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Zukertort, Johannes

Johannes Zukertort (1842-1888) was a chess master, physician, pianist, magazine editor, music critic, linguist, swordsman and marksman.  He was fluent in   English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Russian, Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish, Danish, and Polish.  He was decorated for gallantry 9 times in three Prussian wars with Denmark, Austria, and France and was once left for dead.   He could play 16 chess games blindfolded.  He edited a political  magazine and several chess magazines.  He was one of the best dominoes and whist players in the world.  He was a leading  spokesman for prison reform.  He studied chemistry, physiology, philology, and theology with distinction.  In 1878 he won a major tournament in Paris.  The first place prize consisted of a Sevres vase, worth over 5,000 francs, and was given to him by the President of France.  He sold it three days later in a pawn shop for about half the value.  He had a stroke at Simpson's chess club while playing in a chess tournament (he was in 1st place) and died the next day, at the age of 46.  He was to play Blackburne and Bird in the final rounds for the championship.

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