Ahh Saint Valentines Day.
This day always brings out the hidden romantic in me.
I slip into verse at the drop of a pawn.
Roses are red, Violets are blue,
When it comes to endings, I haven't a clue.
Roses are happy, Violets can't stand it,
You have a face like the Benko Gambit.
Violets are blue, Roses are red,
Let's stop playing chess and jump into bed.
(That is quite enough of that...Ed)
Chess Player and concert pianist Mark Taimanov was 80 this week.
Taimanov playing chopsticks.
Some football players can have careers lasting
15 years playing over 800 games and are yet they
are remembered for one incident in one match.
Jim Baxter, sitting on a ball.
Gordon Banks, that save v Pele.
Maradona, (in my view the greatest player that
ever pulled on a pair of boots), The Hand of God.
So it is with some chess players.
Jean Dufresne, the Evergreen game.
Tony Miles, 1...a6 v Karpov.
Frank Marshall, losing the original Marshall Gambit.
Mark Taimanov ...
When ever someone writes about Taimanov his match
against you know who is mentioned.
I'm not going to mention it.
I have a few Taimanov games and a position to show.
As always they have been selected for their under 2000 instructive value.
The first is a little cartoon.
White plays the trappy 6 Re1 against the Open Lopez.
7 Nc3 is an error (7 Bxc6). In the next few moves
white is going to end up with an undefended Knight on a4.
Undefended pieces are root of all double attack combinations.
With 10 Qe1 we see white claiming the e-file but
missing the trick. An easy game for Taimanov.
It was played in the USSR Championship 1947.
[Click here to replay the game]
V.Kirillov - M.Taimanov
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.Re1 Nc5 7.Nc3 Be7 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.Rxe5 0-0 10.Qe1 Bd6 11.Re2 Nxa4 12.Nxa4 Qh4
This position is from a game v Tal (white) played in Riga 1954.
In this position White should have played 52 Kc2
with a draw the likely outcome.
Tal's sense of danger completely deserted him.
Instead White played 52 Qe3? and Black played...?
Even in the simplest position danger lurks.
Answer at the bottom.
The 2nd game and Taimanov employs an opening
I know very well. 6 Bc6 dxc6 robs the e5 pawn of
pawn protection by d6.
White then lays siege to the e-pawn, Nc4, Nf3 and Bb2.
White wins it with a trick which Black only saw after
the e-pawn had been taken.
Black thought he was getting a Bishop and Knight for
the Rook but then noticed 16...Rxe5 17 f4!
Black tries to drum up counter play. White simply
develops and watches Black dig his own grave.
A series of accurate strong moves (19-21) and it's over.
It was played in the USSR 1950.
[Click here to replay the game]
M.Taimanov - J.Pogats
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.d3 Nd7 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.Nc4 Bf6 10.b3 Re8 11.Bb2 c5 12.a4 Qe7 13.Ne3 Nf8 14.Nd5 Qd6 15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.Nxe5 Ng6 17.Nc4 Qh4 18.f4 f5 19.Qf3 Bd7 20.Rae1 b6 21.exf5 Rxe1 22.Qxa8+ Nf8 23.Qd5+ Kh8 24.Qf7 Rxf1+ 25.Kxf1 Qxf4+ 26.Kg1
I have Taimanov's best games, written by Taimanov.
Highly recommended. He has played some magnificent games.
He mentions the match v you know who.
Mark playing 'I've got those Vancouver Blues.'
I understand John Henderson will be doing a special
St. Valentines piece in THE SCOTSMAN on the 14th of February.
He has a rather unique chess 'love' problem ready.
John did a piece about Taimanov's birthday, (he mentioned you know who),
everybody does when Taimanov's name comes up.
I thank John for the pics of Taimanov I used (he sent me six, I sent him nil).
Tal v Taimanov
Black played 52...Qf5+ forcing 53 Kc4
when 53...Qb1! and it's over.