Mark Taimanov

  • billwall
  • | May 18, 2008

Mark Taimanov was born in the Ukraine in 1926.  In 1952, he became a Grandmaster.  He was also a concert pianist.  In 1970, he was accused of buying a point from Matulovic for $400 at the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal in 1970.  When he lost to Fischer 6-0 in Vancouver, British Columbia, he returned to the USSR in disgrace.  Normally grandmasters are not searched when crossing the border to the Soviet Union, but Taimanov was asked to open his luggage for examination.  They found one of Solzhenitsyn's banned books which Taimanov brought from Canada.  He was stripped of his title 'Honored Master of Sport' and deprived of his monthly earnings for holding the grandmaster title. Both were returned to him when Fischer also beat Larsen 6-0.  In 1993 he won the World Veterans' Championship.  In 1957, Taimanov said he would give up chess if Tal could win the USSR chess championship twice in a row.  Tal did win in twice in a row, in 1957 and 1958, but Taimanov continued to play chess.  Taimanov played more games than any other in the Soviet championships.  He played 436 games in 23 Soviet championships from 1948 to 1976.  He won the Soviet championship in 1956.

 Here is a nice game which he played in the Soviet championship in 1960.  He makes a few sacrifices and offers up his queen a few times.  In the end, he has a nice mate threat.



  • 8 years ago


    What a wonderful game..! White's King totally open to attack and ended up victorious! Cool

  • 8 years ago



    What is 'Honored Master of Sport'?

  • 9 years ago


  • 9 years ago


    An interesting interview with Mark Taimanov can be read here:


                                     Mark Taimanov (left), Che Guevara (standing)       



  • 9 years ago


    Nicely crafted attack...

    Thanks for the post.

  • 9 years ago


    Taimanov IS a Grand Master !  The Soviet Union is no more. Do the math !
  • 9 years ago


    Once you have a grandmaster title, you cannot lose it.  He is still recognized as a GM and he was able to get his stipend back. 

    Taimanov (from an interview in 2002): In 1973, I was qualified by FIDE to participate in the interzonal tournament. My case was examined at the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the higher authorities decided to "forgive" me. The case was thus closed. As the bureaucrat whom I met explained to me: "we had the choice between hammering the nail until the end or pulling it off altogether. We have finally decided to pull it off". To me, it was quite obvious that the nail in question was my own coffin's !  It was a horrible feeling. From then on, however, everything gradually became normal again for me and I was able to resume both of my professions. The most difficult was to reconstruct my career as a pianist, since my first wife and I had been one of the very best duets in the world. As a solist, however, it was a different matter. Nevertheless, I began giving concerts again and at the same time, I experienced new successes in chess. The following years were peaceful and since the fall of the communist regime, everything has become much simpler. As my friend Rostropovich put it : "Before we were sent abroad on missions, now we can travel wherever we please". I was thus able to reply positively to your kind invitation, which would have been impossible in former days. As a matter of fact, I now play in more tournaments than during my best years. It has of course become much more difficult, since I usually give odds of forty to fifty years on average to most of my opponents!


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