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Johannes Zukertort
Number of games in database: 490
Years covered: 1860 to 1888

Overall record: +265 -121 =82 (65.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 22 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Evans Gambit (41) 
    C51 C52
 Ruy Lopez (35) 
    C77 C65 C67 C64 C70
 Vienna Opening (30) 
    C25 C28 C29 C27
 Queen's Pawn Game (21) 
    D05 D00 D02 D04 A46
 French Defense (21) 
    C01 C11 C14 C00 C15
 King's Gambit Accepted (17) 
    C37 C33 C38 C34 C39
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (74) 
    C65 C67 C77 C80 C83
 King's Gambit Accepted (32) 
    C33 C39 C37
 Evans Gambit (28) 
    C52 C51
 Scotch Game (16) 
 Giuoco Piano (14) 
    C53 C50
 Four Knights (9) 
    C49 C48 C47
Repertoire Explorer

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

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

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Paris (1878)
   Rosenthal - Zukertort (1880)
   Blackburne - Zukertort (1881)
   London (1883)
   Berlin (1881)
   Aachen, 7th congress WDS (1868)
   Leipzig (1877)
   Vienna (1882)
   Frankfurt (1887)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   The t_t Players: Staunton, Steinitz & Zukertort by fredthebear
   Challengers Zukertort & Gunsberg by Imohthep
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Paris 1878 by suenteus po 147
   WCC Index [ Zukertort - Rosenthal 1880 ] by 1 2 3 4

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Johannes Zukertort
Search Google for Johannes Zukertort

(born Sep-07-1842, died Jun-20-1888, 45 years old) Poland (federation/nationality 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 7½-12½ (+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; 14th equal in Frankfurt (1887) 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 C 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

Last updated: 2016-12-03 12:03:40

 page 1 of 20; games 1-25 of 490  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Hirschfeld vs Zukertort 1-0231860?C25 Vienna
2. Zukertort vs NN 1-0241862PosenC37 King's Gambit Accepted
3. Zukertort vs Siegmund Oppler 1-0301862PosenC51 Evans Gambit
4. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-1361862GermanyC54 Giuoco Piano
5. P & Rosanes J Bloch vs Zukertort 1-0311862PostalC67 Ruy Lopez
6. NN vs Zukertort 0-1101862PosenC42 Petrov Defense
7. L Waldstein vs Zukertort 0-1211864PosenC39 King's Gambit Accepted
8. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0271864BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
9. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-1511864BreslauC52 Evans Gambit
10. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0331864BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
11. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0341864BreslauC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
12. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-1391864BreslauC66 Ruy Lopez
13. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-1271864BreslauC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
14. Zukertort vs Anderssen 0-1221864BreslauC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
15. Zukertort vs Lowinsohn 1-0291864PosenC50 Giuoco Piano
16. Zukertort vs C Lehmann 1-0331864PosenB12 Caro-Kann Defense
17. C Lehmann vs Zukertort 0-1151864PoznanC44 King's Pawn Game
18. G Neumann vs Zukertort 0-1361864BreslauB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
19. G Neumann vs Zukertort 1-0181864BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
20. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0351865BreslauC51 Evans Gambit
21. Anderssen vs Zukertort 0-1311865BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
22. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0171865BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
23. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0251865BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
24. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0201865BreslauC37 King's Gambit Accepted
25. E J H Schmidt vs Zukertort 0-1421865BreslauC33 King's Gambit Accepted
 page 1 of 20; games 1-25 of 490  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Zukertort wins | Zukertort loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 11 OF 11 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-06-16  ljfyffe: Despite John Hilbert's misgivings in <Zukertort in Canada> (Writings in Chess History 2012), the citation for Zukertort-NN, 1884, Railway Committee Room, Ottawa,given herein is correct in so far as I can ascertain.
Feb-04-16  zanzibar: While exploring <2nd BCA Congress (1886)>...

<"Zukertort's play throughout the tourney has been very disappointing, and altogether wanting in the precision that characterised it in 1888. Then it was almost perfect ; good both in attack and defence ; sound alike in opening, mid-game, and ending. Rarely missing the absolutely best move, he generally made the most the position would give him. Now he was weak and irresolute; gaining advantages only to throw them away; initiating fine attacks but to let them slip through his fingers; attaining winning end-games, and then by a blunder throwing them away.

There can be no question but that ill health had much to do with this break down. It was the body acting upon the mind, the unstrung nerves playing tricks with the throbbing brain.

In his game with Pollock, however, there was to be seen the old skill; the patient building up of attack; the careful conservation of small advantages; the skillful and far-reaching plan of united action, until at the 41st move the game presented the following appearance : etc."

- BCM v7 p354>

May-09-16  zanzibar: Commentary on the last tournament Zukertort was playing in when he died:

Zukertort vs Blackburne, 1888 (kibitz #3)

May-09-16  zanzibar: And more direct reporting on the circumstances of his death:

Not here only but everywhere throughout the world, Chess players will have received a shock in the announcement of Zukertort's death. It was terribly sudden. He had begun the week well, winning his game on Monday in the British Club Handicap. On Tuesday, not having an opponent, he went over to the Divan in the evening, and about nine o'clock, in the midst of a friendly game, was seized with what his friends thought a fit. This, though naturally alarming, was not thought to be serious ; he was taken back to the British, where it was hoped the rest and quiet would suffice for his recovery. Here, however, he seemed no better, and Dr. Gassidy (a member of the club), who was sent for, advised his immediate removal to Charing Cross Hospital. Here it was quickly seen that nothing could be done to save his life. He lingered on unconscious until the next morning, and died quite peacefully at 10 a.m. This was on Wednesday, the 20th June. The cause of death is officially stated to have been cerebral hemorrhage.

The funeral took place on Tuesday, June 26th, at Brompton Cemetery. Despite the somewhat early hour (10-30) and unfavourable weather, the gentle sex was not unrepresented, and several pretty wreaths were laid on the coffin. Mr. Hoffer followed the corpse as chief mourner ; Mr. James Eccles (formerly President of the West End Chess Club) was accompanied by Mtb. and Miss Eccles. The St. George's, City, and British Chess Clubs, were all represented by Presi dents or other office bearers, as will be seen from the subjoined list : Messrs. J. C. F. Anger, Herbert Baldwin, H. E. Bird, W. H. Cubison, W. M. Gattie, A. Guest, T. Hewitt, P. Hirschfeld, F. W. Lord, James Innes Minchin, and the Rev. W. Wayte. Mr. Sebastian Schlesinger (President of the Manhattan Chess Club, New York) attended on behalf of the American community ; Mr. H. Studer (of the Paris Cercle) represented the Chess-players of the Continent.

BCM v8 (Jun 1888) p315/330

And here is some info about the last tournament he played:

<A handicap tournament is being arranged at the BRITISH Chess CluB. Most of the strong players of the club intend to play, and Messrs. Bird, Blackburne, Gunsberg, Mason, and Zukertort, have already given in their names. Play will have begun before these lines meet your readers' eyes.>

BCM v8 (Jun 1888) p283/298

So, the last game Zukertort played was not a tournament game in the LCC Handicap, but a friendly game during his bye-day, at the Divan.

May-09-16  zanzibar: LCC = BCC
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: One of the things I have noticed over the last 10 years or so is that engraving on headstones has become much much cheaper. Nowadays the engraving is done mechanically and quickly by laser beam instead of being laboriously carved by a man letter by letter.

This has led to monstrosities like Jimmy Savile's ridiculous gravestone, which was destroyed by a gang of art-lovers soon after it was unveiled.

And so it was with Zukertort's grave. Where the Victorians would have got by with a few words, today people prefer to use twenty words. I suppose we are fortunate it isn't peppered with hashtags and atpersands, or end with <LOL smileyface>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: One of the things I have noticed over the last 10 years or so is that engraving on headstones has become much much cheaper...

This has led to monstrosities like <<Jimmy Savile's>> ridiculous gravestone, >

It is <Sir> Jimmy Savile, OBE (Order of Beloved Eunuchs)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: OBE: One Bent Entertainer.
Sep-07-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Johannes Zukertort.
Jan-11-18  zanzibar: First published mention that I could find...

<Neue Berliner Schachzeitung v3 (1866) p43>


Herr Professor Anderssen hat der Berliner Schachgesellschaft die Ehre seines Besuches während der Osterfeiertage in Aussicht gestellt. Sein constanter Gegner in Breslau ist ein junger hoffnungsvoller Spieler, Herr Dr. med. Zukertort. Letzterer hat uns eine Analyse zugesagt, welche die von L. Paulsen versuchte Vertheidigung der spanischen

Partie 1) e2 —e4 e7—e5 2) Sgl —f3 Sb8— c6 3) Lfl—b5 Sg8—f6 4) Sbl—c3 Sc6—d4 widerlegt.


Sorry, but the best I can do is GxT:


Professor Anderssen has the honor of the Berlin chess society his visit during the Easter holidays. Its constant opponent in Wroclaw is a young hopeful player, Dr. Ing. med. Zukertort. The latter has promised us an analysis, that of L. Paulsen attempted defense of the Spanish lot

1) e2-e4 e7-e5 2) Sgl-f3 Sb8-c6 3) Lfl-b5 Sg8-f6 4) Sbl-c3 Sc6-d4 refuted.


click for larger view

Jan-11-18  zanzibar: The previous mention was in February 1866. The funny thing is that Zukertort's analysis came out in May-June 1866, but with a different set of opening moves:

<Neue Berliner Schachzeitung v3 (May-June 1866) p360-365>


Some objections to Paulsen's defense
in the Spanish game.

After the moves:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.O-O Be7 5.Nc3

L. Paulsen has the defensive procession:


click for larger view

suggested and carried him out more often with luck. At the right fort white:

6.Nxd4 exd4

click for larger view

I consider the position advantage of Weiss crucial and will do so in try to prove a short analysis.


Of course modern engines give the game as essentially equal (after 7...dxc3 eval is 0.30/29).

Jan-11-18  zanzibar: Sometime in 1867 Zukertort took over duties from G.R. Neumann, as co-editor with Anderssen for the <NBS>.

Maybe in Aug-Sept range when his article about Szen reminiscences appears (p225/239)?


Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Mr.Z is featured in a very recent article
Sep-10-18  zanzibar: Ah shoot k-up, I thought the Z was me!

Here's a Zukertort blindfold win found in ISDN 1874.09.12, "played some time ago":


[Event "blindfold-9b"]
[Site "London CC, London ENG"]
[Date "1874.09.12"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Zukertort, Johannes"]
[Black "Wood, Mr. "]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C38"]
[EventDate "1874.09.12"]
[Source "ISDN 1874.09.12"]
[Stub "incomplete game"]
[Notes "Date uncertain ('some time ago'), publication date used"] [Source_url ""]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.Bc4 Bg7 5.d4 d6 6.h4 h6 7.Qd3 Qe7 8.Nc3 Be6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.hxg5 hxg5 11.Rxh8 Bxh8 12.e5 Qg7 13.exd6 cxd6 14. Ne4 Qd7 15.Nexg5 Ne7 16.Qh7 and wins 1-0


Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

Sir Henry Cotton, K.C.S.I, Indian & Home Memories (London, 1911):



How well I remember Steinitz!–short, squat, and stout, with thick red hair and beard, rejoicing in a nose unusually small for one of the Semitic race. He smoked and sipped claret and water, or gin and water–scrupulously iced notwithstanding the coldness of the weather–all the time he played. He rarely rose from his seat during a game, in this respect being a contrast to most of the other players, and especially to Zukertort, whose excitable nature induced him to walk about and follow more or less all the other games in progress in addition to his own. He thought out his moves with his arms folded on the table before him, and did not stroke his beard or twirl his moustache.

Nor is there any failure in my memory of Zukertort, whose figure was the very opposite to that of Steinitz. He was short and thin, with a brown beard, over which, while thinking, his fingers were perpetually moving; the nervous twitch that he gave his head was peculiar to himself; his countenance indicated great intelligence and determination.

Tchigorin and Noa was young and sallow, with black beards. Rosenthal, the French champion, and Winawer, from Poland, were seedy-looking little men. Mackenzie was a fine, manly fellow who would have been distinguished in almost any company. Sellman was stone deaf.

I recall how Zukertort once confided to me that dominoes was the game at which he really played best, and not chess; that he considered himself to be the best player in the world at dominoes, and that Rosenthal came next; and also how Bird assured me that the quality of chess play was steadily improving, and that he himself played a far stronger game than he had done when he met Morphy twenty-five years before.




Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

Why presented not Zukertort's full name? - did not get the rights for Hermann?!


Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: Averbakh attributes the following position to J. Zukertort 1863:

click for larger view

It is Black to move (there is also an attribution to I.Maiselis 1950, and I assmue that is for the same position with White to move).

In the solution 1.. a3 2. ♖f1 b3 3. ♖g1+ ♔h6 4. ♔f6 ♔h5 5.♔f5 ♔h4 6.♔f4 ♔h3 7. ♔f3 ♔h2

click for larger view

Averbakh claims that 8.♖g2+ was found by Zukertort and that this is the only move that draws the game.

So, does this position have a history before Zukertort? And where did Zukertort publish his analysis?

Averbakh analyses only one alternative move: 8. ♖a1? b2 9. ♖b1 c3 -+.

I think that White draws the game with 8.♖d1 or 8.♖e1, too. Both moves have basically the same idea as 8. ♖g2+, i.e. threatening the Black king with mate perpetually. It is not necessary to give the check on the second rank already on move 8.

May-28-19  SaitamaSeason2: Well, I had a book which discuss about his match with Steinitz which is also contains the biography of both players.

<"Zukertort was described by his contemporaries as multi-talented: he is supposed to have spoken ten languages and to have had a phenomenal memory. He was moreover musically gifted, supposed to have been an excellent pianist, practised fencing and riding and to have earned money from time to time as a music critic for a well respected publication in Breslau. However, there are also doubts about these accounts, most of which come from the pen of an English chess lover whose actual source was probably Zukertort himself, who perhaps desired after his arrival in England to spruce up his biography with a few facts which were at that date hard to check up on.">

Dec-30-19  cameosis: <petrosianic> what else than bad health could possibly be the cause for his defeat?

steinitz schemed to play in the states, to which zukertort ultimately agreed -- traveling was physically much more taxing than nowadays. they switched locations in the states, and zukertort's physician had strongly advised against playing the world championship match.

the better player lost, but such is life. it's quite shortsighted to reduce his "role in history" to his unlucky defeat in the wc match.

according to this logic, steinitz will be better remembered as someone who was soundly trashed by lasker twice, than by becoming first official world champion, albeit even such titles are worthless, because the selections were abitrary and not conducted by candidate tournaments as in later times.

zukertort remains one of the greatest and certainly most flamboyant and colorful chess players to date.

it's lovely how people reiterate allegations and lies that he was a "junkie", when at the same time it's proven that steinitz, blackburne, lasker and others were heavy drug abusers themselves (nicotine and alcohol).

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Zukertort would beat ANYONE alive today given access to silicon chess.
Jan-02-20  cameosis: he would also beat anyone dead yesterday, today and tomorrow who has had silicone implants!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Who are you?????????
Jan-02-20  cameosis: <ljfyffe> could you give a source for the zukertort - judd game, please?

the score as posted is not playable. furthermore, would you know what judd's initials stand for? so far i have only found out that he was a soap manufacturer in hamilton. thanks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: <Jean Defuse: Why presented not Zukertort's full name?> This was bungled by Adams.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jean Defuse: ...

... The Zukertort family was expelled in 1855 out of Poland by the occupying Tsarist regime and ended going to Breslau in Prussia (now Wroclaw).

Following the emigration, his parents Germanised their surname from Cukiertort to Zukertort (a literal translation would be “Sugar Cake” or “Sugar Tart”). <Jan Herman Cukiertort therefore became Johannes Hermann Zukertort when he was 13 in 1855.>

Source: (10) Zukertort Background -


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