1st Game, 1st World Championship

Dec 28, 2010, 6:36 PM |

Excerpted from the BCM Feb. 1886


(From The Evening Telegram, New York, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 1886.)

Promptly at two o'clock yesterday afternoon Mr. Green, the President of the Manhattan Chess Club, introduced the champions to a throng of eager and excited admirers of the royal game of Chess, who filled Cartier's Hall, on Fifth Avenue  [located at 80 Fifth Ave.], in this city.

Mr. Mohle decided the first move in Mr. Zukertort's favour by the toss of a copper, which bright little coin was enhanced in value a thousand fold as it flew through the air, §5 being bid for it as a souvenir of the great event before it reached the floor. It is worthy of note that the same Chess-board was employed upon which Morphy fought his famous battles a quarter of a century ago, the veteran Mr. Patterson, who called off the moves for Morphy, again acting as teller upon the present occasion.

There was a great gathering of Chess veterans, and there were many hearty hand-shakings between players who had not met for over a score and a half of years, who were again attracted by the fame of the present players. There were many eminent divines, members of the legal profession, and men of letters present, who gravely discussed the features of the results and compared the skill of the champions with the marvellous genius of Morphy and his brilliant debut at the first American Chess Congress, which they so well remembered.

The ingenious little tumbling clocks which marked the time and regulated the fifteen moves which each player had to make per hour, were new to most of the spectators, and the mammoth bulletin board, with movable pieces which exhibited the game as it progressed, was a decided novelty, due to the inventive genius of President Green.

Representative delegates were present from all parts of the country, who were kept busy telegraphing the various stages of the game to their respective clubs. The moves were also cabled immediately to Europe, where the result was probably known at all tho clubs simultaneously with New York.

The right of first move was decided by lot and fell to Zukertort, who boldly offered the Queen's Gambit, which is one of his favourite openings. The following are the moves :—


The Brooklyn Chess Chronicle,  Jan. 15, 1886, related the following:

—The New Year dawns auspiciously for Chess, and it is gratifying to see the excitement which animates all its circles. The prime cause of this agitation is the encounter, after a controversy which promised to be endless, of the two greatest gladiators of the day, who have been hailed by the public with an éclat unequaled, perhaps, in the annals of Chess.

—The great and much discussed Steinitz.Zukertort match commenced punctually at 2 o'clock, on the afternoon of the nth, in the spacious rooms of Cartier Hall, on Fifth avenue. The contest is being waged over the same board on which Morphy, Paulsen, Marache and other old time notabilities fought their memorable battles. Those halcyon days of Chess were more vividly brought to mind by the presence in the well filled hall of players who figured conspicuously at that time, notably Mr. Fuller, who was instrumental in bringing Morphy before the public, and Mr. Patterson, who is acting as teller, precisely as he did for Morphy.

The players seemed in excellent spirits and sat down confident and courageously. The first move fell to Zukertort, who opened by P to Q 4. The game, in our judgment, is an excellent specimen of the high art of Chess, and was won by Steinitz in a very effective manner. The second game, a Scotch gambit, opened by Mr. Steinitz, was a fine victory for Mr. Zukertort. Thus the score stands even at the present moment, and the excitement grows apace.

The rooms have been well filled at both sessions, and everything has gone very smoothly and orderly. Mr. Green, the president of the Manhattan Chess Club, is entitled to much credit for the admirable arrangements. A noteworthy feature is the large suspended board on which the games are reproduced, move by move, for the gaze of the interested on.lookers. This was a contrivance of Mr. Green's fertile brain.

We will in our next number produce the games of the match—for we presume that by then the New York part of the contest will be concluded, and our readers will like to see all the games together and form a clear judgment of their relative merits.