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Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense (C93)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5
7 Bb3 O-O 8 c3 d6 9 h3 h6

Number of games in database: 606
Years covered: 1908 to 2014
Overall record:
   White wins 31.4%
   Black wins 15.5%
   Draws 53.1%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Mikhail Tal  16 games
Bruno Parma  15 games
Robert Eugene Byrne  10 games
Svetozar Gligoric  62 games
Efim Geller  32 games
Aleksandar Matanovic  19 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Deep Blue vs Kasparov, 1997
Timman vs Kasparov, 1985
Geller vs Portisch, 1967
A Medina Garcia vs Gligoric, 1968
Tal vs Gligoric, 1968
Timman vs Kasparov, 1985
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 page 1 of 25; games 1-25 of 606  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Schlechter vs Prokes 1-037 1908 PragueC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
2. E Bhend vs L Weltjens  1-030 1958 13th olm qual. group 4C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
3. Geller vs Tal  ½-½14 1961 Moscow USSR Team chC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
4. Jansa vs Spassky  ½-½23 1961 MoscowC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
5. Tal vs Smyslov  ½-½31 1961 USSR Championship 1961bC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
6. Tal vs Smyslov  ½-½21 1961 Moskva ttC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
7. S Garcia Martinez vs Spassky 0-145 1961 Moscow (Russia)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
8. Y Kotkov vs Spassky 0-138 1961 Moscow (Russia)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
9. Portisch vs I Bilek  ½-½21 1962 Stockholm InterzonalC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
10. L Shamkovich vs Bronstein  1-045 1962 Moscow (Russia)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
11. Geller vs A Matanovic 1-036 1962 Varna olC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
12. Keres vs F Blatny  1-059 1962 Varna olfC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
13. Gligoric vs Korchnoi  ½-½31 1962 Stockholm InterzonalC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
14. Larry Evans vs Lombardy 1-037 1962 New York (training match)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
15. Larry Evans vs Lombardy 0-140 1962 New York (training match)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
16. Najdorf vs E C Guevara ½-½16 1962 HavanaC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
17. A Matanovic vs Pachman  ½-½26 1962 CubaC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
18. Parma vs Kholmov  ½-½28 1962 Lvov (Ukraine)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
19. W Pietzsch vs Spassky  0-135 1962 VarnaC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
20. Stein vs Spassky 1-043 1962 USSR ChampionshipC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
21. Gligoric vs Spassky  ½-½33 1962 Habana (Cuba)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
22. Unzicker vs Filip  ½-½27 1962 Varna ol (Men)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
23. Tringov vs Spassky  ½-½40 1962 Varna ol (Men)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
24. Savon vs Krogius  ½-½49 1962 USSR ChampionshipC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
25. Savon vs Kholmov  0-162 1962 USSR ChampionshipC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
 page 1 of 25; games 1-25 of 606  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-08-04  Taidanii: Why is 9...h6 even being considered over 9...Na5?
Apr-08-04  Kenkaku: Actually, I feel that the Breyer or the Flohr-Zaitsev (popular these days) may be the best, rather than the Tchigorin. This is the Closed Ruy Lopez though, so any strategy can be effective, including the waiting move 9...h6 (it keeps the knight off g5, and will be useful in fighting off a kingside pawn storm as well, of course).
Apr-08-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: The problem with 9...h6 is that the tempo spent on it allows White to complete the knight maneuver b1-d2-f1-(e3 or g3) with impunity - of course this is also present in the Breyer and some lines of the Chigorin. The Flohr-Zaitsev is probably Black's most testing line, as the pressure arrives at e4 fast enough to stop said maneuver. Given the choice, I would probably go for either the Zaitsev or the Breyer over the slow Smyslov and the "knight on the rim" Chigorin, but of course they are also both viable defenses.
Apr-08-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Yes, 9. - h6 is slow, probably unnecessarily so because Ng5 isn't often too effective. That is why Smyslov isn't so often played, but it is not unsound.
Apr-08-04  ruylopez900: 9...h6 seems to be a waiting move, seeing what White will do. I agree with ken and bill that the Flohr-Zaitzev is the most testing line for White in the Closed Ruy Lopez.
Oct-25-04  Helloween: I don't like moves that commit the pawn structure when there are at least 3 or 4 better moves on the board. To me, this is a poor man's Flohr-Zaitsev, since h7-h6 is an almost universal move in that system anyway.

I play the Karpov variation (9...Nd7) almost exclusively in the closed.

Jul-22-05  Backward Development: <I don't like moves that commit the pawn structure when there are at least 3 or 4 better moves on the board...h7-h6 is an almost universal move in that system anyway.> Thus, the move doesn't really commit anything, since the move is common. Examining the main lines of the Zaitsev, white has many strong, forcing variations at his disposal which seem to leave black in trouble of being mated. While the QS majority is very important, quite often the weakness of Black's KS is more telling. In the Smyslov, direct attacks seem to happen less frequently and Black's QB in particular can benefit from the flexibility of 9...h6. In the closed positions after a d4-d5 push, it's well known that a bishop on d7 is generally more useful. I believe that critical difference is a reason to favor the Smyslov. The Karpov variation follows the maxim of making no weakening pawn moves, if possible. Although the main-line positions are very solid, they don't seem to offer black many winning chances. I'm learning how to defend the Spanish, and I think the Smyslov is maybe best.
Jul-23-05  OneBadDog: If Black doesn't want a three move repetition in the Flohr-Zaitsev, he should be prepared to play the Smyslov.
Jul-23-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It is only a 3-fold repetition if one of the players claims it, as Van der Wiel vs Karpov, 1989 shows. Both players got nearer to the time-control with the multiple repetition.
Aug-01-05  gambitfan: is it the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez ???
Apr-09-06  WTHarvey: Here is a little collection of puzzles from miniatures of the RL Closed, Smyslov (C93): http://www.wtharvey.com/c93.html What's the best move?
Aug-17-10  rapidcitychess: <gambitfan? Er, no. 9...Bb7 and then 10...Re8
Seems like a the classical(Not like the Corden or Moller) defense, in order to play 10...Re8, 11...Bf8, 12...g6, 13...Bg7. Just to get a basic Ruy Lopez setup.
Mar-12-12  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d6 9.h3 h6


click for larger view

Sep-29-13  Kikoman: <Opening of the Day>

Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d6 9. h3 h6


click for larger view

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