I was reading the following wikipedia article on Mark Taimanov and I was very shocked (I guess I shoudn't be knowing how the Soviets took chess so seriously) that when Taimanov lost to Fischer 6-0 , the Soviet Government was embarrassed and found it "unthinkable" that he could lose a match so badly to an American, so they ended up taking away his salary and did not let him travel overseas. Later, they "forgave" saying the reason for punishment was that he brought a book by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn into the country, but from the article, I guess many speculate that Fischer's defeat of Bent Larsen 6-0 probably had more to do with the Soviet government "forgiving" Taimanov. So in a nutshell, do these things types of things still happen, not just with the countries that used to be a part of the USSR, but in other parts of the world? This maybe difficult to answer, because I guess if it did happen, it would be kept very secretive?

  • The part you are quoting is about half of the article on Taimanov. Surely Taimanov, who was a top 10 player at his peak, deserves better than that.
    – Akavall
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 2:42
  • "defeated 6 world champions..."
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 2:48
  • @Akavall - This has nothing to do with Taimanov. This has to do with the Soviet treatment of their chess players. It could have been anyone.
    – xaisoft
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 17:34
  • 3
    @xaisoft, I was just making an observation regarding the wikipedia article. It seemed to be overly focused on one issue.
    – Akavall
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 17:44
  • @Akavall - OK I get you, not my question, but the wikipedia article itself :)
    – xaisoft
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


Authoritarian governments will punish its representatives who do not live up to the standards they set.

Iraq - Saddam later appointed Uday head of the Iraqi Olympic committee and soccer federation, and ... tortured athletes who failed to win.

China - Players that towed the party line and upheld Marxist values were rewarded. Those that didn’t were punished.

Bear in mind, these standards are not necessarily reasonable or attainable.

  • US didn't treat Fischer much better. Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 19:00
  • References please?
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 19:40
  • 3
    I'm not reading all of that. Which part supports your statememt?
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 20:46
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    He violated US law and was treated like anyone else would have been treated. I suppose I don't see how this is anything like what happened to Iraqi athletes who committed no crimes.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 23:10
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    Maybe the US government treated Bobby Fischer severely, but he had shown great contempt. In any case, the dispute was not over a sporting result as for Taimanov and some other lesser known cases occurred in soviet times. Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 19:13

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