George Koltanowski

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George Koltanowski (born September 17, 1903 in Antwerp , † February 5, 2000 in San Francisco ) was a Belgian - American chess player . At birth he had the first name Georges , which he later shortened to George .


Koltanowski had his greatest successes in the 1930s when he was to be found at many international tournaments . He was the winner in Antwerp in 1932 and in Barcelona in 1934 and 1935 . He also won the Belgian national championship in 1923, 1927, 1930 and 1936 . With the Belgian team Koltanowski took part in the Chess Olympiad in 1927 and 1928 , and he was also at the start of the unofficial Chess Olympiad in 1924 .

In 1938 Koltanowski emigrated first to South America, then to the USA in 1940. Here he worked as a chess journalist and headed the daily chess corner of the San Francisco Chronicle for 52 years . Many of his chess problems also appeared there. In total, he wrote over 19,000 articles, making him arguably the most productive chess columnist of all time.

In 1944 Koltanowski met his wife Leah (* 1907) in New York . In 1947 they moved to the Bay Area . From 1946 he withdrew from active tournament play. Only at the Chess Olympiad in 1952 did he play two games for the USA team and achieved draws against Grand Master Alexander Kotow and International Master Tibor Flórián .

From 1976 to 1978 Koltanowski was President of the United States Chess Federation . In 1982 he was made an honorary member of the world chess federation FIDE . In 1986 he was inducted into the Chess Hall of Fame , in 1988 he was awarded the honorary grandmaster title by FIDE , after he had been named International Master in 1950 . George Koltanowski died in 2000 of heart problems.

Blind chess

Koltanowski set a world record in blind simultaneous chess : in 1937 he played 34 boards simultaneously in Edinburgh (+24 = 10 −0). On December 4, 1960, he played blind chess in San Francisco with only 10 seconds per move against 56 opponents in succession , winning 50 games and drawing only 6 times. One of his specialties was the jumping tour, which was shown without a view of the board . With such popular appearances he did a lot to popularize chess.


He wrote the autobiographical books Adventures of a Chess Master (later In the dark ) and With the Chess Masters, as well as a book about the colle system he preferred . Koltanowski was a great narrator of historically not always accurate chess anecdotes , which he called Chessnicdotes .

Chess composition

Koltanowski was also active as a chess composer . He mainly published Zweizüger , rarely studies .

George Koltanowski
San Francisco Chronicle, 1960
  a b c d e f G H  
8th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 8th
7th Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg 7th
6th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg 6th
5 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess plt45.svg 5
4th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 4th
3 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess klt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 3
2 Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess rlt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 2
1 Chess --t45.svg Chess kdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 1
  a b c d e f G H  
White moves and wins

Template: checkerboard / maintenance / new

1. Rf2 – f1 + Kb1 – b2 With the following rook sacrifice Black is forced to move .
2. Rf1 – a1! Kb2xa1 Sooner or later Black will have to take the rook.
3. Kd3 – c2! a7 – a5 White only makes waiting moves .
4. Kc 2-c1 a5-a4
5. Kc 1-c2-a3 a4
6. Kc 2-c1 g7-g5
7. hxg6 en passant h6-h5
8 g6-g7 h4 h5-
9 g7 G8D with Matt in the next train

Fonts (selection)

  • Milton Finkelstein (Ed.): In the Dark . Chess Enterprises, Coraopolis PA 1985, ISBN 0-931462-46-0 (former title: Adventures of a chess master ).
  • With the chess masters . Falcon Publ., San Francisco 1972.
  • Colle system . 10th edition Chess Enterprises, Coraopolis PA 1980, ISBN 0-931462-05-3 .
  • Milton Finkelstein (Ed.): Practical chess . Kolty Publ., New York 1947.
  • Chessnicdotes . Chess Enterprises, Coraopolis PA. Volume 1, 1978, ISBN 0-931462-01-0 . Volume 2, 1981, ISBN 0-931462-11-8 .
  • Checkmate strategies. The patterns of the winning mating strategies and how to achieve them . Chess Enterprises, Coraopolis PA 1999, ISBN 0-945470-78-9 .


  • The George Koltanowski Memorial Conference on Chess and Education. December 14-16, 2001 . University Press, Dallas 2001.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b George Koltanowski's results at the Chess Olympiads on (English)
  2. George Koltanowski's results at unofficial Chess Olympiads on (English)
  3. Honorary Members of FIDE (English)
  4. Eliot Hearst, John Knott: Blindfold Chess. History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records, and Important Games . McFarland, Jefferson 2009, p. 90, ISBN 978-0-7864-3444-2 .
  5. ^ Edward Winter : Koltanowski (1986) on (English).