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Ilia Abramovich Kan
Number of games in database: 359
Years covered: 1928 to 1974

Overall record: +97 -125 =137 (46.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Gambit Declined (18) 
    D37 D31 D30 D38 D35
 Sicilian (15) 
    B52 B58 B84 B60 B39
 French Defense (13) 
    C07 C14 C18 C15 C11
 Semi-Slav (11) 
    D45 D47 D49 D48 D46
 King's Indian (11) 
    E60 E80 E70 E87 E81
 Queen's Indian (10) 
    E17 E16 E15
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (43) 
    B84 B80 B43 B83 B28
 Nimzo Indian (26) 
    E38 E43 E54 E44 E22
 Orthodox Defense (18) 
    D63 D50 D60 D51 D62
 Sicilian Scheveningen (12) 
    B84 B80 B83
 Sicilian Dragon (10) 
    B70 B72 B76 B74 B77
 Queen's Gambit Declined (8) 
    D30 D37 D36 D35 D38
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Kan vs Botvinnik, 1929 1-0
   Kan vs Botvinnik, 1930 1-0
   Kan vs Botvinnik, 1935 1-0
   Kan vs A Bannik, 1952 1-0
   Dus Chotimirsky vs Kan, 1933 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Kan, 1934 1/2-1/2
   S Von Freymann vs Kan, 1934 0-1
   Kan vs V Makogonov, 1934 1-0
   Kan vs Bondarevsky, 1937 1-0
   Kan vs Goglidze, 1935 1/2-1/2

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1929)
   Sverdlovsk (1943)
   Leningrad (1934)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Championship (1933)
   USSR Championship (1931)
   Moscow (1936)
   Leningrad/Moscow training (1939)
   USSR Championship 1934/35 (1934)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   USSR Championship (1947)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Championship (1955)
   USSR Championship (1952)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Sverdlovsk 1943 by protean
   Leningrad 1934 by Phony Benoni
   USSR Championship 1933 by Phony Benoni

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(born May-04-1909, died Dec-12-1978, 69 years old) Russia

[what is this?]
Ilia Abramovich Kan was born in Kuibyshev, Russia. He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and became an IA in 1956. He was also joint Moscow Champion in 1936 and was a lawyer by profession. He reached the finals of the USSR Championship on 10 occasions. He took 3d place in the USSR Championship in 1929.

Wikipedia article: Ilya Kan

 page 1 of 15; games 1-25 of 359  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Kan vs N Grigoriev  ½-½681928Ch MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
2. Nenarokov vs Kan  1-0741928Ch MoscowD03 Torre Attack (Tartakower Variation)
3. Geiler vs Kan  0-1411928Ch MoscowB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
4. Kan vs Panov  0-1371928Ch MoscowE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
5. Kan vs B Verlinsky  0-1271928Ch MoscowD02 Queen's Pawn Game
6. N Zubarev vs Kan 0-1441928Ch MoscowB83 Sicilian
7. Kan vs Bernstein  1-0541928Ch MoscowA70 Benoni, Classical with 7.Nf3
8. S Von Freymann vs Kan  1-0341929USSR ChampionshipE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
9. V Silich vs Kan  0-1431929USSR ChampionshipA47 Queen's Indian
10. B Verlinsky vs Kan  0-1361929USSR ChampionshipE38 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5
11. Kan vs K Vygodchikov  ½-½411929USSR ChampionshipA18 English, Mikenas-Carls
12. Kan vs B Verlinsky 0-1531929USSR ChampionshipC12 French, McCutcheon
13. A Y Model vs Kan  0-1371929USSR ChampionshipA47 Queen's Indian
14. Kan vs Ravinsky  1-0341929USSR ChampionshipB10 Caro-Kann
15. Kan vs Botvinnik 1-0191929USSR ChampionshipC51 Evans Gambit
16. Botvinnik vs Kan 1-0401930LeningradE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
17. Kan vs Botvinnik 1-0401930Leningrad-MoskvaD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
18. Botvinnik vs Kan 1-0311930RussiaA84 Dutch
19. Kan vs Botvinnik 0-1391930RussiaA16 English
20. Kan vs Y Kots 1-0301931MoscowC51 Evans Gambit
21. Kan vs Rozenkrantz  1-0481931Ch URS (1/2 final)A30 English, Symmetrical
22. A Ebralidze vs Kan  0-1421931Ch URS (1/2 final)E38 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5
23. Zamikhovsky vs Kan  ½-½361931Ch URS (1/2 final)E11 Bogo-Indian Defense
24. Kan vs Bautin  1-0251931Ch URS (1/2 final)A15 English
25. Kan vs G Stepanov (Schneideman) 0-1311931Ch URS (1/2 final)C11 French
 page 1 of 15; games 1-25 of 359  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Kan wins | Kan loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: This game M Fuller vs Kan, 1973 was played by Wai Shui Kan not Ilia Kan. It actually says so in the gamescore but somehow it ended up in Ilia's file.
Apr-08-06  Zebra: So at last I have discovered who one of my favourite variations of the Sicilian was named after. Or at least I assume I have got the right guy?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Zebra> Yes, you've got the right guy.
Jun-11-06  gilbertblondy: Bonjour tous
Please, what is IA?
About Kan : He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and became an IA in 1956. Merci
Jun-11-06  BIDMONFA: Ilia Abramovich Kan

KAN, Ilia A.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <gilbertblondy> IA stands for International Arbiter.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here's a little collection of critical positions from Ilia's games:
Jul-22-06  Akiba: Not to take anything away from Kan, who was certainly a strong player in his day, but the issue of naming variations never ceases to amaze me. Why are B41-B44, the Paulsen Variation as it is called in Germany (and probably with more historical justification), named after Kan, who has 5 games with it in this database, the earliest of them from 1952, and who had scored 0-4 and 1 draw with it (in this database, there are probably a couple of games missing)? And it's not even as if he was the first to play this line after Paulsen; Tartakower regularly employed it in the 1920s, and with decent success (among them a draw against Em. Lasker in NY 1924).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<he was easily GM strength by today's standards, as well as giving his name to a variation of the Sicilian Defence.>>

And the Caro-Kan!!

Sep-30-06  nescio: <Eggman: And the Caro-Kan!!>

Horatio Caro
Marcus Kann

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: So I was wrong! UnKanny!
May-04-08  DarthStapler: kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jul-13-08  rjfsworstnightmare: So this makes chess a Kan game...
Jul-13-08  rjfsworstnightmare: A Russian database cites 390 games, 118W 147D 124L, for a 49.2%. He is ranked 248 lifetime; Sonas, who knows, go figure...
Feb-23-09  Pyrrhus: Akiba, the Kan Sicilian is not the same as the Paulsen variation. In the Paulsen variation a6 or Qc7 is played after Nc6, in the Kan a6 is played prior to Nc6. Though transpositions are not infrequent it is also not uncommon for the Kan player not to play Nc6 at all. Often the Kan leads to hedgehog type set ups. It should also be noted that those who contribute to opening theory do not necessarily play the openings they analyze, but introduce them to the rest of us.
Apr-05-09  Dredge Rivers: Yes, he Kan! :)
Feb-04-11  Knight13: Remember that he was also a lawyer. And not everyone can pull off a time-consuming full-time job and chess at the same time and still reach the top. Not everybody is Botvinnik.
May-04-11  Marmot PFL: What did a lawyer in the Soviet Union have to do, besides remembering his lines?
Jul-25-13  TheFocus: This man's nickname is Ash.
Jan-11-14  chesssalamander: We should mention the Kan Variation of the Sicilian in his bio!
Jan-11-14  parisattack: <chesssalamander: We should mention the Kan Variation of the Sicilian in his bio!>

That would certainly make more than a little sense!

As to the name-game. Many still call it the Paulsen - as early as MCO 3 and as late as -

Then there are the lines (mostly off the Scheveningen tho) where Black plays ...Nbd7. I see some old books referring to that as the Paulsen (MCO 8) and the same source calls the Taimanov the Neo-Paulsen!

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

Here are some fun facts about <Ilya Kan>:


<I.A. Kan> was <Botvinnik's> second in his first championship match against <Smyslov>.

--"Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)" Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.27,31


At his dacha in <Nikolina gora> from 17 Oct. 1952 up until 13 Feb. 1954, on the eve of the first championship match against <Smyslov>, <Botvinnik> played no fewer than 27 training games with <Kan>.

-Jan Timman, "Secret Matches: The Unknown Training Games of Mikhail Botvinnik" (Russell Enterprises Inc. 2000), pp.59-78


<The Wrath of Kan>

Yuri Averbakh:

<"Before me, apart from Ragozin, it was I.A. Kan who had played training games with Botvinnik. And also at the dacha. He too, had to listen to the world champion's monologues, in the intervals of play.

<<<'You cannot imagine what a strange chap he is,'>>> Kan once told me, regarding Botvinnik. <<<'Once, we were discussing something quite peacefully, when suddenly, for no reason, he went into a sulk, stalked off into the woods, and very demonstratively refused to come to lunch!'>>>

Later, I risked asking Ilya Abramovich about this incident. He remarked sarcastically: <<<'Botvinnik thinks that he is world champion not only at chess, but in everything else. He- a totally ordinary person!'>>>>

-Yuri Averbakh "Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes" Steve Giddins transl. (New in Chess 2011), p.102

May-04-14  chesssalamander: I take the Kan Variation of the Sicilian Defense specifically to be: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6.
Aug-27-15  epistle: I wonder what would have happened had < I.A. Kan> (1909 -1978) played white against <Bora Tot> (1907 - 1987)?

Or instead of Caro, Kan had instead collaborated with Tot to create an opening, like <Kan - Tot Defense>?

These are just some of the most mystifying WHAT IFs of the game.

Aug-27-15  NeverAgain: <WCC Editing Project:<<<'You cannot imagine what a strange chap he is,'>>> Kan once told me, regarding Botvinnik.> I think you got it the wrong way around.
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