Jaques Pre-Zukertort Tournament Chessmen, Weighted.
A set of Tournament size Jaques Pre-Zukertort Tournament Chessmen. The chess pieces are Boxwood, Ebony, nicely weighted and rest atop a cushion of green. “Jaques London” is inscribed on the base of the White King. This is a very attractive true Staunton pattern chess set with masterfully carved Knights. The King stands 3-1/2″ tall with a 1-3/4″ diameter base. In the advertisements, this size was referred to as the “Tournament size”. The Jaques chess pieces are housed in a replacement Jaques divided and lined Mahogany hinge-top box with a facsimile manufacturer’s label. The chess pieces are in very good-to-excellent condition with wear consistent with age. The Mahogany box is sound and in very good condition with than the expected 150 years’ worth of wear, scuffs and dings. The chess pieces have developed a very pleasant honey-hue over the years. These pieces were manufactured between 1870 and 1875. The chess pieces play and display best on a chessboard with 2-1/8″ or 2-1/4 squares. The chessboard shown is not included in the sale. For a complete selection of our finest new and antique chessboards, please click here. An extensive inventory of antique and contemporary chess timers can be found here. For a short history of the John Jaques Company and the Staunton Chessmen, click here.
Johannes Hermann Zukertort (Jan Hermann Cukiertort) was born on 7 September 1842 and died on 20 June 1888. He was a German-Polish Grandmaster and was one of the World’s top players.
Zukertort learned to play chess in Breslau when he was 19. Zukertort studied with Adolf Anderssen and shortly became one of the strongest players in Germany. Among his many notable matches, Zukertort defeated Anderssen convincingly (5–2; no draws) in 1871. In 1872, he played Wilhelm Steinitz in London, losing 9–3 (7 losses, 1 win, 4 draws). At the time, both were considered the world’s best players. Zukertort also lost to Wilhelm Steinitz in the 1886 World Chess Championship match, which is generally regarded as the first World Chess Championship.
Although Zukertort lost both his matches against Steinitz, he proved to be one the World’s leading players throughout the late 1870s and early 1880s. Due to the lack of top-level tournaments, Zukertort’s best performances were mostly in match play, notably against Anderssen in 1871 and Joseph Henry Blackburne in 1881 (6 wins, 2 losses, 5 draws). Nonetheless Zukertort was one of the most successful tournament players of his time: third place behind Steinitz and Blackburne at London, 1872; first place at Cologne and second at Leipzig in 1877; tied for first with Simon Winawer at the Paris 1878 chess tournament; second at Berlin in 1881, behind Blackburne; tied for fourth at Vienna in 1882 and first at London in 1883, 3 points ahead of Steinitz. Zukertort filled his relatively short life with a wide range of other achievements as a soldier, musician, linguist, journalist and political activist. He became a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom in 1878