Zukertort vs. Steinitz


In this game, Johannes Zukertort faces off against Wilhelm Steinitz in the World Chess Championships, 1886. In the Opening, Black has a very weak King, but a solid center. Which one do you think will be the first to go: Black's King or White's defence? According to Fischer, "this kingside weakness is nothing; the center is easily winning." A diagonal of Pawns are stationed at f5, e4, and d3 foreshadowing his chorus of threats later on in the game. In Zukertort's unsuccessful attempt the break up that structure, Steinitz replies with 20...Nd4?! offering up his Knight for the sake of the trio of Pawns. White gladly accepts, but Black now has a menacing Queen in the front lines. In the following diagram, analyze the position and play like Steinitz:







Solution & Explanation: Could you find the winning moves in that position? Well, the solution is 22...e3 23. Nc3 Bf6?! 24. Ndb1 d2 25. Qc2 Bb3 26. Qxf5 d1=Q 27. Nxd1 Bxd1 28. Nc3 e2 29. Raxd1 Qxc3. 22...e3 advances the Passed Pawn. 23...Bf6?! ignores the Knight on d2, aims at the Knight on c3, and it ensures that those two Passed Pawns cause a lot of havoc later on. 24...d2 attacks the Queen and forces it to c2. 25...Bb3 sacrifices the Pawn on f5 in order to control the d1 square. 26...d1=Q forces the exchange and 27...Bxd1 and IF he replies with 28. Rxd1 then [Qxd1+ 29. Bf1 Qxf1#]. 28...e2! both attacks the Rook on f1 and protects the Bishop on d1. 29...Qxc3 captures the hanging Knight and his Pawn on e2 is still forking the two Rooks.