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Johannes Zukertort vs Wilhelm Steinitz
"Slavish Sacrifice" (game of the day Aug-03-2018)
Steinitz - Zukertort World Championship Match (1886), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Jan-11
Slav Defense: General (D10)  ·  0-1



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Given 65 times; par: 92 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-10-12  Petrosianic: And yet he won the next 4 in a row, so he couldn't have been too disheartened.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This game DIDN'T start a trend as Zuchy won the next four games!!

However,the "Austrian Morphy" won virtually the rest of the games in THIS fashion.

May-10-12  BlackSheep: A curious thing in the link to the New York Times article left by <chessical> on July 14 2008 on this page , even though not every move is listed you can clearly tell that this is the game that they are referring to but theres an issue and now I'll let the the article speak for itself "The question was then would Steinitz take this pawn with the one he first sent out or not . After a long pause he decided not to and sent another out to protect his first one . Then the chess experts declared that the game had began with "The Queens Gambit declined" and sat back in their chairs to await the next move. " Now whats happening here is it the case that "the slav" wasnt coined yet and just by declining the pawn made it a QGD regardless of which pawn (e or c) you protected your d pawn with or is there something else . And the writer is clearly versed in chess and even repeats themselves by further saying "Steinitz instead of taking the pawn moved P-QB3 and Zukertort replied P-K3 to defend..." so its not a mistake this is clearly what they are saying , if anyone knows something about it I'd be interested to know. On a humorous side note I liked the way the article started by saying "While neither man is a genius at the game like Paul Morphy was..." they knew then that if Morphy was alive and playing he could have beaten this pair of patzers .
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <<Game move: 32...f5??>

So far Black has played faultlessly. However, the evaluation shift resulting from this move is from 3.17 to 0.99, a shift of 2.18 from an easily won position for Black to a difficult but defensible position for White. <32…Bh3> and <32…Qf6> both win easily, retaining the +3 (extra piece equivalent) evaluation for Black.>

I think it is a good example of problems with purely mechanical use of engine's evaluations in assessment of quality of human play. While it is true that Steinitz had two alternatives, which were objectively tactically stronger and more convincing than the text continuation, 32...f5 is not per se a bad move and in fact it is natural and logical continuation of Steinitz's strategical plan of attack, which started with sac of the Knight in the 16th move. Despite of drop in engine's eval (especially at low ply level) I don't think that after 33.Nh2 Qe6 34.Nxg4 fxg4 (diagram) white has any chance to save the game against reasonably precise play of black. It is not Steinitz's fault that engine cannot see far enough to recognize that three monster passers on the Kingside in long run will win the game for black. To call 32...f5 a blunder I see as unfounded.

click for larger view

Jul-13-13  Alpinemaster: The premier game of the first formalized Chess World Championship highlighted a few characteristic weaknesses of Zukertort that the Father of Modern Chess would focus on in a Prophylactic and Aggressive manner.

The first mistake comes on move 3. e3; weak play allowing a Baltic Defense minus the weaknesses for Black. Unarguably 3. Nf3 is better.

6. a3 also makes one wonder why the contender for the First WC Match would display such cowardice. 6. Bb4 is hardly frightening enough to delay development with a Flank Entrenchment.

And it is on Move 7 which we first come upon a gross distortion of Strategic understanding which Zukertort is fervently supportive of: 7. c5??, breaking the tension in the center and overextending the White stronghold in the center is a horribly poor choice. Observe how in this, and every ensuing game which Zukertort adheres to this horrid idea, Steintz begins a wholesale demolition of White's center, and activates the entirety of his forces.

From move 10, we can safely conclude that Black plays with the advantage. He has a powerful hold across the horizon, and the White Bishop on b2 is prisoner in his own diocese.

The rest is technique.


Sep-01-14  siegbert: Why did White play 37 Qxb2? What is wrong with 37 Qg1? Does Black simply push the pawns?
Dec-20-14  Smite: Takeaways: c5 punished by an early e5 break, the long knight maneuver and sac, which I don't view as entirely correct, but interesting. @ Siegbert,37 Qg1 Qf3 piles up on the pinned knight on e2 and wins faster.
Jan-22-15  poorthylacine: The rest is history indeed;
so, as history I will just notice at this pace that, after their quarrel, Steintitz forgave Zukertort but not Hoffer, whom he called "a soul of mud"; I am very thankful to Steinitz for giving to me the idea of using this expression when I think it's appropriate, like for the dirty minded, vulgar and professional liar journalist Sylvie Coma of "Charlie hebdo"; only because of her, I could no more say that "I am Charlie" before she will be fired.
May-10-15  A.T PhoneHome: I like how in this game, after 15.g3 Zukertort has an intact eight-pawn chain.

This being generally acknowledged as the first ever official World Championship game, for the sake of symbolism, I consider the wave-like pawn chain a warning, as in:

"Huge wave incoming Steinitz! Do something; prove that you are the World Champion of Chess!"

Jul-25-15  yurikvelo: <-- this game multiPV
Jun-06-16  Christoforus Polacco: If 38.Rhf1 which one rook black Queen should to kill ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Christoforus Polacco> On 38. Rhf1, <38...Rb2+> 39. Bxb2 Bxa5+ looks like a quick win for Black.
Jun-09-16  Christoforus Polacco: <beatgiant> You are rather good, I must say :) Much better than ancient famous monster of this site ''jaymthegenius'' :)) Thanks for inspiration.
Sep-03-17  PJs Studio: ...27 Rh6? Looked to me that 27...Rf6 was substantially better instantly. My engine agreed. The threats against e3 and the battery at f4 is very simple to see. I was taught early on that the first masters were 2300-2400 in modern strength. I'm beginning to rethink that assessment.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  diasattack: Once of the must beautiful chess games ever!!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Long ago <Mateo> suggested this line and wondered if Black had enough compensation:

19.Qf1 Qd7 20. bxc6 bxc6 21. Nb5! Bb8 22. Nd6+ Bxd6 23. cxd6 Rh6 24. Ba3.

click for larger view

I don't know what Stockfish would say, but I don't see much for Black there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <OCF> How can you not know what SF would say? All you have to do is click on "Engine":

1) +1.37 (22 ply) 24...Rg6+ 25.Kh2 Kf8 26.Nb3 Rb8 27.Rb1 Kg8 28.Rg1 Bxh3 29.Qxh3 Qxh3+ 30.Kxh3 Rxg1 31.Rxg1 Rxb3 32.Bc1 g6 33.Kh4 Kf8 34.Rg2 Ke8 35.Rf2 Nd7 36.Ba6 Nf8 37.Kg5 Rb4 38.Kf6 Rxa4 39.Bc8 Kd8 40.Bh3

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <34. Ba6> looks pretty good. Anyway, clearly Black doesn't have enough.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I went ahead and requested the whole game analysis.
Aug-03-18  RookFile: Brave play by Steinitz. Can't believe it's sound though. 15....Ng2+ is pretty brazen.
Nov-21-18  MrJafari: Heh, Compare this with the current world championship!
Mar-24-20  jeff6789: I wondered about 37.Qg1 too so I checked it out with the computer. Black plays 37. ...Qf3 and the N on e2 is pinned and attacked by 3 pieces and defended by 2. White must lose the N on e2 or give up the Q or get mated really quickly.
May-05-20  Chesgambit: 15. g3? Bf1 better
13. a4? Nb3!! Kd2!! black still better of course 8...e5?! ( Ngf6 better after b6 e5 attack pawn structure black is better of course) white need take pawn because don't allow e4 and nd4 coming 8. Bd3 still black matter c5 is bad move because black have b6 ideas and
a3 lose tempo
3. e3 3... Bf5! no problem for black
May-05-20  Chesgambit: edit after Nxe3+ I think black have 4.5 or +6 advantage ( black wins 100%) (chessbase server ( after few forcing moves) +4.5)
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