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Johannes Zukertort
Number of games in database: 467
Years covered: 1860 to 1888
Overall record: +262 -116 =79 (66.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      10 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Evans Gambit (40) 
    C51 C52
 Ruy Lopez (34) 
    C65 C77 C67 C64 C70
 Vienna Opening (28) 
    C25 C28 C29 C26
 Queen's Pawn Game (20) 
    D05 D00 D04 D02 A46
 French Defense (20) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C15
 Sicilian (19) 
    B46 B45 B40 B23 B43
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (70) 
    C67 C65 C77 C80 C83
 King's Gambit Accepted (31) 
    C33 C39 C37
 Evans Gambit (27) 
    C52 C51
 Giuoco Piano (15) 
    C53 C50
 Scotch Game (14) 
 Four Knights (10) 
    C49 C47 C48
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Zukertort vs Blackburne, 1883 1-0
   Zukertort vs Anderssen, 1865 1-0
   Zukertort vs NN, 1877 1-0
   Zukertort vs Count Epoureano, 1872 1-0
   Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 0-1
   Chigorin vs Zukertort, 1883 0-1
   Zukertort vs Englisch, 1883 1-0
   Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 1-0
   Steinitz vs Zukertort, 1886 0-1
   Zukertort vs Blackburne, 1883 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Paris (1878)
   London (1883)
   Blackburne - Zukertort (1881)
   Rosenthal - Zukertort (1880)
   Leipzig (1877)
   Berlin (1881)
   Aachen, 7th congress WDS (1868)
   Vienna (1882)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Challengers Zukertort & Gunsberg by Imohthep
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Paris 1878 by suenteus po 147
   WCC Index [ Zukertort - Rosenthal 1880 ] by 1 2 3 4
   Rosenthal-Zukertort 1880 London Match by optimal play
   Blackburne-Zukertort 1881 London Match by optimal play
   WCC Index [ Blackburne-Zukertort 1881 ] by 1 2 3 4
   Leipzig 1877, The Anderssen-Feier by Calli

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Johannes Zukertort
Search Google for Johannes Zukertort

(born Sep-07-1842, died Jun-20-1888, 45 years old) Poland (citizen of United Kingdom)

[what is this?]
Johannes Hermann Zukertort was born in Lublin, Congress Poland*.


Zukertort’s father was a Christian Protestant missionary of Jewish origin at a time when the Christian mission among the Jews in Russian-occupied Poland was illegal. Consequently, the Zukertorts emigrated to Prussia. In 1861, Johannes enrolled at the University of Breslau to study medicine, although it is unclear if he completed his degree. It was in Breslau he met Adolf Anderssen and started playing chess, moving to Berlin several years later in 1867. After again moving, this time to London, he became a naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom in 1878.


<Non-title> In 1868, he played and lost a match to Anderssen in Berlin by 3.5-8.5 (+3 -8 =1). In 1871, he turned the tables, defeating Anderssen in a match by 5-2 (+5 -2). In 1872, he moved to London where he played Wilhelm Steinitz, losing 9-3 (+1 -7 =4). In May - June 1880, he had defeated Samuel Rosenthal, the French champion, Rosenthal - Zukertort (1880). In 1881, he played and defeated Joseph Henry Blackburne by 8.5-4.5 (+6 -2 =5). After losing the World Championship match against Steinitz in 1886, he lost a second match he played against Blackburne in 1887 by 5-9 (+1 -5 =8), Blackburne - Zukertort (1887) , probably because of declining health (he died the following year).

<Title> The Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886) lasted from 11 January to 29 March 1886. After leading by 4-1 after 5 games, Zukertort won only one more game, the thirteenth, going on to lose the match by 7˝-12˝ (+5 -10 =5).


Zukertort placed 3rd in London in 1872 behind Steinitz and Blackburne; 2nd behind Blackburne in London in 1876; 1st in Cologne and 2nd in Leipzig in 1877 behind Louis Paulsen; equal 1st with Simon Winawer at the Paris International Chess Congress in 1878, beating Winawer in the play-off; 2nd at Berlin in 1881 behind Blackburne; =4th in Vienna in 1882 behind Steinitz, Winawer and James Mason; and 1st in London in 1883, 3 points ahead of Steinitz. Zukertort's win in London in 1883 was considered to be his most significant success. The tournament was a double round robin contest with 14 players and therefore ran for 26 rounds; it also featured the first time the double-sided chess clock was used in competition. He won his games against most of the world's leading players including Steinitz, Blackburne, Winawer, Mikhail Chigorin, George Henry Mackenzie, Berthold Englisch, Samuel Rosenthal, and Henry Edward Bird, scoring 22/26 (after starting with 22/23), and finishing 3 points ahead of Steinitz, who was 2nd with 19/26. This tournament led to the World Chess Championship match between these Zukertort and Steinitz three years later.

After his defeat in the World Championship match in 1886, Zukertort's health declined, and he was diagnosed with rheumatism, coronary heart disease, kidney problems, and arteriosclerosis. His tournament results declined steeply, placing 7th in London and 3rd in Nottingham in 1886; 15th in Frankfurt and 4th in London in 1887, and 7th in London in 1888. When he unexpectedly died later that year, he was leading a tournament at Simpson’s Divan in which he was scheduled to play his last two rounds against Blackburn and Amos Burn.

...Dr. Frank Jeeves, the house physician of Charing-Cross Hospital ...had since made a post-mortem examination, and found that death was due to cerebral haemorrhage. The kidneys of the deceased were slightly unhealthy ...and the arteries and the base of the brain were diseased...

Source - <Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Monday 25 June 1888, p.8.>

Chess legacy and epilogue

Zukertort was one of the ablest attacking players of his generation, ranked by Chessmetrics as the number 1 player for 56 months between 1878 and 1886.** Yet, unlike the majority of attacking players, Zukertort preferred openings such as 1. c4 and 1. Nf3 that were closed or semi-closed and offered the possibility of transpositions. In the early 1880s 1. Nf3 was known as "Zukertort’s Opening", 40 years before it became known as the Réti Opening. His name is also associated with the Colle-Zukertort Opening: <1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3 Nc6 6.O-O Bd6 7.Bb2 O-O>, which is frequently reached by transposition. In 1879, Zukertort was co-editor, with Leopold Hoffer, of The Chess Monthly. He also demonstrated his ability to play blindfold simuls when in 1876, he played sixteen games simultaneously while blindfolded, winning by 13-3 (+11 -1 =4).

He died in London after playing a game in a tournament at Simpson's Divan. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery in London. In recent times his grave had fallen into disrepair and in 2012 it was restored and rededicated after British Grandmaster Stuart Conquest organized a chess appeal that attracted the necessary funds from the Polish Government and the chess community.***


* Congress Poland was essentially a Russian possession of part of 19th century Poland which was subsequently returned to Poland at the end of World War I: Wikipedia article: Congress Poland; ** Chessmetrics:; *** Johannes Zukertort’s grave rededicated in London:; Edward Winter’s Chess Notes ; Zukertort by Bill Wall:

Wikipedia article: Johannes Zukertort

 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 467  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Hirschfeld vs Zukertort  1-023 1860 ?C25 Vienna
2. P & Rosanes J Bloch vs Zukertort 1-031 1862 PostalC67 Ruy Lopez
3. NN vs Zukertort 0-110 1862 PosenC42 Petrov Defense
4. Zukertort vs NN 1-024 1862 PosenC37 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Zukertort vs Anderssen  0-136 1862 GermanyC54 Giuoco Piano
6. Zukertort vs Oppler 1-030 1862 PosenC51 Evans Gambit
7. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-151 1864 BreslauC52 Evans Gambit
8. G Neumann vs Zukertort  0-136 1864 BreslauB40 Sicilian
9. Zukertort vs Anderssen  0-127 1864 It BreslauC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
10. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-027 1864 BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
11. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-139 1864 BreslauC66 Ruy Lopez
12. L Waldstein vs Zukertort 0-121 1864 PosenC39 King's Gambit Accepted
13. C Lehmann vs Zukertort 0-115 1864 PoznanC44 King's Pawn Game
14. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-034 1864 BreslauC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
15. Zukertort vs Lowinsohn 1-029 1864 PosenC50 Giuoco Piano
16. G Neumann vs Zukertort 1-018 1864 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
17. Zukertort vs Anderssen  1-033 1864 BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
18. Zukertort vs C Lehmann 1-033 1864 PosenB12 Caro-Kann Defense
19. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-122 1864 BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
20. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-117 1865 BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
21. E Schmidt vs Zukertort  0-142 1865 BreslauC33 King's Gambit Accepted
22. Anderssen vs Zukertort  1-035 1865 BreslauC44 King's Pawn Game
23. Anderssen vs Zukertort 0-137 1865 BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
24. Anderssen vs Zukertort 1-017 1865 BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
25. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-025 1865 BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 467  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Zukertort wins | Zukertort loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 10 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-09-14  ljfyffe: See: Zukertort in Canada, WRITINGS IN CHESS HISTORY, Hilbert, 2012, pp.23-57.
May-11-14  ljfyffe: Another : Pollock-Charles Stubbs(chess editor of
Saint John Globe). July, 1895, Saint John, NB. Might be in forthcoming book on Pollock? 1e4 e5 2Nf3 Nc6 3Bc4 Bc5 4b4 Bb6 5b5 Na5 6Nxe5 Nxc4 7Nxc4 Bxf2+ 8Kxf2 Qf6+ 9Qf3 Qxa1 10Nc3 Nf6 11Re1 o-o 12e5 Ng4+ 13Qxg4 d5 14Qg3 dxc4 15Ba3 Qxe1+ 16Kxe1 Re8 17Nd5 Re6 18Nf6+ Kh8 19Bf8 g6 20Qg5 1 - 0
May-25-14  ketchuplover: Johannes Zukertort:Artist of the Chessboard is now available via and probably other venues too. Shop around for the best deal. Best wishes.
Jun-07-14  ljfyffe: Zukertort played John DeSoyres before the latter moved to Saint John, NB.
Jun-10-14  ljfyffe: John Barry, of Montreal, played against Zukertort in the 1884 exhibition tour when Zukertort was in Montreal, playing against 12 while "blindfolded".
Aug-05-14  ljfyffe: When in Leadville, Colorado in 1884, Zukertort played General H.B. Johnson. The game appears in the St. John Globe of that year. Landsberger mentions their meeting, in The Steinitz Papers.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. World Chess Championship Challenger, Johannes Zukertort.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: Best World Rank: #1 (56 different months between the August 1878 rating list and the February 1886 rating list ) Most months like # 1 than anyone in chess history !
Sep-07-14  ljfyffe: Zukertort - William Boultbee Toronto 1884 blindfold exhibition < 1e4 e5 2f4 Bc5 3Nf3 d6 4Nc3 Nf6 5Bc4 Be6 6Bxe6 fxe6 7fxe5 dxe5 8Qe2 Ng4 9h3 Nf6 10Nxe5 0-0 11Qc4 Bf2+ 12Kxf2 Ng4+ 13Kg3 Qf6 14Nxg4 Qf4+ 15Kh4 Rf6 16Kh5 Kh8 0-1.>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: For somebody that never got the world chess championship
Sep-09-14  ljfyffe: Zukertort-W.H. Judd Toronto blindfold 1884
1e4 e5 2d4 d5 3Nc3 Nf6 4 exd5 exd5 5Nf3 Bd6 6Bd3 Nc6 70-0 0-0 8Bg5 Be7 9Re1 h6 10Be3 Nb4 11Bf1 Bf5 12 Rc1 Ne4 13 Nxe4 dxe4 14a3 Bg4 15axb4 exf3 16gxf3 Bh5 17c3 Bd6 18Bg2 Qh4 19h3 Qf6 20b5 a6 21bxa6 Rxa6 22c4 c6 23c5 Bc7 24b4 Rd8 25Rb1 b5 26 Rb3 Rd5 27 Rd3 Ra8 28 Bc1 Rad8 29Be3 Rf5 30Bd2 Rxd4 31Bc3 Rxd3 32Qxd3 Qg6 33Re8 Kh7 34Re3 Rf4 35Re4 Rd5 36Qe2 Rg5 37Qf1 Bxf3 38Rxf4 Rxg2+ 0-1.
Oct-20-14  ljfyffe: In Jan. Of 1884, Zukertort visited Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where he attended the annual meeting of the Dominion Chess Association for $100, reports John Hilbert. Governor General Landsdowne, as patron, was present:
<Larry Fyffe, the Canadian chess researcher, writes that "The Governor General is the head of state of Canada, representing the Crown, and is empowered to govern by the wishes of the Canadian Prime Minister.>
Oct-20-14  ljfyffe: Writings in Chess History 2012.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <In conversation with an <<American>> reporter last Tuesday evening Dr. J. H. Zukertort thus sums up his life as a chess-player: "I was born in Riga, Russia Courland, and am a Prussian subject. [...]">

source: Baltimore American, 1883.12.16.

I checked my Gaige and he only cites one source published before Zukertort's death (Norfolk News, 1872.11.16). Is there any concrete evidence that Zukertort was born in Lublin and not Riga as reportedly stated by Zukertort himself?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I hope it turns out that Zukertort was born in Riga. Then they'd have to tear down that stupid headstone.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <Oct-21-13 Karpova: <tjipa> Gaige gives Lublin, Poland as his place of birth on p. 481 of the paperback 'Chess Personalia'. He cites many sources, among them p. 307 of the 1888 'British Chess Magazine' which I can confirm.>

Checking page 307 of the BCM yields Riga also...

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <It has been commonly believed that the late Johann Hermann Zukertort was born in the town of Riga on the 7th September, 1842, but it is now stated on the authority of Herr E. Schallopp, who gets his information from Herr Adolf Zukertort, a stenographer in Berlin and a brother of J. H. Zukertort, that the real birthplace of the great Chess player was Lublin, a small town in Russian Poland. The year of his birth is undoubtedly 1842, but whether the 7th of September was his actual natal day is not quite so certain, but probabilities point that it was.>

Source: International Chess Magazine, August 1888, p227

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: A little digging around: Adolf turns out to be a younger brother (born 1850), so I'm not sure how he would know for certain that his older brother was not born in Riga.

It seems clear that the family resided in Lublin at the time of his birth, but there may exist the possibility that his mother was in Riga on the day of his birth (there could be any number of reasons; visiting relatives perhaps?). I think I read somewhere today that Thomasz Lissowski found a birth certificate for J.H. in Lublin. Makes me wonder if the birth certificate was filed upon their return to Lublin from a visit to Riga.

This would explain a great number of things; including Zukertort's claim to being born in Riga during his lifetime but his younger brother stating that he was born in Lublin.

Theoretically, he could have been birthed in Riga, but born to Lublin parents residing in Lublin, making him Lublin born...

Then again, J.H. was a bit of a loon so maybe he had no idea where he was born and just made things up for the press?

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Did Zukertort just like inventing stories, or was he dodging his heritage?

Anyway thanks for the research jnpope

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <Dr. J. H. Zukertort.-Zukertort is supposed to have been born in two places simultaneously, but I have reason to believe him to be a native of Riga, born in 1842. Lowenthal, who organised the tournament of 1872, invited Zukertort to compete, and the rumour goes that he came over in two ships [...]>

source: The Fortnightly Review, London, December 1886, v46, p761 (article: The Chess Masters of To-Day by L. Hoffer)

Dec-22-14  ljfyffe: <He played a handicap game at the British Chess Club on Monday the 18th (of June, 1888) and on the next day he played a game of chess at Simpson's "and was seized with an attack of faintness, which seemed to be of a serious nature....Instead of calling for medical aid, he was taken to the British Chess Club in an unconscious state," where a doctor suggested that he be moved to a hospital. He never regained consciousness and died the next morning.> Kurt Landsberger, The Steinitz Papers.
Dec-22-14  ljfyffe: <Zukertort, J.H. (1842-1888). Born in Lublin, Poland, he returned with his German father and Polish mother to Germany in 1855.>Lansberger.
Dec-22-14  ljfyffe: Kurt Landsberger, The Steintz Papers, McFarland, 2002.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Zukertort,JH - Delmar,E
USA New York, NY (Manhattan CC)

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng5 h6 7.Nxf7 Kxf7 8.d4 h5 9.Bc4+ Kg7 10.Bxf4 Qf6 11.0-0 Nxd4 12.Nd5 Nf3+ 13.Rxf3 Bc5+ 14.Be3 Bxe3+ 15.Rxe3 Qxh4 16.Qd4+ Nf6 17.Rf1 Rf8 18.g3 Qg5 19.Rf5 Qh6 20.Re1 d6 21.Rxf6 Rxf6 22.Rf1 c5 23.Qc3 Bf5 24.Rxf5 Raf8 25.Nxf6 Rxf6 26.Rxf6 Qxf6 27.Qxf6+ Kxf6 28.Kf2 1-0

«Cincinnati Commercial, 1884.03.29»

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: A neat game JHZ lost to Max's brother Maurice.

Zukertort,JH - Judd,Maurice
USA St. Louis, MO [1883.12? 1884.01?]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0-0 dxc3 8.Qb3 Qf6 9.e5 Qg6 10.Nxc3 Bxc3 11.Qxc3 Nge7 12.Ng5 0-0 13.Bd3 Qh5 14.Bxh7+ Kh8 15.Bc2 d5 16.exd6 cxd6 17.f4 Bf5 18.Bb2 f6 19.Rf3 Nd5 20.Qd2 fxg5 21.Qxd5 g4 22.Rb3 Ne7 23.Qd4 Rf7 24.Bd1 Qh4 25.g3 Qh3 26.Rxb7 Nc6 27.Qxg7+ Rxg7 28.Rxg7 Ne5 0-1

«Cincinnati Commercial, 1884.02.02»

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