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Vasily Smyslov vs Vladimir Liberzon
"Proper English" (game of the day Jun-02-2008)
6th Soviet Team Cup (1968), Riga URS, rd 11, Dec-23
English Opening: King's English Variation. Hungarian Attack (A25)  ·  1-0



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Given 42 times; par: 69 [what's this?]

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find similar games 7 more Smyslov/V Liberzon games
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Games like this are excellent candidates for computer analysis, but any improvements found by the silicon monsters do not diminish the excellence of the organic critters that had to sit next to the loudly ticking chess clock and rack their poor little brains as best as they could. The best part of computer analysis is that we can finally learn the truth about a game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <<Phony Benoni>: Smyslov is not usually associated with "brilliancy", but you don't become world champion without the ability to pull off a real rip-snorter from time to time>

Absolutely true, although, personally, I do associate him with brilliancy. From well-crafted positional and strategic superiority, flashy combinations and forceful attacks naturally arise (I think Fischer said something like that once). You gave an example of brilliant Smyslov at 62. Here's an example of brilliant Smyslov at 18:

Averbakh vs Smyslov, 1939

May-28-09  WhiteRook48: brilliant play by Smyslov!
Dec-21-09  Katu: The position after Black's 11st move is simply artistic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Great and beautiful game by Smyslov - my favourite player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Fusilli: <<Phony Benoni>: Smyslov is not usually associated with "brilliancy", but you don't become world champion without the ability to pull off a real rip-snorter from time to time>

Absolutely true, although, personally, I do associate him with brilliancy. From well-crafted positional and strategic superiority, flashy combinations and forceful attacks naturally arise (I think Fischer said something like that once). You gave an example of brilliant Smyslov at 62. Here's an example of brilliant Smyslov at 18:>

This (as is the wrong idea that Tarrasch didn't play brilliant attacks etc - he did) is a common misconception about Smyslov (which Fusili addresses well)- he is not associated - he is "not associated" - quite wrongly - he played many brilliant and subtle ages. He was capable of all styles or playing well in all stages of a chess game. .

He says in his book that he knew how to convert into won ending...he not only looked a bit like Fischer when he was young but much of his chess is similar but he had similarities with many others of the great players. His best games are like the best games of the later Keres. He did complicate as much as Keres or obviously Tal (but Tal didn't complicate as much as he is believed to have done - he also converted often to favorable endings) but for example in certain QGD openings, or openings withe IQP, he showed wonderfully how to exploit that 'tabiya' (so to speak).

Botvinnik and Karpov have also been underestimated in this way. It is clear from his games he could calculate accurately and very deeply.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: In Smyslov's book he comments after move

15. Qb3

"Intending to strengthen the position further by d3-d4. Black cannot reply 15. ... c5 because of 16. bxc6 bxc6 17. Qxb8 Qxb8 18. Rxb8 Rxb8 19. Bxd6 when the importance of developing the B to a3 is seen."

This (game) is almost lesson in how to play the King's English!

May-01-10  SoundWave: I've bever seen anything quite like it. It's amazing. This isn't 'proper English''s more like Greek to me! Half his moves must be extremely deep positionally and strategically. I'm beginning to like Smyslov more and more each day. RIP.
Aug-17-10  sevenseaman: 41. Rxe5 is a rare brilliancy from Smyslov, a total surprise. This game has altered my dim view of the former World Champion.
Nov-16-10  sevenseaman: My last comment; 'dim' is strong and a somewhat presumptuous word. What I was trying to say was brilliancies from Smyslov were few and far between. I have always liked his play.
Jun-26-11  SimonWebbsTiger: a classic, richly deserving its 75/80 points and best game award in Informator 7.
Jun-26-11  AVRO38: <What I was trying to say was brilliancies from Smyslov were few and far between>

Apparently you are not familiar with Smyslov's games and career. He was rated in the Top 10 by Chessmetrics every month for 30 consecutive years without interruption (1940-1970). Very few if any can make this same claim. After that he continued to play top level chess becoming the Candidates Finalist vs Kasparov in 1984 and scoring wins against Kamsky, Ivanchuk, Seirawan, and Ehlvest among others into the '90's. In the words of Kasparov: "Smyslov was a giant among giants".

Pick up a copy of Smyslov's best games, it's well worth the money!

Jun-26-11  SimonWebbsTiger: @AVRO38

I'll just chip in with "but not any old copy of Smyslov's games" to your comment.

The two volume set is simply superb.
It is sitting prettily right next to my 3 volume set of Botvinnik from the same publishers.

Jan-04-12  rannewman: Can someone show me the refution of 28...K:g7? I am not getting it.
Jan-05-12  Retireborn: <rannewman> 28...Kxg7 29.Qc3+! and then

29...Kg8 30.Rxf5 Qxf5 31.Rf1 Qe6 32.Rf6


29...Kg6 30.Rxf5 Qxf5 31.e4 Bxe4 32.Bxe4 Qxe4 33.Re1

both mean decisive win of material for White.

Mar-22-12  wordfunph: courageous move 27.Nxf5! and the power of two bishops wheww! truly a masterpiece by Smyslov.
Sep-26-12  wordfunph: "My best game in ten years."

- Vasily Smyslov

Source: Modern Chess Brilliances by Larry Evans

Oct-04-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Smyslov vs V Liberzon, 1968.
Your score: 88 (par = 69) <Par is now 70>


Dec-07-12  mwalimu59: As a couple of others have previously suggested, black could have held up well with 36. ... Be6, perhaps even with an advantageous position. A possible continuation is 37. Ne7+ Kh8 38. Bd2 Qa1 39. Nd5 Bxf5 40. Bc3+ Qxc3 41. Nxc3 Be6

Despite that missed opportunity, black wasn't truly lost until the next move with 37. ... Qb1? Better was 37. ... Qa1 followed by 38. Rxb5 Rf8 39. Rbf5 Rxf5 40. Rxf5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The tournament book for Game Collection: Lone Pine 1975, commenting on the game Larry Evans vs V Liberzon, 1975, gives this background for the game:

"Smyslov played it almost dead with fatigue right off a plane! He had left the team matches with his team solidly in front with one round to go and several adjourned games that were 'sure draws. But suddenly the 'sure draws' became three losses and a terrified team captain phoned the airport where Smyslov was arriving and ordered him to turn around and rush right back for the final game! Asked how he could have played 'the Russian Game of the Century' after sixteen hours on planes and on his feet he replied 'It takes a great effort and a great game to defeat a great player'".

Feb-17-13  Jim Bartle: There's no commercial airport anywhere near Lone Pine that I knowof, though there's an air strip at Bishop, an hour or so away. So Smyslov probably had a fairly lengthy car ride as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Jim Bartle> Sorry to be unclear. The story concerned the game given on this page, played in the Soviet Union in 1968, not at Lone Pine.

The commentator in the book used the story about the Smyslov vs. Liberzon game to introduce the Evans vs. Liberzon game, which followed the same opening for a few moves.

Feb-17-13  Jim Bartle: That clears it up. Lone Pine really is a tiny town just east of the Sierra Nevada, where a lot of desert/mountain type movies have been filmed.
Dec-17-16  Saniyat24: What an interesting middle-game....!
May-13-19  N.O.F. NAJDORF: '41. Rxe5 is a rare brilliancy from Smyslov'

I saw the move right away and I'd never seen the game before!

I like the possible finishes:

41 ... Kg5
42 Rg5+ Kh6
43 Bg7##

41 ... h6
42 Re7##

41 ... Re6
42 Rxe6+ Kg8
43 Re8##

41 ... Rxe5
42 Bxe5##

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