The chess grandmaster who doubled as a concert pianist

The chess grandmaster who doubled as a concert pianist


norman lebrecht

November 28, 2016

Russian media report the death, aged 90, of Mark Taimanov, one of the foremost chess competitors of the Soviet era and a widely respected pianist whose personal friends included Shostakovich and Richter.

Taimanov may be best remembered for losing 6-0 to Bobby Fischer in 1971, a drubbing that he immortalised in a best-selling book. He had previously beaten six world champions, including Botvinnik, Spassky and Karpov.


Taimanov formed a piano duo with his first wife, Lyubov Bruk, touring and recorded widely. The pair were included in the Philips series Great Pianists of the 20th Century.

As a boy, Taimanov played a violinist in the Soviet film, Beethoven Concerto.



  • Christoff Mans says:

    He perfectly straddled two very different, yet complimenraty worlds. He will be missed for his writing, his creative play, his humanity. A beautiful interview to be read: “My life with chess and music”

  • esfir ross says:

    Mark Taimanov and his than wife Lubov Brouk were the best
    piano duo in USSR. Mark give up his concert career for love
    to another women in 70th and only was full time grossmeister.
    I met him personally.

  • esfir ross says:

    The movie “Beethoven concerto” was silly story , typical Stalin era
    pot-boiler. But sound track violin part was played by Miron Polyakin-
    genius of Jasha Heifets caliber. Completely unknown in outside
    of Russia. Number one violinist.

    • Ngaire Winwood says:

      In August 2016 I painted a painting of Mark Taiminov as I was so in awe of his genius, it is called ‘The Chess Master’s Violin’. I wanted to contact Mark to tell him I was inspired by him, sadly when I got around to it, I found out he died in November 2016 only a few months after I completed my painting. It incorporates his life an a violinist, Chess Master and Concert Pianist with his wife.