Zukertort's win in the London 1883 chess tournament was his most significant success: he won his games against most of the world's leading players, scoring 22/26, and he finished 3 points ahead of Steinitz, who was second with 19/26.This tournament established that Steinitz and Zukertort were clearly the best two players in the world, and led to the World Chess Championship match between these two.At 1886 after building up a 4-1 lead Zukertort wilted, lost 4 of the last 5 games and lost the match by 12½-7½.
After this defeat, Zukertort's health suffered and he was a greatly weakened player for the remaining two years of his life. Diagnoses of his ailments include rheumatism, coronary heart disease, kidney problems, and arteriosclerosis.
A striking combination by Zukertort, perhaps the last of the "old school" masters. After his defeat by Steinitz in 1886, it became clear that Steinitz's positional theories had brought a new aspect to the game.