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Gordon Thomas Crown vs Alexander Kotov
"The Thomas Crown Affair" (game of the day Sep-21-2010)
GBR-URS (1947), London ENG, rd 1, Sep-21
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0



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Gordon Thomas Crown vs Alexander Kotov (1947) The Thomas Crown Affair

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-20-07  Capthahn86: I thought of a title for the Game of the Day,"The Thomas Crown Affair."
Jun-20-07  Capatin17: nice tittle ^^
May-21-08  whiteshark: It might be that <23.f4!> was a stronger move.

click for larger view

It is threating Bf8 and Qb2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: What's interesting is that Crown played this game exactly in the style of Kotov. Writing in The Middlegame in Chess, Kotov stated that as a schoolboy, he and his friends played dozens of games each day in which the players castled on opposite side, no matter what the opening, and then threw everything at each other's Kings. He might have thought that Crown was playing into his hands.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Staged photo of Crown playing 35.♖ab6:

Sep-21-10  ajile: Isn't this just a King's Indian Attack?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <ajile: Isn't this just a King's Indian Attack?>

The KIA and the closed sicilian are very similar. For me, the thematic difference is the Nc3. In the KIA, this knight normally develops via d2 instead of c3. And that gives the two openings a subtly different flavour.

I play the KIA against the French, but the closed against the sicilian. In the French KIA, the knight goes to d2 to prevent the exchange of queens that you would get after 1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nf6/ g3 dxe4. This means that the d2 knight doesn't control d5 and so has to find its living through something like f3, e4 or f1.

In the closed sicilian, black has to prepare d5 and so white has time to play Nc3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Operator,I've been Kutov!

White seems won from very earlier. The battering ram along the b-file clinches it.

Sep-21-10  kingfu: Right GM Keene! After move 15 , black is up a pawn, the White rook at b1 is aiming at air, the White Bishop at h6 ditto since Black will Castle Queenside. Then , the sacrifice on b6 opens the Black position like a can o' beans. Simple moves turn the "defense" into Picadilly at rush hour.

Great game!

Let us look at the most important issue if we are to remember and respect Master Crown. Diabetes must be defeated. There is promising research in England from a group that is looking at the cause of Type One Diabetes possibly originating in the kidney. God Speed!

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Lovely game to play through but the pleasure is tempered by learning of such a tragically early death.

<Once> As one with a preference for full-blooded, open tactical play I am totally unqualified to comment on the differences between Closed Sicilian and KIA. One thing I remember was a clubmate who played KIA: QN would go d2 - f1 - h2 - g4, and he won a lot of games with it. Just the other day I was remembering the opening and thought ..... "I bet that wise fellow Once plays the KIA."

Sep-21-10  hedgeh0g: I don't think Kotov was thinking like a grandmaster in this game.
Sep-21-10  Cardinal Fang: Crown was the Ian Wells of his day.

(Incidentally, he also beat Kotov :- I D Wells vs Kotov, 1979)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <scormus> My friend, there are two ways to look at the KIA. One theory is that it is the white equivalent of the KID - arguably black's most combative answer to d4. White develops a position with plenty of latent energy, like a massively coiled spring or a tiger crouching in preparation for pouncing on some poor unsuspecting wildebeest or gazelle.

The second theory says that all this is piffle. The real reason that we play the KIA is because it is so easy to learn. White trots out the same moves almost regardless of what black plays. e4-d3-Nd2-g3-Bg2-0-0-Re1 and then look at the board and decide what to do next. Which usually means attacking the black king. Subtle, it is not.

I would like to claim that the first theory applies to me, but I am sorry to say that it wouldn't be true. ;-) I have too many idle fantasies in what passes for a brain to have memorised a half-decent opening repertoire.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <once> I can relate to that. Having seen and played many times against my friend's KIA, I don't think he ever deviated form the early moves. I even tried this system with some success. I admit, Im attracted to any line that enables me to rattle off 10 moves and have a good position. In the end I decided it wasnt ME.

So Im more at home with the Yugoslav attack against the Dragon (yeah, shame World team went d4 against Pogo). But you can be sure if sometime claims the Najdorf Sicilain is their fave B line againd e4, the chances are they'll play KID against d4.

BTW - if you like academic puns "Old thermodynamicists never die, they just lose their equilibrium." ;-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I suppose it comes down to the age old question of why do we play chess? If we just want to win at club level, then we should probably aim for a very narrow repertoire. And that's why we see a lot of Torres, Colles, Londons and Tromps (as white) and a lot of Scandinavians (as black).

But wouldn't that just be a dull way to play? You would get the same positions time and time again.

So I like to play the KIA, but only against the French, where black's early e6 is actually a hindrance as in many KIA setups black gets to play e5 in one move. Again the sicilian, the modern closed (ie with Be3 and Qd2) is an old old friend. Against e5, it's either a Ruy (aka Spanish) or one of a couple of Vienna lines that I'm quite partial to. And as black it's the French and classical Dutch.

Not a cutting edge repertoire by any means, but it serves, it serves.

Just come back from a club game where I played a french and my opponent took us into an exchange French. I ask you, what self-respecting red blooded male could have the exchange as their response to the French? That's like going into battle armed with a stick of celery and a souffle. I managed to win, but it looked for quite a while like a peaceful yawn-inducing draw.

Sep-21-10  rapidcitychess: <Once> I've tried playing simple repertoire's like this:KIA, 4 Knights, 1.e4 e5 as black, QGA as black.

One word. Yawn.

Now I play Goat(KID), Spanish, still bad at playing black. Maybe I should play the Najdorf. :)

I have played the St. George on occasion.

Maybe even the Owens!?!?!

I might try the French.

The Sveshnikov I have played. Too theoretical for me.

<Once> I played the Scandinavian. I found my Queen landing on h5. I won the game (My first 1600 kill!), but only by a blunder. It's like a Caro-Kann, but your queen finds herself somewhere with about 2 squares to safely go.

Bad, bad openings! ^^

Sep-21-10  sfm: The two last moves by White are cute!
Sep-21-10  RandomVisitor: 23...Bxg3 complicates things a bit...
Sep-21-10  RandomVisitor: 21...Rd7 22.Qc1 Re6 23.Qb2 Qe7 24.f4 Bd6 with possible equal play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <KIA vs 1... e6> Makes a lot of sense. I found it went better if B didnt play an early e5, so W gets to play it and the B WSB is seriously hampered. Then if B castles short the WN-journey to g4, combined with h4-h5-h6 can be a lot of fun.

<Once> Why? Good question, one I ask myself if I find myself going straight for one of my "comfort zone" positions.

Exchange French? I think W's strategy must have been to been to induce a blunder due to slumber.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <rapidcitychess> Slow openings and closed positions don't have to mean boring chess. They just postpone the action until a little later in the game. But that puts the onus on the players to find a way to imbalance the position at some point in the proceedings.

The one thing I have found, over many many years of playing chess and buying far too many chess books, that the best advice is not to chop and change openings too often. In club chess, a slightly substandard opening that you know well is almost always more effective than a razor sharp opening that you don't understand.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: And, as an example of a well played KIA, take a look at the game of the day: Panno vs E Eliskases, 1957
Sep-22-10  kingfu: The French is for hardcore Contrarians. This would include Yuri Shulman, Morozevich, Korchnoi (381 times!!), Botvinnik, Uhlmann (faithful in the great Sicilian revolution) and Petrosian.

Death to the Sicilian.

And, more importantly, in the memory of Master Crown, Death to Diabetes.

Apr-23-11  wordfunph: <GrahamClayton: Staged photo of Crown playing 35.Rab6:;

Chess Monthly's April 2011 featured Gordon Crown with photo caption..

Gordon Crown plays the winning move against Kotov. 'After Gordon's death his mother sent me the photo of him playing Rab6 and wrote "That was his happiest moment."'

Jun-20-12  LoveThatJoker: Lovely finish and game by today's Player of the Day, Gordon Thomas Crown!


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