My Favorite Game Of. Number 6. Johannes Zukertort.

My Favorite Game Of. Number 6. Johannes Zukertort.

Jun 3, 2018, 6:10 AM |

In part 5 of this series, the name Zukertort was thrown forward , and I said it would be a tough one for me, but here goes!

Zukertort is a fascinating and important player to study. Why? Because he is in many ways, the encapsulation in one player, of a major stage in chess evolution - his great rival Steinitz is another example. He started out playing off-hand games with Anderssen. In off-hand play Anderssen just had fun! Play anything, sacrifice as much as you can, try to be the first one to deliver mate - that was Zukertort's early chess experience.

Then tournaments became more common, and he gained experience of a tougher style of chess. He developed. After that he moved to London, worked with Hirschfield, and started writing about chess. He developed again. As chess was changing around him, so he kept developing, until he had become a rounded, mature, elite-class player. 

I sum him up like this - he went from publishing analysis of the compromised defence in the Evan's Gambit, to trying to explain the subtleties  in move orders and piece placements of closed Q-Pawn openings. So, choosing a favorite game is not so easy, as there was more than one Zukertort to choose from!!

For example, the following game is one that I love.

However, when I sat down and though about it, the choice became easy.
Decide between two games.
I am lucky enough to have a first edition of the Tournament Book of Zukertort's great triumph - London 1883. It cost me 2 weeks wages at the time! For a week whilst I was in hospital many years ago, it was the book that I had with me, and I went through every game, note, and word - down to studying the accounts, and the menu of the banquet!
It is a beautiful thing to have, and looks like this!
It is inscribed as being presented by the tournament Committee, Oct 4th. 1883.
Today you will probably be able to find a pdf on the internet for free, and would laugh at me paying, in today's terms, over £900 for such a thing. The World has changed in my lifetime!
I have two favorite Zukertort games from the event. his first round win against Chigorin, and the one I have chosen. ( No, it's not the famous win against Blackburne!!!)
It's an incredible, eye-gouging street fight of a battle, between two players who saw themselves as legitimate rivals for Steinitz' place at the top of the Chess World's pecking order, and they both played to win.
The game is not perfect, by any means - such tense battles rarely are - but it a real struggle, with two fine players both trying to win.
(Sadly, we are often taught - particularly in the modern computer age of 'red moves' - that the ideal in chess is lack of errors. I would rather create, and fight, and lose, than be described as 'perfect'. Just my opinion, but it will explain some of my choices in this little series.) 
The notes are Zukertort's from the  Tournament Book, unless otherwise stated. 
As usual, feel free to add or suggest a favorite  game by the featured player, or to suggest someone for the series.
If you have a favorite player from any era - past or present - and my thoughts and game choice might interest you, I would love to hear it!
Enjoy the game!!