In addition to being a refined chess master, Zukertort's resume reads like that of a Renaissance man and literary swashbuckler. He worked as an army physician in the Prussian wars of 1866 and 1870-71; Johannes was a pianist, magazine editor, music critic, linguist, swordsman and marksman.
He was fluent in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Russian, Sanskrit, Arabic, Turkish, Danish, and Polish.
He was decorated for gallantry 9 times in three Prussian wars with Denmark, Austria, and France and was once left for dead.
Three days after winning a major tournament in Paris, in 1878, Zukertort sold his 5,000-franc Sevres vase prize—awarded by the King of France himself—in a pawn shop for about half the value.
Birth and Death Dates:
1842 - 1888
A student of Anderssen, Zukertort defeated his mentor in international play in 1871 and won international tournaments in 1878 and 1881. He was one of the pioneers of blindfold chess, playing 16 games simultaniously.