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Mark Taimanov vs Milan Matulovic
"Caveat Emptor" (game of the day Jan-18-2017)
Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970), Palma de Mallorca ESP, rd 23, Dec-12
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Janowski-Larsen Variation (D25)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-29-16  Howard: I've long, long been under the distinct impression that this game was indeed fixed---hasn't it been a well-known fact over the years?

Korchnoi, Andrew Soltis, and David Levy have also stated this over the last few decades.

Nov-29-16  RookFile: I think somebody like Rubinstein would have gone with 24...Rac8. Active rook and all. 25. Rac1 Rc6! and white has some work to do. But our friend Matulovic decides to play like a dead whale washed up on the beach instead.
Nov-29-16  HeMateMe: Did the insiders say if he was paid in Dollars, Rubles, pesos...?
Nov-29-16  TheFocus: <HeMateMe: Did the insiders say if he was paid in Dollars, Rubles, pesos...?>

Gift cards to Home Depot, Starbucks, and Easy Music.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <TheFocus> Those gift cards worth lot of roubles in Mother Russia then.

Taimanov was no fool, lemme tell ya.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: 14. Nd5 looks kind of intriguing if black is dumb enough to play Qxe4 (NxN+) or Qe5 (Bf4) but unfortunately he can just play NxN and then castle.
Jan-18-17  SeanAzarin: If you remove the Rooks and the Q-side pawns, the final position would make a challenging end-game to win for us ordinary amateurs. 3p vs 2p is a win, yes, but a difficult one unless you're an 1800+ player.
Jan-18-17  AlicesKnight: Re; the 'fixing' debate; Matulovic was quite capable of being smothered in inertia by stronger players - cf. for example Matulovic vs Fischer, 1968 - Fischer similarly renders him somnulent by gaining space and pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: I believe the 1965 Ford Mustang cost $1,500


Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: white gets a pawn ahead and wins easily. A win is easier with more pawns in the battle
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <RookFile: I just played over this again, with fresh eyes. My impression is that the level of strength required by the player of the white pieces from this game was about 2000.>

I agree. I am reading this game was suspected to have been fixed. Judging from black's un-grandmasterly passive play, I'm inclined to take the accusation seriously.

Jan-18-17  WorstPlayerEver: Weird. Except 33. e6 (or 34. e6) S8 doesn't really overrule White's play. Although Black's moves are dubious indeed.
Jan-18-17  RookFile: I appreciate the pun. Let the buyer beware. So Taimanov wins the game, and at the moment, he probably thought it was a good thing. However, that meant he got to play Fischer, and we all know what happened in that match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It also seems to me that Matulovic was trying to lose this game on purpose, and as fast as possible. One must really applaud his work ethic: having been paid to lose, he does it efficiently and thoroughly.
Nov-24-17  notyetagm:

"Palma was the site for a famous final-round game-throwing episode in 1970, <when Milan Matulovic, after selling the point for $400 to Soviet officials who wanted Mark Taimanov to qualify, blitzed out his moves to a lost position.> It did not help Taimanov, who a few months later even more famously lost his candidates quarter-final 6-0 to Bobby Fischer."

Wow, I never knew this.

So Taimanov did not earn his spot in he Candidate matches, he bought it. Glad Fischer wiped him out 6-0, damn cheater.

Jun-28-18  ZonszeinP: GM Matulovic never beat Taimanov in his entire career
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: < ZonszeinP: GM Matulovic never beat Taimanov in his entire career>

I haven't studied the question but this strikes me as an example of drawing a premature conclusion and then trying to find evidence to support it. Black gets an isolated pawn and then finally loses a pawn to a very strong GM on move 36. If it really was fixed they did an excellent job hiding it because it looks like a typical game.

Jun-29-18  Howard: "They did an excellent job hiding it" ?!

Wasn't it reported that neither player took much time on his moves, plus they also appeared rather nonchalant during the game ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: < Howard: "They did an excellent job hiding it" ?! Wasn't it reported that neither player took much time on his moves, plus they also appeared rather nonchalant during the game?>

There you go, conclusive proof! You might as well argue the opposite, that if had really been fixed they would have pretended to wrack their brains for hours so it wouldn't look fixed. Anyway, if Matulovic had never beat Taimanov during his whole career and Matulovic had black, why would Taimanov waste his money?

Jun-29-18  Howard: Well, these are obviously things we could argue about until the cows come home, as they say.

I will throw in one additional point, however. Maybe the reason the two players didn't "wrack their brains for hours" was simply because...they didn't CARE whether the game appeared to be fixed or not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Howard:....Maybe the reason the two players didn't "wrack their brains for hours" was simply because...they didn't CARE whether the game appeared to be fixed or not.> That seems highly unlikely to me since they were both professional chessplayers so why would they want to ruin their reputations? Is there any real evidence at all? Did either player supposedly admit it? Look at the horrendous beginner's mistake Carlsen made in a recent tournament (creating a passed pawn for his opponent). People could scream it's absolutely impossible for a GM of his caliber to make such a mistake, it had to be fixed!!! (not I think that's really possible, but that's a much more probable case than this one). Then last year Ivanchuk made what some people claim was a horrible beginner's mistake (although I don't agree) and claimed it had to be fixed. It all strikes me as paranoid without any solid evidence.
Jun-29-18  Howard: Maybe we should start a discussion about the Keres-Botvinnik 1948 controversy !
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Well if there are really are any "supporting rumors" or "suspicious circumstances" about this game, I would like to hear them. I'm not discounting the possibility, I'm sure some games really are fixed. From what I gather from Perfidious's link to Matulovic/Bilek, Matulovic had a terrible reputation, and it's true that he played in this game but he lost, had black and was the weaker player, all of which argues against a fix.
Jul-01-18  Howard: Just recalled something....the late
William Lombardy's book Chess Panaroma gives a somewhat detailed account of this game. I don't recall any details, except that Matulovic was seen filing his fingernails just before the game.

Granted, nail-filing doesn't shed any light on this mystery.

But, also, Soltis discusses this game in his excellent book Soviet Chess. He stated something about the amount of extra prize money that Taimanov received being LESS than the reported $400 that had been paid to Matulovic, thus implying that maybe the game hadn't been rigged after all..

...BUT, keep in mind that by getting a ticket to the Candidates, Taimanov would have been guaranteed at least a loser's share of the prize purse in the first round of the Candidates. So, thus the alleged $400 would have been a worthwhile investment.

Jul-01-18  Granny O Doul: As I recall, Lombardy/Daniels quoted an eyewitness account, probably among those cited here already, noting Matulovic's tardy arrival, his pleasurable flip through the daily bulletin, and finally his quick and seemingly carefree treatment of the game itself. "Of the game itself, little can be said, except that it is rather a dreary effort on the part of Matulovic", then at the end "a strangulation game, reminiscent of a simultaneous exhibition".

Then the news about the 0-6 sequel, and the comment "Perhaps the weed of crime really does bear bitter fruit. If anybody knows, it must be Taimanov."

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