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Johannes Zukertort
Number of games in database: 467
Years covered: 1860 to 1888
Overall record: +264 -114 =79 (66.4%)*
   * 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 (35) 
    C65 C77 C67 C64 C70
 Vienna Opening (28) 
    C25 C28 C29 C26
 Queen's Pawn Game (20) 
    D05 D00 D02 D04 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 (30) 
    C33 C39 C37
 Evans Gambit (27) 
    C52 C51
 Giuoco Piano (15) 
    C53 C50
 Scotch Game (14) 
 Four Knights (9) 
    C49 C48 C47
Repertoire Explorer

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

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Blackburne - Zukertort (1881)
   Paris (1878)
   Rosenthal - Zukertort (1880)
   London (1883)
   Berlin (1881)
   Leipzig (1877)
   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
   Rosenthal-Zukertort 1880 London Match by optimal play
   Blackburne-Zukertort 1881 London Match by optimal play
   Leipzig 1877, The Anderssen-Feier by Calli

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Johannes Zukertort
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(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. Zukertort vs Anderssen  0-136 1862 GermanyC54 Giuoco Piano
3. Zukertort vs Oppler 1-030 1862 PosenC51 Evans Gambit
4. P & Rosanes J Bloch vs Zukertort 1-031 1862 PostalC67 Ruy Lopez
5. NN vs Zukertort 0-110 1862 PosenC42 Petrov Defense
6. Zukertort vs NN 1-024 1862 PosenC37 King's Gambit Accepted
7. G Neumann vs Zukertort 1-018 1864 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
8. Zukertort vs Anderssen  1-033 1864 BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
9. Zukertort vs C Lehmann 1-033 1864 PosenB12 Caro-Kann Defense
10. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-122 1864 BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
11. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-151 1864 BreslauC52 Evans Gambit
12. G Neumann vs Zukertort  0-136 1864 BreslauB40 Sicilian
13. Zukertort vs Anderssen  0-127 1864 It BreslauC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-027 1864 BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
15. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-139 1864 BreslauC66 Ruy Lopez
16. C Lehmann vs Zukertort 0-115 1864 PoznanC44 King's Pawn Game
17. L Waldstein vs Zukertort 0-121 1864 PosenC39 King's Gambit Accepted
18. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-034 1864 BreslauC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
19. Zukertort vs Lowinsohn 1-029 1864 PosenC50 Giuoco Piano
20. Anderssen vs Zukertort 1-024 1865 BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
21. Zukertort vs Anderssen  0-130 1865 BreslauC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
22. Anderssen vs Zukertort  1-035 1865 BreslauC44 King's Pawn Game
23. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-017 1865 -19968C37 King's Gambit Accepted
24. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-035 1865 BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
25. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-020 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
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Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <offramp> lol, very funny. FIrst time I saw a headstone annotated!

Simpler would have been better, but it is hard to blame the Polish Heritage Society, who probably had a hard time convincing people to support such a project, and not much knowledge of chess.

Had they left out the redundancies, they could have included the Polish version of his original name "Jan Herman Cukiertort", if that is a correct claim of the Polish biography.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < tamar: <offramp> lol, very funny. FIrst time I saw a headstone annotated...>

LOL, <Tamar>! Of course I'm not being totally serious! I'm going to go there soon, Brompton Cemetery, to smoke a Camberwell Carrot while prostate on JZ's slab.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I hope you can go. The Camberwell Carrot would be a nice touch.

Zukertort took digitalis for a heart condition, but I don't know if he smoked it.

Its originator as a therapeutic drug ,William Withering, described it as a "beautiful green powder" that he made from the leaves. He also made it into a tea.

Dec-30-13  RedShield: < I'm going to go there soon, Brompton Cemetery>

If you're relying on public transport, the 345 bus over Battersea Bridge is your best bet. It'll also give you a chance to see how the other half live:

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I think I'll take the 14 from Fulham Broadway station.
Dec-31-13  RedShield: Tell a lie, you need the 319.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I'll take the K12, the R1, the 512 to Waterloo. Then the Dial-A-Ride to St George's. The G1 to Clapham South. The N12 to Clapham Junction then the next day the Overground to West Bromptom.

Then the 319.

Should be about a day and a bit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <offramp> Zuke's head stone isn't all that horrible. Actualy, its sort of funny how an entire obit was chiseled in two languages
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Camberwell Carrot (?) - Is that a British Blunt?
Apr-25-14  RedShield: <offramp>, did you make it? I'm hoping to pop in there next week, so can you tell me to which part of the cemetery I should be heading?
Apr-27-14  RedShield: It took me half an hour, but, yesterday, I managed to find Zukertort's grave. Despite the <ALWAYS IN OUR MEMORY>, I doubt anyone has tended it since the rededication ceremony in 2012, as the surrounding undergrowth is encroaching again.

From the South Lodge entrance (Fulham Road), the grave is located on the far left side (in the shadow of Stamford Bridge) about a third of the way along.

May-09-14  ljfyffe: Zukertort played blindfold exhibition in Quebec City, Canada, in February of 1884. By the way, there is evidence of a club there in 1842 that met at Payne's Hotel (Quebec Mercury,, Nov 30, 1841;Feb 17,1842). Thereabouts, there is a letter to the editor that spoofs the players' names and their chess-playing abilities. Jonathan Melt presented a chess problem for them to solve. See: Des debuts modestes a Quebec par Larry Fyffe, AU NOM DU ROI, p. 56.
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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
Sep-07-14  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.
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