Tuhero: I just love this Najdorf Sicilian against the Grand Old Man Najdorf himself. Also Planinc’s wins against Matanovic with King’s Gambit 1969 in Ljubljana, Unzicker in a Closed Ruy Lopez from the same tournament, as well as versus Beliavsky and Vaganian Hastings 1974 and a lot of his wins with black in French Winaver or on the black side of Benoni.
When I first heard of Planinc he was a junior player and then a minor master in a once mighty Yugoslav chess movement. Then around 1969 he suddenly blossomed into a great player and a great artist of the chess board. He was exceedingly entertaining.
Planinc was poor, living with his mom in a single room apartment, sort of a poor man’s bachelor, just a few square feet, and may have held some low paying job with “Rog” a Slovenian bicycle making company. I have a vague recollection of someone saying he was booted out of there. A Slovene chess player visiting Toronto told me Albin was not doing much of anything except reading classical novels in those days.
He looked like a real intellectual, a bit Woody Allenesque, I guess. I believe he was not of a strong constitution and could completely blow a tournament on account of stomach problems brought on by poor or unfamiliar cuisine like a tournament in Skopje on one occasion.
The authorities including the chess federations more or less ignored him and he was not a recipient of any of the perks some players had in socialist countries of those days. Then Bane Atanackovic leading Yugoslav daily “Politika” chess editor interviewed him and the public found out about his plight. He was assigned an apartment, I believe there was a chess stipend, and things got much better.
And a miracle happened. But not the way you would expect. From that time on he became unrecognizable. His game went downhill real fast. I have no idea why. Possibly, health reasons? His chess career reminds me of the title of a Swedish movie starring Ula Jakobson – “She Danced Only One Summer”. And I wish they would stop spelling his name Planinec. When he played he was Planinc. Did he change his name later?
The Slovene chess federation does not even have his picture on their internet site last time I looked. And yet, in some ways, Planinc was their greatest player.