Sunday, March 28, 2010

Former World Champion - Vasily Smyslov Died

Former World Champion - Vasily Smyslov 89,  from Russia died yesterday. Smyslov was World Champion from 1957-1958 defeating another legandary and former World Champion - Mikhail Botvinnik. Both battle in three World Championship Final were Botvinnik won two out of three .

Smyslov probably not as  famous as several World Champ like Kasparov, Fischer, Karpov, Spassky or legendary players  before him like Alekhine or Capablanca. However i personally had a special respect for him because when i studied  in Malacca during the early 90`s, i once borrowed a chess book from my school library titled -  125 Selected Games - a collection of Smyslov best games. During those day when chess books is hard to find - especially for student like me who has not enough money to spend beside my school expenses, i really read his  book trougly, from cover to cover. Even my school teammates sometimes called me Smyslov :)

Among former World Champion  who he has beat in the past  is players like  Tal, Fischer, Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov among others.

Smyslov played the first World Championship match  against  Botvinnik in 1954. The match ended in a draw after 24 games and  Botvinnik as the defending Champion  retained his title. Smyslov once again win the Candidate final and got the right to challange Botvinik in 1957 World Championship Final. This time Smyslov won quite convincingly. In 1958, Botvinnik got the right to challange Smyslov in the World Championship final and Botvinnik manage to win it.

One interesting fact about the three Smyslov-Botvinnik World Championship matches ( 1954,1957 and 1958) , Smyslov has won 18 games to Botvinnik's 17 (with 34 draws), and yet he was only champion for a year.

In 1983, at the age of 62, Smyslov create a sensation in chess world  when he advance to  Candidates' Final beating young players such as Robert Hubner (quarterfinal) and Zoltan Ribli (Semifinal). However in the final, he lost to the young - Garry Kasparov who proceed to play Karpov in the World Championship final in 1985.

From the Smyslov`s book - 125 Selected which i had read in the past , i found that he is an  expert  on endgame  and his style of play is his chess pieces always work  harmony with each other.

Source: Wikipedia


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