Mark Taimanov

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Mark Evgenievich Taimanov (Марк Евгеньевич Тайманов) (born February 7, 1926) is a leading Russian chess player and concert pianist.

He was awarded the grandmaster title in 1952 and played in the Candidates Tournament in Zurich in 1953, where he tied for 8th. From 1946-56, he was in the world's top 10. He played in 23 USSR Chess Championships, a record equalled by Efim Geller, and tied for 1st twice. In 1952 he lost the playoff match to Mikhail Botvinnik, while in 1956, he beat Yuri Averbakh and Boris Spassky for the title. However, he is probably best known for his 6-0 loss to Bobby Fischer in the 1971 Candidates match.

After his loss to Fischer, the Soviet government was embarrassed, and, as Taimanov later put it in a 2002 interview, found it "unthinkable" that he could have lost the match so badly to an American without a "political explanation". [1] They took away Taimanov's salary, and was no longer allowed to travel overseas. They later "forgave" him, and lifted the sanctions against him. Fischer's defeat of Bent Larsen 6-0 later in 1971 may have helped change their minds.

He has opening variations named after him in the Sicilian Defense and Nimzo-Indian Defense - see Taimanov Variation.

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