Zukertort's Immortal

by Milica Knezevic on January 18, 2022

The Chess Game: J.H. Zukertort vs. J.H. Blackburne, London 1883

Zukertort vs. Blackburne
  • Imagine the year is 1883, London. You are the leading Polish chess player, Johannes Zukertort, facing Joseph Blackburne.
  • Blackburne is a strong English chess master who won the British Championship in 1868 and is well-known for turning around positions that appear to be bad. You have the white pieces and it’s your move.
  • Observe the board carefully and think deeply about the moves presented on it, how would you go about this?

Who Was Johannes Zukertort

  • Johannes Hermann Zukertort (Polish: Jan Hermann Cukiertort; 7 September 1842 – 20 June 1888) was a Polish-German-British chess master.
  • He was one of the leading world players for most of the 1870s and 1880s, but lost to Wilhelm Steinitz in the World Chess Championship 1886, which is generally regarded as the first World Chess Championship match.
  • He was also defeated by Steinitz in 1872 in an unofficial championship.
  • Zukertort filled his relatively short life with a wide range of other achievements as a soldier, musician, linguist, journalist and political activist.
  • Unlike the majority of attacking players, Zukertort preferred openings such as 1. c4 and 1. Nf3 that are closed or semi-closed and offered the possibility of transpositions – in fact in the early 1880s 1. Nf3 was known as "Zukertort's Opening", 40 years before it became known as the Réti Opening.
Johannes Zukertort
  • Zukertort learned to play chess in Breslau when he was about age 19. Entering a tournament in that city, and receiving the odds of the queen, he lost every game, whereupon he took up the study of Bilguer's Handbuch, with the result that in 1862 he won games from the leading German chess player Adolf Anderssen at the odds of a knight. Zukertort studied with Anderssen and within a very few years he became one of the strongest players in Germany.

  • Among many other notable matches that Zukertort played with Anderssen, he defeated him in 1866, lost in 1868 by a score of eight wins, three losses, one draw, and finally defeated him convincingly (5–2; no draws) in a match in 1871. In 1867 he moved to Berlin and in 1872 to London. In that year, he played Wilhelm Steinitz in London, losing 9–3 (7 losses, 1 win, 4 draws).

Who Was Joseph Henry Blackburne

To learn more about Joseph Henry Blackburne check out our blog on one of his best matches that includes a small insert from his biography! After that you can check out Morphy's Opera Game to further sharpen your skills and enrich your chess knowledge!

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1 comment
by Johnson on May 24, 2022

Instead of Rook ae1, why not white move the rook to oppose the blacks rook in c- file?


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