Zukertort, the man who came second

4/23/2008 – He lost the inaugural world championship match in 1886 to Wilhelm Steinitz, and died in his mid-40s. Johannes Zukertort would be a forgotten man if he hadn't left so many valuable games behind. In tonight's Playchess.com lecture Dennis Monokroussos takes a look at one from the London 1883 tournament which Zukertort won with a 22/26 score. Can you figure out the brilliant combination?

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

They say no one remembers who comes in second; if so, then Johannes Zukertort (1842-1888), loser of the inaugural world championship match in 1886 to Wilhelm Steinitz, is a forgotten man. If true, that’s a pity. He was a great player and, despite dying in his mid-40s, managed to play many valuable games. His most beautiful effort came from his best tournament, the London 1883 event he won with a brilliant score of 22/26, three points ahead of Steinitz, five and a half points ahead of Blackburne, six ahead of Chigorin, etc. That game, against Blackburne, saw a very nice, instructive middlegame plan by Zukertort followed by one of the greatest combinations of the 19th century, and one any contemporary player would be pleased to play.

It's not all spectacle, however. There are strategic and positional ideas we can take from this game and apply to our own efforts, so even if you know the combination, there are still very good reasons to join the crowd tomorrow, Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET. And if you don't know the combination, don't look it up – see if you can figure it out yourself during the show!

Directions for watching the show, which starts at 9 p.m. ET, are here.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).



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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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