Georges Koltanowski was a Belgian (later American) chess player who was one of the top European players in the 1930s.
He was a regular in the top tournaments and had many big-name scalps. Below is a game from the 1936/37 Hastings tournament where he drew with (and probably should have beaten) the eventual winner, former (and future) world champion, Alexander Alekhine.
So why is there a game from Georges Koltanowski on a website about Colchester Chess Club?
While Koltanowski (often called Kolty) was a very strong player, he was most famous for his incredible feats of blindfold chess. Georges Koltanowski set a world record on 20th September 1937, in a 34-game simultaneous match in Edinburgh, when playing blindfolded he won 24 games and lost 10, over a period of 13 hours. This remained the world record until November 2011. He also set another blindfold record in 1960 when be played 56 consecutive blindfolded 10-second per move games - winning 50 of them.
As part of a tour of the UK, Kolty visited Colchester Chess Club On the 24th March 1937 and gave a blindfold simultaneous display. He played 6 games - winning five (against Dr L S Penrose, Dr R C Turnbull, Councillor A H Cross, Mr R Garside and Mr E Dowsett) and drawing one (against Mr B Grey). After the simultaneous display he gave a short lecture containing anecdotes about his career and chess problems. The write-up about the event mentions that he showed himself to be an expert in the Colle system - he later wrote a book about this opening which he often used against amateur opponents (but rarely against strong players).
Kolty returned to give a second blindfold simultaneous display at Colchester Chess Club on the 29th January 1938. This time he played eight games - seven wins (against Cross, Turnbull, Stanley & Grey, Penrose & Krumpach, Hucklesby, Simmons, Garside & Sainsbury) and one loss (Rossiter & Spurge - playing together). After the simultaneous match he gave a short lecture about the Colle system - perhaps a specific request following his previous visit.
The signed picture of Kolty, above, was dedicated to Lionel Penrose (the match secretary at the club at that time).
Many of Kolty's relatives died in the holocaust, but Kolty survived as at the start of the 2nd World War he was touring South America. The American consul in Havana saw him giving a chess exhibition and decided to give him a US visa. He stayed in America where he wrote over 19,000 chess columns for the San Francisco Chronicle over a period of 52 years, he also became president of the United States Chess Federation. Unusually for a non-world class player, he made his living from chess - giving exhibitions and writing numerous books. He died in 2000 aged 96.
Further details about Kolty's visits to Colchester can be found in the scanned historical archives on the About the Club page.