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London Tournament

Johannes Zukertort22/26(+22 -4 =0)[games]
Wilhelm Steinitz19/26(+19 -7 =0)[games]
Joseph Henry Blackburne16.5/25(+16 -8 =1)[games]
Mikhail Chigorin16/26(+16 -10 =0)[games]
George Henry Mackenzie15.5/26(+14 -9 =3)[games]
Berthold Englisch15.5/26(+14 -9 =3)[games]
James Mason15.5/26(+15 -10 =1)[games]
Samuel Rosenthal14/25(+13 -10 =2)[games]
Simon Winawer13/26(+12 -12 =2)[games]
Henry Bird12/26(+12 -14 =0)[games]
Josef Noa9.5/26(+9 -16 =1)[games]
Alexander Sellman6.5/26(+6 -19 =1)[games]
James Mortimer3/26(+3 -23 =0)[games]
Arthur Skipworth3/26(+3 -23 =0)[games]
* Chess Event Description
London (1883)

London, England; 26 April 1883—23 June 1883

Wins by round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Score Place/Prizes ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— 1 Zukertort •• 01 11 11 11 10 11 11 11 11 11 10 10 11 22 1st £300 2 Steinitz 10 •• 01 00 01 11 11 00 11 11 11 11 11 11 19 2nd £175 3 Blackburne 00 10 •• 01 10 00 11 1* ½1 01 11 11 11 11 16½ 3rd £150 4 Chigorin 00 11 10 •• 01 11 01 01 10 10 10 11 10 11 16 4th £125 6 Englisch 00 10 01 10 •• ½½ 00 ½1 01 01 11 11 11 11 15½ 5th-7th £75 5 Mackenzie 01 00 11 00 ½½ •• 01 01 01 01 11 ½1 11 11 15½ 5th-7th £75 7 Mason 00 00 00 10 11 10 •• 10 10 11 ½1 11 11 11 15½ 5th-7th £75 8 Rosenthal 00 11 0* 10 ½0 10 01 •• ½1 10 01 01 11 11 14 £25 Kolisch 9 Winawer 00 00 ½0 01 10 10 01 ½0 •• 01 10 11 11 11 13 £14 Löwenthal 10 Bird 00 00 10 01 10 10 00 01 10 •• 00 11 11 11 12 £11 15s " 11 Noa 00 00 00 01 00 00 ½0 10 01 11 •• 01 11 01 9½ £10 5s " 12 Sellman 01 00 00 00 00 ½0 00 10 00 00 10 •• 11 01 6½ £7 5s " 13 Mortimer 01 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 •• 01 3 £4 15s " 14 Skipworth 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 10 10 10 •• 3 £2 " ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— * The second round decision between Blackburne and Rosenthal was deemed unnecessary and left unfinished.

Wins by game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 —————————————————————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬——————┬————— 1 Zukertort ••••••│0 1 │½1 1 │1 ½1 │½½11 │1 ½0 │1 1 │1 1 │½1 ½1 │1 1 │1 1 │1 0 │1 0 │1 + 2 Steinitz 1 0 │••••••│1 0 │0 0 │0 ½½1│1 1 │1 ½1 │½0 ½0 │1 1 │1 1 │1 ½1 │1 1 │1 ½1 │1 + 3 Blackburne ½0 0 │1 0 │••••••│0 1 │1 ½½0│½0 0 │1 ½1 │½1 ½- │½½½½½1│0 ½1 │1 ½1 │½1 1 │1 1 │1 1 4 Chigorin 0 ½0 │1 1 │1 0 │••••••│0 ½1 │1 1 │½0 1 │0 ½½1│1 0 │1 0 │½1 0 │1 ½1 │1 0 │1 + 5 Englisch ½½00 │1 ½½0│0 ½½1│1 ½0 │••••••│½½½½½½│½½00 │½½½½½1│0 1 │½0 1 │1 1 │½1 1 │1 1 │1 + 6 Mackenzie 0 ½1 │0 0 │½1 1 │0 0 │½½½½½½│••••••│0 ½1 │½0 ½1 │0 1 │0 ½1 │1 ½1 │½½½½1 │½1 1 │1 + 7 Mason 0 0 │0 ½0 │0 ½0 │½1 0 │½½11 │1 ½0 │••••••│½1 0 │½1 0 │1 1 │½½½1 │1 ½½1│½1 1 │1 + 8 Rosenthal 0 0 │½1 ½1 │½0 ½- │1 ½½0│½½½½½0│½1 ½0 │½0 1 │••••••│½½½½½1│½1 0 │0 1 │½0 1 │1 1 │½1 + 9 Winawer ½0 ½0 │0 0 │½½½½½0│0 1 │1 0 │1 0 │½0 1 │½½½½½0│••••••│½0 1 │½½10 │1 ½1 │1 1 │1 + 10 Bird 0 0 │0 0 │1 ½0 │0 1 │½1 0 │1 ½0 │0 0 │½0 1 │½1 0 │••••••│0 0 │1 1 │½1 1 │½1 + 11 Noa 0 0 │0 ½0 │0 ½0 │½0 1 │0 0 │0 ½0 │½½½0 │1 0 │½½01 │1 1 │••••••│0 1 │1 1 │0 + 12 Sellman 0 1 │0 0 │½0 0 │0 ½0 │½0 0 │½½½½0 │0 ½½0│½1 0 │0 ½0 │0 0 │1 0 │••••••│1 1 │0 + 13 Mortimer 0 1 │0 ½0 │0 0 │0 1 │0 0 │½0 0 │½0 0 │0 0 │0 0 │½0 0 │0 0 │0 0 │••••••│0 1 14 Skipworth 0 - │0 - │0 0 │0 - │0 - │0 - │0 - │½0 - │0 - │½0 - │1 - │1 - │1 0 │•••••• —————————————————————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴——————┴—————— Unplayed games: + for a win, = for a draw, - for a loss. Format: Double round-robin with only the third consecutive draw counting towards the score in any round.

In conjunction with the London (Vizayanagaram) (1883) minor event, in the late Spring of 1883, fourteen chess masters were invited to participate in a double round robin event in London, England.(1) Among the attendees were the very best players in the world at that time, including Wilhelm Steinitz, Simon Winawer, Johannes Zukertort, and Joseph Henry Blackburne. The tournament was held from April 26th to June 23rd at Victoria Hall(2) in the Criterion. The announced prize money up for the seven top places was broken down as such: 1st= £250, 2nd= £150, 3rd= £120, 4th= £90, 5th= £70, 6th= £50, and 7th= £25 (the Kolisch prize for the best score against the top prize winners), but these prizes were raised to 1st= £300, 2nd= £175, 3rd= £150, 4th= £125, 5th= £100, 6th= £75, 7th= £50, and the Kolish prize stayed at £25.(3) In addition, a Löwenthal Consolation Prize of £50 was established to be distributed among the players who did not place, applying the Gelbfuhs system. It marked the first time at an international tournament that all the players' expenses would be covered to some degree. Games started promptly at noon and continued until 5 pm where a two hour adjournment was held for supper. Then games would resume at 7 pm and continue until 11 pm. The time control for the tournament was 15 moves every hour.

A new innovation for measuring the players' time was introduced here, a pair of connected stop-clocks designed by Thomas Bright Wilson (based on advice from Blackburne). The premise behind the clocks was that one player stopped his clock after his move and his opponent's clock would then begin running and vice versa. Among the rules for this tournament, draws had to be replayed either until a decisive result was achieved, or until the third game where any result counted. Draws were scheduled to be replayed on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and only when no pairing conflicts existed. During the first cycle of games, a holiday was permitted to the players in order to attend the Derby. It was during this extra rest day that construction of platforms in the hall commenced so that visitors and spectators could observe the remainder of the games for the tournament. This resulted in over a hundred people attending on June 7th to watch the Steinitz-Zukertort game during the second cycle.

Skipworth abandoned the tournament shortly after the resumption of the second half. His remaining games were forfeited to the opponents. Also of note is the missing replayed draw of Rosenthal and Blackburne's from the second cycle. It was determined by the organizers that since the tournament was continuing on prohibitively and that the game would not affect the standing of either player it was not required to be played. As result, neither player received a score for the game.

The tournament was a runaway success for Zukertort. In the first twenty-three rounds his score was an astounding (+22 -1 =0)! However, the length and strain of the tournament took its toll on Zukertort and he used opium during the final three rounds to help himself relax, which would contribute to his losses in those games. James Mason held second place at the end of the first cycle of games, but would eventually fall to shared fifth with George Mackenzie and Berthold Englisch. He was replaced at second for the tournament final by Steinitz, followed by Blackburne at third employing a more solid approach, with Mikhail Chigorin taking fourth place. Though Steinitz crushed the weaker opposition, his unusual style of play that had won him Vienna (1882), proved inconsistent against the top players here and failed to secure him enough wins to challenge Zukertort for first. Samuel Rosenthal, another strong master who had contested a match with Zukertort three years earlier, fell victim to the tournament's draw policy. He was forced to replay a majority of his games, earning twenty-six decisive results, but through playing 45 games total over 59 days. His one consolation was a brilliancy prize he won for defeating Steinitz in a replayed game. During the prize ceremony at the end of the tournament, a toast was made to the best player in the world. Steinitz, who was crippled at the time, struggled to rise, but Zukertort was already standing and accepting the accolades. A red-faced Steinitz remained in his seat and was forced to endure the applause. Steinitz would prove the better player in his match with Zukertort three years later, a match which would be heralded as the first official world championship of chess. The fact remains, however, that Zukertort was seen by many at the time of this tournament as the best player in the world and some historians even regard the tournament itself as an unofficial world championship in the tradition of London (1851) and 5th BCA Congress, London (1862).

(1) Wikipedia article: London 1883 chess tournament
(2) http://viewfinder.historicengland.o...
(3) Games played in the London International Chess Tournament, 1883, Minchin, London 1883, p(xvii)

This tournament collection could not have been possible without the work of Mark Weeks and others.
Original collection: Game Collection: London 1883, by User: suenteus po 147

 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 242  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Blackburne vs A Sellman ½-½291883LondonC11 French
2. Chigorin vs Zukertort 0-1291883LondonC67 Ruy Lopez
3. J Mason vs Mackenzie 1-0521883LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
4. J Noa vs Englisch 0-1331883LondonC78 Ruy Lopez
5. S Rosenthal vs Bird ½-½471883LondonC44 King's Pawn Game
6. A Skipworth vs J Mortimer 1-0471883LondonA20 English
7. Steinitz vs Winawer 1-0521883LondonC25 Vienna
8. Bird vs Winawer ½-½371883LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
9. Blackburne vs Mackenzie  ½-½641883LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
10. J Mason vs A Skipworth 1-0301883LondonC50 Giuoco Piano
11. J Mortimer vs Zukertort 0-1511883LondonC45 Scotch Game
12. J Noa vs Chigorin ½-½591883LondonB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
13. A Sellman vs S Rosenthal  ½-½341883LondonC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. Steinitz vs Englisch 0-1341883LondonC25 Vienna
15. Chigorin vs J Noa 1-0611883LondonA02 Bird's Opening
16. Mackenzie vs Blackburne 1-0681883LondonA13 English
17. S Rosenthal vs A Sellman  0-1471883LondonC42 Petrov Defense
18. Winawer vs Bird 0-1691883LondonB23 Sicilian, Closed
19. Bird vs Englisch ½-½441883LondonC53 Giuoco Piano
20. Mackenzie vs A Skipworth  1-0621883LondonC13 French
21. J Mason vs Zukertort 0-1731883LondonA13 English
22. J Mortimer vs J Noa  0-1381883LondonC11 French
23. S Rosenthal vs Blackburne  ½-½581883LondonC01 French, Exchange
24. Steinitz vs Chigorin 0-1301883LondonC25 Vienna
25. Winawer vs A Sellman  1-0381883LondonC49 Four Knights
 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 242  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This is a great collection from <suenteus po 147>.

Thanks, <PAF>! There's a lot of hard work gone into this!

Jan-06-14  thomastonk: Can someone tell me the relation of this tournament to the "Victoria Hall Student accomodiation", which is established in the introduction by the link given as source (2)?

The Victoria Hall of the Criterion, where the tournament was held, has also been used for the BCA congress of 1886, and therefore I found the additional information Piccadilly, London. So, it could be this one:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <thomasstonk> The Criterion Theatre And Restaurant at 224 Piccadilly included the <Victoria Hall> and the Grand Hall, on the first floor, which could be rented out. A contemporary photograph of its Edwardian splendour:


The link given in note 2 appears to be to an unconnected student accomodation company.

Jan-06-14  thomastonk: <Chessical> Thank you for the additional details. My question was a rhetorical one, of course. There are other, less nonsensical mistakes, too. But I'm still concerned with Paris, 1867.
Jan-06-14  thomastonk: <Chessical> BTW, it's similar to Steinitz-Blackburne (1876): the tournament book is available at Google books (as well as the BCM of 1883; only the Chess Monthly, volume 4 is apparently missing).
Apr-07-15  zanzibar: The opium usage statement definitely needs a reference.
Apr-07-15  zanzibar: Thanks to Spannard we have this ref: <BCM v08 Aug-Sep 1888 p338>

<So severe a contest as the Tournament of 1883 was not as may be supposed, without its effect upon the winner. Zukertort, who from an early stage had been compelled to sustain himself by terrible doses of aconite, almost broke down at last, and his health, never robust, began to give his friends grave anxiety. The doctors were unanimous in insisting upon the necessity of a thorough rest, and could he have been induced to take this, there is reasonto believe he might have recovered. Rest however, he did not, and much against general advice, started almost immediateely for a playing tour through the United States and Canada.>

More on aconite, aka wolfsbane (or wolf's bane):

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: <7. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are days fixed for play, on each of which days every competitor, from the commencement till the termination of the Tournament, must play with the antagonist against whom he is drawn, during the hours fixed for play.

" 8. Wednesdays and Saturdays are bye-days, but on those days all players who have made a drawn game must play again with each other, and should the game again be drawn they must play for a third time, when the draw will be final, and scored one half to each player. The first move will be taken alternately by each player in the second or third game under these circumstances. All games unfinished on play-days must be played off on these bye-days, and when a player has to play out an unfinished game and a draw the former will have the precedence, but such player must play off the draw as soon as he has completed his unfinished game. When both players of an unfinished game standing over from a previous day have finished their game set down for any play-day before the adjournment they can be called upon by the Playing Committee to play out such unfinished game during the evening hours of play. Arrears must be played out at the end of the Tournament if required by the Committee, but this will only be insisted on when the score for a prize is dependent on the result.>

TB xi-xii/20-21

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: < "11. The player who exceeds the time limit forfeits the game, which will be scored as won by his opponent. It is the duty, not only of his antagonist, but of any competitor aware of the fact, to bring at once to the notice of the member of the Playing Committee present any infraction of the time limit, and he will decide on the facts of the case, and such decision shall be final. No mere onlooker may interfere in any way, either as regards the time limit or any infraction of the ordinary rules of play, unless called on to give evidence as to facts.>

TB xii/21

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: <" 17. In case of any competitor withdrawing from the Tournament before ho has completed a round, if he has played half or more of his games in that round, the score will stand good, and the unplayed games will be forfeited to his opponents. If he has played less than half his games his score will be annulled, and in this case the forfeit of his deposit will be given, at the discretion of the Managing Committee, as a solatinm to be divided between those players who have won games from him, and which will not count towards their score.>

TB xiii/22

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: This tournament is often cited as being the first to use chess clocks, which is wrong.

It was the first to use "dual-chess clocks", i.e. where stopping one side's clock automatically starts the other side's clock.

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: The rationale behind the draw policy - "draw odds", is maybe a little odd itself:

<As regards drawn games it was felt by all tho members of the Sub committee who drew up the rules that the previous practice by which a drawn game was final and counted one half to each was most unfair to the strongest players, as it compelled them in effect to give the odds of the drawn games to the weaker competitors. The latter would be perfectly satisfied with such a result against a leading master, while he could not afford to risk the loss of his position by drawing against one of tho weaker antagonists, and in endeavouring to win in a drawing position might even lose the game. The best remedy for the evil was to consider a drawn game, as it is called in French, a nullity, and to continue playing till one or other won. But as this would have entailed a greater expenditure of time than could be given to an International Contest, the compromise of accepting the third drawn game as final was agreed to, and experience has shown that the object which the Sub-Committee had in view, to give skill its fair advantage, was realised by the arrangement made.

It is a singular fact, considering the strong opposition that was after wards raised to the scheme, that in the close discussion in committee on the Sub-Committee's proposals a proposition made by one member that drawn games should be final, and count one half to each, failed at the time to find a seconder, and the scheme which the Sub-Committee had so much at heart was passed at the time with practical unanimity.>

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: <Where two players are content to draw, no rules that the wit of man can devise can prevent their obtaining their purpose: the men are changed off rapidly, no attack is attempted on either side, and on the first decent opportunity a draw is offered and accepted when the astonished spectator imagines that the real struggle is about to commence.>

No kidding!

TB xvii-xviii/25-26

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: <On this occasion the Committee determined that the play should take place in public throughout the Tournament, and through the intervention of Mr. Rosenbaum, an active member of the Managing Committee, the Victoria Hall in the Criterion was secured for a period of eight weeks, at a moderate rental, which afforded ample accommodation for the players in both the intended Tournaments, and for as large a body of spectators as could conveniently witness the play.

It was obvious that the work of carrying out all the arrangements connected with the fitting up of the Hall and the superintendence of the play could not be carried out by the Committee, and as Mr. Rosenbaum kindly offered to accept the task, he was appointed Director of Play, ...>

TB xviii/27

(Looks like previous refs might be a page off?)

Apr-16-16  zanzibar: This is also of interest:

<Before noon on Thursday, the 26th April, the Victoria Hall was filled with spectators eager to witness the commencement of the fray. Tbe players in the Major Tournament were placed in the northern portion of the Hall, protected by an inclosure of ropes from the pressure of lookers-on. Tbe competitors in the Vizayanagaram contest were arranged round the Hall. For the Major Tournament clocks bad been provided, each pair working on a balance, so that when one player's clock was stopped his opponent's was set in motion automatically. The device was the inven tion of Mr. Wilson, of Manchester, and answered admirably its intended purpose. In previous Tournaments complaints were often made that a player's clock, either from inattention or design, was not set going immediately that bis opponent had made his move. He was constantly recording the game, looking for the paper, lighting a cigar, or absent from the board when his clock ought to have been set in motion, and the result was that the sum of the time occupied by the two players never came up to that really occupied in the game. With the arrangement of the balanced pair of clocks no finessing was possible, and if a player were promenading the Hall when his clock had boon set in motion he paid the penalty of his self-imposed loss of time. As a result, at the close of a game, or at the adjournment, the sum of the time indicated on the clocks of the two players corresponded accurately with that shown on the Hall clock to have been spent on the game. The rigid accuracy of the automatic movement may sometimes have provoked an inattentive player, but the justice of the system was felt and its advantages acknowledged by all the players engaged.>

TB xxii/31

Apr-20-16  zanzibar: As an aside, here are the tally of games actually played during the tournament (might be off by a game or two here or there, but should be pretty accurate):


28 Skipworth, Arthur

30 Mortimer, James

33 Bird, Henry Edward

33 Chigorin, Mikhail

33 Steinitz, Wilhelm

33 Zukertort, Johannes Hermann

34 Noa, Josef

36 Sellman, Alexander G.

39 Blackburne, Joseph Henry

39 Mason, James

41 Mackenzie, George Henry

41 Winawer, Szymon

45 Englisch, Berthold

45 Rosenthal, Samuel


Confirming the reputations of the two leaders...

Apr-20-16  zanzibar: <Rosenthal was awared a special prize of $125 for the best score against the prize winners.>

Apr-20-16  zanzibar: FWIW- the very next item in the above clipping reads:

<The chess editor of the Leeds Mercury goes for the wicked Major warmly; but we suspect the Major has gone to the happy hunting ground, to save his scalp.>

Anyone able to decode that?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Zanzibar>

<The chess editor of the Leeds Mercury>

A newspaper in England, not a planet,

<goes for the wicked Major warmly;>

has launched a verbal attack on Captain Mackenzie.

<but we suspect the Major has gone to the happy hunting ground,>

But we think that he has killed himself

<to save his scalp.>

rather than have the skin removed from the top of his skull.

Jul-09-17  mifralu: <Sketches at the International Chess Tournament, May 5, 1883>

Jul-09-17  zanzibar: <mifralu> nice, never saw a colorized version of that before...
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Further proof of 19th Century bloodthirstiness--6 players, including 3 of the top 4, finished with zero draws.

The link in the <mifralu> post above no longer works; try

Jan-15-20  The Kings Domain: Quite the tournament. Quality games, innovation and a tournament leader smoking dope to stay on the lead!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <zanzibar:...Zukertort, who from an early stage had been compelled to sustain himself by terrible doses of aconite....>

...Or Wolfsbane. It causes headache, nausea, palpitations, sweating, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, headache, confusion, a sensation of burning, tingling, numbness in the mouth and face, motor weakness, cutaneous sensations of tingling, numbness of the limbs, ventricular arrhythmia, asystole of the assistole, paralysis of the heart, persistent depolarization of neuronal sodium channels, numbness in the mouth and face, burning in the abdomen, hypotension, sinus bradycardia, diarrhoea, convulsions, ventricular arrhythmia and death. BTW, in medical circles <paralysis of the heart> is considered extremely serious. You know, you urgently need a long holiday after you get heart-paralysis.

<"Zukertort, who from an early stage had been compelled to sustain himself by terrible doses of aconite, almost broke down at last, and his health, never robust, began to give his friends grave anxiety.">


Apr-27-22  Albertan: London 1883:Prelude to the First World Championship Match (April 26,1883-June 23,1883):

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