My Favorite Game Of. Number 12. Triple header!
Tallin 1962.Taimanov, Kholmov, Stein, Tukmakov, Vasyukov, Zakharov, Bronstein

My Favorite Game Of. Number 12. Triple header!


A couple of posts back in this series - you can find them all by scrolling down at the bottom of the page under 'more from' and click on the Simaginfan link- someone suggested the name of Ratmir Kholmov.

( Before I forget - if you want me to post my favorite game of, and thoughts on, any particular player, please put that in the comments!! Without that kind of input this post, for example, would not exist!)

I mentioned in reply the start of one of my Dylanesque chains of thought, and for this article managed to cut that short at three of my favorite games, so you get a triple header - a bit like t20 finals day at Edgebaston!

Kholmov. Tough, Tough player. His chess was like the impression you get from  the above photo.  You can google 'the sailor who beat Bobby Fischer', as well as this post by my friend kamalakanta to see a bit more.

Sadly he was one of those players who the Soviet authorities saw as 'unreliable', so he didn't get the opportunity to play outside of the Soviet Union much; but he could play! He was a strong tactician, albeit one who used that talent in a defensive way as often as in an attacking one. I have the 'Black Book' volume on him - (a wonderful Fizikultur i Sport series), and have spent many hours with my head buried in it at my portable set, with a pint and a pack of cigarettes.

nullMy favorite game of his is well known - unusually for me(!) but my 2nd favorite is bizarrely on the previous pages, and is not so well known.

Like so many of that incredible group who were the foundations on which the Soviet Powerhouse was built, he was a wonderful player in his own right who is only remembered nowadays for losses to the greats. ( there is a loss of his in Fischer's '60 Memorable Games', for example.) 
The game that started this whole article is an absolute gem. Just wonderful, and I hope you enjoy it.
O.K. So the mention of the name Kholmov threw that game into my head, and immediately another game followed.
Some of you will know that my standing as a player is from correspondence chess, back in the days before computers, and I am just in awe of the best players in that field. A couple  of the c.c. greats were outstanding authors - Cecil Purdey and Hans Berliner - but this one wrote a 'My best games' book. Grigory Sanakoev.
The Book is 'World Champion at the Third Attempt' - he won the title in the 12th C.W.C final, after qualifying for the 6th and 10th finals. he gets a mention in my Why Simaginfan post.
He was a wonderful attacking player, fully deserved World Champion, and it's an excellent book!
His 'immortal game' - which you won't find on the major database site - I imput the moves myself! - is one of the most incredible creative achievements in the history of chess.
In c.c circles it is the opera box, the immortal, the evergreen, Zukertort - Blackburne   Bogolyubov-Alekhine,  Botvinnik - Capablanca,  Botvinnik - Tal, Byrne - Fischer, Kasparov - Topalov, etc., all rolled into one, and you have probably never seen it. 
As Walter Browne used to say 'Go figure!'
If this game doesn't take your breath away, take up another game.
A photo that will link into the final game, taken in the year 2000.
Four c.c. world champions. Baumbach, sanakoev, Berliner and Palciauskas.
And on to the final leg of this chess train of thought. 
I don't do the old chestnuts 'Greatest Ever', Strongest Ever', etc. but, even though I am 'Simaginfan' I very definitely have a favorite c.c. player ever.
Mikhail Umansky.
Whilst the game that I have just given may well be the 'Correspondence Chess Immortal', it is not my favorite c.c. game.
It was played in a special tournament - the only invitees were the 9 living World Correspondence Chess Champions. Umansky won it with the small matter of a 7/8 score.
Kind of like Lasker's 7/8 in the 1914 St. Petersburg final, only better.
His opponent - Hans Berliner - had the reputation for being virtually unbeatable. He became World Champion having lost exactly one c.c. game. 
After the game Berliner was unable to say where he was that he went wrong. That tells you a lot.
I give it with my comments, and Umansky's analysis. It is a true and extraordinary masterpiece.
Enjoy the game!
As usual, all POLITE comments welcomed.