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XIV Schach-Olympiade Leipzig, 1960  
Vasily Smyslov
Number of games in database: 2,635
Years covered: 1935 to 2001
Last FIDE rating: 2494
Highest rating achieved in database: 2620
Overall record: +912 -307 =1381 (61.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      35 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (204) 
    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 (218) 
    C60 C76 C69 C92 C67
 Slav (144) 
    D19 D13 D11 D10 D15
 Nimzo Indian (122) 
    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
   Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1954 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1957 0-1

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)
   Las Palmas (1972)
   Palma de Mallorca (1967)
   Budapest (1952)
   USSR Championship (1951)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)
   Petropolis Interzonal (1973)
   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 jessicafischerqueen
   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

(born Mar-24-1921, died Mar-27-2010, 89 years old) Russia
[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]$...
[rusbase-4] [rusbase-5]

Smyslov Videos:
Singing, playing piano, beating Botvinnik (1957) Receiving World Championship Laurels (1957) Walking with Keres in the Netherlands (1948)

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>

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>

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

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 2,635  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. K Gerassimov vs Smyslov 0-122 1935 MoscowD05 Queen's Pawn Game
2. Smyslov vs V Zak 1-036 1938 MoscowA43 Old Benoni
3. Smyslov vs M Recash 1-023 1938 MoscowB10 Caro-Kann
4. N Zanozdra vs Smyslov 1-025 1938 Ch URS (juniors)B17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
5. V Baturinsky vs Smyslov 0-134 1938 MoskvaC45 Scotch Game
6. Smyslov vs Lilienthal 1-056 1938 t MoscowC11 French
7. Smyslov vs I Rabinovich  ½-½31 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
8. Smyslov vs Flohr ½-½43 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC77 Ruy Lopez
9. Smyslov vs Ragozin 0-135 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
10. S Belavenets vs Smyslov 0-136 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingA48 King's Indian
11. Smyslov vs V Makogonov ½-½49 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingB10 Caro-Kann
12. P Romanovsky vs Smyslov  ½-½43 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Lilienthal vs Smyslov 0-153 1939 Ch MoscowE26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
14. Alatortsev vs Smyslov 0-140 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
15. Smyslov vs Levenfish  ½-½63 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
16. Reshevsky vs Smyslov 1-070 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Keres vs Smyslov 1-033 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Averbakh vs Smyslov 0-124 1939 MoscowA06 Reti Opening
19. Smyslov vs Kan  ½-½31 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
20. Smyslov vs Konstantinopolsky 1-057 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC77 Ruy Lopez
21. Panov vs Smyslov ½-½42 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC77 Ruy Lopez
22. Lilienthal vs Smyslov  ½-½42 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Smyslov vs Tolush 0-124 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingC16 French, Winawer
24. Smyslov vs Goglidze 1-080 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingB83 Sicilian
25. Bondarevsky vs Smyslov 1-026 1939 Leningrad/Moscow trainingE85 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox Variation
 page 1 of 106; games 1-25 of 2,635  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 50 OF 50 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-16-14  Conrad93: Are there any good books on Smyslov?
May-16-14  RedShield: Just the Bible.
May-16-14  Conrad93: I tried reading the Bible once.
I personally think it's an overrated piece of fiction. I prefer Crime and Punishment. It did a better job of highlighting and analyzing the different aspects of morality and human nature.
May-16-14  RedShield: How far did you get?
May-16-14  Jim Bartle: I like that puzzle. I think the solution is 1. Re1 g1 (q) 2. Bf1 and then push the b-pawn.

If 1...g1 (N), then Qg3.

May-16-14  Conrad93: I was thinking 1. Bb7.

I wasn't even close.

May-16-14  Jim Bartle: I didn't get it on my own...
Sep-08-14  abiaravinth: super game
Sep-08-14  abiaravinth: nice game
Sep-08-14  abiaravinth: I think karpo beat fisher
Nov-02-14  Owl: Does anyone have the game where Smyslov sacrifices his knight in the opening on f2 and checks with his other Knight. The opponents F rook is on e or d.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Owl> From your description it could be a one of a few games.

Zsofia Polgar vs Smyslov, 2000 is one I know of.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Julio Bolbochan vs Smyslov, 1966 and Gligoric vs Smyslov, 1959 are also candidates.
Nov-02-14  Owl: No those aint it but they were similar and very good games
Nov-03-14  Zonszein: Re1, followed by Be1

...what is "hard" with Karpov it's not his hair but...his voice

All my respect to him

One of the best of all time.
Perhaps even the favourite for 1975

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Owl> I've been having a think about Smyslov and Knight checks on f2 and then I remembered the following game E R Lundin vs Smyslov, 1946

See the posts about the Chigorin Rubinstein Lodz 1906 game too. Chigorin found what Smyslov was to miss forty years later.

Nov-03-14  Owl: That's not it either, he won that game I am looking for
Nov-04-14  Owl: Queens were still on the board
It was in the beginning of the game

It was one of those games were white moves his F-rook off instead of his A-rook which is called "Wrong Rook"

Nov-05-14  Owl: Never mind I found and yes my description was not totally correct. Its been a long time since I seen
But Thx for the help
Here's the game
Uhlmann vs Smyslov, 1956
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Why can't the Russkies manage a Smyslov Memorial?
Jan-26-15  zanzibar: He has a <Treachery> section in his bio which is empty?!

One way or the other, that shouldn't be.

Jan-26-15  zanzibar: Also, his <Personality> is rather flat at that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I'd love to have heard him sing that song that begins, "We are the Westminster Piggy Bank Fam-i-Lee!!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I woke up this morning and found myself famous.

<"A minor planet named Vishyanand This was the fake April Fool's article that fooled most people...>

[They mean that the article was in fact genuine and...]

<" [are] some who got it right:

<Alan O'Brien>>[hello!]<, London: He is not the first. Vasily Smyslov has an asteroid named after him. 5413 Smyslov...">.

It goes on to say that Alekhine, Chigorin, Karpov as well as Anand and Smyslov, have minor planets named after them.

If you want to look them up, look up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: At that British Pathetic video mentioned in the bio ( ), where we see old Basil bashing out a ditty on the joanna, I thought he resembled anther famous musician. It's the non-late and great Tom Lehrer!

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