To Mark Taimanov's jubilee

Mark Taimanov Mark Taimanov and his parents Maturating of the young Leningrad player began close before the war. Battles were going on but Mark Taimanov already was tying for a prize place in semi-final of the USSR Championship, which was held in just liberated from the blockade city. Only unexpected failure of A. Tolush in the game of the last round vs G. Goldberg didn't let Taimanov to take part in the final of the USSR Championship since he was only the fourth with the coefficient.
Nevertheless newspapers in details informed citizens about his success.
We, young chessmen from Pioneer's Palace, were deeply impressed with Taimanov's excellent play in Leningrad championship of year 1946 - he started with 5 out of 5! Then experienced Tolush outstripped him but it had already became clear that the City on the Neva gained a talented and quite promising master.
Taimanov began playing chess by chance. The young performer of the main role in a movie "Bethoven's Concert" and the shooting group were invited to the Leningrad Pioneer's Palace for a meeting with young spectators. The directorate offered Mark to join any section he like. And he suddenly chose chess group... And his way up began.
In 1949 the young master shared the 3rd position in final stage of the USSR Championship. In three years he fought equally with World Champion Michail Botvinnik and was second to him only in extra match 2.5-3.5.
Mark Taimanov against Michail 
Botvinnik
At this USSR Championship he was already a grandmaster. He had got this title in the Stockholm interzonal tournament. In 4 years Taimanov became the Champion of the USSR.
In extra tournament for the 1-3 positions he defeated B.Spassky and Y.Averbakh. Mark participated in finals of the USSR championships 24 times. As it has turned out his record never will be overset. 4 times he was the Champion of Europe with the USSR team. Many times he was the World Champion between students.
Mark Taimanov is also an excellent publicist and literary man. Some theoretical works and travel notes are written by him. And "The Nimzo Defence" is a handbook of any player which has serious purposes in chess. He had worked very fundamentally on such openings as the Sicilian and Ruy Lopes.
Mark Taimanov and Vasilij Smyslov His life is bound up with music. But Mark became not a violinist but a pianist and performed concert programs during the years. Music experts considered him as one of the leading performers. M.Taimanov founded the dynasty of pianists - his son Igor and granddaughter Kira dedicated their lifes to music.
Everybody has the days of life which examines his character. In his second (first was in 1953) passage to pretenders matches Taimanov became an opponent of Robert Fisher in quoter-final. His failure 0:6 was apprehended by Soviet sport officials as a political defeat with all consequences. In addition the custom house found the book of Soljenitsyn "In the first circle" in Taimanov's luggage. So he became the "non grato" person.
Mark Taimanov never considered this match shameful for him though there was a catastrophic score since he had got a chance to fight with one of the greatest players of contemporaneity. When he came back from Vancouver he wanted to share his impressions about the match but the authorities didn't allow.
Psychology of the heads was anecdotically simple. In their opinion the problem of Taimanov consisted in a wrong literature. They were sure that if he read some Marxian books during the match he would play better. For the same reason Marxian literature was advised Gary Kasparov after his unhappy start in match against V.Korchnoj in London.
Mark Taimanov Many players (and I amongst them) were sure that if the heads see that Fisher is really great they would stop pressing of Taimanov.
And Bent Larsen's failure was the best medicine. After getting to know the result of the games I called Mark on the phone and as a joke informed him about Robert's success. I told that Larsen challenged not Fisher but Taimanov, that Dane had joined "Shalke-04" and was interested if Larsen's luggage was checked by Soviet custom officers.
Really, with Fisher's going to the title making claims on Taimanov gradually solved. They were deeply impressed with Larsen's defeat 0:6 and after failures of T.Petrosian and B.Spassky "Vancouver incedent" didn't matter. But the anecdote that the USA customs found "The Nimzo Defence" by Taimanov in Soljenitsyn's luggage and writer has some troubles was quite popular.
However his optimism helped Taimanov to overcome the hard and undeserved (at least with such score) defeat. Theremore that the analysis showed that in several games M.Taimanov had excellent positions.
Unfortunately, neither Larsen nor Petrosian had a similar immunity aginst Fisher. But Mark Taimanov continued play successful causing joy to his supporters.
In 1986 in Yerevan during Petrosian memorial took place an amusing occurrence - he asked me what score had been in football match between the USSR and Hungary. I wanted to please him with 6:0 in favour of the USSR but suddenly understood that it might hurt him. Only Tal helped me then. He said "after 4:0 we all went to bed and we don't know the final score".
Mark Taimanov and his wife
Nadejda A very interesting attempt was made by Mark to prepare his duel with Fisher through many years. He wrote about this a very intersting and unusual book (M.Taimanov. "I was the Fischer's victim", St.Petersburg, 1993).
Mark Taimanov Now Mark Taimanov is 75. He already twice was seniors world champion.
Not long ago he was the 4th in St. Petersburg championship ahead of several masters and grandmasters which are suited to be his grandchilds.
Amongst his victories he is especially proud of his fortune in match against Karpov in 1977 since Karpov was defeated almost by no one in his gold years.
Well, our forever young grandmaster is already 75!! But he is still full of optimism, cheerful and vivacious!! And the only wish is - go on, Mark!!

Alexander Geller, international arbiter





Mark Taimanov's results
in the most important events
 Leningrad championship   1948   1 
 Moscow, the 17th championship of the USSR   1949   3-4 
 Leningrad championship   1950   1 
 Shchavno Zdroj   1950   2-4 
 Moscow, the 18th championship of the USSR   1951   6-8 
 Liverpool, students' world championship   1952   1-2 
 Moscow, the 20th championship of the USSRđ┐   1952   1-2 
 Stockholm, interzonal tournament   1952   2-3 
 Leningrad championship   1952   1 
 Zurich, candidates tournament   1953   7-8 
 Kiev, the 21st championship of the USSR   1954   2-3 
 Hastings   1956   4 
 Reykjavik   1956   2-3 
 Moscow, Alekhin memorial   1956   3 
 Leningrad, the 23rd championship of the USSR   1956   1-3 
 Leningrad, tournament of the Baltic sea countries.    1958   1 
 Dresden   1959   1-2 
 Tbilisi, the 26th championship of the USSR   1959   4-5 
 Buenos Aires   1960   4-7 
 Santa Fe   1960   1-2 
 Cordoba   1960   2 
 Leningrad   1960   1 
 Perm, championship of Russia   1960   1 
 Dortmund   1961   1 
 Leningrad championship   1961   1-2 
 Rostov-na-Donu   1961   1 
 Marianske Lasne   1962   1 
 Yerevan, the 30th championship of the USSR   1962   2-3 
 Luxembourg   1963   1 
 Budapest   1964   4-6 
 Havana   1965   3 
 Budapest   1965   1-3 
 Tallinn, the 33rd championship of the USSR   1965   3 
 Copenhagen   1965   1-3 
 Tbilisi, the 34th championship of the USSR   1966   3-4 
 Helsinki nbsp;  1966   1 
 Harrahov   1966   3-4 
 Kharkov, the 35th championship of the USSR   1967   3-4 
 Leningrad   1967   3-4 
 Havana   1967   2 
 reykjavik   1968   1-2 
 Venice   1969   2-7 
 Salasherseg   1969   1 
 Moscow, the 37th champioship of the USSR   1969   3-5 
 Wijk aan Zee   1970   1 
 Scople   1970   1-2 
 Palma de Majorca, interzonal tournament   1970   5-6 
 Sukhumi   1972   3 
 Bucharest   1973   1 
 Leningrad championship   1973   1 
 Vrniachka Bania   1974   2 
 Albena   1974   1 
 Solnechny bereg   1974   3 
 Brno   1975   4-5 
 Dehin   1975   1 
 Hastings   1975-76   5-7 
 Vrniachka Bania   1977   2-3 
 Montilia   1977   4 
 Yurmala   1978   4 
 Bucharest   1979   1 
 Vrotslav   1979   1-2 
 Wijk aan Zee   1981   3-4 
 Budapest   1982   2-3 
 Baku   1983   3-4 
 Lisbon   1985   1 
 Sesimbra   1987   2-3 
 Bill, seniors tournament   1988   1 
 Forli   1989   2-3 
 Leningrad   1989   2-3 
 Malta   1989   1 
 Tel Aviv   1990   2-3 
 Porto San Georgio, open    1990   1 
 Seint Augustin,    1990   1 
 Hausdal, open    1992   3-6 
 Bad Bariskoven, seniors' world championship   1992   2-4 
 New York   1992   1-2 
 Neiss, open   1993   1 
 Orhus   1993   4-6 
 Prague   1993   2-3 
 Bad Vildbad, seniors' world championship   1993   1-5 
 Bill, seniors' world championship   1994   1 
 Chachak   1994   2-3 
 Seint Petersburg, Furman memorial   1995   1-2 

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