chessgames.com
Members · Prefs · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Smyslov 
XIV Schach-Olympiade Leipzig, 1960  
Vasily Smyslov
Number of games in database: 2,644
Years covered: 1935 to 2001
Last FIDE rating: 2494
Highest rating achieved in database: 2620
Overall record: +915 -309 =1386 (61.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      34 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

MOST PLAYED OPENINGS
With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (205) 
    B24 B40 B92 B58 B23
 English (128) 
    A15 A13 A14 A10 A17
 Ruy Lopez (106) 
    C77 C92 C79 C97 C75
 King's Indian (82) 
    E61 E60 E62 E66 E69
 Reti System (76) 
    A04 A05 A06
 English, 1 c4 c5 (69) 
    A30 A36 A33 A35 A39
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (217) 
    C60 C76 C69 C92 C67
 Slav (145) 
    D19 D13 D11 D10 D15
 Nimzo Indian (124) 
    E32 E54 E41 E55 E34
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (92) 
    C92 C97 C93 C98 C84
 Grunfeld (76) 
    D94 D98 D85 D86 D99
 English, 1 c4 e5 (71) 
    A28 A21 A29 A22 A20
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1954 0-1
   Smyslov vs V Liberzon, 1968 1-0
   Smyslov vs I Rudakovsky, 1945 1-0
   Smyslov vs Reshevsky, 1948 1-0
   Smyslov vs Ribli, 1983 1-0
   Smyslov vs Karpov, 1971 1-0
   Keres vs Smyslov, 1953 0-1
   K Gerassimov vs Smyslov, 1935 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1957 0-1
   Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1954 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948)
   Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954)
   Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Return Match (1957)
   Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Rematch (1958)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1949)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)
   Moscow (1963)
   Havana (1965)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   USSR Championship (1955)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)
   USSR Championship (1940)
   Groningen (1946)
   Palma de Mallorca (1967)
   Las Palmas (1972)
   Budapest (1952)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Smyslov! by amadeus
   Road to the Championship - Vasily Smyslov by suenteus po 147
   125 Selected Games by Vasily Smyslov by suenteus po 147
   Smyslov's Tournaments and Matches 1935-1979 by WCC Editing Project
   Nearly to Perfection by Imohthep
   Endgames virtuoso Smyslov by LESTRADAR
   Vasily Smyslov's Best Games by KingG
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 1) by Anatoly21
   Smyslov brevities by ughaibu
   Smyslov's Best Games of chess 1935-1957 by kashparov72c5
   Endgames World champions - part two by Alenrama
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1960-1979 (Part 3) by Anatoly21
   WC-Botvinnik-Smyslov trio by kevin86

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Vasily Smyslov
Search Google for Vasily Smyslov


VASILY SMYSLOV
(born Mar-24-1921, died Mar-27-2010, 89 years old) Russia
PRONUNCIATION:
[what is this?]
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 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:
[rusbase-1] [rusbase-2] http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/48$...
[rusbase-3] http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/525...
http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/525...
[rusbase-4] [rusbase-5] http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/555...
[rusbase-6]
http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/646...

Smyslov Videos:
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.

Beginnings

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>

Soviet Grandmaster

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.
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>

World Champion

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.

Candidates Cycling

Theoretical Contributions

-<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>

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

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>

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

===

-<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>

===

Treachery

===

Personality

#############################

Sources

[<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

Tournament Sources

[-<18th Moscow Championship 1938> <[rusbase-9]>

-<Gorky National 1st Category Tournament 1938 (2d group)> <[rusbase-10]>

############################


 page 1 of 106; games 1-25 of 2,644  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. K Gerassimov vs Smyslov 0-122 1935 MoscowD05 Queen's Pawn Game
2. N Zanozdra vs Smyslov 1-025 1938 Ch URS (juniors)B17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
3. Smyslov vs V Zak 1-036 1938 MoscowA43 Old Benoni
4. Smyslov vs M Recash 1-023 1938 MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
5. Smyslov vs Lilienthal 1-056 1938 t MoscowC11 French
6. V Baturinsky vs Smyslov 0-134 1938 MoskvaC45 Scotch Game
7. Bondarevsky vs Smyslov 1-026 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingE85 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox Variation
8. Smyslov vs I Rabinovich  ½-½31 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
9. Smyslov vs Flohr ½-½43 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC77 Ruy Lopez
10. Smyslov vs Ragozin 0-135 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
11. S Belavenets vs Smyslov 0-136 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingA48 King's Indian
12. Smyslov vs V Makogonov ½-½49 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingB10 Caro-Kann
13. P Romanovsky vs Smyslov  ½-½43 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Keres vs Smyslov 1-033 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Alatortsev vs Smyslov 0-140 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
16. Smyslov vs Levenfish  ½-½63 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
17. Reshevsky vs Smyslov 1-070 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Lilienthal vs Smyslov  ½-½42 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Averbakh vs Smyslov 0-124 1939 MoscowA06 Reti Opening
20. Smyslov vs Kan  ½-½31 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
21. Smyslov vs Konstantinopolsky 1-057 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC77 Ruy Lopez
22. Lilienthal vs Smyslov 0-153 1939 Ch MoscowE26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
23. Panov vs Smyslov ½-½42 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC77 Ruy Lopez
24. Smyslov vs Tolush 0-124 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC16 French, Winawer
25. Smyslov vs Goglidze 1-080 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingB83 Sicilian
 page 1 of 106; games 1-25 of 2,644  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Smyslov wins | Smyslov loses  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 44 OF 50 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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
Premium Chessgames Member
  SamAtoms1980: :-(

*brings flowers to Smyslov's tomb*

Mar-30-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Perhaps an unnatural gap, because Petrosian and Fischer died young.
Mar-30-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.

Amen.

Mar-31-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: <Perhaps an unnatural gap, because Petrosian and Fischer died young.> Tal as well.
Mar-31-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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
Premium Chessgames Member
  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?

Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 50)
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 44 OF 50 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other users.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.


NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific player and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of Chessgames.com, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!


home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | advertising | contact us
Copyright 2001-2014, Chessgames Services LLC
Web design & database development by 20/20 Technologies