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Friday, January 18, 2013

Paul Tautvaisas

Dr. Povilas Tautvaisas of Lithuania was a doctor, forensic expert and pathologist. During the Nazi occupation of WW2 he was ordered to supervise Holocaust sites. In 1945 the Soviet government arrested and deported him where he treated prisoners in exile until his death.  

His son Paul, also known as Povilas, was born in 1916. After the war and the USSR's annexation of the Baltic nations, Tautvaisas found himself a Displaced Person in Germany and eventually made his way to the United States where he finally settled in Chicago, Illinois.  Tautvaisas was one of the Midwest’s strongest masters and his prominence in the Chicago area in the 1950s and 1960s earned him the nickname "The Old Fox".  For many years Richard Verber and Tautavasis traded city championship titles. When Edmar Mednis published an early work on Tahl’s games, The Chess Psychologist Tal, many of the games were annotated by Tautavasis. He passed away in Chicago in November 1980 due to complications from alcoholism.

In the following game he defeats Erik Karklins, father of FM Andrew Karklins.  Both players were long regular fixtures in the Chicago chess scene.  Tautvaisas' last move resembles a chess puzzle, Black to play and mate.


  1. The Chicago chess scene in those days was extremely colorful. Along With Tautvaisis, Verber, and the Karklins, we had the Sandrin brothers, and rising stars like Ed Formanek. Add to that a sprinkling of young masters from the math department at the University of Chicago, and local legends like business tycoon Norbert Leopoldi, famous for losing thousands to Bobby Fischer during an all night blitz session at the Western Open, and you had quite a spicy mix. And the very strong Wisconsin-based master Bill Martz used to come to some tournaments, and even GM Robert Byrne sometimes graced us with his presence.

  2. I am envious! During that era I played at the Toledo, Ohio chess club. We had an expert and a Class A player. There was a professor at the U. of Toledo who was a master, but he never showed up. I remember going 4-0 at a tournament in Chicago in 1971 (or was it 72?) before getting smashed by Morris Giles in the last round.