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Vasily Smyslov's Best Games
Compiled by KingG
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The best games of Smyslov's career.

I will make 40 good moves and if you are able to do the same, the game will end in a draw. - Vasily Smyslov

I consider chess an art. I grew up in an atmosphere filled with music and chess. Vasily Smyslov

My father instilled in me a love for so-called "simple positions", with the participation of only a few pieces. I was able to gain a deep feeling for what each piece is capable of, to sense their peculiarities, their strength and importance in various different situations on the board, the limits of their capabilities, what they "like" and what they "don't like" and how they behave... Such a "mutual understanding" with the pieces enables a player to see that which often remains concealed to purely logical analysis. It is then that the innate ability of a player, which I call a sense of harmony, manifests itself. - Vasily Smyslov

Befitting his monumental stature and imposing appearance, he is what may be called a stately walker. He walks in slow and measured step, his hands invariably folded behind his broad back, and his magnificently large head slightly bent, as if he were deeply in thought (and he probably is). He never stirs very far from his board, hardly ever more than some twelve or fifteen measured paces, which he will slowly, very slowly, take to and fro, up and down. And no one has ever seen him hurry back if he happens to be at the far end when his opponent punches his clock. Unknown Source (on Smyslov)

Smyslov's manner of play is somehow sneaky: he does not attack you directly, he does not mount a straightforward offensive, he does not threaten to give an immediate mate, but he steals up by other secret means, known only to himself. His unsuspecting opponents do not see through his secret plans, it appaers to them that everything is alright... Then they come to their senses, suspect something bad, but it is already too late! - Max Euwe

In the period 1953-58 Smyslov was undoubtably the strongest tounrnament fighter. His talent was universal - he could play subtly in the opening, go totally onto the defensive, attack vigorously or manoeuvre cooly. And this is to say nothing about the endgame - here he was in his element. Sometimes he took decisions that were staggering in their depth... The combination of good calculation of variations, boldness, independence and natural health made Smyslov invulnerable at that time. - Mikhail Botvinnik

Smyslov is known as a player of very distinctive and interesting style, as a virtuoso of the endgame. Smyslov is a modern Capablanca. We have all learned something from his brilliant technique of playing endings. - Mikhail Tal

I know the secret of Smyslov's staggering successes. He was able to transform himself in good time, finding a harmonious balance between play on "general grounds" and concrete calculation. Without necessity he does not "drive himself" into a maze of tiring calculations, but when the situation demands it he deeply and accurately calculates variations. Smyslov and I have much in common... - Tigran Petrosian

Smyslov never plays flippantly. He possesses a subtle positional feeling. He fights desperately in an inferior position. - Robert Fischer

Youthful passion and wisdom, experience and recklessness are harmoniously combined in his play. - Anatoly Karpov

Vasily Vasilievich has an incredible intuition, and I would call it his "hand" - that is, his hand knows on which square to place every piece, and he does not need to calculate anything with his head. - Boris Spassky

He is truth in chess! Smyslov plays correctly, truthfully and has a natural style. - Vladimir Kramnik

He mastered all elements of play. Smyslov was a brilliant endgame specialist, all in all his play resembled a smooth flow, like a song. When you look at his games, you have that light feeling as if his hand is making the moves all by itself while the man is making no effort at all - just like he was drinking coffee or reading a newspaper! This has the feel of Mozart's light touch! No stress, no effort, everything is simple yet brilliant. I like this feature of Smyslov and I am fond of his games. - Vladimir Kramnik


A Tsvetkov vs Smyslov, 1947 
(B08) Pirc, Classical, 64 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Ribli, 1983 
(D42) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 7.Bd3, 41 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Pachman, 1947 
(C11) French, 33 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Geller, 1953 
(E94) King's Indian, Orthodox, 44 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Panov, 1943 
(A53) Old Indian, 45 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Ragozin, 1947 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 26 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Karpov, 1971 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 29 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs H Steiner, 1946 
(A51) Budapest Gambit, 34 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs T Florian, 1949 
(D97) Grunfeld, Russian, 25 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Benko, 1969 
(A30) English, Symmetrical, 34 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs I Rudakovsky, 1945 
(B83) Sicilian, 29 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Denker, 1946 
(B24) Sicilian, Closed, 52 moves, 1-0

Keres vs Smyslov, 1953 
(A17) English, 28 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Bronstein, 1956 
(A15) English, 57 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1954 
(C18) French, Winawer, 25 moves, 1-0

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1954 
(E67) King's Indian, Fianchetto, 33 moves, 0-1

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1957 
(A16) English, 41 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1957 
(D98) Grunfeld, Russian, 28 moves, 1-0

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1957 
(A15) English, 69 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 
(D98) Grunfeld, Russian, 24 moves, 1-0

C Bielicki vs Smyslov, 1964 
(A28) English, 30 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs V Liberzon, 1968 
(A25) English, 41 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs J A Rubinetti, 1970 
(E08) Catalan, Closed, 45 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Ivanchuk, 1988 
(E10) Queen's Pawn Game, 52 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Suetin, 1952 
(A13) English, 59 moves, 1-0

V Mikenas vs Smyslov, 1944 
(D19) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch, 54 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Simagin, 1952 
(A14) English, 62 moves, 1-0

Denker vs Smyslov, 1946 
(E29) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch, 43 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Keres, 1952 
(E40) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, 56 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Averbakh, 1946 
(E53) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, 68 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Reshevsky, 1953 
(A17) English, 56 moves, 1-0

K Gerasimov vs Smyslov, 1935 
(D05) Queen's Pawn Game, 22 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Lilienthal, 1938 
(C11) French, 56 moves, 1-0

S Belavenets vs Smyslov, 1939 
(A48) King's Indian, 36 moves, 0-1

Kotov vs Smyslov, 1940 
(E81) King's Indian, Samisch, 51 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs I Rabinovich, 1941 
(C91) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 42 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Boleslavsky, 1941 
(C19) French, Winawer, Advance, 41 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Lilienthal, 1942 
(D76) Neo-Grunfeld, 6.cd Nxd5, 7.O-O Nb6, 41 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs V Liublinsky, 1949 
(C79) Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred, 33 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Keres, 1948 
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 41 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1943 
(C82) Ruy Lopez, Open, 50 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Kotov, 1943 
(B24) Sicilian, Closed, 42 moves, 1-0

Ravinsky vs Smyslov, 1944 
(E02) Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4, 40 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs V Makogonov, 1944 
(B12) Caro-Kann Defense, 60 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Konstantinopolsky, 1945 
(B58) Sicilian, 30 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Reshevsky, 1945 
(C82) Ruy Lopez, Open, 41 moves, 1-0

Reshevsky vs Smyslov, 1945 
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 71 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Kotov, 1946 
(B24) Sicilian, Closed, 41 moves, 1-0

Bondarevsky vs Smyslov, 1946 
(C85) Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation Doubly Deferred (DERLD), 42 moves, 0-1

Sajtar vs Smyslov, 1946 
(D90) Grunfeld, 26 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs I Koenig, 1946 
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 37 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Euwe, 1946 
(C77) Ruy Lopez, 49 moves, 1-0

Boleslavsky vs Smyslov, 1946 
(C97) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 34 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs C Kottnauer, 1946 
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 21 moves, 1-0

Tolush vs Smyslov, 1947 
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 27 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Najdorf, 1950 
(B92) Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation, 40 moves, 1-0

Bondarevsky vs Smyslov, 1947 
(A48) King's Indian, 40 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Reshevsky, 1948 
(C75) Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 52 moves, 1-0

Uhlmann vs Smyslov, 1956 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 18 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Xu Jun, 1985
(A49) King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4, 67 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Golombek, 1947 
(B24) Sicilian, Closed, 53 moves, 1-0

Gligoric vs Smyslov, 1953 
(A30) English, Symmetrical, 41 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Euwe, 1948 
(C81) Ruy Lopez, Open, Howell Attack, 26 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Letelier, 1950 
(C19) French, Winawer, Advance, 42 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs P Trifunovic, 1955 
(A17) English, 48 moves, 1-0

Geller vs Smyslov, 1956 
(E26) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch, 56 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 
(B11) Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4, 35 moves, 1-0

Gligoric vs Smyslov, 1959 
(D87) Grunfeld, Exchange, 39 moves, 0-1

Uhlmann vs Smyslov, 1971 
(E17) Queen's Indian, 30 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Ulf Andersson, 1976 
(A30) English, Symmetrical, 39 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Uhlmann, 1966 
(C19) French, Winawer, Advance, 60 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs M Kamishov, 1945 
(C40) King's Knight Opening, 17 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs W Schmidt, 1980
(B05) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 38 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Romanishin, 1976 
(B24) Sicilian, Closed, 38 moves, 1-0

Gligoric vs Smyslov, 1947 
(A48) King's Indian, 115 moves, 1/2-1/2

Averbakh vs Smyslov, 1939 
(A06) Reti Opening, 24 moves, 0-1

Zsofia Polgar vs Smyslov, 2000 
(C60) Ruy Lopez, 28 moves, 0-1

Portisch vs Smyslov, 1971 
(A81) Dutch, 37 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Huebner, 1983 
(A35) English, Symmetrical, 48 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Ribli, 1983 
(D42) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 7.Bd3, 42 moves, 1-0

Keres vs Smyslov, 1973 
(C97) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 41 moves, 0-1

...d5 sac
Petrosian vs Smyslov, 1949 
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 46 moves, 0-1

Bisguier vs Smyslov, 1955 
(D94) Grunfeld, 36 moves, 0-1

Polugaevsky vs Smyslov, 1960 
(D94) Grunfeld, 45 moves, 0-1

Smyslov vs Tal, 1969 
(A38) English, Symmetrical, 42 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs L Schmid, 1952 
(A43) Old Benoni, 23 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs K Darga, 1964 
(E54) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, 59 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs K Darga, 1964 
(A04) Reti Opening, 25 moves, 1-0

88 games

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