  ·  Slav Defense: General (D10)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-13-08  JimmyVermeer: <Chessical>, are you certain about the date? Chessgames.com gives the date of this game as January 2, 1886.
Jul-14-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <JimmyVermeer>: The match commenced on Tuesday January 11, 1886 at the Cartier's Rooms on Fifth Avenue, New York. I can confirm this date, with a contemporary article in the "New York Times", which may be viewed at:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstra...

Sep-24-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here are Steinitz's own annotations to this game:

http://www.chesscentral.com/wilhelm...

http://www.chesscentral.com/wilhelm...

http://www.chesscentral.com/wilhelm...

Nov-27-08  wvkevin: 14. b5 is virtually a meaningless move. 0-0 on that move would have been much better.
Jul-20-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Here is a 'blunder check' from <Bridgeburner>

<Methodology>;

The first step in establishing a methodology is to take a game and test it. To assign a numerical weighting to the game as explained in the bio, I first need to map all the moves via the engine.

My preliminary approach is to run each move through the engine to basically look for blunder checks. It's very difficult and probably impractical to apply the same ply to each move for logistical and logical reasons, such as personal time constraints, the redundancy of doing so in well trodden openings, but I've tried to essentially run a 13-16 ply checkon moves.

<Game moves>

The game is the first official World Championship match game: Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 1886, New York.

<1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.c4 c6 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 Ng6 14.b5 Nh4 15.g3 Ng2+ 16.Kf1 Nxe3+ 17.fxe3 Bxg3 18.Kg2 Bc7>

So far so good. White’s opening was uninspiring but according to the machine, not bad. It doesn’t consider Black’s piece sac on <e3> to be the best move based on a 15 ply skim, but the sac is perfectly sound. The retreat of the Bishop to <c7> caused a flutter, with the machine considering it to be inferior by 0.60 to the preferred <18…Qc7>. Once the game had been mapped, a forward reslide of the same position reduced that differential to 0.40, well inside the notional boundary of a dubious move (0..80-1.40 shift).

<Game move: <19.Qg1?>>:

An 18 ply skim of <18…Bc7> evaluated White’s best move as being <19.Qf1> rating it 0.43, gaining a temp by attacking the LSB. The text leaves Black’s LSB unmolested and allows Black to develop his King rook with a deadly threat. A fifteen ply slide of 19.Qg1 gives 19…Rh6 a rating of 0.60, an overall shift of 1.03 – not quite a losing move, but certainly a dubious one. A 15 ply slide on <19…Rh6> increases the evaluation for the same move to 0.93, increasing the evaluation shift to 1.36, just short of an outright blunder. Keeping it simple:

<Progressive game weighting = 1 (White 1, Black 0)>

Jul-20-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: (continued)

<Game moves: <19…Rh6 20.Kf1 Rg6 21.Qf2 Qd7 22.bxc6 bxc6 23.Rg1>

The short slides indicate incremental deterioration in White’s position, compounded by White’s 22nd move which received a long 20 ply slide as it was left to run overnight. Subsequent slides indicate that by move 23, White is lost (position evaluation 1.57). Therefore as a working draft, <22.bxc6> is treated as a bad move, and assigned a weighting of 1.

<Progressive game weighting = 2 (White 2, Black 0)>

<Game moves: <23…Bxh3+ 24.Ke1 Ng4 25.Bxg4 Bxg4 26.Ne2 Qe7 27.Nf4>

The 17 ply engine slide indicates an evaluation shift from 1.57 to 2.73. Although this doesn’t change the status of White’s game, it moves it from marginally indefensible to virtually a forced loss. Assigned a weighting of 1

<Progressive game weighting = 3 (White 3, Black 0)

<Game move:< 27…Rh6>.

An evaluation shift from 2.73 back to 1.62, technically an error of the same dimension as White’s last. However it is still a winning strategy so doesn’t attract a weighting.

<Game moves: <27…Rh6 28.Bc3 g5 29.Ne2 Rf6 30.Qg2 Rf3 31.Nf1 Rb8 32.Kd2>

The evaluation in favor of Black has drifted back to 1.46 as at move 31, on the wrong side of the borderline between significant advantage and winning. White’s move 32 however, shifts the evaluation sharply from 1.46 to 3.17, or the equivalent of a piece down without compensation, and is therefore assigned a weighting of 1.

<Progressive game weighting = 4 (White 4, Black 0)

<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. Assigned a weighting of 2.

<Progressive game weighting = 6 (White 4, Black 2)>

<Game move: <33.a5??>

White blunders again. <33.Nh2> was the only move that could save the game. Evaluation shift from 0.99 to 3.92 is a shift of nearly 3, or the equivalent of a piece blunder. Weighting = 2.

<Progressive game weighting = 8 (White 6, Black 2)>

<Game moves: <33…f4 34.Rh1 Qf7 35.Re1 fxe3+ 36.Nxe3 Rf2 37.Qxf2 Qxf2 38.Nxg4 Bf4+ 39.Kc2 hxg4 40.Bd2 e3 41.Bc1 Qg2 42.Kc3 Kd7 43.Rh7+ Ke6 44.Rh6+ Kf5 45.Bxe3 Bxe3 46.Rf1+ Bf4>

Between moves 33 and 46, the position evaluation had eventually moved to an evaluation of over 30 and a forced mate by the time White resigns. However, no weight is attached to any of these moves as they were made within the context of a completely lost game. No weight would have been attached to moves beyond White's 32nd but for Black's blunder at move 33 in a clearly won position. The counter blunder at White's move 33 was weighted as it clearly lost the game.

<Conclusion>

Using the methodology outlined, the game weighting of 8 resulted from 4 bad moves and a blunder by White, and one blunder by Black.

<TEST RESULT>: Using the above method, Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 is weighted at 8 (1 blunder by Steinitz, 1 blunder and four bad moves by Zukertort). Full analysis starts from the following link in this forum:

Bridgeburner chessforum

Jul-20-09  Bridgeburner: For this game, I employed a simple forward slide (15 ply minimum) starting at about move 10, with sporadic reverse slides.

For the games I'm mapping in the Lasker-Schlechter World Championship Match (1910), I'm processing all the moves from move 1 rather than from late in the opening, and doing a full reverse slide from the last move to smooth out the fluctuations caused by the limited horizons that make low ply evaluations so variable.

Any feedback on this project and its methods would be most welcome, preferably on my forum.

Sep-16-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Amendments for Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 (Part 1):

1.

Original result:

<Game move: <19.Qg1?>>:

An 18 ply skim of <18…Bc7> evaluated White’s best move as being <19.Qf1> rating it 0.43, gaining a temp by attacking the LSB. The text leaves Black’s LSB unmolested and allows Black to develop his King rook with a deadly threat. A fifteen ply slide of 19.Qg1 gives 19…Rh6 a rating of 0.60, an overall shift of 1.03 – not quite a losing move, but certainly a dubious one. A 15 ply slide on <19…Rh6> increases the evaluation for the same move to 0.93, increasing the evaluation shift to 1.36, just short of an outright blunder. Keeping it simple:

<Progressive game weighting = 1 (White 1, Black 0)>

HOWEVER,

a <blunder> is defined as:

(c) a move that causes an engine evaluation shift of greater than 1.20

Suggested corrected result:

A 15 ply slide on <19…Rh6> increases the evaluation for the same move to 0.93, increasing the evaluation shift to 1.36 which is more than 1.20

Thus <19.Qg1?> = blunder (blunder # 1 by White)

2.

Original result:

Subsequent slides indicate that by move 23, White is lost (position evaluation 1.57). Therefore as a working draft, <22.bxc6> is treated as a bad move, and assigned a weighting of 1.

<Progressive game weighting = 2 (White 2, Black 0)>

HOWEVER,

a <blunder> is defined as:

(a) as a losing move, ie: a move that shifts the position evaluation to greater than 1.40 or 1.40, regardless of the proximate change in evaluation

Thus <22.bxc6>, which pushes the eval beyond 1.40 (1.57) = blunder (blunder # 2 by White)

3.

<Game moves: <23…Bxh3+ 24.Ke1 Ng4 25.Bxg4 Bxg4 26.Ne2 Qe7 27.Nf4>

The 17 ply engine slide indicates an evaluation shift from 1.57 to 2.73. Although this doesn’t change the status of White’s game, it moves it from marginally indefensible to virtually a forced loss. Assigned a weighting of 1

<Progressive game weighting = 3 (White 3, Black 0)

HOWEVER,

a <blunder> is defined:

(c) as a move that causes an engine evaluation shift of greater than 1.20, unless the game is a forced loss and the side with the superior position does not make a blunder that reduces the game position to below 1.40. Similarly, the loser in a position which is a forced loss will not be penalized for suicidal moves.

And

a <bad move> or an <error> is defined as a move that causes an engine evaluation shift of between 0.80 and 1.20 with the same caveat that applies to a <blunder>.

And at eval -1.57, White’s game is already lost and still remains so at -2.73,

Then <27.Nf4> should not be regarded as an error or blunder.

Sep-16-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Amendments for Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 (Part 2):

4.

<32.Kd2>

The evaluation in favor of Black has drifted back to 1.46 as at move 31, on the wrong side of the borderline between significant advantage and winning. White’s move 32 however, shifts the evaluation sharply from 1.46 to 3.17, or the equivalent of a piece down without compensation, and is therefore assigned a weighting of 1.

<Progressive game weighting = 4 (White 4, Black 0)

HOWEVER,

1.46 and 3.17 are still regarded as winning for Black, and so

<32.Kd2> should not be regarded as an error or blunder.

5.

<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.

Assigned a weighting of 2.

THUS

Since a <blunder> is defined

(b) as a move that costs a win, ie: a move that shifts the position evaluation from greater than 1.40 or 1.40 , to below 1.40 or 1.40 , regardless of the proximate change in evaluation

And

evaluation shift resulting from this move is from 3.17 to 0.99

<Game move: 32...f5??> = blunder (blunder # 1 by Black)

6.

<Game move: <33.a5??>

White blunders again. <33.Nh2> was the only move that could save the game. Evaluation shift from 0.99 to 3.92 is a shift of nearly 3, or the equivalent of a piece blunder.

Weighting = 2.

THUS

Since a <blunder> is defined

(a) as a losing move, ie: a move that shifts the position evaluation to greater than 1.40 or 1.40, regardless of the proximate change in evaluation

<Game move: <33.a5??> = blunder (blunder # 3 by White)

In summary:

White committed 3 blunders

<19.Qg1> increasing the evaluation shift to 1.36 which is more than 1.20

<22.bxc6> which pushes the eval beyond 1.40 (1.57)

<33.a5> Evaluation shift from 0.99 to 3.92

Black committed 1 blunder

<32...f5> evaluation shift resulting from this move is from 3.17 to 0.99

Hence, weighing should still be 8, although not because of 1 blunder by Steinitz, and 1 blunder and four bad moves by Zukertort. Instead Steinitz played perfectly except for 1 blunder which let go of a winning position, and there were 3 blunders by Zukertort. (1 blunder = score weight of 2; 4 blunders = score weight of 8)

Dec-27-09  kibitzwc: part 1
''the rest is history''. a great nickname for such a great game played between these two great players.well, today I will analyze this game using a search engine and see what moves that these players may want to reconsider.

ok, first off the opening is classified as:queens gambit declined/slav defence. and i beleive mr steinitz left the book with 3..Bf5. although if thought of 3..Bf5 is the no.1 move on the chessboard! next zukertort played 4.Nc3. this move is also the absolute best! cxd5, Nf3 and Qb3 are also okay but i prefer this line of play more. mr steinitz now played 4..e6 which is by far the best move on the board and the only one that improves blacks winning chances. 5.Nf3 was nice. also Qb3 would have been equally good. and anything besides those two and Nge2 would turn the game in favor of black. 5..Nd7 is not as good as the more dominant 5..Nf6. and increases whites winning chances. here zukertort played 6.a3 where this shifts the games dominator from white to black. better was 6.Be2, keeping the odds on. and now steinitz played 6..Bd6 which i dont like here. rahter Ngf6 or Be7 would have proved a lot better. with 6..Bd6 white gains the opposition. where as Ngf6 would keep black the opposition and Be7 would neutralize. 7.c5 was ok because after 7..Bc7 the game is about neutralized but better would be 7.Be2.7..Bc7 is really the only move here and it is obvious. it almost neutralizes the game but black still has a very seldom advantage. 8.b4 was good here as Be2 again would have been just as good.8.b4 increases whites winning odds to 0.00. well, actully the game is neutralized. 8..e5 was ok here but, Ngf6 would have been better. also Qf6 and Qe7 would have been just as good as e5. 9.Be2 was not a very good move here as it should have been played earlier in the game. better was 9.dxe5. 9.. Ngf6 looks attractive but actully gives the opposition to white! the best move here and the only one that keeps the opposition is 9..e4. 10.Bb2 was about the 3rd best move here. but any move that white makes hands the opposition back to black so what else can he do? well O-O and even better dxe5 are the two better moves. 10..e4 was pretty good but O-O and Qe7 may have been better. end of part 1

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.
Jan-29-12
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.
May-10-12
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..."
May-10-12  Petrosianic: And yet he won the next 4 in a row, so he couldn't have been too disheartened.
May-10-12
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 .
May-11-12
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.


click for larger view

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.

-Alpinemaster

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