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Photograph circa 1975; courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.  
Georges Koltanowski
Number of games in database: 379
Years covered: 1921 to 1994
Overall record: +93 -38 =63 (64.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      185 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (59) 
    D05 D04 A46 A40 D02
 Two Knights (29) 
    C55 C56
 Giuoco Piano (21) 
 Orthodox Defense (19) 
    D51 D63 D62 D53 D64
 Sicilian (13) 
    B20 B60 B27 B22
 King's Indian (11) 
    E67 E60 E81 E61 E70
With the Black pieces:
 King's Indian (28) 
    E60 E67 E72 E90 E61
 Philidor's Defense (14) 
 Queen's Pawn Game (7) 
    A50 A40 D04 A41 A45
 Grunfeld (6) 
    D95 D85 D92 D80 D82
 Ruy Lopez (6) 
    C73 C64 C87
 Two Knights (5) 
    C55 C58 C59
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Koltanowski vs M Defosse, 1936 1-0
   Koltanowski vs A Dunkelblum, 1923 1-0
   Koltanowski vs NN, 1946 1-0
   Koltanowski vs Diller, 1960 1-0
   Koltanowski vs Day, 1960 1-0
   Koltanowski vs J Salazar, 1940 1-0
   Koltanowski vs H Bogart, 1952 1-0
   Koltanowski vs A Dunkelblum, 1924 1-0
   Koltanowski vs J O'Hanlon, 1937 1-0
   Koltanowski vs NN, 1945 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Hastings 1928/29 (1928)
   London (1932)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   colle & related systems by gmlisowitz
   blindfold masters by biohaz
   KKW's 'Minature chess games' by KKW
   Hastings 1935/36 by Phony Benoni
   Hastings 1928/29 by suenteus po 147
   Sicilian Wing Gambitz by fredthebear
   WingGambit by lord1412
   wing gambit victories by InspiredByMorphy
   toso51's favorite games by toso51
   Ramsgate 1929 team tournament by crawfb5

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Georges Koltanowski
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(born Sep-17-1903, died Feb-05-2000, 96 years old) Belgium (citizen of United States of America)

[what is this?]
Georges Koltanowski was born on the 17th of September 1903 in Antwerp, Belgium. He was awarded the IM title in 1950, an honorary GM title in 1988 and became an International Arbiter in 1960. The USCF also gave him the title of "The Dean of American Chess". More than a player, "Kolty" was also an exhibitor, writer, promoter and showman. Occasionally, he edited a column for newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Kitchener Record & others in those syndication chains.

His best tournament wins were Antwerp 1932, Barcelona 1934 and Barcelona 1935. He was Belgian Champion in 1923, 1927, 1930 and 1936, but was best known for his exploits in simultaneous blindfold play.

Of his many exhibitions, one stands out above the rest: in 1937 at Edinburgh Scotland he played 34 games simultaneously without sight of the boards, scoring +24 =10 in thirteen and a half hours, a world record. When his exhibitions were over, as a finale, he would often recite the complete moves of the games without looking at the board.

Koltanowski was one of many masters who chose not to return to Europe after the 1939 Olympiad in Argentina, which coincided with the outbreak of World War II. When the Nazis overran Belgium, several of his family members perished in the Holocaust. Koltanowski was in Guatemala at the time and was allowed to immigrate to the United States, due partly because a chess-playing consul in Cuba had been amazed by one of his exhibitions.

He directed the 1947 US Open, the first time the Swiss System was used for that event, and was greatly responsible for popularizing the Swiss System for tournaments in the US. His last International appearances were playing for the US Olympiad team of 1952 and a match against Henri Grob in 1953. He was also President of the USCF from 1975 to 1978.

Wikipedia article: George Koltanowski

 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 379  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Tchabritch vs Koltanowski ½-½33 1921 simul blind 1/2C25 Vienna
2. E Sapira vs Koltanowski 0-139 1921 ch?C48 Four Knights
3. A Dunkelblum vs Koltanowski  0-138 1922 Belgium chC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
4. Koltanowski vs Colle 1-030 1922 ch BELA03 Bird's Opening
5. Colle vs Koltanowski 0-171 1923 ch BELE60 King's Indian Defense
6. Koltanowski vs Colle  1-050 1923 ch BELA10 English
7. Koltanowski vs V Soultanbeieff 1-026 1923 ch BELC49 Four Knights
8. Koltanowski vs Colle  ½-½29 1923 rapid playA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
9. Koltanowski vs A Dunkelblum 1-015 1923 AntwerpB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
10. Duchamp vs Koltanowski  0-130 1923 BrusselsD85 Grunfeld
11. Koltanowski vs Colle 1-041 1923 rapid playA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
12. Spielmann vs Koltanowski 1-044 1924 MeranoB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
13. J O'Hanlon vs Koltanowski  0-127 1924 ol final BD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Euwe vs Koltanowski  1-041 1924 ol ?D30 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. G Oskam vs Koltanowski  0-124 1924 ol prelim 2D46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
16. Colle vs Koltanowski 0-140 1924 MeranoD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
17. Koltanowski vs D Reca  0-129 1924 ol final BE14 Queen's Indian
18. S Rosselli del Turco vs Koltanowski  1-024 1924 MeranoB10 Caro-Kann
19. G Renaud vs Koltanowski  ½-½14 1924 ol final BC41 Philidor Defense
20. Gruenfeld vs Koltanowski  1-031 1924 MeranoA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
21. R Grau vs Koltanowski  0-166 1924 ol final BD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
22. Rubinstein vs Koltanowski 1-031 1924 MeranoD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
23. Koltanowski vs D Daniuszewski  0-149 1924 ol final BA50 Queen's Pawn Game
24. Koltanowski vs Schmidt  1-030 1924 SimulA43 Old Benoni
25. Koltanowski vs K Sterk  1-065 1924 ol final BE61 King's Indian
 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 379  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Koltanowski wins | Koltanowski loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-02-10  Jedzz: I received a couple of old, old school chess books for Christmas, and bookmarking one of them was a yellowed newspaper clipping of a chess column by Koltanowski, which I'd thought I'd replicate here:

First was a game between an O.I. Truelsen and C. Madsen , played in Norway in 1957. Neither player is in the database, for soon-to-be obvious reasons in Madsen's case. This was originally in descriptive notation, which I've translated to algebraic.

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 d5 4. e5 d4 5. exf6 dxc3 6. bxc3 Qxf6 7. d4 Be7(a) 8. Nf3 h6 9. Bd3 Nd7 10. Qe2 O-O 11. h4(b) Bd6 12. g4 c5 13. g5 Qe7 14. gxh6 g6 15. h5(c) gxh5 16. Rg1+ Kh8 17. Rg7 e5 18. Bg5 Qe8(d) 19. dxe5 Nxe5(e) 20. Rh7+ Kg8 21. Rh8+ Kxh8 22. Bf6+ Kg8 23. h7# 1-0

(a) Better would have been 7. ... Bd6. (b) White threatens 12. Bg5 hxg5 13. hxg5 Qf4 14. g3 Qg4 15. Bh7+ Kh8 16. Bb5+ etc. (c) White is putting on pressure, and will finish in brilliant style! (d) After 18. ... Qe6, there can follow 19. d5 Qh3 20. O-O-O. (e) 19. ... Bxe5 staves off the defeat by one more move."

Next was a puzzle:

click for larger view

"White is to play and mate in two moves."

See if you can figure this one out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Doesn't B-f8# win at once? Or, is the trick to make it a legal mate in two, which would be more difficult?
Jan-03-10  Jedzz: HeHateMe, 1. Bf8+ Kxc5. White is moving up the board, and thus the knight is en pris.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: oops. My chess GPS navigotor was off.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: According to George Koltanowski in his book TV Chess, a player came complaining that he had just been mated by a rook and that he protested the outcome. His 20-year-old opponent had a long wide beard and he had "covered his rook with his beard". And then, when it was his turn to move, had lifted his beard and mated with the "hidden" rook!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Ha!, I love that--Capa's 'submarine piece'!
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: 1925 photo:
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: H. Wallis' scoresheet played against Koltanowski in Leeds in 1938..

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: < Despite the documented evidence by chess historian HJR Murray, I've always thought that chess was invented by a goddess >

~George Koltanowski

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: The story <Wordfunph> mentions was probably copied from Alfred Kreymborg's <Chess Reclaims a Devotee>, an amusing portrait of the New York chess world of a century ago:
Sep-17-12  Lil Swine: Happy Birthday Kolty
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: George is no longer with us, though I'm sure he'd be willing to play the whole site at blindfold chess, were it technically possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <Caissanist> thanks for the link, extracted the story from a signed copy of TV Chess by Koltanowski.

read somewhere that Kolty abandoned the idea of drawing a chessboard on the ceiling of his bedroom to study blindfold, ohhhh...hardcore chess!

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: In today's SF Chronicle, they had a classic reprint from 1981:

Note the spelling by the author of Koltanowski's first name.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: George Koltanowski, NSA Agent and Tournament Director of the 1964 US Open in Boston, giving fair warning to those nearing the time control:

<"I have spies--policemen, if you will--walking among you. You may not think we can watch everyone at once, but I will be watching.">

"Thinking Men" by Gloria Negri, <Boston Globe>, August 18, 1964.

Jul-30-13  DoctorD: Perhaps PB, in regards to the Ivanov situation, organizers should ask,"WWKD?"
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: R.I.P. master Kotlanowski.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: When "Kolty" edited the San Francisco Chronicle chess column, he was called George.

When did he pluralize himself?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: <Dredge Rivers: Blindfold is for wimps! He should have tried blindfolded, gagged, and handcuffed! Now, that's HARDCORE! :)>

Mais non! That is not hardcore.

Hardcore would be: bound, gagged, blindfolded, chained, manacled and locked in a chest chained shut from the outside and submerged in ten feet of water.

(Just ask Harry Houdini.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: <HeMateMe: George is no longer with us, though I'm sure he'd be willing to play the whole site at blindfold chess, were it technically possible.>

What, you've never heard of a seance?

(To save time, we can summon Kolty and Zaphod Beeblebrox IV simultaneously.)

Sep-17-13  Nosnibor: The casual game played against Love in 1949 deserves a mention. Good old Koltanowski did a favour for Dr.Ezra Love who within 12 months of this game died from tuberculosis.This game was played by correspondence and Dr Ezra who was not a strong player wanted to beat his father,Ezra Love Senior and therefore came to an arrangement with Kolty for him to make the moves on his behalf while masquerading as the player competing against his father.He had never beaten his father before.In July 1949 just before the end of the game he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and transferred to Sunny Acres TB Sanitorium in Providence R.I.At that point he broke the news to his father and told him that in reality he was playing a master and not his son.On the 11th February 1852 Ezra Love Senior wrote to Koltanowski as follows:-" Dear Koltanowski On your move 21 RxB! you are,after such a long wait receving two resignations...My son passed away... and I too am lost...Thanks for a splendid gameand for giving my son his first victory over his dad.It made him happy.Sincerely yours.Ezra Love Sr."(Source BCM PAGES122/123,1951)
Sep-17-13  Penguincw: R.I.P. Koltanowski.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Back in 1952, Kolty hosted a chess program on radio station KPFA of Berkeley, California, commencing each Friday night at 9.00 pm. He played a game against the station's listeners, and then analysed the game in future broadcasts. Would anyone know for how long this program ran on KPFA?
Premium Chessgames Member
<George Koltanowski: Father of Northern California Chess>
Sep-17-14  Penguincw: R.I.P. blindfold chess legend, Georges Koltanowski.
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