The Ink War

My new book, The Ink War: Romanticism versus Modernity in Chess, is published!

In 1872, Johannes Zukertort moved from Berlin to London to continue his chess career. Ten years earlier, William Steinitz moved from Vienna to London for the same purpose and meanwhile he had become the uncrowned champion of the chess world. Between these two players a rivalry was to develop that became increasingly fierce, so much so that it was eventually named The Ink War. The battle was fought on the chessboard as well as in the various chess magazines and columns. It was not only about who was the strongest player but also about who had the best ideas on how the game should be played. Eventually it led to the first World Championship match in 1886.

Zukertort has often been depicted as a representative of romantic chess, where only the attack on the king counts. Steinitz is said to have put an end to this with his modern scientific school. Zukertort is certainly the tragic protagonist of this book, but is he also a romantic hero? In this compelling story, the traditional version of chess history is shaken up, and at the end the question arises which of them can really claim to be the captain of the modern school.

" ... well researched, endlessly fascinating, always thought provoking, often digressive, sometimes provocative and sometimes extremely funny. [...] Five stars and a top recommendation from me."
(Richard James, British Chess News)

Adolf Anderssen (1842)
White mates in 5