I almost forgot, but fortunately I saw Stuart Conquest’s twitter posting today. So, please allow me to present what is probably not only Zukertort’s most famous victory, but also one of the top-10 games played in the history of the game!
The greatest game ever played?
What ever your opinion might be regarding draws and how to effectively deal with them, I for one am delighted that those rules were in place during the London tournament! Some of the prettiest games of chess were played in that tournament.
On 4th of May 1883 Blackburne and Zukertort played to a draw, and therefore they had to replay the game on the following day (5th of May), and what a magificent game was played!
Steinitz himself wrote ”…one of the most noble combinations conceived over the chessboard…one of the most brilliant games on record.”
Just imagine: had the first game (a draw) between Zukertort and Blackburne counted, then this game would not have been played at all and our chess literature would have been that much poorer!
Zukertort – Blackburne
As a direct result of the brilliant success of Zukertort in London, a world title match was later organized between himself and Steinitz for the World Title.
Johannes Hermann Zukertort was an extra-ordinary human being. He spoke 14 languages! He filled his relatively short life with a wide range of other achievements : as a soldier, musician, linguist, journalist and political activist.
”He fought for Prussia against Austria, Denmark, and France; was once left for dead on the battlefield; and was decorated for gallantry 9 times; and he was noted as a swordsman and marksman. He was an accomplished pianist and, for a while, a music critic. He even found time for political activity, as editor of a political paper, a writer for Bismarck’s newspaper, the Allgemeine Zeitung, and as a leading spokesman for prison reform.”-wikipedia
Zukertort died at age 46 of a cerebral hemorrage, after just finishing a chess game. Undoubtedly one of the most brilliant players in the history of chess. The following notice appeared shortly after the death of Dr. Zukertort:
“THE WEEKLY DISPATCH,”
June 24th, 1888.
”By the sudden death of Dr. Zukertort, last Wednesday morning, the royal game of chess loses one of its most interesting and brilliant exponents. This distinguished master was only forty-six, and he has been cut off right in the middle of an interesting tournament at the British Chess Club, in which he stood the best chance of winning the first prize.
Amongst his last conversations was his arranging to play Blackburne on Saturday, the 23rd, and Bird on Monday, the 25th. The extreme painfulness of Zukertort’s death to his friends cannot be estimated by the general public. Famous cricketers and famous actors are applauded by those they entertain or amuse.
The chess master receives no applause; over the board, however, he enters into conversation with amateurs, and is rewarded by friendships that far outweigh the wildest ephemeral outbursts of approval…”