Yorkshire Chess History



1881: Zukertort Simultaneous Blindfold Display, Huddersfield











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site


The Polish master Johannes Hermann Zukertort had accepted an invitation to the 26th annual meeting of the West Yorkshire Chess Association meeting, held in Huddersfield.


Herr Zukertort was engaged to give a simultaneous display over eight boards, the evening before the WYCA meeting, Friday 22nd April, 1881.  Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Sheffield, Wakefield and Dewsbury had been invited to send strong players to take on Herr Zukertort, but only Leeds and Dewsbury had responded, together providing five names.  These were supplemented with three volunteers from the assembled spectators.







Zukertort (W)


James White (Leeds)


Zukertort (W)


James Gavin Cunningham (Leeds)


Zukertort (W)


James Rayner (Leeds)

4 or 8**

Zukertort (colour?)


EC Hobson (Huddersfield)

5 or 7**

Zukertort (colour?)


J Woodhead (Dewsbury)


Zukertort (B)


JC Walker (Mirfield)

4 or 8**

Zukertort (colour?)


George Charlesworth (Hepworth)

5 or 7**

Zukertort (colour?)


M Rhodes (Dewsbury)



Board nos. recorded in WYCA Minute Book.


Board inferred from games ended after Leeds and Dewsbury players left.


Board no. per Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement



Zukertort sat with his back to the eight players who sat along a long table, facing the master’s back.  He took Black on the top four boards, and White on the other four.  Play commenced at 7.30 p.m., before a group of interested spectators, who, nevertheless, numbered less than the organisers had hoped for.


The player on board 7 was first to resign, being a piece down after playing a Muzio Gambit.


As was so common in such circumstances, the Leeds and Dewsbury players had to leave before completion of their games, in order to catch the train home.  Their games were to be resumed the following day.  The other three players, who lived more locally, played on.


Board 8 resigned soon after the departure of the Leeds and Dewsbury players.  The remaining player, board 6, had played reasonably steadily and held out until eleven o’clock, when he was mated by Zukertort.


Play in the unfinished games was resumed the following day, at the WYCA meeting.  In the event, James G Cunningham on board 2 was unable to attend on Saturday, and on examining the position the Yorkshiremen resigned that game.  Play resumed in the other four games, with board 4 resigning first, then board 5, and then board 3.  On board 1, Zukertort had slipped into a lost game, but had recovered the position to achieve a drawing position.  White then blundered, apparently thinking that by sacrificing his knight he could eliminate Zukertort’s last two pawns, which he couldn’t, meaning that Zukertort won:

26th West Yorkshire Chess Association Annual Meeting, Huddersfield, 1881

Zukertort Blindfold Simultaneous Display, 22-23/04/1881, board 1

White: Zukertort, Johannes Hermann (Poland); Black: White, James (Leeds)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 d5 5. exd5 Nxb4 6. O-O Qd6 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. d4 exd4 9. Re1+ Kf8 10. Nb5 Qb6 11. Nfxd4? (Better is 11. Nbxd4) 11...a6 12. a3 axb5 (Better is 12...Nbxd5 leading to the win of a piece) 13. axb4 Rxa1 14. bxc5 Qxc5 15. Nb3! Rxc1 (If 15... Qxc4, then 16. Nxa1 Nxd5 17.Nb3 Be6 18. Bb2 makes completion of Black’s development difficult.) 16. Qxc1 Qxc4 17. Qa3+ b4 18. Qa8 g6! (This retains an advantage, whereas 18...Qg4 19. h3 Qd7 20. Nc5 Qd8 Nxb7 draws.) 19. Qxc8+ Kg7 20. Qxb7 Rd8 (Better is 20...Nxd5.) 21. Qc6 Qc3 (Better is 21... Qxc6 22. dxc6 Rd6.) 22. Qxc3 bxc3 23. f3 Nxd5 24. Rd1 Rd6 25. Rd3 Nf4? (The exchange of rooks makes it difficult if not impossible for Black to force a win.) 26. Rxd6 cxd6 27. Kf2 Kf6 28. g3 Nd5 29. Nd4 Ke5 30. Nb5 Nb4 31. f4+! Ke6 32. Nxc3 Nxc2 33. Ke2 d5 34. Kd3 Nb4+ 35. Kd4 Nc6+ 36. Kc5 Ne7 37. g4 f6 38. Nb5 f5 39. Nd4+ Kd7 40. g5 Ke8 41. Kd6 Kf7 42. Ke5 Ng8 43. Kxd5 h6 44. h4 hxg5 45. hxg5 Nf6+?? (45...Ne7+ should draw.) 46. gxf6 Kxf6 47. Nf3 Kg7 48. Ke6 Kh6 49. Kf6 Kh5 50. Ng5 Black resigned.


26th West Yorkshire Chess Association Annual Meeting, Huddersfield, 1881

Zukertort Blindfold Simultaneous Display, 22-23/04/1881, board 2

White: Zukertort, Johannes Hermann (Poland)

Black: Cunningham, James G (Leeds)

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Bc5 3. f4 Bxg1 4. Rxg1 Nc6 5. fxe5 Nxe5 6. d4 Ng6 7. Be3 d6 8. Qd2 Bd7 9. Bc4 Be6 10. Bd3 Qe7 11. O-O-O O-O-O 12. h3 a6 13. Qe2 c6 14. d5 cxd5 15. exd5 Bd7 16. Bxa6 Be8 17. Bc4 Qc7 18. Rd4 Ne5 19. Bb3 Kb8 20. Rb4 adjudicated as win for White as Black unable to resume, 1-0


26th West Yorkshire Chess Association Annual Meeting, Huddersfield, 1881

Zukertort Blindfold Simultaneous Display, 22-23/04/1881, board 3

White: Zukertort, Johannes Hermann (Poland), Black: Rayner, James (Leeds)

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Bc4 Qh4+ 4. Kf1 g5 5. Nc3 c6 6. Nf3 Qh5 7. h4 h6 8. Bxf7+ Qxf7 9. Ne5 Qg7 10. Qh5+ Ke7 11. Ng6+ Kd8 12. Nxh8 Qxh8 13. hxg5 Qe5 14. Qf7 Qg7 15. Qxg7 Bxg7 16. gxh6 Bxh6 17. d3 Ke7 18. g3 d6 19. gxf4 Be6 20. f5 Bxc1 21. Rxc1 Bf7 22. d4 Nd7 23. Re1 Kf6 24. Kf2 Re8 25. Kf3 d5 26. Kf4 dxe4 27. Nxe4+ Rxe4+ 28. Rxe4 Bd5 29. Rh7 Bxe4 30. Rxd7 Bxf5 31. Rxb7 Bxc2 32. Rxa7 Ne7 33. a4 Nd5+ 34. Kf3 Ke6 35. Ke2 Kd6 36. Kd2 Be4 37. a5 Nc7 38. Rb7 Kd7 39. Rb6 Nb5 40. a6 Kc8 41. Ke3 Bd5 42. Kf4 Nc7 43. Ke5 c5 44. dxc5 Bg2 45. b4 Na8 46. Rg6 Bf3 47. Kd6 Kb8 48. b5 Black resigned, 1-0


26th West Yorkshire Chess Association Annual Meeting, Huddersfield, 1881

Zukertort Blindfold Simultaneous Display, 22/04/1881, board 6

White: Walker, JC (Mirfield), Zukertort, Johannes Hermann (Poland)

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Bc4 Nxe4 5. Bxf7+ Kxf7 6. Nxe4 d5 7. Nfg5+ Kg8 8. Qf3 Qd7 9. Ng3 h6 10. Nh3 Bc5 11. d3 Nd4 12. Qd1 Qf7 13. Be3 Bxh3 14. gxh3 Nf3+ 15. Ke2 Bd6 16. c3 Re8 17. Qf1 Kh7 18. Kd1 Rhf8 19. Qe2 d4 20. Bd2 dxc3 21. Bxc3 Nd4 22. Qe4+ Kh8 23. Rf1 c5 24. Kd2 c4 25. Rad1 cxd3 26. Kxd3 Bc5 27. b3 Rd8 28. Qg4 Nxb3+ 29. Kc2 Nd4+ 30. Kb2 Qc4 31. Rd2 Ba3+ 32. Kb1 Qxc3 33. Qd1 Nf3 and Black wins





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

Last Updated