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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Trivia chess question: What is Kotov Syndrome in chess?

Chess news and chess trivia blog (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2010

One of the finest: Alexander Kotov

Hello Everyone,

Do you know what is the Kotov Syndrome in chess?

Alexander Alexandrovich Kotov (Алекса́ндр Алекса́ндрович Ко́тов) was a Soviet chess grandmaster and author. He was a Soviet champion, a two-time world title Candidate, and a prolific chess author.

His trilogy of books Think Like a Grandmaster, Play Like a Grandmaster, and Train Like a Grandmaster, are his best known, with Think Like a Grandmaster, which was translated from the Russian by Bernard Cafferty, and published by Batsford in 1971 being particularly famous. The book is not concerned with advising where pieces should be placed on the board, or tactical motifs, but rather with the method of thinking that should be employed during a game. Kotov's advice to identify candidate moves and methodically examine them to build up an "analysis tree" remains well known today.

And, that is where we talk of the Kotov Syndrome!

After a lengthy but inconclusive evaluation of likely moves the player, suddenly conscious of time passing, plays quickly, without analysis, a last-minute inspiration! The response, according to Kotov, is usually disastrous and the syndrome is universal!

So, watch out folks. Now that you have been alerted to it, you are unlikely to make the mistake of succumbing to the Kotov Syndrome.

The term has been applied to similar non-chess situations, and is the title of a song on the album Appeal to Reason (7 October 2008) by the punk rock band Rise Against.

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  • At December 2, 2010 at 11:13 AM , Anonymous Simeonis, Thessaloniki said...

    Hey what is this - Yesterday also you posted a story about Alexander (Onischuk) and today you post something about Alexander (Kotov) are you planning to post one every day about someone named Alexander? Heh Heh. Maybe how about one post every day - about someone called Alexandra. By the way, all the best in Turkey.

  • At December 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM , Anonymous Sebastian Wolff, Maryland said...

    Let me tell you Chess Queen, I specialise in Kotov Syndrome. I should get a World Record Achievement Prize for it.


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