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Steinitz - Zukertort Match

Wilhelm Steinitz9/12(+7 -1 =4)[games]
Johannes Zukertort3/12(+1 -7 =4)[games] Chess Event Description
Steinitz - Zukertort (1872)

London, England; 6 August 1872—5 September 1872

1 1 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 Wins ———————————————————————————————————————— Steinitz 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 7 Zukertort 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 0 1 ———————————————————————————————————————— Format: The winner of the first seven games to be declared the victor, draws not counting. Purse: £20 to winner, £10 to the loser.

This is the match later described as being played when "Zukertort was not yet Zukertort". Steinitz dominated the entire way, reaching the needed 7 wins within 12 games and suffering only a single loss.

"A match is being arranged between Steinitz and Zukertort, the prizes being £20 for the winner and £10 for the loser. The winner of the first seven games to be the victor, drawn games not counting."(1)

"Match between Steinitz and Zukertort.—A match has been arranged between the above players by the St. George's and Westminster Chess Clubs, the games to be played alternately at each club. A prize of £20 will be given to the winner, and £10 to the loser."(2)

(1) English Mechanic, 1872.08.09, p550
(2) London Field, 1872.08.10, p155

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index ( Steinitz - Zukertort 1872 ), by User: Benzol.

 page 1 of 1; 12 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1541872Steinitz - ZukertortC54 Giuoco Piano
2. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0311872Steinitz - ZukertortC52 Evans Gambit
3. Zukertort vs Steinitz ½-½181872Steinitz - ZukertortC54 Giuoco Piano
4. Steinitz vs Zukertort ½-½391872Steinitz - ZukertortC39 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1351872Steinitz - ZukertortC77 Ruy Lopez
6. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0451872Steinitz - ZukertortC37 King's Gambit Accepted
7. Zukertort vs Steinitz ½-½211872Steinitz - ZukertortC77 Ruy Lopez
8. Steinitz vs Zukertort 0-1581872Steinitz - ZukertortC39 King's Gambit Accepted
9. Zukertort vs Steinitz 0-1381872Steinitz - ZukertortC52 Evans Gambit
10. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0551872Steinitz - ZukertortA81 Dutch
11. Zukertort vs Steinitz ½-½441872Steinitz - ZukertortC52 Evans Gambit
12. Steinitz vs Zukertort 1-0351872Steinitz - ZukertortA81 Dutch
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-12-13  brankat: From the intro: <"..this is the match later described as being played when "Zukertort was not yet Zukertort."">

Somehow the timing of Zuckertort's matches was not in his favour. After 1886 WC match it was then added: "..Zuckertort was no longer Zukertort." :-)

Mar-31-14  Tal1949: He lost in 1872 and 1886, so perhaps Zukertort was never Zukertort. Lol.
Mar-31-14  Poulsen: In London 1883 Zukertort was very much Zukertort.
Aug-09-15  RookFile: By 1888 he would be dead Zukertort. A reminder to take care of your health.
Feb-21-17  zanzibar: Zukertort was pretty close to being his best though, I wouldn't say he was playing truly subpar chess relative to his peak:

He probably was still acclimating himself to the English styles, both on and off the board.

At the very end of his life, however, the decline due to health and nerves is quite apparent.

Year - Rating

1872 - 2586
1878 - 2678 (peak)
1886 - 2544
1888 - 2468 (very end)

His 2600+ years were lasted a little over a decade, 1873-1884.

According to EDOchess, 1883 would have been the most competitive year for a match between these two players.

Feb-21-17  zanzibar: I'd like to know more about the circumstances of these match - i.e. who arranged it, and whether a purse was involved, etc., etc.

Harding in his Victorian players seems to gloss over it with nary a mention (though at least one game is included).

Feb-21-17  zanzibar: Bird, on p11 of his <Steinitz & Lasker Match (1894)> lists the purse for a few selected matches, including this one (I think).

It's given as £20.

(For the record, here's the entire footnote:


Note.—In former times such stakes were unheard of, and, we believe, not thought of. Prior to the debut of Mr. Steinitz in 1862, the highest amount ever played for in a chess match was £100 a side: the cases were (1) Staunton and St. Amant (Paris, 1843), Championship England and France; (2) Morphy and Lowenthal, 1858—exceptional, Morphy having been always willing to play for a nominal stake. With the match between Steinitz and Anderssen in 1866, the present system of high stakes was inaugurated. The Westminster Chess Club, then meeting at Paine's Gordon Hotel, Covent Garden, found £ 100 a side for this match.

Previously £10, £20, or at most £50 was considered a politic stake for a match. Bird and Falkbeer, 1859, was for £10; Steinitz and Blackburne, 1862, was for £10; Bird and Steinitz, December, 1866, £20; Steinitz and Zukertort, 1872, £20; Wisker and Bird, 1873, £5. Morphy had played both Harrwitz and Anderssen for nominal stakes. In 1885 lovers of chess heard with regret that Steinitz and Zukertort were to play for £400 a side. Lasker's first match in this country in 1889 was played at Liverpool against Bird; the total stake was £10.


(PP added)

Dec-30-19  cameosis: chessmetrics lists sugarcake's peak @ 2798 (february 1886), which sounds more likely to me:

shame about his fragile health, he would've neatly folded bill steinitz and grabbed the title that was supposed to be his otherwise.

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