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🏆 Zurich Candidates (1953) Chess Event Description
This event was played in Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Zürich. ... [more]

Player: Vasily Smyslov

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 28  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Averbakh vs Smyslov ½-½321953Zurich CandidatesC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
2. Smyslov vs Szabo ½-½461953Zurich CandidatesA15 English
3. Euwe vs Smyslov 0-1581953Zurich CandidatesD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
4. Smyslov vs Stahlberg 1-0331953Zurich CandidatesC11 French
5. Boleslavsky vs Smyslov  ½-½171953Zurich CandidatesD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
6. Smyslov vs Kotov ½-½441953Zurich CandidatesB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
7. Geller vs Smyslov 0-1541953Zurich CandidatesE29 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
8. Smyslov vs Keres 1-0411953Zurich CandidatesD29 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
9. Reshevsky vs Smyslov ½-½191953Zurich CandidatesE41 Nimzo-Indian
10. Smyslov vs Bronstein ½-½401953Zurich CandidatesA12 English with b3
11. Gligoric vs Smyslov 0-1411953Zurich CandidatesA30 English, Symmetrical
12. Smyslov vs Taimanov ½-½191953Zurich CandidatesB24 Sicilian, Closed
13. Najdorf vs Smyslov  ½-½141953Zurich CandidatesE41 Nimzo-Indian
14. Smyslov vs Petrosian ½-½481953Zurich CandidatesE58 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 8...Bxc3
15. Smyslov vs Averbakh  ½-½251953Zurich CandidatesD38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation
16. Szabo vs Smyslov ½-½331953Zurich CandidatesD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
17. Smyslov vs Euwe 1-0681953Zurich CandidatesA07 King's Indian Attack
18. Stahlberg vs Smyslov  ½-½271953Zurich CandidatesD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
19. Smyslov vs Boleslavsky  ½-½171953Zurich CandidatesA48 King's Indian
20. Kotov vs Smyslov 1-0401953Zurich CandidatesA13 English
21. Smyslov vs Geller 1-0441953Zurich CandidatesE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
22. Keres vs Smyslov 0-1281953Zurich CandidatesA17 English
23. Smyslov vs Reshevsky 1-0561953Zurich CandidatesA17 English
24. Bronstein vs Smyslov ½-½211953Zurich CandidatesC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
25. Smyslov vs Gligoric  ½-½211953Zurich CandidatesA48 King's Indian
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 28  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Smyslov wins | Smyslov loses  

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-03-12  Conrad93: Why is Bronstein second one one chart and third on the other?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Different tie-breaking systems. I supplied the crosstable in the introduction, and used a program which ranks tied players by the commonly used Sonnenborg-Berger method.

The leaderboard at the top of the was generated automatically by <> based on the results on the games. I do not know what sort of ranking system they use for ties.

Of course it would be nice if they agreed, but that would require constructing the crosstable by hand, a laborious and error-prone task.

Dec-03-12  Conrad93: I'm surprised I am the first to comment on this tournament.

I thought it was quite famous...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: It is. Notice that the great majority of the games have comments, some several pages worth.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Not surprising. This page is one of the later additions to the Historical Tournament project, which only began about a month ago.

Tournament Index

Dec-04-12  Conrad93: Jim Bartle those games refer to the games themselves, not to the tournament.

This is the tournament forum.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Taimanov vs Najdorf, 1953 must be my favorite game from this tournament. And it still has to be GOD... perhaps no one could come up with a good pun.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Yes, Conrad, I was just pointing out there's been lots of interest. As phony benoni pointed out, the tournament page is new.
Dec-05-12  Conrad93: What exactly motivated Bronstein to write a book on this tournament?

Obviously it wasn't his success.

Dec-05-12  rilkefan: I've been playing over the games in Bronstein's book using a physical set in the hope of interesting my kids in the game.

Thanks to those who set this page up, it's nice to have an easy way to look up commentary.

Aug-21-13  nescio: For years Bronstein's famous book (in a hardcover edition titled "The Chess Struggle in Praxis") was the only chess book I owned. Since then I have also read Euwe's excellent book on this tournament in Dutch. Not translated in English so far, but Euwe used a special language in his chess books with a limited vocubulary of only about a thousand words so that everybody can read it with a little effort.

I heard there was still a third tournament book and it turned out to be completely different from the other two, but also the best of the lot. Najdorf evidently liked anlyzing as much as playing and sometimes he approached the quality of Boleslavsky or Keres in his annotations. It has now been translated in English:

Aug-21-13  Karpova: Najdorf, Miguel 'Zürich 1953 - 15 Contenders for the World Chess Championship', 2012, Milford CT USA

Indeed an excellent book which by no means needs to hide itself from the other two classics on this tournament.

Sadly, the editing was done poorly and often* the game scores are partly incomplete. So I had to reconstruct some of the game scores myself (if only a few moves were missing, this is possible by looking at later moves or diagrams) but in some cases this was not possible with too many moves missing so I had to look it up elsewhere.

That's a serious objection, but apart from that the book is so outstanding that not even this can be considered a reason not to recommend it. You have a preface by Averbakh, biographhies of the players, Najdorf's great annotations and supplementary material by Taylor Kingston.

*I can't give numbers, but much too often for my taste as a game collection should be authoritative on the game scores in my opinion.

Jan-29-14  thomastonk: I just enjoyed this gallery:, though I had seen it some time before.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

Both <Boleslavsky> and <Smyslov> were seeded directly into this tournament due to their results at the Budapest Candidates (1950): Boleslavsky 2d place, Smyslov 3d place.


<"3d place in the <<<Budapest 1950 Candidates Tournament>>> gave me the automatic right to a place in the next Candidates Tournament.">

-Vasily Smyslov, "Smyslov's 125 Selected Games" Ken Neat transl. (Cadogen 1983), p.125

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <thomastonk> Thanks for posting that excellent gallery!
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I've tried to identify all the people pictured in the group photograph (3/63).

Standing: left-to-right

1. Petrosian 2. Kotov 3. Gligoric 4. Geller 5. Averbakh 6. Smyslov 7. Boleslavsky 8. Taimanov 9. Bronstein 10. Keres 11. Nadjorf

Seated: left-to-right

1. Dmitri Postnikof (USSR chess chief) 2. Szabo 3. Euwe 4. Folke Rogard (FIDE President) 5. Reshevsky 6. Stahlberg

There is likely a couple of mistakes. Corrections/affirmations appreciated.

Mar-18-14  ozmikey: <zanzibar> I think No.3 in the top row is Szabo, not Gligoric. In fact, I don't think anyone in the front row is a competitor at the event (it's clearly not the full photo).
Mar-18-14  Olavi: <ozmikey: <zanzibar> I think No.3 in the top row is Szabo, not Gligoric. In fact> Correct. 2nd left seated is Ari Ilmakunnas.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Thanks, <ozmikey> and <Olavi>. We'll hash it out. I had trouble with several of them.

But all the fifteen participants are there according to the caption:

<< Folke Rogard, FIDE-President

Dmitri Postnikof (first row l), Folke Rogard (first row, 4th from left) and the 15 tournament participants >>

(That makes 3 certain identifications - since I'm only 100% sure I got Petrosian right!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Here's my guess with the suggestion of Szabo. It's a bit like musical chairs, permutating the candidates around:

Standing L-R:
1. Petrosian 2. Kotov 3. Szabo 4. Geller 5. Averbakh 6. Smyslov 7. Boleslavsky 8. Taimanov 9. Bronstein 10. Keres 11. Nadjorf

Sitted L-R:

1. Dmitri Postnikof (USSR chess chief) 2. Stahlberg 3. Gligoric 4. Folke Rogard (FIDE President) 5. Reshevsky 6. Euwe

I think it's right, with a measure of uncertainty for the following 3 pairs:

Geller and Taimanov look very similar to me, but I think I got that right.

Gligoric's should have been easier to identify, but I thought his hair wasn't right. But given Szabo placement, where else can he be?

Strahlberg was unknown to me, and so difficult. Euwe apparently was a larger man than I originally thought.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <thomastonk: I just enjoyed this gallery:, though I had seen it some time before.>

Thanks for that gallery!

In this picture, Smyslov is holding one of those resiny fake-bronze trophies available at any cobbler/key-cutter for a tenner; in fact the man on the top of the trophy has a tennis racquet in his hand!

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Some other great pictures! Taimanov's trousers are the eighth wonder of the world! Undoubtedly he has a miniature version of UNIVAC sellotaped to his shins. The players are standing along that thin harbour wall exactly according to their tournament standing! I wonder what are the medals worn by Averbakh & Keres but not by Smyslov?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <offramp: Some other great pictures! Taimanov's trousers are the eighth wonder of the world! Undoubtedly he has a miniature version of UNIVAC sellotaped to his shins. The players are standing along that thin harbour wall exactly according to their tournament standing! I wonder what are the medals worn by Averbakh & Keres but not by Smyslov?>

Sorry - those links don't seem to work; but if you go through the pictures you'll see the ones I mean.

Dec-01-15  siggemannen: the photos are relocated to

nice ones, especially Geller looks pretty sharp =)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Two different tournaments for Euwe: +1 the first half and -6 in the second.
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