42 Facts About Vasily Smyslov


Vasily Smyslov was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions.


In five European Team Championships, Vasily Smyslov won ten gold medals.


Vasily Smyslov remained active and successful in competitive chess well after the age of sixty.


Vasily Smyslov born in Russian family, first became interested in chess at the age of six.


Vasily Smyslov's father had studied chess for a time under the tutelage of Mikhail Chigorin and the senior Vasily Smyslov became the boy's first teacher.


In 1938, at age 17, Vasily Smyslov won the USSR Junior Championship.


Vasily Smyslov found it tough going for the next while once he was back playing in Soviet events.


Vasily Smyslov's results showed a consistent pattern of high finishes against strong company, but with virtually no tournament championships.


Vasily Smyslov had never actually won an adult tournament before he played in the 1948 World Championship Tournament.


Vasily Smyslov was one of the five players selected to compete for the 1948 World Chess Championship tournament to determine who should succeed the late Alexander Alekhine as champion.


Vasily Smyslov was awarded the International Grandmaster title in 1950 by FIDE on its inaugural list.


Vasily Smyslov again won the Candidates' Tournament at Amsterdam in 1956, which led to another world championship match against Botvinnik in 1957.


Vasily Smyslov later said his health suffered during the return match, as he came down with pneumonia, but he acknowledged that Botvinnik had prepared very thoroughly.


Vasily Smyslov did not qualify for another World Championship, but continued to play in World Championship qualifying events.


Vasily Smyslov was a frequent competitor at the Soviet Championships and enjoyed some notable successes.


Vasily Smyslov was a joint winner of the contest in 1949 and again in 1955.


Vasily Smyslov was ranked by FIDE as one of the top 15 players in the world from the late 1940s into the early 1980s, a stretch of almost 40 years.


Vasily Smyslov maintained an active tournament schedule throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, registering many top three finishes in some of the most prestigious tournaments of the period.


Vasily Smyslov shared third place with Botvinnik at Budapest in 1952, after Keres and Geller.


Vasily Smyslov continued his winning streak at Moscow's Alekhine Memorial in 1956, a victory shared with his constant rival, Botvinnik.


Vasily Smyslov traveled again to Hastings at the end of 1962 and registered third place behind Gligoric and Kotov.


Vasily Smyslov's visit to Havana's Capablanca Memorial in 1964 resulted in a share of first with the East German, Uhlmann.


Vasily Smyslov took outright first at the same tournament the following year.


Vasily Smyslov placed third the same year at the Capablanca Memorial in Havana and finished third again at Palma de Mallorca 1967 and Monte Carlo 1968, the latter two events both being headed by Larsen and Botvinnik.


Vasily Smyslov finished third behind Romanishin and Tal at Leningrad in 1977, when all three eclipsed the efforts of then world champion Anatoly Karpov.


Vasily Smyslov was first at Graz in 1984 and first equal at Copenhagen 1986 with Chernin, Pigusov and Cserna.


Vasily Smyslov remained on FIDE's top 100 list until he was 70 years old.


Vasily Smyslov represented the Soviet Union a total of nine times at chess Olympiads, from 1952 to 1972 inclusive, excepting only 1962 and 1966.


Vasily Smyslov contributed strongly to team gold medal wins on each occasion he played, winning a total of eight individual medals.


Vasily Smyslov's total of 17 Olympiad medals won, including team and individual medals, is an all-time Olympiad record, according to olimpbase.


Vasily Smyslov represented the USSR in five European Team Championships, and emerged with a perfect medals' record: he won five team gold medals and five board gold medals.


Vasily Smyslov played for the USSR in both the 1970 and 1984 matches against teams representing the Rest of the World.


Vasily Smyslov was on board six at Belgrade in 1970, and on board four at London in 1984, with the Soviets winning both matches.


In 1991, Vasily Smyslov won the inaugural World Senior Chess Championship.


Some matches were adjourned early as draws due to his failing eyesight, and Vasily Smyslov officially retired from competitive play after this tournament.


Vasily Smyslov died of congestive heart failure in a Moscow hospital on the morning of 27 March 2010, three days after his 89th birthday.


Vasily Smyslov was known for his positional style, and, in particular, his precise handling of the endgame, but many of his games featured spectacular tactical shots as well.


Vasily Smyslov made enormous contributions to chess opening theory in many openings, including the English Opening, Grunfeld Defence, and the Sicilian Defence.


Vasily Smyslov has a variation of the Closed Ruy Lopez named after him: the line runs 1.


Vasily Smyslov was a baritone singer, and only positively decided upon a chess career after a failed audition with the Bolshoi Theatre in 1950.


Vasily Smyslov occasionally gave recitals during chess tournaments, often accompanied by fellow Grandmaster and concert pianist Mark Taimanov.


Vasily Smyslov once wrote that he tried to achieve harmony on the chess board, with each piece assisting the others.