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MATCH STANDINGS
Fischer - Taimanov Candidates Quarterfinal Match

Robert James Fischer6/6(+6 -0 =0)[games]
Mark Taimanov0/6(+0 -6 =0)[games]

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Fischer - Taimanov Candidates Quarterfinal (1971)

About five months after the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970) qualifier was held, the first stage (the quarterfinals) of the Candidates matches was held in four cities in May 1971. In Vancouver, Canada there was a 10 game match between Mark Taimanov and Bobby Fischer, played May 16th - June 1st. Fischer sensationally won the match with a perfect score of 6-0, thereby proceeding to the Fischer - Larsen Candidates Semifinal (1971). After the event, Taimanov was reported to have said, "At least I still have my music." He wasn't being merely melodramatic: the consequences of this loss were to haunt him for years. In an interview with Joel Lautier, Taimanov later recounted:

"Until the match with Fischer in 1971, everything went smoothly in my chess career. This dramatic match changed my life into hell."

"As Fischer himself admitted at the time, the final score did not reflect the true balance of strength. The terrible feeling that I was playing against a machine which never made any mistake shattered my resistance. Fischer would never concede any weakening of his position, he was an incredibly tough defender. The third game proved to be the turning point of the match. After a pretty tactical sequence, I had managed to set my opponent serious problems. In a position that I considered to be winning, I could not find a way to break through his defenses. For every promising idea, I found an answer for Fischer, I engrossed myself in a very deep think which did not produce any positive result. Frustrated and exhausted, I avoided the critical line in the end and lost the thread of the game, which lead to my defeat eventually. Ten years later, I found at last how I should have won that fatal game, but unfortunately, it didn't matter anymore! I have written a book about this match, entitled How I Became Fischer's Victim, it represents an essay on the American player and describes how I perceived his style and personality, once the match was over."

"The sanctions from the Soviet government were severe. I was deprived of my civil rights, my salary was taken away from me, I was prohibited from travelling abroad and censored in the press. It was unthinkable for the authorities that a Soviet grandmaster could lose in such a way to an American, without a political explanation. I therefore became the object of slander and was accused, among other things, of secretly reading books of Solzhenitsin. I was banned from society for two years, it was also the time when I separated from my first wife, Lyubov Bruk." (1)

Lumber industry magnate and Canadian Chess Federation president John Prentice was associated with the sponsorship and organizational duties of the event. Elod Macskasy and Peter Biyiasas brought the moves onto a wall-board display at the University of British Columbia. (2) For a contemporary report, see http://www.nwchess.com/articles/his...

(1) Chessbase interview in 2002, http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail....
(2) https://www.chess.com/forum/view/ch...

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Fischer-Taimanov 1971), by User: Hesam7.

 page 1 of 1; 6 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Taimanov vs Fischer 0-1401971Fischer - Taimanov Candidates QuarterfinalE97 King's Indian
2. Fischer vs Taimanov 1-0891971Fischer - Taimanov Candidates QuarterfinalB44 Sicilian
3. Taimanov vs Fischer 0-1421971Fischer - Taimanov Candidates QuarterfinalE97 King's Indian
4. Fischer vs Taimanov 1-0711971Fischer - Taimanov Candidates QuarterfinalB47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation
5. Taimanov vs Fischer 0-1471971Fischer - Taimanov Candidates QuarterfinalD80 Grunfeld
6. Fischer vs Taimanov 1-0431971Fischer - Taimanov Candidates QuarterfinalB44 Sicilian
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-28-15  Howard: Let's not forget, however, exactly HOW
Taimanov snuck into the Candidates, to begin with.

He probably got what he deserved, frankly.

Mar-28-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: And let's not forget HOW Fischer snuck into the Interzonal which he didn't qualify for as a result of not playing in the qualifying event, the 1969 US Championship. It was only through the good graces of Paul Benko and the other 1969 US Championship participants who gave up their places so that Fischer could participate in the Interzonal, advance to the Candidates, and eventually win the World Championship.
Apr-02-15  A.T PhoneHome: I am a very new kibitzer here, but I want to offer my opinion on this discussion regarding Fischer's 6-0 match victory over Mark Taimanov because I see you all are being reasonable here and I find the result to be so intriguing. But first my thoughts on Fischer as WC challenger:

I think that between 1967-1970 Fischer honed his craft enough to be sure of himself this time.

Many would like to say that Fischer's absences had nothing to do with his opponents' playing ability. Instead they would say "Fischer would've crushed everyone." and that would be it. They can't even consider the possibility that Fischer may have been unsure of HIMSELF and HIS own consistency because apparently, that would be saying that he was just "scared".

When he got the place in 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal, he would finally go the whole length.

In 1962 he was very strong, just not well-rounded enough plus the expectations after winning 1962 Interzonal; he simply wasn't ready yet.

Sousse Interzonal (1967) started well for him. 8.5/10 if I'm not mistaken. Then the scheduling dispute happened, something that could've been avoided I bet.

Him being very strong in 1962 and obviously so in 1967 as well meant that in 1970 he would most likely give his absolute best. And he did.

As for his 6-0 against Taimanov and Larsen, I think that such streaks don't happen simply because professionals focus on one game at a time and thus, don't set out to win a match by 6-0 score and as said above, you don't need to win like that.

And, we have to consider what was the political climate back when Fischer played. Fischer had less pressure on him because he was confident but also because he may have had more of that "inner drive". It wasn't so simple for Taimanov, because he may not have been the favourite to win or the winner Soviet Union wanted. Instead he may have felt that he was there only to try and stop Fischer.

As for Larsen, he simply tried too hard to play something Fischer "may not like."

As for Fischer-Spassky match itself, well obviously this will be what I think. I am no therapist, so yeah. I think that Fischer REALLY wanted to win the World Championship because of its implications and just to be able to say that he was one and because he was strong enough. He may have thought about the match and its conditions well in advance. I think the demands and all were to guarantee him the match he wanted, so he could have the "perfect setting for winning". Spassky was gentleman enough to allow everything, something that he had no need to do.

After he won the title, he possibly thought "What now? I spent my whole life studying chess and I am now the World Champion." There was nothing else to do, nothing else to prove. He was never going to defend the title.

I hope I've said something you can agree with! I most certainly am not as knowledged as you all, but the subject matter is something I've wanted to speak on for a while now.

Enjoy your day/night people!

Apr-02-15  Howard: Interesting comments....

You didn't say anything (yet) about Fischer-Petrosian, but I will state this for the record. After five games, the score was not only tied, but even Fischer himself probably would have had to admit that he was actually LUCKY to have a tie score against Petrosian at this point. There was simply no question who had been playing the better chess--so far.

But when Fischer won the next two games (Games 6 and 7), the match was basically over with.

Apr-02-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Many would like to say that Fischer's absences had nothing to do with his opponents' playing ability.>

For all the excuses and bad sportsmanship, Fischer was too good a chessplayer not to see that the defeat at Curacao had uncovered some serious defects in his play. You don't have to be a super-GM to see them. Play over his games yourself, and it will be almost painful to see how frequently he piddled away the advantage of the White pieces and allowed Black to equalize too quickly. He wasn't going to try again until he was sure those problems had been corrected.

<I think that between 1967-1970 Fischer honed his craft enough to be sure of himself this time.>

I mentioned this earlier, but I think he was NOT sure of himself yet, and had intended to make his big run in the next cycle, but Ed Edmondson's tireless efforts on his behalf forced him into this cycle. As it turned out, he WAS ready, but I don't think he was personally convinced.

<As for his 6-0 against Taimanov and Larsen, I think that such streaks don't happen simply because professionals focus on one game at a time and thus, don't set out to win a match by 6-0 score and as said above, you don't need to win like that.>

Most GM's pace themselves better. For example, Spassky also started off 3-0 against Larsen, then saved his energy (and novelties) for the next battle, and coasted the rest of the way. Also, I think that, as in football, there's something of a reluctance to "run up the score". It's no accident that Fischer burned himself out before he was 30.

<It wasn't so simple for Taimanov, because he may not have been the favourite to win or the winner Soviet Union wanted. Instead he may have felt that he was there only to try and stop Fischer.>

Incredible as it may seem now, I don't think the Soviet Union took Fischer seriously enough until after the Larsen match, if even then. They seemed to regard him as a flashy but erratic player who would either self-destruct or be outplayed by the top tier of players (sort of like a modern Bogoljubov). His fanatics think that the Soviets were absolutely terrified of him from 1957 on, but they committed the exact opposite sin of not taking him seriously enough.

<Spassky was gentleman enough to allow everything, something that he had no need to do.>

Spassky was beyond gentlemanly, he bent over backwards to put his opponent's needs ahead of his own. Doing that puts a player at a severe handicap. The only player I can think of who did that and WON was Euwe. Some people think that Spassky's ambition had been sapped by winning the title (the so-called "Champion's Disease") and that he didn't mind losing it as much as you'd think. Who knows?

<He was never going to defend the title.>

In hindsight, that's completely clear. A lot of people have a hard time facing it even today, and imagine that one more concession would have brought him back. We know this is wrong because there were players who WERE willing to make those extra concessions, and Fischer wouldn't play them either.

Apr-02-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Play over his games yourself, and it will be almost painful to see how frequently he piddled away the advantage of the White pieces and allowed Black to equalize too quickly.>

One of the more famous examples of that is this game:

Fischer vs Petrosian, 1962

Black has full equality by Move 9, thanks to White's doddling. The McCutcheon had been prepared because it was believed (correctly) that at the time Fischer didn't react well to unfamiliar or unexpected lines. It was actually prepared for the Interzonal, but there was no point using it there, as both players were certain to qualify by the time Fischer and Petrosian played, so it was held over for a more important occasion (see also my previous comments about most GM's pacing themselves better).

But there are a lot more games like this at Curacao.

Apr-02-15  A.T PhoneHome: <Howard> Yes, I am sorry Howard, just shared my opinion on those 6-0's; ended up sharing my view on Fischer's cycles and 1972 match as well. Should've included my thoughts on Fischer-Petrosian match!

As for that one, I think that Petrosian underestimated Fischer; Taimanov probably had respect for Fischer as Taimanov was a bit like Spassky, artful man and he had his music if chess didn't quite work out. Petrosian was ex-World Champion and he was the man of choice over Korchnoi to face Fischer so obviously he had lots of support on the government level of Soviet Union.

Petrosian's mistake may have been the thinking that he could "out-sit" Bobby Fischer and the general level of play in Fischer-Taimanov and Fischer-Larsen matches. As it happened, however, when Petrosian played tamely Fischer was more than happy to take the initiative and Fischer gained momentum when Petrosian allowed him to escape with draws. It was Petrosian who handed Fischer the circumstances for strong, solid play.

People say that Fischer was suffering from cold or something like that during the games 1-5 against Petrosian. To me that's utter bollocks, apologies for my choice of word. It's simply because Fischer faced the hardest chess player to beat. I know that Fischer's peak was of enormous cultural importance when Westerner finally beat the best Soviet Union had to offer but when you consider how strong Fischer's logical sense was in chess, you find it ridiculous how many ILLOGICAL hypotheses and stories surround his play.

Yes <Howard>, I agree that Fischer was lucky. Petrosian forgot what made himself a success. He would wait, then strike. Against Fischer he would wait and wait and wait..

And <Petrosianic>, I am a big fan of Fischer the guy who moves pieces. The folklore surrounding the man is something else though.

We have these couch therapists saying things just because they want to sell a few books or feel important because apparently they "know Fischer". Fischer's personality wasn't really that complicated if you think about it.

And I understand what you mean by Soviet Union underestimating him. They had Botvinnik for the starters, man faithful to Communism, saying that Fischer wouldn't beat Petrosian and co. I think Korchnoi understood Fischer's ability, Fischer's personality and the danger he posed, Fischer and Korchnoi both having their rebellious sides.

And I don't think Spassky wanted to lose the title. Of course Spassky didn't like it when Fischer barked at the organizers; that's understandable. But to Spassky the match wasn't about politics or anything outside of chess. Spassky loved chess. He also knew that staring at your chess board for several hours a day is when you need to call it off. Spassky didn't play chess for the sake of playing it.

Apr-02-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: No, I don't think he WANTED to lose it. But keeping it wasn't as important to him as winning it had been. Most champions seem to suffer some kind of loss of drive after winning the title and have to fight to overcome it, some more successfully than others. But that's part of the reason why there was a 44 year spread where the defending champion only won one single match. Fischer suffered the greatest loss of drive of them all, which is why he was the Greatest Challenger and the Worst Champion.
Apr-02-15  A.T PhoneHome: <No, I don't think he WANTED to lose it. But keeping it wasn't as important to him as winning it had been. Most champions seem to suffer some kind of loss of drive after winning the title and have to fight to overcome it, some more successfully than others. But that's part of the reason why there was a 44 year spread where the defending champion only won one single match. Fischer suffered the greatest loss of drive of them all, which is why he was the Greatest Challenger and the Worst Champion.> Yes, Fischer probably set out to become the World Champion, probably conjecturing that World Champion is the best player, not thinking about the life after. And I didn't mean my "And I don't think Spassky wanted to lose the title." as if you had said such thing, pardon me for the confusion. I think many World Champions lost that "something" simply because they were all reasonable.

Like compare football and chess. In football you and your teammates practice and train to be in great shape when you run for the ball etc. In chess you do sports like tennis, coupled with studying chess positions and whatnot. Then when you put all that knowledge into practice... You go and sit down and spend possibly hours, sitting and moving some beautifully crafted things from one square to another.

In football you can run, kick the ball, tackle, score a goal, many many things. And in chess you just move pieces and there is only one point to gain. Chess doesn't lack in content, it's just the format in which it's played.

Besides the fact when you are set out to become the World Champion and you win it... In many things the first time is always the best.

Think about Kasparov. He is simply put, one of the greatest, hands down. There is no question about it. But in Kasparov's case being really good in chess opens up many possibilities for him. He is the kind of guy to have a say on virtually everything but if he was just "another GM" to the public, would they listen to him?

Apr-03-15  Howard: Regarding Petrosianic's most recent comment, he's referring to the 44 years from 1934 to 1978.

Yes, only ONE world chess championship match between those two years, resulted in the champion actually winning the match. Most chess historians know which match that was.

Apr-03-15  A.T PhoneHome: Yup, Petrosian's win over Boris Spassky in 1966 after becoming the World Champion in 1963. That 1934 was Alekhine's second title defence against Bogoljubow; next year he lost to Max Euwe. It really is curious when we think for example how Mikhail Botvinnik played. He really loved the title yet he never actually won a match when he was the WC.
May-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <No, I donít think so, but I probably shouldnít have lost by such a score. Fischer himself conceded that. He said the result didnít correspond to the way the struggle went in the match, and that by the sixth game in his opinion the score should have been no more than 3ĹĖ2Ĺ in his favor. But the psychological factor played a role. It was the first time I was encountering not a playing partner, but a computer that didnít make mistakes> - Mark Taimanov, in answer to the question ďDo you nevertheless think that you had chances of winning your match against Bobby Fischer?Ē
May-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: It's an odd comment considering that computers in those days played at about 1200 strength, if they were lucky.
May-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: But Fischer was the precursor to modern computers.

You could say that computers play Fischer-like.

May-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Petrosianic> Maybe that question was asked to Taimanov much later than immediately after the end of the match, kind of like a retrospective, and by that time computers were much stronger than at the time of the match.

And I'm sure that many opponents had similar feelings about playing Capablanca in his prime even though computers had not been invented yet; Capablanca was referred to as "the machine".

May-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: In those days, you'd think "The Chess Machine" would summon up images of Ajeeb and Mephisto. Except that those didn't play flawlessly.
Jul-01-15  SpiritedReposte: Paraphrasing I think Botvinnik "Fischers real test will be against the strong GM Bent Larsen, where a 6-0 result will not be possible as it was with Taimonov" lol oops.
Dec-18-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <A.T PhoneHome: ...

People say that Fischer was suffering from cold or something like that during the games 1-5 against Petrosian. To me that's utter bollocks>

I have been reading this entire page and really enjoyed all the comments, but this statement is just not right at all.

People get sick - colds happen. I got a cold on the last day of a tournament one time. I was new to tournament chess and didn't know that I could withdraw. I played the worst game of my tournament career because I had no energy and couldn't focus.

Who are you to judge if the report is correct or not? You presume to know more than the people who were eyewitnesses to history. Such a claim is not reasonable.

Clearly TVP was superior to Larsen and Taimanov, so better competition does explain the less lopsided result. But that does not mean Fischer couldn't catch a cold. He was human and susceptible to viruses just like the rest of us.

Dec-18-15  Howard: The story about the cold is mentioned in Karsten Mueller's book on Fischer's games. If Fischer didn't feel he was well enough to play, he could have probably gotten a medical postponement.

At any rate, the final score of 6.5 to 2.5 certainly didn't tell the whole story !

Dec-18-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Howard> <The story about the cold is mentioned in Karsten Mueller's book on Fischer's games. If Fischer didn't feel he was well enough to play, he could have probably gotten a medical postponement.>

Fischer stated that he did not believe in postponing a game because he was sick.

Feb-13-16  Timi Timov: I'm sorry for Taimanov... he even said that his life became a hell after the match
Feb-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <TheFocus:

<Howard> <The story about the cold is mentioned in Karsten Mueller's book on Fischer's games. If Fischer didn't feel he was well enough to play, he could have probably gotten a medical postponement.>

Fischer stated that he did not believe in postponing a game because he was sick.>

He certainly didn't believe in postponing a victory. :)

Aug-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <In a 2012 interview with the Russian website Chess News, Grandmaster Evgeni Vasiukov, Taimanovís second for the match, blamed malnutrition for the lopsided score in the1971 Candidates Match. According toVasiukov, Taimanov didnít eat properly during the competition, preferring to save his meal money to buy Western goods unavailable in the Soviet Union. Vasiukov acknowledges Fischer was the stronger player, but argues that the final score should have been closer, a belief Fischer supported.>

http://www.worldchesshof.org/exhibi...

Worth a look just for the purdy pictures.

Nov-30-16  pksaha: "How I Became Fischerís Victim" is title of a book by Mark Taimanov. Despite my level best efforts, I have not been able to track it on Amazon or any other place. Any links?
Nov-30-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  hemy: <pksaha> I copied this book (in Russian language) and "Taimanov Selected games" (in English) to my dropbox for limited time. You can download them: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fnlwvuhrs...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/i2gpd49oe...

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