Early Chess Tournaments - From Anderssen to Z...

Early Chess Tournaments - From Anderssen to Zukertort
by Jim Slate

The birth of competitive chess happened in London in 1851 with what many consider to be the world's first modern chess tournament.

At the time chess had been rising in popularity in Europe steadily for over 400 years. People had started to think philosophically and strategically about the game, and to analyze it using mathematical formulas. Chess manuals were being published, and chess problems were a regular part of many newspapers weekly additions.

The tournament in London was the first international competition where grand masters came to compete with one another. The winner of the tournament was a surprise, as it was taken by the German representative Adolf Anderssen. A bold player Anderssen was known for his fierce attacks and showy style of play, which often intimidated his opponents. While considered strategically shallow by today's standards, his method of daring and fierce offense became the popular way to pay for the era, and heavily influenced the development of stress strategy in coming years. This is demonstrated but games such as Anderssens Immortal game, or Murphys Opera games, which were both short and involved a high number of casualties.

Anderssen was beaten several times in his career, most notably by American Paul Murphy. A chess prodigy, Murphy had a short but sparkling career, in which is intuitive skill for developing attacks gave added depth to the strategic nature of the sport.

Though London had held what was considered the first modern chess tournament in 1851, it wasn't until 1886 that the tradition of the world chess championship, which was to be played between the two top players in the world developed. This started when Wilhelm Steinitz, considered one of the leading chess theoreticians in the world, defeated the German master Johannes Zukertort.

The world chess championship was thereafter held informally, with the challenger having to defeat whoever the incumbent winner is to take the crown. This is a tradition which has continued, in an almost unbroken line, to this day.

About the Author

This article about chess and the history of chess was written by Jim Slate and is brought to you by http://PebbleZ.com - Designers and manufacturers of a wide range of stone chess sets
Their chess collection includes marble, onyx, fossil stone, and imported alabaster pieces, all made from real natural stones.