Smyslov's Revolt

by Milica Knezevic on January 19, 2022

The Chess Game: Botvinnik vs. Smyslov, Moscow 1954

  • Let's first notice: King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Classical Fianchetto.
  • Two amazing chess players displayed on your screen, for your enjoyment. 
  • Chose a side and try your hand at a chess game against either Botvinnik or Smyslov. 

Who Was Vasily Smyslov

  • Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov (24 March 1921 – 27 March 2010) was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, who was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958.
  • He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions (1948, 1950, 1953, 1956, 1959, 1965, 1983, and 1985).
  • Smyslov twice tied for first place at the Soviet Championships (1949, 1955), and his total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals won is an all-time record. In five European Team Championships, Smyslov won ten gold medals.
  • Smyslov remained active and successful in competitive chess well after the age of sixty. Despite failing eyesight, he remained active in the occasional composition of chess problems and studies until shortly before his death in 2010. Besides chess, he was an accomplished baritone singer.
Vasily Smyslov
  • Smyslov first became interested in chess at the age of six. His father, Vasily Osipovich Smyslov, worked as an engineering technician and had represented the St. Petersburg Technical Institute in intercollegiate chess competitions. Smyslov's father had also studied chess for a time under the tutelage of Mikhail Chigorin and the senior Smyslov became the boy's first teacher.
  • The elder Smyslov gave his son a copy of Alexander Alekhine's book My Best Games of Chess 1908–1923 and the future world champion would later write that this book became his constant reference. He would also write that "...I was later to read everything that my father had in his library: Dufresne's handbook, separate numbers of the Soviet chess magazines Chess and Chess Sheet, the text-books of Lasker and Capablanca, and the collections of games of Soviet and international tournaments. The games of the great Russian chess master M. I. Chigorin made an indelible impression on me; it was with interest that I read the various declarations on questions of strategy by A. I. Nimzovitch; I studied attentively the genius of prominent Soviet masters.

Who Was Mikhail Tal

  • Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik (August 17 [O.S. August 4] 1911 – May 5, 1995) was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster.

  • The sixth World Chess Champion, he also worked as an electrical engineer and computer scientist and was a pioneer in computer chess.Botvinnik was the first world-class player to develop within the Soviet Union.

  • He also played a major role in the organization of chess, making a significant contribution to the design of the World Chess Championship system after World War II and becoming a leading member of the coaching system that enabled the Soviet Union to dominate top-class chess during that time.

  • His pupils include World Champions Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik.

Mikhail Botvinnik
  • Botvinnik was born on August 17, 1911, in what was then Kuokkala, Vyborg Governorate, Grand Duchy of Finland, now the district of Repino in Saint Petersburg.
  •  His parents were Russian Jews; his father, Moisei Botvinnik (1878–1931), was a dental technician and his mother, Shifra (Serafima) Rabinovich (1876–1952), a dentist, which allowed the family to live outside the Pale of Settlement, to which most Jews in the Russian Empire were restricted at the time.
  • As a result, Botvinnik grew up in Saint Petersburg's Nevsky Prospect. His father forbade the speaking of Yiddish at home, and Mikhail and his older brother Isaak "Issy" attended Soviet schools.
  •  Botvinnik later recounted, "I was asked once, “What do you consider yourself to be from the point of view of nationality?” My reply was, “Yes, my position is 'complicated'. I am a Jew by blood, a Russian by culture, Soviet by upbringing.”
  •  On his religious views, he called himself an atheist

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1 comment
by Sollesta on May 24, 2022

Smyslov Opening Theory. Smyslov Defence. Remains what my favorite defence on sicilian opening. He is my first known chess player in sicilian defence


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