Classical Games Everybody Should Know, Part 9

  • GM Gserper
  • | Oct 30, 2011

Many times in my articles I addressed a very important question "How to study chess openings?" You can find some of my suggestions here:

and here:

But what if I tell you that you can learn a new opening by studying just 3 games played in one tournament? And what if the tournament took place 128 years ago? And what if I tell you that you can use this exact variation to beat a current World Champion? Will you call me insane? 

And yet, this is exactly the true story of the opening that Johannes Hermann Zukertort introduced in the London International Tournament of 1883. The beauty of the opening is its simplicity.  White develops his pieces according to his plan against almost any Black set up.  He plays 1. d4, 2.Nf3, 3. e3, 4.Bd3, 5.0-0, 6.b3, 7.Bb2, 8.Nbd2.  As a result all his pieces are nicely developed and the placement of his two Bishops pointing at the Black King implies a King's Side attack in many cases. Zukertort himself liked to play these moves in different orders (you can see that in all 3 games he played a different first move!) and once he even put his King's Bishop on e2 and Knight on c3, but his main strategical set up is basically the same. After the opening is over he chooses if he wants to play for an attack against the Black King by planting his Nf3 on the excellent central e5 square, or play c2-c4 followed by a pawn expansion on the Queen's side. Let's look at the next game which featured a combo Steinitz called one of the most beautiful ever played.

(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your chess skills, so the games are given as a Quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".)



In the next game Zukertort attacked on the Queen's side and won the game with a nice little combo with a pawn promotion and a sacrifice of two Queens!
The next game Zukertort won again using the strength of his 'c' pawn:
These are nice oldies, you can say, but how on Earth can these ancient games help beat the current World Champion Vishy Anand? Well, look at the next game:
Yes, the final combination of Lazaro Bruzon was  beautiful even if rather simple. But compare the position after Black's 9th move to the position shown in the previous diagram.  Do you find some similarities? Smile
Yes, GM Bruzon just borrowed the Zukertort set up, but unlike the author of the system, he decided to start his attack on the King's side. That's what great players do! They don't learn the great ideas just to blindly copy them.  For them such ideas are a foundation for their own creativity. 
I hope that our analysis of classical games will help you to better express your chess creativity as well!


  • 5 years ago


    That was well worth reading and very instructive. 

    Thanks a lot.

  • 5 years ago


    That was good..

  • 5 years ago


    a very helpful insight. thanks

  • 5 years ago


    Nice article!

  • 5 years ago


    I hate mindless d4 setups, Colle, London, Torre, Zuke. 

  • 5 years ago


    thanks for posting this article ... it was very very informative. I enjoyed going through these games and especially since you tied it in with modern practice.  I think we underappreciate the "old timers" but they were the inventors so to speak ... we stand on the shoulders of giants ... as they saying goes.

  • 5 years ago


    I abondoned e4 for Da' Zuke!

  • 5 years ago


    Go Sugar! Let's Go Sugar Cake! 

  • 5 years ago


    @ FM gauranga...and gauranga means golden avatar...

  • 5 years ago


    it seems that Zukertort is terrifying his oponents with such bizarre moves.. a true unique player !!!!

  • 5 years ago


    Good games. Bruzon's mama was proud that day.

  • 5 years ago


  • 5 years ago

    FM gauranga

    Zuckertorte would be the exact German translation for Sugar Cake. His last name is pretty close to that!

  • 5 years ago


    Isn't his name in German:Sugar? In which case what a sweet set of games!

  • 5 years ago


    Amazing .. Creativity is simply this

  • 5 years ago


    Keres defence (1. d4 e6 and 2... Bb4+) seems to be one of the "anti-Zukertort" variations.

  • 5 years ago


    So that's why the Zukertort opening is  getting a lot of attention lately. Great article! You just explained it beautifully! kudos! keep it up! Godbless!

  • 5 years ago


    As always nice to read about those games :-)

  • 5 years ago


    The first game is very instructional, it shows that doubling the rooks doesnt mean by itself an advantage if all the landing points are covered

  • 5 years ago


     Nicely explained, your weekly column is well interseting to read, and contributing plus points to growing chess lovers.

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