Seeking for the eternal chess truths

Vasilij Smyslov Today 24.03.2001 is 80 years of age to Russia outstanding grandmaster V.Smyslov!
It is amusingly that he older than Victor Korchnoi on 10 years without one day!
Vasyly Smyslov came to the fore of leading soviet chess players just before the war. Should be especially noted the 3rd place on the match-tournament for a title of Absolute USSR Champion in spring 1941 although the expediency of providing such an event still arouse a bewilderment to many people since the purpose of such an action is obvious - a rehabilitation of M.Botvinnik for a failure in the ∙II USSR Championship.
Just after the war conclusion Smyslov obtains a rather important success - he is the 3rd on the most prominent International tournament in the Dutch Groningen after M.Botvinnik and M.Eive. This at once allowed him to enter in the chess elite and to gain the right to take part in the Candidates' match-tournament for a new World Champion in connection with Alekhin's decease.
And Smyslov makes one more step to the top - he is the second already, letting pass only Botvinnik and ahead of P.Keres, S.Reshevsky and M.Eive.
Two years later Smyslov - only the third in the Match-tournament in Budapest, but at the same time in 1953 in Zurich he wins confidently breaking away from the competitors on two points and gains the right on the match with the World Champion M.Botvinnik. Since this time begins their great opposition. Their duels - only 3 - were remarkable for a perseverance and absence of compromise and brought in the upshot an equal result. Either of them won a match and one match (the first) ended in a draw 12:12. It is interesting that first confidently leading was Botvinnik, gaining at the start 3 victories (from 6 games) but then the candidate obtains 4.5 points out of 5 games and goes ahead. Many specialists believed that Smyslov used an Alekhin's recommendation, who was going to play against Botvinnik (in a presupposed match) the sharpest variations in the French Defence (a proprietary Botvinnik's weapon) in order to force him to turn to the open openings. Nevertheless the World Champion managed to level the score and then go 2 points ahead. At the expense of incredible efforts Smyslov succeeded to equalize but on something more he had neither forces nor nerves. The final 24th duel proceeded rather calm and ended peacefully. As a result Botvinnik kept his title.
However Vasily V. has not gave up the ambitious intentions to conquer the chess crown. Two years later in a match-tournament he is confidently the first again with 1.5 points ahead of P.Keres. And now in the duel with Botvinnik he dictates his will. The second opposite finishes with a full triumph of the candidate - he wins with a superiority of 3 points. One year later in accordance with of those times rules took place a match-revenge. Botvinnik carried out a big work in a preparation to this event devoting an attention to programming the rival's creation. As to Smyslov - his failure in the final match with Botvinnik could be explained with different reasons. Possibly Vasily V. has not supposed that Botvinnik will be able to make up his mind seriously on a revenge - Botvinnik was 46 years old already! Besides Smyslov has not possessed of a big charge of sports spite and won at the expense of his talent, high technique and erudition. We should not exclude that the reaching the tops of chess Olympus weakened the seventh World Champion and he was punished for this.
In those ages Smyslov differed from others USSR chess leaders in one circumstance - in essence he was a chess professional. In those years this was not welcomed by governing body - one considered that a sportsman should have a profession.
He was forced to prove that one should devote everything to chess to obtain the big successes in top chess level. Smyslov had one more hobby - singing and he spent rather much time to this flame. Every year became more and more difficult to fight for a climb to chess Olympus. The post-war years pulled out to a chess crown pedestal a whole cohort of outstanding grandmasters. As a representative of a classic style in chess Smyslov rather rare failed. Especially reliably he played in the team events. 10 (!) time he was a member of the USSR team which won the Olympic gold.
Smyslov by himself considered that in chess he is attracted by seeks of truth. The beauty of his creation was mostly in the simplicity of thoughts. Once upon a time Eive said so: "The moves made by Smyslov can be made by any other player, but only Smyslov wins." His last assault of chess Olymp was undertaken when he was more than 60!! He passed to a final candidates match and made a way only for Kasparov. The 7th world champion was 63 at that time.
Funny thing took place during the quarter-final of that cycle in which Smyslov was playing with Hubner. Their match ended in a draw and all was left to a roulette wheel. Partners chose the colours of their national flags - Smyslov red, Hubner black. And first there was zero!! So they joked that it was the only fair in this situation. And only for the second time Smyslov had the good luck. In the next round he defeat Z.Ribli with confidence.
Smyslov made a lot to develop chess theory. His system in the Gruenfeld defence is one of the most actual variations. He is a virtuoso in endings and also a chess composer.
So, I would like to wish Vasilij good health and long years!!

And here are several games from his huge practice.
V. Smyslov - M. Botvinnik
(World championship match, 1954, the 9th game)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5 6.b4 cd 7.Qg4 Ne7 dc 9.Qg7 Rg8 10.Qh7 Nd7 11.Nf3 Nf8 12.Qd3 Qa5 13.h4 Bd7 14.Bg5 Rc8 15.Nd4 Nf5 16.Rb1 Rc4 17.Nf5 ef 18. Nb7 Ne4+
19.Qe4 de 20.Rb8+ BА8 21.Bb5+ Qb5 22.Rb5 Ne6 23.Bf6 Rg2 24.h5 Ba6 25.h6 1:0

V. Smyslov - D. Penrose
(XI chess Olympiad, 1954)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dc 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bc4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 Nbd7 10.e4 Bg6 11.Bd3 c5 12.e5 cd 13.ef dc 14.fg Kg7 15.Rd1 Qc7 16.bc Bc3 17.Bb2 Bb2 18.Qb2+ Kg8 19.Rac1 Ne5 20.Bg6 hg 21.Rd4 Rac8 22.Rh4 e5 23.Rhc4 Nd3
24.Rc7 Rc7 25.Rc7 Nb2 26.Ne5 Na4 27. Rb7 a6 28.f4 Nc5 29.Ra7 Kg7 30.Kf2 Kf6 31.Kf3 Kg7 32.h4 Kg8 33.g4 Kg7 34.g5 Kg8 35.Kg4 Kg7 36.f5 gf+ 37.Kf5 Ne6 38.h5 Nd4+ 39.Ke4 Ne6 40.h6+ Kg8 41.g6 Nd8 42.Nd7 Re8 43.Kd5 1:0

V. Smyslov - E. Geller
(XXII USSR championship, Moscow, 1955)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c5 cd 6.Qd4 Be7 7.e4 Nc6 8.Qd2 Ne4 9.Ne4 ed 10.Be7 Qe7 11.Qd5 0-0 12.f3 Nb4 13.Qd6 Qd6 14.Nd6 Nc2+ 15.Kd2 Na1 16.Bd3 Rd8 17.Ne4 Rd3+ 18.Kd3
18...b6 19.Nh3 Bh3 Rd8+ 21.Kc3 f5 22.Ng3 Rc8+ 23.Kd2 Rc2+ 24.Kd3 Rb2 25.Ra1 Rh2 26.Nf5 Rh3 27.Ke4 g6 28.Nd4 Rh5 29.Nc6 Rh4+ 30.Ke5 Rh3 31.f4 Rh5+ 32.Ke4 a6 33.Rd1 Rh2 34.Ke5 Rc2 35.Nb4 Rc5+ 36.Rd5 a5 37.Rc5 bc 38.Nd5 Kf7 39.Nf6 c4 40.Ne4 h5 41.Nd6+ 1:0

V. Smyslov - S. Reshevski
(Belgrad, 1970)
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.e4 Bb7 5.d3 d6 6.g3 Be7 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 c5 9.h3 Nc6 10.d4 cd 11.Nd4 Rc8 12.Nc6 Bc6 13.Bf4 Qc7 14.Qe2 a6 15.Rac1 Rfd8 16.Rfd1 Qa7 17.a4 e5 18.Bg5 a5 19.Nb5 Qb8 20.h4 h6 21.Bf6 Bf6 22.Nc3 Be7 23.Bh3 Rc7 24.Rd3 Bb7 25.b3 Bc6 26.Rcd1 Bf8 27.Qe3 Qb7 28.Kh2 Kh8 29.h5 Kg8 30.Bf5 Qb8 31.Qf3 Re7 32.Qg4 Qc7 33.Rf3 Ree8 34.Rdc1 Re7 35.Nd5 Bd5 36.ed e4 37. Be4 Re5 38.Bd3 Rde8 39.Kg2 Qe7 40.Rf5 Re1 41.Re1 Qe1 42.Rf3 Qe7
43.Qf5 g6 44.hg f6 45.Qf6 Bg7 46.Qf7+ Kh8 47.Qe7 Re7 48.Rf4 Kg8 49.Rh4 Re5 50.Kpf3 h5 51.Rf4 Re8 52.Bf5 Bf6 53.Bd7 Rf8 54.Rf5 h4 Bh4 56.Be6 Kg7 57.Bf7 Rh8 58.Kg4 Bf6 59.Rf3 Rh1 60.Kf5 Re1 61.Re3 Rf1 62.Ke6 Bd4 63.Kd6 1:0

V. Smyslov's ending :
White: Kb4, Rg3, pp a6,f2.
Black: Kb1, Rd2, pp a2,g5.
Solving:1.Rg1+ Kb2 2.f4 gf 3.a7 Rd4+ 4.Kb5 Rd8 5.Rg2+ Kb3 6.Rg1 f3 7.Rf1 f2 8.Kb6 Kc3 9.Kb7 Kpd3 10.Ra1 Kpc3 11.Rf1 Kpd3 12.Ra1

Alexander Geller, international arbiter

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