At the time of the match, Zukertort was aged 38, and Blackburne 39. On the Chessmetrics June 1881 rating list (http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/...), Zukertort is the first placed player and Blackburne second placed, whilst on EDO they are respectively second and third behind an inactive Wilhelm Steinitz (http://www.edochess.ca/years/y1881....).
"We have great pleasure in announcing that a match has been arranged between the two masters above-named, which is to commence on the 20th of next month. The principal conditions already settled are, that the stakes shall be £100 a side, and the winner of the first seven games shall be declared the victor; drawn games not to count. Play will generally proceed four times a week; half of the games at least to be played at the St. George’s Chess Club, and the other half probably at some private room. The time limit is fifteen moves per hour, and Mr. Samuel Standidge Boden will act as umpire." - The Field, London, 1881.05.21.
"As a sign of the wide interest taken in the match amongst lovers of the game abroad, who have no opportunity of watching the match personally, and can only become acquainted with the games through the medium of their publication in this country, we may mention that some prominent members of the Paris "Cercle des Echecs" have offered to back either player, merely for the purpose of facilitating the conclusion of preliminaries. We learn that neither party has accepted this chivalrous and complimentary offer, for Mr. Zukertort’s stakes were already covered at the time the proposition was made, while Mr. Blackburne’s subscription list was also far advanced." - The Field, London, 1881.06.11.
"We are glad to announce that all the conditions of this match have been satisfactorily settled. The stakes were deposited on the 17th inst. in the hands of the hon. treasurer of the St. George’s Chess Club, the Rev. William Wayte, and the commencement of the contest was fixed for not later than Monday next, the 27th inst. Both players have been out of town, but we learn on good authority that there is some probability of the first game being played, by mutual consent, to-day at a private room in Simpson’s establishment in the Strand. We also understand from the same source that, under any circumstance, the place of meeting for Monday’s game, whether in commencement or as continuation of the contest, is fixed at the St. George’s Chess Club, 20, King-street, St. James’s. Admission for the purpose of witnessing the play will be granted by vouchers signed by both players. The particular days of play are subject to alteration, but the programme will be fixed each time at the beginning of the week." - The Field, London, 1881.06.18.
"A very interesting match is now in progress between two of the first players in the chess world — Mr. Blackburne and Herr Zukertort. The former has held the position for a long time of the foremost English player, owing to his success in various British and international tournaments. He won the first prize in the Grand Tournament of 1876, and was third in the Paris International Tournament of 1878; he also tied for first prize with Herren Englisch and Schwarz at Wiesbaden last year. Herr Zukertort, always a player of great note, has during the past few years greatly increased his reputation. He was first in the Paris International Tournament of 1878, and he last year defeated the French champion, M. Rosenthal, with a score of seven games to one, 11 having been drawn. Both of the rivals are equally celebrated as blindfold players, and in their various personal encounters they have avoided exactly even games. The match under notice was for £100 a side; the winner of the first seven games (draws not to count) to be pronounced victor. The time limit is 15 moves per hour." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 12 July 1881, p. 3.
London, 27 June - 29 July 1881
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4
Zukertort ½ ½ 1 1 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 9.5
Blackburne ½ ½ 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 0 4.5
+7 -2 =5 in Zukertort's favor. Zukertort was White in the odd numbered games.
Zukertort 0.5 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 5.0 5.5 6.5 7.0 8.0 8.0 8.5 9.5
Blackburne 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 2.0 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.0 4.0 4.5 4.5
"The opening game was played on June 27, at the rooms of the St. George's Chess Club. This, and the second, which took place at Simpson's Divan on the 29th, were both drawn. In the latter game, which Mr. Blackburne opened with a Scotch Gambit. Herr Zukertort for a long time had much the best of the position; but Mr. Blackburne extricated himself by a series of manoeuvres, and ultimately forced a draw in a well-conducted ending." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 12 July 1881, p. 3.
"The third game, played at the St. George's Club, was a Sicilian defence adopted by Mr. Blackburne, which was soon turned into the double fianchetto. An early exchange of queens was effected, and it came to a hard fought ending, which was most skilfully conducted by Herr Zukertort, who ultimately won with a piece ahead, and passed pawn." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 12 July 1881, p. 3.
"The fourth game, at Simpson's, was opened by Mr. Blackburne, who had much the best of the position for a long time. Herr Zukertort defended himself with great tenacity and eventually obtained an even game; while Mr. Blackburne made an unsound sacrifice of a piece for two pawns. Owing to some remissness in Herr Zukertort's conduct of defence, Mr. Blackburne recovered his piece, and only remained one pawn behind; but at a critical moment, Mr. Blackburne neglected his opportunity of pinning the adverse knight, which would have secured a draw, and his opponent won the game." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 12 July 1881, p. 3.
"At St. George's Club, last week, Mr. Blackburne adopted the Sicilian, turned into the King's fianchetto. He had apparently much the worst of the opening, but had just seemed to extricate himself with a fair even game when he in-cautiously left himself open to an ingenious sacrifice of the exchange. Herr Zukertort pursued the attack with excellent judgment, and at last Mr. Blackburne was bound to lose the queen, and his game broke down." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 12 July 1881, p. 3.
"The sixth game was commenced on Tuesday at Simpson's, and ended in a win for Mr. Blackburne on Wednesday at the St. George's Club. The match, therefore, stood as follows: — Herr Zukertort, three games; Mr. Blackburne, one game; two draws." - Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 12 July 1881, p. 3.
"The seventh game, played at the St. George’s, on Monday, the 11th inst. This game, which was due to be played on the previous Saturday, was adjourned to the above date in consequence of Mr Blackburne having felt indisposed. By the rules of the match each player is entitled to claim two days’ exemption within eight weeks; but we understand that Mr Zukertort agreeably consented not to count this postponement; and thus each player retains his full privilege for two adjournments." - The Field, London, 1881.07.17.
a) 1881 Blackburne-Zukertort, London Match, researched by Nick Pope at http://www.chessarch.com/archive/18...
b) Bury and Norwich Post, researched by User: Chessical.
Original collection: Game Collection: Blackburne-Zukertort 1881 London Match, by User: optimal play.