This article is a sample of how Wilhelm Steinitz covered the First World Championship and is presented for your enjoyment from The Collected Works of Wilhelm Steinitz. The Introduction to the Steinitz-Zukertort match will give you a taste of the excitement in the atmosphere at the beginning of the first world championship match. The game itself is richly annotated by Steinitz and shows why he is considered the world's greatest chess instructor. This extract features just one of hundreds of games (850+) annotated by the man who was the idol of Bobby Fischer and revolutionized chess into what it is today! And now, Wilhelm Steinitz:
"At last there is a championship contest in progress before the Chess world, the like of which has not been witnessed since Morphy met Anderssen over the board in 1858. A number of matches between first-class Chess masters have been consummated subsequent to that great event, the last on record, in which two opponents were pitted against each other, each of whom had proved himself superior, by his previous exploits, to all other contemporary rivals for Chess fame. We may say with but little hesitation that the present contest is fully analogous in that respect with the famous match between the American and German master in 1858, for the rox populi fully indorsed this opinion as shown by the extraordinary support accorded by Chess amateurs all over the world to the necessary arrangements for the meeting between Messrs. Steinitz and Zukertort. It may fairly be doubted whether any other Chess expert would have been enabled to raise two thousand dollars as stakes against either of the two contestants in the pending championship match and while we fully appreciate the liberality of American lovers of the game, it is questionable whether a like handsome purse for expenses, such as has been subscribed for on the present occasion, would have been forthcoming for the purpose of deciding the rival claims between any other pair than the one now engaged in the struggle for Chess supremacy.
"Before the 11th ult., the date fixed for the commencement of the match the Special Committee of the Manhattan Chess Club, consisting of Mr. George T. Green, President, and Messrs. F. M. Teed and W. M. De Visser, had completed all arrangements for the contest with painstaking attention to details. Thousands of copies had been distributed in New York and all over the country of a well-compiled program, containing the conditions of the match, a chronological record of the previous performances of both players, Chess Reminiscences of Morphy, by W. J. A. Fuller, besides miscellaneous interesting items of Chess history and biography, which were chiefly contributed by Mr. Frere. Near the front window of the large hall of Cartiers's Academy, No. 80 Fifth Avenue, a well-sized platform had been fitted up on which the players and their Umpires were to be seated and could be easily seen from all parts of the room. An ingeniously constructed Chess board of four feet square was placed on a mantel-piece in the center of the wall for the purpose of illustrating the progress of the game. In the middle of each square a hole had been bored into which chessmen of corresponding size, which had been cut out of thin board wood, could be inserted by means of a peg attached to them, so as to appear flat on the Chess board like the pieces on a diagram. We understand that this novel board and men were made after a plan devised by the President of the Manhattan Chess Club, Mr. George T. Green.
"The two players appeared punctually at two o'clock on Monday, the 11th ult., before a large number of spectators, which rapidly increased to a crowd in the course of the afternoon, and included some ladies us well as several Chess enthusiasts from distant cities, who had specially traveled to New York for the purpose of witnessing the match. Conspicuous among the latter were Mr. D. M. Martinez, the President of the Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia, to whom a seat of honor was assigned near the players, M. J. Redding of San Francisco, Mr. K. Shipley of Philadelphia, Mr. Osborne of Ansonia, and Mr. Martinez, Jr.
"After the two contestants had been seated before the historical board and men (loaned for the occasion by Mr. Thomas Frere) at which Paul Morphy won many of his brilliant victories, the two Umpires, Messrs. Thomas Frere and Mr. Adolpli Moehle, after having adjusted the clocks, tossed up for the first move which fell in favor of Mr. Zukertort who, amid breathless expectation, opened with 1.d4 and then, in reply to the corresponding same move from the other side, proceeded with the regular Queen's Gambit which was already on the 2nd move of the defense taken out of its usual groove when Steinitz advanced 2...c6 instead of 2...e6. The game then, for a few moves, assumed a form almost identical with the position which occurred in the match between Messrs. Zukertort and Rosenthal and in a justly celebrated game which Zukertort won of Winawer in the London tournament. A change of plan by both parties became, however, soon apparent, for Zukertort, contrary to his former practice did not castle on the Kingside, but at once pressed an attack with his pawns on the Queen's wing, while Steinitz first operated with his pawns in the center and then wheeled round one of his Knights for an early attack against the adverse Kingside, after having, by an advance of the h-pawn, made room for the cooperation of his King's Rook. The crisis was readied on White's 15th move, when Zukertort, disdaining a defensive retreat of his King's Bishop to f1, which, we believe, would have been his best play, subjected himself to a sacrifice of a piece for which the opponent apparently only gained two pawns. But it seems that White had not taken into calculation that, with the help of the King's Rook, Black could force the gaining of another pawn, and that his own King would be confined for a long time to the detriment of his development while Steinitz was enabled to form an attack with the preponderance on his pawns. A great deal of fencing and maneuvering ensued, in which Zukertort aimed at sacrificing a piece or the Exchange for one or more pawns in order to extricate himself from his embarrassment. But Steinitz frustrated that plan and carefully nursed his pawns up to the adjournment of the game, at six o'clock, when he sealed his 32nd move. After the resumption of the game, at eight o'clock, his position became ripe for a final break-in with his f-pawn, which opened the file for his Rook, supported by the Queen, to such powerful action that Zukertort, on the 37th move, elected as a desperate resource to give up his Queen for a Rook. The game was then spun out for nine moves longer during which Zukertort laid some ingenious traps which, if not properly attended to, might have led to a draw or a protracted struggle. But seeing that his opponent finally preserved the advantage of Queen against Rook with an irresistible attack, Zukertort resigned on the 46th move, the game having lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes, of which time the clock of Steinitz recorded 2h. 45m., and that of Zukertort 2h. 30m. Captain Mackenzie regulated the moves on the suspended Chess board for the benefit of the spectators, Mr. Patterson acted as Teller during the afternoon and Dr. Simonson in during the evening sitting."
This game along with its commentary was originally published by Steinitz in his International Chess Magazine (February, 1886), and is reproduced in The Collected Works of Wilhelm Steinitz.