George Koltanowski

George Koltanowski famous for his chess exhibitions (especially blindfold chess and the knight’s tour) and chess journalism learned chess at the age of 14 and was the top Belgian player after the death of Edgar Colle in 1932.

His international career that started at the age of 21 when he played in the Meran 1924 tournament. There he played and drew against Siegbert Tarrasch. It finished nearly 30 years later with an Olympiad appearance for the USA in 1952 and a match against Grob the following year. In truth he played little internationally after moving to the States and his main active period was in the 1930s.

His style is hard to categorize and against strong opponents it seems he usually played queen pawn openings with white such as the Colle in the hope of hanging on. He did get an excellent position against Alekhine at Hastings 1936-7 with the opening and was a pawn up when the draw was agreed. He beat Akiba Rubinstein in a Scheveningen event in Antwerp 1931 which was organized to compensate the Belgian players who couldn’t travel to the Olympiad of that year. His best results were wins in Antwerp 1932, and Barcelona 1934 and 1935. He competed in strong events such as Ramsgate 1929, London 1932, Hastings 1935-6 and Hastings 1936-7 and Ostend 1937. He was Belgian Chess Champion 1923, 1927, 1930 and 1936.

He was awarded the title of IM in 1950 on the basis of his pre-war results.

In 1988 he was given an honorary GM title by FIDE. He was awarded the title of International Arbiter in 1960.

He held various records for simultaneous blindfold play at which he was highly skilled. In Edinburgh 1937 he played 34 boards scoring +24 =10 in 13.5 hours. This record is still recognized by many as the official record because strict monitoring of the effort was made which was not the case in other efforts such as that by Najdorf a few years later.



White (Kolty) to move.

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