By George Koltanowski

1949 Column reprints from the Sunday edition of

A Fine Finish

The following game is one of eight played simultaneously blindfolded in the Orange Chess Club exhibition, October 11, 1948.

White: George Koltanowski; Black: W.P. Caverly, Santa Ana.

Sicilian Defense.

1. P-K4 P-QB4
2. P-QN4

The so-called Wing Gambit. Far from correct but very dangerous in exhibition play.

2. ... PxP
3. P-Q4 P-Q4
4. P-K5 N-QB3
5. B-N2 B-B4
6. N-K2

Again unusual. B-Q3 is considered better.

6. ... P-K3
7. N-N3 B-N3
8. P-KR4 PKR3

Must make room for his Bishop as P-R5 was threatened.

9. B-Q3 BxB
10. QxB KN-K2
11. P-R5 N-B1

Must develop his King's side somehow.

12. P-KB4 B-K2
13. N-Q2 B-R5
14. 0-0-0!

White is playing sharp chess and wishes to attack even at the cost of putting his King on the Queen's side.

14. ... BxN
15. QxB 0-0
16. P-B5 K-R1

Come what may, PxP was better.

17. P-B6! R-KN1

If PxP now, then Q-B4 gives Black a lot of trouble.

18. Q-B4 K-R2

Not PxP; as QxP mates.

19. N-B3 PxP
20. PxP N-N3

If now RxP, then 21. QR-KN1, Q-N1; 22. RxR, QxR; 23. R-KN1 wins.

21. P-KN4 R-QB1
22. P-N5 Q-B2

Black now threatens the Queen and has a dangerous threat on the White King. But all moves that follow now were announced by the simultaneous player.

23. P-N6ch! PxP

Forced. If K-R1, QxP mate. Or 23. ... RxP; 24. PxRch mates in short order.

24. N-N5ch!! K-R1

Again best. If PxN; 25. QxNP and mate is unavoidable.

25. N-B7ch!!

The killer!

25. ... QxN
26. QxRPch Q-R2
27. PxP Black resigned.

The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club meets daily at 57 Post St., San Francisco.

Remarkable Chess Personality

A. J. Fink is not only one of the greatest problem composers, internationally reputed, but he carries the rare and unusual distinction of being the only American problemist who has achieved an acknowledged, ranking position as a master of the game. From the beginning of his chess career he has maintained leadership on both fields of chess with an ease and thoroughness that astonishes the chess world. This dual competence is all the more amazing, because he is not a chess professional, but an amateur whose vocation in life does not permit him ample time for the study of chess.

A. J. Fink was born on July 19, 1890, in the city of San Francisco. He turned to chess in 1906 during the memorable time when the earthquake nearly demolished the city of his birth. On the field of board chess it took him only seven years to climb to the position of a champion. In 1913 and again in 1916 and once more in 1919 he was champion of the known Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco. This was a mere start. In 1922 he rose to the dignity of a state champion of California. He won the title again in 1928 and 1929.

He participated in numerous tournaments, always finishing with scores that proved him to be a master of the first rank. San Francisco can be proud to possess such an outstanding chess celebrity!

And here is a game with some "problematic" moves:

Dutch Defense

White: W. Lovegrove; Black: A. J. Fink

1. P-Q4 P-KB4
2. P-QB4

Many prefer the Staunton gambit here namely: 2. P-K4.

2. ... P-K3
3. N-QB3 N-KB3
4. B-N5 B-K2
5. N-B3 0-0
6. P-K3 P-QN3
7. B-Q3 B-N2
8. R-QB1 K-R1
9. B-KB4 N-R4
10. 0-0 NxB
11. PxN P-KN4!

Well played, clears the file for operations.

12. PxP BxP
13. NxB QxN
14. P-B3 N-B3
15. P-B4

Useless and dangerous in face of the black B.

15. ... Q-B3
16. P-Q5 N-K2
17. B-K2 R-KN1
18. K-R1 R-N2
19. B-B3 QR-KN1
20. N-K2

R-QB2 was better.

20. ... PxP
21. PxP NxP!!

That's the problem move that ruins White.

22. BxN RxP!

If now 23. BxB, RxPch; 24. KxR, Q-R5 mate.

23. BxRN2 RxB

White resigned, after 24. RxBP, RxNch; 25. RxB, Q-b3ch; 26. K-N1, Q-N7 Mate.

First Redwood Empire Open Championship

The first tournament for the Redwood Open Championship under the auspices of the Redwood Empire Chess League and sponsored by the Press Democrat-Evening Press held at the Santa Rosa Hotel, met with great success. 65 players participated for two full days, and each round was a hard fought battle for each contestant. In case of ties, the percentage basis decided the difference. Earl Pruner of San Francisco, only 17 years old, won the first prize, but the trophy and title of Open Champion went to Louis Yates of San Anselmo. A surprising victory, true, but a good one, as it will definitely encourage more players to participate in future tournaments in the Redwood Empire. The champion of Algiers, Jean Mimrane, failed to make much impression and lost three games in the five round tournament. A pleasant sight was the participation of a number of lady players. Miss Alto Lu Townes, 2.5 points, was the sensation of the tournament. It certainly disproves that chess is an old man's game!

Complete tournament results follow:

4.5 POINTS: 1 - Earl Pruner, San Francisco; 2 - Louis Yates, San Anselmo; 3 - Clark Jonas, San Francisco.

4 POINTS: 4 - Brand Johnson, Petaluma; 5 - Judge B. C. Jenkines, Santa Rosa; 6 - Donnelly, San Francisco; 7 - Leslie Boyette, San Francisco; 8 - J. Myers, Kentfield; 9 - Frank Norling, Vallejo.

3.5 POINTS: 10 - Bernon Mitchell, Eureka; 11 - Walter Knowlton, San Anselmo; 12 - Joe Lesh, Cotati; 13 - Lionel Wolfson, Sebastopol.

3 POINTS: 14 - D. W. Bates, Vallejo; 15 - Robert Upham, San Anselmo; 16 - Richard F. Michalski, San Francisco; 17 - O. H. Turley, Vallejo; 18 - Roland Goudswaard, Santa Rosa; 19 - Gus Wollman, Petaluma; 20 - S. Goertzel, Penngrove; 21 - Lorenzo Campi, Santa Rosa; 22 - Gunnar Rasmussen, Vallejo; 23 - Alan Atkins, San Rafael; 24 - Fred Cook, Santa Rosa; 25 - Frank Winslow, Vallejo.

2.5 POINTS: 26 - Ed Healey, Mill Valley; 27 - Alvin Wayne, San Rafael; 28 - B. Bell, Santa Rosa; 29 - Harry Schantz, Vallejo; 30 - J. S. Rae, San Francisco; 31 - Alta Lu Townes; 32 - Frank Schneider, Santa Rosa; 33 - Ray Richards, Vallejo; 34 - Alan Kelly, Santa Rosa.

2 POINTS: 35 - M. O. Johnson, Healdsburg; 36 - Glen Watson, Santa Rosa; 37 - Ralph Comstock, Marin City; 38 - J. Rossim, Fairfax; 39 - Frank Harris, Vallejo; 40 - G. Bader, Santa Rosa; 41 - William McConnell, Santa Rosa; 42 - Tom Shoemaker, Santa Rosa; 43 - William Quinn, San Francisco; 44 - Alex Sokol, Santa Rosa; 45 - Jean I. Mimrane, San Francisco.

1.5 POINTS: 46 - R. O'Bryan, Vallejo; 47 - Mrs. Agnes Blewitt, Sebastopol; 48 - Sherman Walker; 49 - George Nissen, Penngrove.

1 POINT: 50 - Joe Jacob Jr., Fairfax; 51 - Mrs. Irene Ford, Sausalito; 52 - Miss Eva Dresel, Sonoma.

.5 POINT: 53 - Miss Marilyn Eicher, Santa Rosa; 54 - R. J. Cain, Sebastopol.

NO POINTS: Dr. C. A. Stimson, Petaluma; Miss Linda Trombetta, Santa Rosa; William Kuder, Oakland; George Sutherland, San Anselmo; V. M. Painter, Santa Rosa; O. L. Lance, Santa Rosa; John Boscher, Santa Rosa; Miss Florine Trombetta, Santa Rosa; Miss Carole McCune, Santa Rosa; Miss Joanne Jamison, Santa Rosa; M. Pursley, Vallejo.

The new champion of the Redwood Empire sent us the following letter:

Dear Mr. Koltanowski:

The members of the San Rafael Chess Club join me in extending to you, as Director of the recent Redwood Empire Open Tournament, our warmest thanks and congratulations on having presented such an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable contest.

Let us hope that the Second Annual Redwood Empire Open Tournament may be so extended as to insure the emergence of an undeniably deserving victor. For my part, I shall always be proud to have been the first.

Please convey our thanks also to the Tournament's sponsor, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, for having made possible this splendid meeting of chess enthusiasts.

Enclosed you will find a check, representing my cash winnings from the tournament which I will ask you to forward to the President of the Redwood Empire Chess League, Mr. Alan Atkins, as a donation to further and extend the good work of the League. Long may it prosper.

Yours very sincerely,


Here is a good game from the tournament:

White: Robert Upham. Black: Leslie Boyette.

1.N-KB3 P-Q4 
2.P-KN3 N-KB3 
3.B-N2 P-B4 
4.P-B3 N-B3 
5.P-Q4 P-K3 
6.0-0 Q-B2 
7.B-B4 B-Q3 
8.BxB QxB 
9.PxP QxBP 
10.N-Q4 P-K4 
11.NxN PxN 
12.N-Q2 0-0 
13.P-K4 B-K3 
14.Q-K2 N-Q2 
15.KR-Q1 P-B3 
16.N-N3 Q-Q3 
17.PxP PxP 
18.P-QB4 Q-R3 
19.BxP BxB 
20.RxB N-N3 
21.R-Q6 QxBP 
22.Q-Q2 Q-KB2 
23.N-R5 QR-B1 
24.P-N3 R-B2 
25.N-B6 P-KR3 
26.NxRP! And White won. 

Petaluma Chess Club meets Friday evenings at the high school cafeteria.

San Rafael Chess Club meets on Friday evenings at the Travelers Inn, San Rafael.


The result of the exhibition of Sonoma on Aug. 7, 1949. was 48 wins, 7 draws. Players came from a radius of 100 miles to take part in this first effort of having chess in the open! Both Judge B. C. Jenkines and Robert Holten of Santa Rosa, had wins against me, but the fast tempo at the exhibition was a bit too much for them, the judge even managed to lose his game. In the following position White: G. K. - K on KR2, Q on Q2, N on KN5, B on Q6, pawns on K5, KN2 and KR4.

Black: Judge Jenkines - K on KR3, Q on Q2, R on K1, N on QB3; pawns on QR3, QN2 and KN3. Black played NxKP?, and after N-K4ch, he resigned, as he loses his Queen through a discovered check. Against Torczyner (San Francisco) the following Queen sacrifice won:

1. P-K4, P-K3; 2. P-Q4, P-Q4; 3. N-QB3, B-N5; 4. P-K5, P-QB4; 5. Q-N4, K-B1; 6. B-Q2, N-QB3; 7. P-QR3, PxP; 8. PxB, PxN; 9. PxP, NxP; 10. Q-N3, N-N3; 11. P-KR4, N-B3; 12. B-Q3, K-K2; 13. P-R5, N-B1; 14. QxP, R-KN1; 15. Q-R6, RxP; 16. N-B3, P-R3; 17. 0-0-0, RxBP; 18. QxNCH!!, KxQ; 19. B-N5ch, K-N2; 20. BxQ, RxN; 21. QR-N1ch, N-N3; 22. PxN and White won.



Life is Full of Travel and Fun


(It's so pleasant to find a well-written story about chess in the public prints that it always makes us want to do something about it. The following article by Helen Civelli, a woman's section writer for THE SAN FRANCISCO NEWS appeared February 28, 1947. There is a good reason why I picked it out of my suitcase. The article concerns my wife, Leah, who is recovering from an accident, which resulted in a fractured leg and sprained right ankle. Both of us wish to extend our sincere thanks through the pages of CHESS CHATS to all our friends for their kind letters and thoughtful remembrances, while she was a "shut-in."

I feel sure that all our readers will enjoy the article, "A CHESS CHAMP'S WIFE, as much as I did. - The Editor.)

There was the pat, pat, pat of palm against palm and Mrs. George Koltanowski stood up and smiled graciously at the 20 or so people in the room. We watched her curiously as she sat down, a little distance away from the circle of eight tables, each with its chess board and pieces. Her husband, one of the world's champion chess masters, was about to begin an exhibition in blindfold simultaneous play.

We remembered the story, undoubtedly apocryphal, but true enough in the sense that it depicts the highly-keyed chess temperament.

Two champions were playing off a match. They were seated at a table in the midst of a large room, heavily carpeted and with all outside sounds muffled. Spectators scarcely dared to breath as the titans figured their moves.

Suddenly, through a door inadvertently left open, came a cat. As he padded over the thick carpet, one of the players snarled, "Whoever this is, stop that stomping!"


That's why we were curious about Mrs. Koltanowski. And a little awed. What a master of diplomacy she must be! What a delicate and all-consuming task must be hers, that of ministering to a temperamental genius who was forever straining his brain and his nerves, playing a flock of chess games, all at once, in his head.

Mr. Koltanowski went to a far corner and sat himself down with his back to the eight players he had taken on for this evening's exhibition at the Central Y.M.C.A. on Golden Gate avenue.

Then with the telling calling the plays made by his opponents, he called out his own replies.

Mrs. Koltanowski sat by herself looking quite unperturbed. We couldn't stand it any longer, and went over to ask her about this business of being married to a chess champion.

"Isn't he exhausted at the end of an evening like this?" we wanted to know.

Mrs. Koltanowski looked surprised. "Why no, of course not. He's tired, of course, but he loves it."

The Koltanowskis, it seems, are touring the country - they're just back from a South American tour - and these exhibitions are nightly affairs. Sometimes he plays eight, sometimes 10 simultaneous games. He won the championship in Scotland in 1937 playing 34 simultaneous games - blindfold of course - and losing none.


But surely, when he was approaching championship tournaments, Mr. Koltanowski must get a little nervous? Mrs. Koltanowski must have to step easy and not upset him?

"No," she laughed. "He doesn't get nervous. He loves chess, for the game itself. And he has a wonderful sense of humor. He doesn't believe in this long grey beard, solemn stuff about chess.

Mrs. Koltanowski wasn't through.

"Not only that," she said, warming up, "he's a remarkable teacher, and so generous with his time. He'll play and lecture before any group, no matter how small, just to encourage more people to play chess. He wishes more children would learn it, because he says that's the time to begin."

"He's a good showman, too, and so witty."

Mrs. Koltanowski sighed. "He's a wonderful man."

We looked at her suspiciously.

"You haven't been married very long have you?" we asked.

She blushed a little.

"No, not very."

Does she play chess?


"No. We've been on tour most of the time since we've been married. Maybe after we settle down I'll learn."

Mrs. Koltanowski seldom accompanies her husband when he's playing for keeps - that is, in a tournament. But she always goes along for the exhibitions.

She likes to watch the wide variety of people who turn up.

"Sometimes I get a little worried," she confesses, "when I hear one of the spectators say, he's got a tough game over there at Table No. 6,' or 'the player at Table No. 2 has him in a bad spot'."

She put on a wifely look.

"And," she said firmly, "I don't like kibitzers. According to the rules, each player should concentrate on his own board and not consult with the others. But in these exhibitions they do anything."

On the whole, Mrs. Koltanowski likes the gypsy life that she and her husband lead. By now she has living in a suitcase down to a system.

"My wardrobe," she smiled, "is what you'd call basic. Very basic. It consists of suits, all of them black or gray. I wear dark blouses when we're traveling and save my light ones for when we have long enough stopovers so I can get things laundered and cleaned. There isn't room enough the way we travel, for a lot of accessories. So my shoes and bags are all black. And I've given up wearing hats."

Mrs. Koltanowski keeps her dark hair short so she can shampoo and set it herself. The fact that it's naturally curly is a little break nature gave her. She does her own nails and uses colorless polish.


"So then," we summed it up, "being a chess champion's wife is no great strain after all? No playing nursemaid to delicate nerves? No protecting a genius husband from disturbances, see he had the proper diet and plenty of rest?"

"No," said Mrs. Koltanowski happily, "George has a wonderful appetite and eats everything. Especially his own cooking. He loves to cook, and he's lots of fun."

A very impressed, very young soldier came up.

"Excuse me. But I just wanted to know. Does your husband practice much? Does he study a lot?"

Mrs. Koltanowski gasped.

"Of course not. He never opens a chess book - except the one he happens to be writing himself at the time. And he doesn't own a chess set."

See? No problems. Mrs. Koltanowski even knows what to get her husband for Christmas. A chess set.

California State Championship

As reported during the week, the California State Championship was won by George Croy with 5.5 out of 6. A tremendous score and well merited too as Croy played the best chess. Here, by the way, is the shortest game in the tournament:

White: G. Croy, Black: C. Jonas. French Defense.

1. P-K4 P-K3
2. P-Q4 P-Q4
3. N-QB3 B-N5
4. P-K5 P-QB4
5. B-Q2 P-QR3
6. PxP N-QB3
7. Q-N4 NxP?
8. QxB Black resigns

In the Open tournament our two representatives, Judge B. C. Jenkines and Roland Goudswaard did extremely well. For our veteran player the hard schedule was a tremendous handicap, for Roland Goudswaard, who came in second, this was a great triumph. He has fine ideas and goes after his objectives. He still lacks good and solid end-game knowledge. Practice, will bring Roland to the forefront very soon now, and Santa Rosa may within a short period of time have two chess masters within its city limits! And here is a game by young Roland.

White: Wade Hendricks (Oakland). Black: Roland Goudswaard. King's Indian

1. P-Q4 N-KB3
2. P-QB4 P-Q3
3. N-QB3 P-KN3
4. P-K4 B-N2
5. P-KN3 0-0
6. B-N2 R-K1
7. KN-K2 P-B3
8. 0-0 B-N5
9. P-B3 B-Q2
10. P-K5 PxP
11. PxP N-R4
12. P-KN4 BxKP
13. PxN Q-B2
14. P-B4 B-N2
15. N-N3 P-KB4
16. PxP PxP
17. Q-B3 P-K4
18. PxP BxP
19. N(B3)-K2 B-K3
20. P-B5 B-QB5
21. R-B2 N-Q2
22. B-B4 N-B3
23. BxB QxB 
24. N-B4 QxBP
25. K-R1 R-K6
26. Q-Q1 RxN
27. R-Q2 R-N5
28. R-Q8ch RxR
29. QxRch K-N2
30. Q-B7ch K-R3
31. R-Q1 Q-K6 
32. Q-Q8 N-K5
33. N-R3 N-B7ch
34. NxN QxN
35. Q-R8ch K-N3
36. Q-Q8ch Draw 

Thanks to the Santa Rosa Chess Club

The following letter explains the above:

Dear George:

Because we are lucky to be together not just in California but in Santa Rosa, the city designed for living, because of your personal skill and enthusiastic encouragement of all classes of chess players, we would be honored to have you accept the life membership of the Santa Rosa Chess Club.

With all our best wishes,


President, Santa Rosa Chess Club

Chess On Television


TV Cameraman, KPIX, San Francisco

When KPIX decided to pioneer in telecasting Chess, unpredictable situations were bound to arise! So we put our heads together with effervescent George Koltanowski, who was brimming over with ideas to make the show interesting…even to the "lay-est" of laymen.

As this is written, we have two TV programs under our belts, and of course, hoping for more to put on. The response to each program was indeed much greater than we had anticipated, and the favorable comments on the nature of the program and its manner of presentation were most flattering.

In regard to the technique of the telecast, our main concern was complete coverage of all action, with a good perspective of the three chessboards, which meant shooting down from an elevated angle. Two cameras, alternately picking up action on lenses of various focal lengths, conveyed the proceedings. One camera, on tripod, of course, had to be hoisted onto a large table (aside to camera fans: a new kind of "table-top" photography!) shooting down the boards, while the other one was placed to the right, giving head-on views of Mr. K., and allowing panning over to the group of players. We have the additional feature of being able to superimpose shots of both cameras and making their flexibility and fluidity for a smooth performance.

The second show was set for August 18th, and was to run forty-five minutes, however, its dramatic drive gave it a momentum which carried it past the allotted time to a full hour, and everybody including tireless Kolty was made very happy thereby. Our star was able to include a demonstration of his Knight's Jump memory stunt, where, after looking at the board for two minutes, he would (starting from any arbitrarily selected square) cover the entire board as the knight jumps - without accidentally repeating any square - and quote whatever word or number was written thereon.

Roughly, the setup for the second program was the same, except that we stacked up four platforms to a height of four feet on which we precariously perched the tripod holding the camera. Ten challengers sat at an elongated table, backs to the camera, giving the viewer the idea that he was playing against G.K. One game, carried through to the challenger's resignation was pursued intently by the cameras. At on point our champion even had the board cleared and re-played the game, move-by-move up to the time of interruption, commenting on the moves as he went along.

Though not publicly invited, the studio was filled to its capacity with spellbound observers.

We at KPIX hope that we will soon be able to schedule another chess-battle, and perhaps pioneer another sort of stunt for our audience, or even inaugurate a series of lessons and weekly problems, which our supercharged professor is already prepared to put on.

The KPIX staff is most grateful to Mr. Koltanowski for his co-operation and his generosity with his valuable time.

University of California Chess Club: Write Stephen H. Sosnick, 1712 Euclid Ave., Berkeley 9.

Tower Chess Club: Calif. School of the Blind, 3001 Derby, near Belrose, Berkeley.

Santa Cruz Chess Club: Write "Andy" Anderson, Gen. Delivery, Capitola, Calif.

Santa Monica Chess Club: Meets Friday evenings at the Recreation Center in Lincoln Park, Santa Monica.

Sacramento Chess Club: Meets Thursday evenings at the YMCA.

Modesto Chess Club: Write Herb Betker, P.O. Box 591, Riverbank, Calif.

Meet Nancy Roos

By G. E. CROY, Los Angeles

Believing the readers of readers of CALIFORNIA CHESS NEWS would like to meet, reporter-wise, our official photographer for Southern California, allow me to introduce Mrs. Nancy Roos, artist, professional photographer and chess player, by this biographic vignette and one of her chess games.

Mrs. Roos, formerly a Dutch citizen, came to this country in 1939. In Europe, she had traveled extensively; studying art and playing chess in most of the old would capitals. She won the women's chess championship of Belgium, and in 1942 participated in the U.S. Women's Chess Championship tournament in New York, finished second. She has resided in Los Angeles the past five years, where she engages in her profession, operating a photo studio, in the Wilshire district. Since coming to California she has competed in many chess tournaments and has more than held her own, even against the strongest male competition. She plays at the Los Feliz Chess Club and has earned the right to play on the club's team.

Mrs. Roos has a lightning-like grasp of chess positions, which makes her a formidable opponent in rapid transit tournaments. In regular tournament play it sometimes causes her downfall through moving to fast. She has a penchant for the "Polish" Opening (1. PQN4), considered at best a curiosity by most players. However, she had surprising success with it, and the following game, in which she humbled an expert, illustrates the type of position usually resulting. The opening and mid-game play shows a hard-fought battle for space and control of the board, but White finally secured an advantage with doubled rooks on the important King's file. This probably should have won for her anyway but Black (I understand in time trouble) blundered a piece away.

Played in a tournament at the Hollywood Chess Group, October 1944.

White: Mrs. Roos.

Black: H. Borochow.


1. P-QN4 P-K4
2. B-N2 P-KB3
3. P-QR3 P-QR4
4. P-N5 P-Q4
5. P-K3 B-K3
6. N-K2 B-Q3
7. P-KN3 N-K2
8. P-KB4 N-Q2
9. B-N2 N-QN3 
10. P-QR4 N-B5
11. B-QB1 P-B3
12. P-Q3 N-QN3
13. PxBP PxQBP
14. 0-0 0-0
15. N-Q2 Q-Q2
16. P-B3 R-R2
17. N-B3 P-K5
18. N(3)-Q4 PxP
19. QxP P-KB4
20. NxB QxN
21. N-Q4 Q-Q2
22. R-B2 N-B5
23. P-K4! BPxP
24. BxP P-N3
25. B-KN2 K-R1
26. R-K2 B-B4
27. K-R1 R-B3
28. R-N1 R-R1
29. B-Q2 R(1)-KB1
30. R(1)-K1 NxB
31. QxN BxN?
32. RxN Q-Q3
33. QxB and won.  
      [ed. note: download games, A Fine Finish, in pgn]

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