The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Savielly Tartakower

Savielly Tartakower
Full name
Savielly Tartakower
Feb 21, 1887 - Feb 4, 1956 (age 68)‎
Place of birth
Rostov-on-Don, Russia


GM Savielly Tartakower was a Polish-French chess player and one of the 27 grandmasters first awarded the title in 1950. Tartakower won the national championship for both of his adopted countries: Poland in 1935 and 1937, and France in 1953. He also won tournaments throughout his career such as at Vienna 1923, Liege 1930 (by two full points), and Hastings almost two decades apart in 1926/27 and 1945/46.

Tartakower was also known for his writing, wit, and originality. He finished just eighth at New York 1924, but played 1.b4 in a game and named the opening the Orangutan, after a visit to the Bronx Zoo. Tartakower also popularized the Catalan Opening by playing it at Barcelona 1929.

The British champion IM Harry Golombek once wrote of him: “His talk and thought are rather like a modernized blend of Spinoza and Voltaire, and, with it all, a dash of paradoxical originality that is essential Tartakower.” Golombek added, importantly: “He is just as varied and original over the board.”

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