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|Mar-30-10|| ||muwatalli: rest in peace smyslov. a giant of the chess world passes away..|
|Mar-30-10|| ||cannedpawn: I agree. RIP Vasily. I withdrawl my question.|
|Mar-30-10|| ||SirChrislov: Far better chess player than opera singer. He leaves this world with victories over the two giants- Fischer and Kasparov. |
Thank you for the links <SimonWebbsTiger> and <ray keene>. Farewell GM Smyslov.
|Mar-30-10|| ||whatthefat: I particularly liked this description from the Guardian obituary:|
<At the board Smyslov usually sat immobile, clenched hands to his cheeks. Tall and auburn-haired, he would pace the arena with a leisurely, almost stately mien. He had an individual technique, too, when moving a piece, grasping it midway down its stem rather than near the top as most players do, then placing it on its new square with a slight screwing action. The overall effect was of controlled, assured power.>
|Mar-30-10|| ||SamAtoms1980: :-(
*brings flowers to Smyslov's tomb*
|Mar-30-10|| ||Eggman: Strange to think that Karpov is now the second oldest living former world champion (with Spassky the oldest). How time flies.|
|Mar-30-10|| ||HeMateMe: Perhaps an unnatural gap, because Petrosian and Fischer died young.|
|Mar-30-10|| ||HeMateMe: Here is an article in the New York Times about VS by Dylan Loeb McClain, who covers chess for the Times. I guess they 'retired' Robert Byrne.|
It is not surprising that accolades have poured in from all over the world on the death of Vasily Smyslov, the seventh world champion. Though Smyslov was the titleholder for only a year, he was among the world’s best players for decades and his games had a certain clarity to them that was widely admired.
He did not play speculatively like Mikhail Tal, or adhere to a set of scientific principals, like his great rival, Mikhail Botvinnik. He was not stubbornly dogmatic, like Bobby Fischer, or a technician, like Anatoly Karpov. Though he drew inspiration from Alexander Alekhine, his style was unique. Boris Spassky has often been described as a “universal” player because he was at home in any type of position, but for people who want to learn how to play chess well, studying Smyslov’s games might be more fruitful.
In every situation, in every game, he always tried to find the best move. No more, no less. In an interview five years ago, Vladimir Kramnik, the world champion from 2000 to 2007, said of Smyslov,
He is truth in chess! Smyslov plays correctly, truthfully and has a natural style. By the way, why do you think he lacks that aura of mystique like Tal or Capablanca? Because Smyslov is not an actor in chess, his play is neither artistic nor fascinating. But I am fond of his style. I would recommend a study of Smyslov’s games to children who want to know how to play chess because he plays the game how it should be played: his style is the closest to some sort of ‘virtual truth’ in chess. He always tried to make the strongest move in each position. He has surpassed many other of the World Champions in the number of strongest moves made. As a professional, this skill impresses me. I know that spectators are more interested in flaws … ups and downs. But from the professional standpoint, Smyslov has been underestimated.
It may be apocryphal, but a quote attributed to him was, “I will play 40 good moves. If you play 40 good moves, we will draw.” Given his approach to the game, the quote rings true.
His victory at the< Zurich Candidates tournament in 1953> was one of the great feats in chess history. Though there is plenty of room for argument, it was one of the strongest tournaments of all time — and Smyslov buried the competition, losing only one game.
Though Smyslov was clearly best known as a chess player, he had a great love for music. He believed that the two were interrelated. In his book, “Smyslov’s 125 Selected Games,” (Cadogan Chess Books), he wrote,
My study of chess was accompanied by a strong attraction to music, and it was probably thanks to this that from childhood I became accustomed to thinking of chess as an art, and have never regarded it as anything else, for all the science and sport involved in it. And, moreover, an art which in some ways is closer to music than it is customary to think. Perhaps chess and music are drawn together by laws of harmony and beauty which are difficult to formulate and difficult to grasp, or perhaps by something else.
At parties and informal gatherings, he was known to suddenly start singing and he had a powerful voice, having tried out (and almost been accepted) at the Bolshoi Opera. The video below was posted on YouTube last October and purports to be a recording of Smyslov singing.
|Mar-31-10|| ||mcgee: >>Far better chess player than opera singer<< Er...he only just missed out on singing for the Bolshoi! If Pavarotti had just missed a GM norm would we slag off his chess-playing credentials?|
>>Perhaps an unnatural gap, because Petrosian and Fischer died young<< And Tal too..
|Mar-31-10|| ||waustad: <SirChrislov>The recordings I've heard are from when he was well past his prime. Vibrato does tend to degenerate into wobble and such as one ages.|
|Mar-31-10|| ||Fusilli: <ray keene:> <the affair is widely rumoured but it seemed to me to be lacking in taste to mention such things in an obit for the times>|
I think GM Keene meant The Guardian. I didn't see anything to object in the obituary published in The New York Times.
|Mar-31-10|| ||Prugno: Mr. Smyslov, your existence was long and fruitful, but even if you had lived for over 100 years, it would still have been a tragedy to witness such a brilliant personality as yours departing from this world.|
However, all is not lost, as your beautiful games will live for ever. "A chess player, unlike, for instance, a golfer, creates something permanent" - Hugh Alexander. Even more true for a genius like you.
|Mar-31-10|| ||Caissanist: <Fusilli:> Ray Keene was referring to the obituary that he himself wrote for The Times of London. This was by way of explanation for why he didn't include the additional material that was in the Guardian's obituary.|
|Mar-31-10|| ||Caissanist: <Perhaps an unnatural gap, because Petrosian and Fischer died young.> Tal as well.|
|Mar-31-10|| ||Fusilli: <Caissanist> Oh, apologies, and thanks for the clarification. My US-centric instict was to assume that "the times" meant the New York Times. Pretty embarrassing.|
|Mar-31-10|| ||TheChessGuy: Is that Petrosian in the background of this photograph? It's a little blurry, but several facial features match up(rounded ears, large hooked nose).|
|Mar-31-10|| ||andrewjsacks: Smyslov is the most underrated World Champion. He was the world's best player from approximately 1953 until approximately 1958, and even Botvinnik, in my opinion the most overrated World Champion, has said as much.|
|Apr-01-10|| ||M.D. Wilson: No, that's not Petrosian I don't think. I think Smyslov was the best players for about 5-10 years. Certainly Botvinnik's equal over the board, yet he only held the Title for one year. Together with Tal, he reigned as one of the "Winter Kings". Botvinnik was truly primus inter pares. Not sure that I'd say Botvinnik is an overrated World Champion. He was a great challenger, but a mediocre defender for the Title. But boy, when he was hungry! Still, he always had to compete against younger opponents, he wasn't a professional chess like others (he was an electrical engineer), and he missed the opportunity to obtain the Title during his best years (during World War Two). The most overrated World Champion based on results is of course Bobby Fischer.|
|Apr-01-10|| ||Fusilli: <TheChessGuy> Definitely not Petrosian. For a picture of young Petrosian, see: http://iulianceausescu.wordpress.co...|
And if you google images of "Tigran Petrosian" you'll find plenty of pictures of middle age Petrosian.
|Apr-02-10|| ||Honza Cervenka: It is very sad news to hear that Vasily Smyslov, the legend, one of true titans and all-time greatest artists of the game of chess passed away. But as long as the chess will be played or only remembered by humankind, he won't be forgotten! Rest in peace, Grand Champion!|
|Apr-04-10|| ||M.D. Wilson: His endgame was second to none.|
|Apr-10-10|| ||offramp: The problem seems to be about the translation of certain key words.|
"Smyslob bacht шарф, oder носок" some would translate this as "sock".
Smyslov's memoirs mention that he intended to smuggle a Swiss sock
back into the USSR for Mstislav Rostropovich.The sock was discovered
by the NKVD, soaking wet, at the bottom of a barrel of mackerel in
Smolensk in 1956. At the time, no charges were brought (at the moment
the case is 'on hold') and the sock was forwarded on to Rostropovich.
But he then found himself under 24-hour surveillance, especially as he
had to walk around with only one sock on.
In 1959 Smyslov managed to send the other sock back, this time
sellotaped inside Petrosian's hat. But Smyslov had made a mistake.
Poor Rostropovich had to walk around in the agony of two left socks!
A hilarious episode!
|Apr-12-10|| ||HeMateMe: Smyslov/Botvinnik coflict:
In the early part of his career Smyslov enjoyed the blessings of Botvinnik and as a result got a lot of tournament invitations. There was, for example, a lot of talk as to whether Vasily deserved to be in the 1948 world championship tournament. Bronstein had this to say: <"Botvinnik cheated by excluding Boleslavsky and Najdorf from the 1948 World Championship.> Boleslavsky was more deserving than Smyslov, but Botvinnik decided the one Soviet Jew was enough -- him."
Anyway, Smyslov’s inclusion proved to be completely justified -- he placed second to Botvinnik ahead of Reshevsky, Keres and Max Euwe.
The conflict between the two started during the preparations of the Soviet team for the 1952 Helsinki Olympiad. Although he was world champion, Botvinnik had a relatively poor playing record in the early 1950s: no formal competitive games after winning the 1948 match tournament until he defended his title, then struggled to draw his 1951 championship match with Bronstein, placed only fifth in the 1951 Soviet Championship, and tied for third in the 1952 Geza Maroczy Memorial tournament in Budapest. As a result of this perceived poor form the team voted to put Keres on top board and Botvinnik on second. Botvinnik refused playing second fiddle and withdrew from the team -- he blamed Smyslov for this and started a feud which lasted till almost the end of his life.
Anyway, there was a happy ending. During their retirement years Botvinnik (he died in 1995) and Smyslov had dachas close to one another and they made peace -- having long talks everyday on anything under the sun.
|Apr-12-10|| ||keypusher: <As a result of this perceived poor form the team voted to put Keres on top board and Botvinnik on second. Botvinnik refused playing second fiddle and withdrew from the team....>|
Thanks, <HeMateMe>, this makes more sense than what I read in the past, which is that the rest of the team voted Botvinnik off entirely. What is your source for this?
|Apr-12-10|| ||Everett: Smyslov, in one of the above interviews, seems to indicate that Huebner's behavior was "not quite correct" during their '83 match, and that some kind of divine intervention influenced the roulette wheel to decide in favor of Smyslov.|
What did Huebner do during that match that was so egregious?
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