Back to Back Issues Page
LCB, Issue #032 --, Zukertort's Immortal
January 01, 2018

Zukertort's Immortal

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #032 -- GOTM #1

learn and play online chess
Last month we concluded our study of the middlegame. I thought it would be a nice idea to start checking out great games played throughout the long history of chess. I want to do one game every month illustrating amazing combinations based on tactics and harmony between the pieces.

This month we dip into the vast ocean of treasures from the Romantic Era. Johannes Zukertort, one of the most famous players from this period, goes to London in 1883. He takes on the second British Champion (1869) Joseph Blackburne aka the Black Death, himself a brilliant player in the World Top 5.

Zukertort has the White pieces in this encounter. He slowly nurses a small advantage into the middlegame. Then with his officers in position he strikes in the center with his pawns. He constructs a winning attack with remarkable poise and vision. Sit back and enjoy.

Zukertort's Immortal

Zukertort,Johannes Hermann - Blackburne,Joseph Henry [A13]

GotM #1 - London, 09.12.1883
[Connaughton, Ken]


English Opening but this game doesn't follow typical English patterns of today.

1...e6 2.e3 Nf6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Be2 Bb7 5.0-0 d5 6.d4

Game position after 6.d4

This move brings the game into the realm of the Queen's Gambit Declined.

6...Bd6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Qe7 10.Nb5 Ne4 11.Nxd6 cxd6 12.Nd2 Ndf6 13.f3 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 dxc4 15.Bxc4 d5 16.Bd3 Rfc8 17.Rae1 Rc7

Game position after 17...Rc7

White has apparently ceded the c-file to Black but his own pieces have been maneuvered to good posts. Now he will break in the center and the fireworks will begin.

18.e4 Rac8 19.e5

Winning space and evicting a key defender.

19...Ne8 20.f4

The f-pawn will advance with the intention of undermining Black's pawn structure. White's pawns are also annexing space for his pieces to flood into as they race towards the Black King.


Seeking to halt the invasion.

21.Re3 f5

Black wants to lock up the diagonals but...


White is happy to compromise his own structure in order to break through Black's defensive shell.

22...Nxf6 23.f5

Now White can take advantage of the Black Queen's vulnerable position opposite the White Rook.

23...Ne4 24.Bxe4 dxe4 25.fxg6 Rc2

Game position after 25...Rc2

Blackburne, like Zukertort, was a fine tactician, and now tries to complicate matters in a bid to slow the attack.


However Zukertort rightly continues his attack unabated.


The pawn could not be taken but White can still continue checking. If 26...Kxh7 there are many roads to # such as 27.Rh3+ Kg8 28.Qh6 Rxg2+ 29.Kh1 Rxh2+ 30.Rxh2 e3+ 31.d5 Qf6 32.Qxf6 Bxd5+ 33.Kg1 Bxb3 34.Qf7#; 26...Qxh7 doesn't help either, 27.Rg3+ Qg7 (27...Kh8 fails even quicker: 28.d5+ e5 29.Bxe5+ Qg7 30.Qh6+ Kg8 31.Rxg7#) 28.Rxg7+ Kxg7 29.Qg5+ Kh8 30.Rf7 Rc1+ 31.Bxc1 Rxc1+ 32.Qxc1 Ba6 33.Qg5 e3 34.Qg7#

27.d5+ e5 28.Qb4!!

Game position after 28.Qb4!!

The move that makes the game.


Black moves to protect e5. 28...Qxb4 and its # in 7: 29.Bxe5+ Kxh7 30.Rh3+ Kg6 31.Rf6+ Kg5 32.Rg3+ Kh5 33.Rf5+ Kh6 (33...Kh4 34.Bf6#) 34.Bf4+ Kh7 35.Rh5#


Game position after 29.Rf8+

A second decoy. Note that all the time Black never gets time to eliminate the hanging Bishop that threatens his demise.


Black is finally forced to take on h7 and White's heavy pieces now have access to his King. Again leaving the defense of e5 is fatal: 29...Qxf8 30.Bxe5+ Qg7 (30...Kxh7 is even worse, 31.Qxe4+ Kh6 32.Rh3+ Kg5 33.Rg3+ Kh5 34.Qg4+ Kh6 35.Rh3#) 31.Bxg7+ Kxg7 32.Qd4+ Kxh7 33.Qxe4+ Kh8 34.Qe8+ Kh7 35.Qh5+ Kg8 36.Qg6+ Kf8 37.Re8#

30.Qxe4+ Kg7 31.Bxe5+

Game position after 31.Bxe5+

The final bulwark has fallen.

31...Kxf8 32.Bg7+ Kg8

32...Kxg7 is no less hopeless. 33.Qxe7+ Kg6 34.Rg3+ Kf5 35.Rg5+ Kf4 36.Qe5#; 32...Qxg7 of course allows 33.Qe8#


Game position after 33.Qxe7

And Black throws in the towel.


Play back the moves of this great game.

If you do not have html based email software and you're using a text only system, you may find that the links are only partially highlighted and may not work. If this is the case, simply copy and paste the entire link into the browser and hit Enter. That should get you where you want to go.
Comments, ideas, feedback? I'd be stoked to hear from you.

Get in touch

See you next month.


Back to Back Issues Page