Mark Taimanov RIP
Mark Taimanov ( 7,Feb 1926—28,Nov 2016)
After the death of Korchnoi and then Dvoretsky earlier this year, there is more sad news in the chess community. One of the strongest Russian grandmasters[pullquote]“The versatility of his talent is mind-boggling.”-Kasparov[/pullquote] never to have won the World Championship, the enigmatic Mark Taimanov, died yesterday at age 90 in St. Petersburg. Taimanov’s chess career goes back to the 1940’s. In the late 60’s, especially, he was considered one of the top-10 players by Botvinnik, who often wrote glowing commentary about his talent.
And talent is what Taimanov had and then some! His mother, a gifted musician in her own right, inspired Taimanov to study music and he soon become a famous concert pianist. Along with his first wife ,Lyubov Bruk, he formed a duo whose musical recordings were in wide demand.
Another of Taimanov’s talents had to do with his ability to charm women many years his junior. He married not less than 4 times, and at age 78 he even fathered twins! He is quoted to have confided a short time before his death: ”Women are my greatest passion. Music and chess only follow next…”
Taimanov with his 4th wife, Nadezhda, and two children, Masha and Dima.
Readers can find numerous sites online that review the life of this brilliant artist, I recomment the article published on Chess24 as an excellent starting point.
And then there was just one…
Some tournaments stand heads above others, and Zurich 1953 stands out perhaps as the greatest tournament of the post-world war period. Gathering 15 of the best players in the world, for almost 2 straight months (28 August to 24 October) these grandmasters fought it out for the right to challenge Botvinnik for the world title. Eventually, Smyslov earned that right.
What chess player of my generation does not include Bronstein’s Zurich 1953 amongst his most prized books? I first got my hands on this book in 1979 (believe it or not, but in Montreal in those distant years it was hard to find good chess books!) when I was already 25 years old! However, it did not take me much time to devour this classic, and some 8-months later, when Sammy Reshevsky participated in the Quebec Open (1980) I put the book to good use: I beat him with White in a Nimzo-Indian where my ONLY preparation was Bronstein’s Zurich 1953 !