Sunday, 28 March 2010

Smyslov passes away

Former World Champion Vassily Smyslov has passed away at the age of 89. He was hospitalised with chest pains early last week, a died yesterday (27 Match 2010) in Moscow. He was World Champion from 1956 to 1957 1957 to 1958, and was the first player to wrest the title from Mikhail Botvinnik. Although his career seemed to decline after his 19571958 World Championship rematch loss to Botvinnik, he bounced back in spectacular fashion in the 1980's, reaching the 1984 Candidates Final, before losing to Gary Kasparov. In 1991 he won the first World Seniors Championship, and in later years was a problem composer of some renown.
One of the first Smyslov games I was aware of was the from the 1945 USA-USSR Radio Match. In his game against Sammy Reshevsky, both players followed established theory in the Open Lopez, up until the point where Smyslov uncorked a new 18th move, which surrendered the queen for a fair amount of wood. On move 23 the Americans radioed for a time check in the game and were astonished to find that Smyslov had only used 2 minutes up until that point. It turned out that Smyslov had access to better analysis than Reshevsky, and a demoralised Reshevsky wasn't able to cope with the complications and lost.
(Warning: Don't try and emulate Smyslov's play in this game as Fritz regards the position after move 22 as much better for Black, and recent results confirm this)

Smyslov,Vassily - Reshevsky,Samuel Herman [C82]
USA-URS radio m URS (1), 1945

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 f5 12.Nb3 Bb6 13.Nbd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.cxd4 f4 16.f3 Ng3 17.hxg3 fxg3 18.Qd3 Bf5 (D)
19.Qxf5 Rxf5 20.Bxf5 Qh4 21.Bh3 Qxd4+ 22.Kh1 Qxe5 23.Bd2 Qxb2 24.Bf4 c5 25.Be6+ Kh8 26.Bxd5 Rd8 27.Rad1 c4 28.Bxg3 c3 29.Be5 b4 30.Bb3 Rd2 31.f4 h5 32.Rb1 Rf2 33.Rfe1 Qd2 34.Rbd1 Qb2 35.Rd8+ Kh7 36.Bg8+ Kg6 37.Rd6+ Kf5 38.Be6+ Kg6 39.Bd5+ Kh7 40.Be4+ Kg8 41.Bg6 1-0


Anonymous said...

He was World Champion from 1957-1958, and not as you claim from 1956-1957.

Anonymous said...

Also Botvinnik beat him in the return match in 1958 not 1957.

Paul said...

Smyslov was also a fine Baritone...

marry said...

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Anonymous said...

Good job --- an amazing position player.

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