Vasily Vasiliyevich Smyslov was born in Moscow. A talented singer, Smyslov narrowly missed joining the Bolshoi Opera. Opera's loss was the chess world's gain. He was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1941. Moscow champion of 1942. He took his his first win over Botvinnik at Moscow championship of 1943. Moscow champion of 1944/5. Sub-champion of the World in 1948. Shared the first place with David Bronstein in the 1949 Soviet Championship. Winner of Chigorin Memorial 1951. After his success at Zurich 1953, he became the challenger in 1954, but tied the match with Botvinnik. Soviet champion in 1955 sharing the first place with Efim Geller. Again winner of the Candidates Tournaments at Amsterdam 1956 and after winner of Alekhine memorial (drawing Botvinnik) the way was paved for Smyslov to become the 7th World Champion when he defeated Mikhail Botvinnik in 1957. His reign was short-lived as Botvinnik regained the title a year later.
Smyslov would go on to many tournament victories such as Amsterdam 1964 (jointly), Havana 1965 in front of Robert James Fischer, and Monte Carlo 1969. In 1982 at the Las Palmas Interzonal Tournament, Smyslov finished second and qualified for the Candidates Matches, and at age 61 advanced past Robert Huebner in the quarter-finals (winning the spin of a roulette wheel to decide the tied match), then defeating Zoltan Ribli in the semi-final, before losing to young challenger Garry Kasparov in the final. Vasily Smyslov crowned a remarkable career by becoming the first Senior World Champion at Bad Worishofen in 1991. His father Vasily Osipovich Smyslov also played and was a strong amateur player.
Crosstables and other info can be found here:
Singing, playing piano, beating Botvinnik (1957) http://www.britishpathe.com/record....
Receiving World Championship Laurels (1957) http://www.britishpathe.com/record....
Walking with Keres in the Netherlands (1948) http://www.britishpathe.com/record....
Wikipedia article: Vasily Smyslov
Revision and Expansion of this bio under construction by JFQ.
His father was an "Economic Engineer" working in the "Department for the Preparation of Securities" <125 Games, 1>
Lived in a small flat in an old house on the outskirts of Moscow. Highlight of our life was a 'Schroeder' piano, on which my father used to play. He began teaching me piano and chess <125 Games, 2>
Autumn 1938- 1st year student at the Moscow School of Aviation <Romanovsky xii>
"Starting in 1948, I seriously studied singing under Professor Konstantin Zlobin, whom I met by chance in Leningrad in 1947, when I was playing in the 15th USSR Championship. For many years I took lessons from him, and even appeared in a singing competition in the Bolshoi Theatre. But, as in the life of my father, singing remained something for my own satisfaction." <125 Games, 17>
Father Vasily Osipovich Smyslov taught him to play chess at age 7. <125 Games, 1>
After winning a rook odds match against his Uncle Kirill, he was given Alekhine's "Best Games" as a prize. Inscription: 'To the winner of the match, to future champion Vasya Smyslov' <125 Games, 1>
Summer of 1935 participated in 1st chess event. Unrated players in chess club of Gorky Park. He won this and two more, by the end of the summer he was 3d Category. <125 Games, 4-5>
Fall 1935, joins the Moskvoretsky House of Pioneers. <125 Games, 5>
"In 1936 he entered the second category, and in the autumn of the same year the first category." <Romanovsky, xi>
In 1937- 1. <Moskvoretsky House of Pioneers Championship 1937> (Fall) 1st, 11-0. Had earned <1st Category rank> in autumn 1936
-<Smyslov> on his "happiest moment": At the championship of the Young Pioneers Stadium, where I won all 11 games, didn't give away a single draw, and there were strong players there, almost all of them became masters, I kept the tournament table from that event." <Sosonko> pp.126-27
Jan. 1938- Leningrad- Smyslov won the USSR under 18 Championship. <Averbakh p.34> Grigory Levenfish gave him 1st prize of an inscribed clock, which "continues to count out the time of my chess career.<125 Games, 9>
Shared 1-3 places with Anatoly Ufimtsev and Mark Moiseevich Stolberg in the <Gorky National 1st Category Tournament 1938 (2d group)> [rusbase-7]
This result earned him the Candidate Master title. <Romanovsky, xi>
Shared 1st with Sergey Vsevolodovich Belavenets, ahead of Grandmaster Andre Lilienthal at <18th Moscow Championship 1938>, awarded Master Title. <125 Games, 9> <[rusbase-8]>
Finished 3d in the USSR Championship (1940), Finished 3d in the USSR Absolute Championship (1941)- "in accordance with the norms in existence, for these two successes I was awarded the title of USSR grandmaster." <125 Games, 9-10>
1st International tournament Groningen 1946.
"third place... behind Mikhail Botvinnik and Max Euwe opened the way for my participation in the battle for the World Championship." <125 Games, 11>
Smyslov's 2d in the <1948 WCC> seeded him into the <Budapest 1950 Candidates Tournament>. Budapest Candidates (1950)
They were to be joined by the unsuccessful invitees to the 1948 Championship, but only Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres took their places.<nescio>
Smyslov: "3d place in the <Budapest 1950 Candidates Tournament> gave me the automatic right to a place in the next Candidates Tournament." <125 Games, 12>
1st in the <Zurich Candidates Tournament 1953> Zurich Candidates (1953)
1954 <World Championship Match> Botvinnik-Smyslov World Championship Match (1954)
Drew Botvinnik, who retained championship on draw odds.
-<Grunfeld Defense, Smyslov variation (D99)>
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 <Nfd7>
This plan was developed in preparation for the <1948 WCC>. Smyslov: "The point of the plan, involving the transfer of the king's knight to b6, and the development of the other knight at c6, lies in piece pressure on White's pawn centre."> <125 Games, 11>
-<Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense (C93)>
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 <h6>
-<Slav Defense: Smyslov Variation (D16)>
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.a4 <Na6>
-<Ruy Lopez Fianchetto Defense (C60)>
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6
Smyslov revived this line at <Szolnok 1975>
<1> Vasily Smyslov, "Smyslov's 125 Selected Games" Ken Neat transl. Cadogen, 1983
2 P.A. Romanovsky, "Vassily Vassilievitch Smyslov."
Published in Vasily Smyslov, "My Best Games of Chess (1935-1957)" P.H. Clarke ed., transl. (Routledge and Kegan Paul 1958), pp. xi-xxvii (First published as "Izbrannie partii" in Russian in 1952)
3 P.H. Clarke, "V.V. Smyslov, 1952-57." Published in
Vasily Smyslov, "My Best Games of Chess (1935-1957)"
4 Yuri Averbakh "Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes" Steve Giddins transl. New in Chess, 2011
5 Genna Sosonko "The World Champions I Knew." New in Chess, 2013
6 Edward Winter, ed. "World Chess Champions." Pergamon Press, 1981
7 Andrew Soltis, "Soviet Chess 1917-1991" McFarland, 1997
8 Harry Golombek "The World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958" Hardinge Simpole, 1958
9 Smyslov Interview by Vladimir Anzikeev for "Shakhmatnaya Nedelia" (Chess Week). Translated by Zoya Vlassova. First appeared in "Chess Today" No. 1045.
10 Mikhail Botvinnik, "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)" Kean Neat ed., transl. Olomouc, 2012. -Originally published in Mikhail Botvinnik, "Match Botvinnik-Smyslov" (Fizkultura i sport, Moscow 1955)
11 Mikhail Botvinnik "Achieving the Aim" Bernard Cafferty, transl. Pergamon, 1981
12 Dmitry Plisetsky and Sergey Voronkov, "Russians vs. Fischer" Ken Neat transl. Everyman Chess, 2005
[-<18th Moscow Championship 1938> <[rusbase-9]>
-<Gorky National 1st Category Tournament 1938 (2d group)>