Jewish-Russian pianist and chess player Mark Taimanov was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine on 7 February 1926, and the family moved to St Petersburg when he was six months old. He was introduced to music by his mother, a piano teacher. At the age of eleven, he took the part of a young violinist in the 1937 Soviet film Beethoven Concerto.
Taimanov played in a piano duo with the first of his four wives, Lyubok Bruk, and some of their recordings appeared in the Philips/Steinway series Great Pianists of the 20th Century. He also knew Shostakovich, Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter, but he was mainly known as a chess player.
Mark Taimanov died in St Petersburg on 28 November 2016, aged ninety.