Soviet chess leg­end Taimanov dies at 90

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Mark Taimanov, a chess grand­mas­ter who was os­tracised by the Soviet author­i­ties af­ter los­ing to Amer­i­can Bobby Fis­cher dur­ing the Cold War, has died aged 90, Rus­sia’s chess fed­er­a­tion said yes­ter­day. Taimanov was born in 1926 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and moved to Len­ingrad, now Saint Peters­burg, where he stud­ied pi­ano at the pres­ti­gious mu­sic con­ser­va­tory. He be­came a chess grand­mas­ter at the age of 26, kick­ing off a ca­reer which flour­ished through­out the 1950s and 60s. In 1956 he be­came the Soviet cham­pion, and par­tic­i­pated in the Soviet cham­pi­onship some 23 times while con­tin­u­ing a pro­fes­sional ca­reer as a con­cert pi­anist. Yet he is best known for his sting­ing 0-6 loss to Amer­i­can grand­mas­ter Bobby Fis­cher in 1971 at the World Cham­pi­onship Can­di­dates match. Soviet author­i­ties dur­ing the Cold War viewed the US-Soviet chess matches as hold­ing sym­bolic im­por­tance, and pun­ished Taimanov for the em­bar­rass­ing fail­ure, sus­pect­ing that he had lost on pur­pose. —AFP

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