The First World Chess Champion
This is the story of the first World Chess Championship. Now there are many different opinions on which was the first official championship, but the most widely accepted one was the match between Wilhelm Steinitz
and Johannes Zukertort.
The reason it is so hard to consider one person a world chess champion is because before the FIDE the championship was rather informal. The match between Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort was basically a series of games between America's best Chess player and Europe's best chess player. It might be hard to tell who was the American, and technically both of them are Europeans. Wilhelm Steinitz moved to New York in 1883. Johannes Zukertort was a Polish player. Getting to the match itself it began in New York and made many new revolutions in the way that the game was played and presented. First it had a game clock, just 3 years earlier the first game clocks where used in a London tournament, so they were still fairly new. The Second thing is for the first time in official chess history a 1 x 1 meter chess board was set up above the players so the audience could more easily see what was going in the game. The Third and final aspect that changed chess as we know it is how Wilhelm Steinitz played. It was the transition from for classical chess where players often made crazy gambits and focused all of their energy on atttacking, to more modern positional chess. Most people in the day considered Steinitz a coward because he played like this, but this is partly how he won the match. The match would go until one of the players would get to 10 wins. The first five games where played in New York the score was 4-1 in Zukertort's favor. From their the match was moved to St. Louis wher four more games were played and here Steinitz won 3 games and drew 1, tieing the score at 4-4. The final 11 games where played in New Orleans until Wilhelm Steinitz finally won with 10 wins and Johannes Zukertort only having 5. Zukertort's gameplay was heavely impaired by many things by the end, he had become physically fatigued and was only playing on instinct, usually taking half the time on his moved thank Steinitz did. He was also battling a childhood heart problem that killed him 2 years after the match. Things didn't actually go to well on Steinitz's side either like alot of other high level chess player he eventually mentally broke down. To Conclude I will show one of the games from the World Championship with a little analysis.