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Johannes Zukertort vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
Blackburne - Zukertort (1881), London ENG, rd 13, Jul-27
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  optimal play: This was the thirteenth game of the match between Blackburne and Zukertort played at London in 1881

After round 13 the match score stood at:-

½ ½ 1 1 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ [+6 =5 -2] (8 ½ / 13)
½ ½ 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½ [+2 =5 -6] (4 ½ / 13)

With the victor to be determined by the first player to seven wins (draws not counting) Zukertort was still trying for that final win to claim the match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  optimal play: <<The thirteenth game of the match, played at Simpson’s on Wednesday, the 27th inst.

This game will be one of the most memorable match games on record, owing to its extraordinary curious termination, as well as it vicissitudes in the middle part, and taking into consideration the state of the score at the time, which, as our readers are aware, has been most precarious for Blackburne since the end of last week.

The opening, 1. P to Q B 4, resolved itself into a Q gambit declined, with the fianchetto on the Q side for both parties. Blackburne chose the questionable post at Q R 3 for his Q Kt, and made it positively unfavourable by omitting to exchange his Q B P for the adverse Q P, which enabled the opponent ultimately to form a strong centre.

Another weak advance of the K B P, to the 4th instead of to the 3rd square, gave Zukertort an opportunity of fixing his pawns strongly from K B 4 to Q 6, with a formidable passed Q P, at the same time blocking up the adverse K B uselessly at K R 3. Instead, however, of securing his position on the K side by P to K R 4, Zukertort placed his Q into inactivity at K R 3.

On the 33rd move Zukertort allowed his pawns to be broken up unnecessarily on the K side, instead of moving the K into the corner, which would have kept his fortified position intact. He only gained a doubled P temporarily thereby, and we believe Blackburne could then have obtained the superiority by Kt to B 2, in lieu of Kt to B 3, actually played.

Blackburne then tried to relieve himself by liberating his Q B P, and actually succeeded in exchanging queens, and breaking up the adverse centre by a fine sacrifice of a R, the full value of which he immediately recovered. But instead of retaining his Kt on the 45th move by Kt to Kt sq, which would have secured his getting rid of the adverse dangerous passed P at Q 7, he allowed it to be exchanged for the R, and his game then became hopeless to all appearance, for that P was bound to cost a clear piece, while Black’s passed Q B P could be stopped by the K.

The match seemed to be virtually over, and Blackburne’s best friends must have considered him fully justified in resigning the game at that stage. But he held on with his defence in a most stubborn manner, and bodly [sic] accepted the exchange of rooks, which left him only to fight with the K and a P, against the adverse Kt and two pawns.

Zukertort could have won easily at several subsequent points—namely, on the sixty-fifth move, by Kt to B 6, getting rid of Blackburne’s last P, for if that P advanced to R 3, he could capture, giving up the Kt, and his Kt P was in time to effect the support of the R P.

Again, three moves later on, he might have forced a win by bringing his K immediately to B 4, instead of to B 3, with the view of abandoning the Kt ultimately, but only after forcing the adverse K up to B 8, where the Kt should have been posted, while in the meantime White’s K could cross over to the K side and fetch the R P. But, by a singular infatuation, he ran into the very position which Blackburne had been aiming at as a last resource.

The manner in which Black draws this game with a clear piece behind will be a most instructive lesson to the students of endings.

Mr Blackburne informs us that he first hit on this ingenious resource, which he also succeeded in carrying out here, in a similar position which he had against Mr M‘Donnell about fifteen years ago. He then effected a draw with a piece minus, though there were two pawns left on each side.

Zukertort tried in vain to get the opposition, with the object of dislodging the hostile K and of abandoning the Kt, and then to gain the P. Had Black’s P been pushed one step further, the game would have been won for White by that process; but Blackburne wisely refrained from touching that P, and on finding, after several dodging attempts, that Blackburne judiciously persisted in only manœuvring his K, Zukertort gave up the game as drawn.

Duration, eight hours.>

The Field, London, 1881.07.30>

Mar-28-17  Straclonoor: 68.g4?? was fatal mistake. After 68.Kd3 white win easily - 68....Kxg3 69.Ke4 Kh4 70.Kf5 Kh5 71.Ng4 65.Ne3 wasn't mistake but 65.Nf6 wins more faster.
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Game 13/14
from Blackburne-Zukertort 1881 London Match by optimal play
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from WCC Index [ Blackburne-Zukertort 1881 ] by 1 2 3 4

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