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  WCC Overview
Smyslov vs Botvinnik Rematch 1958

Although Mikhail Botvinnik lost the title to Vasily Smyslov in 1957, the FIDE rules at that time allowed a rematch. This match was held in Moscow, March 1958. This time Botvinnik started with three straight wins, kept that margin up to the half way point, then coasted home to regain the title after 23 games.

The chief arbiter for this match was Swedish GM, Gideon Stahlberg.

 Botvinnik Smyslov 1958
 Smyslov-Botvinnik, 1958
During game #15 of this match, Botvinnik had a very favorable position after 55 moves, and had only to make two moves in three minutes in order to adjourn and work out the possibilities. However, he stared at the board and became so absorbed in trying to figure out the win of a piece and which pawn to push, that he was quite surprised when Stahlberg informed him that he had forfeited in time.[1]

In spite of that time management error, Botvinnik maintained his composure and the lead. After 23 games, having achieved 12.5 points, Mikhail Botvinnik became the World Chess Champion for the second time.

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FINAL SCORE:  Botvinnik 12½;  Smyslov 10½
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Smyslov-Botvinnik 1958]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #11     Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958     1-0
    · Game #18     Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958     1-0
    · Game #14     Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958     1-0


  1. World Chess Championships by Graeme Cree

 page 1 of 1; 11 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Botvinnik vs Smyslov ½-½821958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchD98 Grunfeld, Russian
2. Smyslov vs Botvinnik ½-½161958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchB58 Sicilian
3. Botvinnik vs Smyslov ½-½411958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchE69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
4. Smyslov vs Botvinnik ½-½401958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchB58 Sicilian
5. Botvinnik vs Smyslov ½-½441958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchA16 English
6. Smyslov vs Botvinnik ½-½411958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
7. Botvinnik vs Smyslov ½-½361958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchA16 English
8. Smyslov vs Botvinnik ½-½491958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchB10 Caro-Kann
9. Botvinnik vs Smyslov ½-½481958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchA30 English, Symmetrical
10. Smyslov vs Botvinnik ½-½231958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchB32 Sicilian
11. Smyslov vs Botvinnik ½-½411958Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship RematchA05 Reti Opening
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-31-08  Udit Narayan: actually it says ПО ШАХМАТ
Feb-25-09  TheChessGuy: Po shakhmatui, meaning, "Of chess."
Mar-03-09  talisman: after numerous complaints, moscow spares no expense for a new table and chairs.
Mar-03-09  Dredge Rivers: <talisman>
Sadly, they couldn't afford new socks!
Mar-03-09  talisman: <Dredge Rivers> great handle. smyslov looks like he got a miniature manicurist dressed in white.
Mar-03-09  Dredge Rivers: <talisman> <great handle> Sorry, I can't take credit for it myself. Johnny Carson coined it years ago as a quintessential name for a real manly man.

BTW, do you get your name from the Stephen King novel?

Mar-03-09  talisman: <Dredge Rivers> no...first thing popped in my head signing up, w/ tal as my favorite.johnny carson! another favorite.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Ed: "I hold in my hand the final envelope."

Carnac: "May the sewers of Ansapoor back up into your six o'clock news."

A: Kitchy-kitchy-koo.
Q: What do you call a military coup led by General Kitchy Kitchy?

Mar-04-09  Dredge Rivers: <Jim Bartle>

You are correct, sir!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Botvinnik is second player to regain title-he will also be the third!

He starts out hoy here with 3 straight wins and never allows Smyslov to get closer than two games behind.

Aug-29-09  talisman: <kevin86> that's true...But...there was always the man on the Right...adjusting Botvinnik's clock.he was caught only this picture.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: "Smyslov understood chess more profoundly than his great rival Mikhail Botvinnik, against whom he contested three world championship matches with honours even. But Botvinnik was the better psychologist, had a shrewd knowledge of chess politics and made wily use of rules where 12-12 kept his title in 1954 and his 1957 defeat gave him a return series where he caught the <flu-stricken Smyslov> at the start."

--from the following article online:

Apr-06-10  Petrosianic: I hadn't heard this flu business before, but it seems to be the "official excuse" in the last few days. None of the GM's I've heard comment on the match have ever mentioned it. They usually talk about psychological factors. As no healthy player ever lost a game anyway, it seems like kind of a Non-Excuse excuse.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Petrosianic>

Certainly Tal did not use ill health as an excuse for losing the rematch in '61.

And the article does not quote Smyslov on the issue.

But then how does one explain 3 losses in a row (2 with White!), followed shortly by a win?

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <talisman:

...there was always the man on the Right...adjusting Botvinnik's clock.he was caught only this picture.>

Not true! Scroll up to the top of the page. Where is says "History of the World Championship," click "next".

You will see a photo from 1960. Tal, Botvinnik, and mystery man to MB's right!

Apr-06-10  Petrosianic: <But then how does one explain 3 losses in a row (2 with White!), followed shortly by a win?>

Wasn't Game 5 decided by a Botvinnik howler 2 moves before the end? I don't know how Smyslov's flu explains that unless Vassily sneezed on him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Petrosianic>

When people get the flu, it doesn't last their whole life. They are sick for a few days and then recover.

Or perhaps you were making a joke?

May-12-10  I play the Fred: Why is this match called the rematch? It should be called the return match.

1) 1954 Botvinnik = Smyslov
2) 1957 Smyslov d. Botvinnik
3) 1958 Botvinnik d. Smyslov

#1 is the first match. #2 is the rematch of #1. #3 is the return match of #2 in reference to the rule on the books at the time. There was no return match in force for #2, since Smyslov did not defeat Botvinnik in 1954.

May-12-10  Petrosianic: 1958 was Botvinnik's re-match. 1957, while a return match wasn't really a "re-match", as it didn't come automatically. Smyslov had to go back and earn another match.

However, I think calls the 1981 match a re-match, even though Korchnoi earned that one again too, so the usage isn't always consistent.

May-12-10  I play the Fred: <1958 was Botvinnik's re-match. 1957, while a return match wasn't really a "re-match", as it didn't come automatically. Smyslov had to go back and earn another match.>

A rematch, to me, is the one that isn't automatic. I think of 1957 as the rematch of 1954 (similarly, the 1994 Super Bowl was a rematch of the 1993 Super Bowl, as both teams had to earn their spots in it.), whereas 1958 was the return match required by rule.

<However, I think calls the 1981 match a re-match, even though Korchnoi earned that one again too, so the usage isn't always consistent.>

I guess that's what I was getting at: consistent usage. The term "return match", I believe, should be in use when the rules mandated it.

IIRC, Kasparov-Karpov III (1986) was a return match, and perhaps the last one we'll see.

May-12-10  Petrosianic: Usage may vary. To me, a rematch suggests one which IS automatic. Either way is fine though, as long as the terms are used consistently. I don't see any way to say that 1981 was a rematch but 1957 wasn't. But that's the way they have them labeled.

There were also people who questioned whether or not the Anand-Kramnik match should have been called a rematch. It was a return "contest", but the first actual "match" between them. (which tends to use such words informally), defines rematch as "A second contest between the same opponents." (without distinguishing between Automatic or Earned, or between Match or Tournament). Was Anand-Kramnik a rematch even under that definition? Unclear. Anand and Kramnik were two of the "same opponents" from Mexico City, but not everyone from Mexico was there. But since the two that mattered (the guy who lost the title and the guy who won it) were both present, I think of Bonn as a "rematch", (automatic chance to get title back) even though Mexico City hadn't been a match at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I like the picture at the top of the page.

Why weren't wax mats allowed in the playing hall?

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I am trying to find a hidden message in the no waxmat sign. There's got to be some reason all the letters are mirror images. Maybe it's a negative instead of the real pic and the letters are backwards....tamxaw on......nope. Maybe an anagram.....woman tax.......maybe. I will work on this mystery.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: < Udit Narayan: actually it says ПО ШАХМАТ

Feb-25-09 TheChessGuy: Po shakhmatui, meaning, "Of chess.">

Dec-20-18  siggemannen: It's probably saying: "World Championship Of Chess", in Russian
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