Volume 6, Number 8, December 20, 1951


Koltanowski Plays 50 Blindfold Games At 10 Seconds a Move In 8 ¾ Hours

George Koltanowski, the Blindfold Wizard, was the undisputed star of the San Francisco Chess Festival, staged by the San Francisco Chronicle in cooperation with the Bay Area Chess League and the Industrial Chess League. In a space of eight hours and forty-five minutes Koltanowski, meeting all comers, played fifty games of blindfold chess at the rate of ten seconds per move, winning 43, losing 2 and drawing 5 contests.

Playing one game at a time in rapid succession the blindfold master took a short breather at 3:00 p.m. and another at 6:00 p.m. but otherwise played continuously. After the session of almost nine hours of play, his only comment was: "Boy, does my back ache!"

Almost 1500 people crowded the ballroom of the Marines Club to see Koltanowski perform his miracle of memory and endurance, while the individual games ranged from a quickie of five moves to a gruelling 71 move contest.

Victories against the blindfold wizard went to Ernest O. Anders of San Francisco and Dr. Harold Tower of Marysville, while the five draws went to H. J. Ernst of Hayward, Shearon Bonner of San Francisco, Dr. J. Tepper of Oakland, Herbert Pothier of San Francisco, and the 12-year old Alta Lu Townes of Santa Rosa.

This was the second record-breaking achievement of Koltanowski in the annual Chess Festivals at San Francisco. Last year he played 271 simultaneous games in 12 hours, losing only 3 and drawing 17.

Other features of the Chess Festival this year included simultaneous exhibitions by outstanding Bay Area players, including Jim Myers, Charles Bagby, Dr. H. P. Ralston, Dr. Kenneth Colby, Carroll Capps, Guthrie McLain, Robert Currie, Walter Pafnutieff, Henry Gross and R. L. Richards. Arrangements for this mos successful event were made by a committee headed by Joshua Torczyner of San Francisco.

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