Classical Games Everybody Should Know, Part 9
Many times in my articles I addressed a very important question "How to study chess openings?" You can find some of my suggestions 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".)