Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Vasily Vasiliyevich Smyslov born March 24 1921 in Moscow.
In 1938 when Smyslov was 17 he won the USSR Junior Championship. That year he also tied for 1st-2nd places in the Moscow City Championship, with 12.5/17.
He was twice equal first in Soviet Championships 1949 and 1955. His results showed a consistent pattern of high finishes against strong company, but with virtually no tournament championships.

Smyslov had never actually won an adult tournament other than the Moscow City Championship, before he played in the 1948 World Championship Tournament.
He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions (1948, 1950, 1953, 1956, 1959, 1965, 1983, and 1985).
With his second-place finish from the 1948 World Championship, Smyslov was exempt into the 1950 Budapest Candidates' tournament. Smyslov scored 10/18 for 3rd place, behind Bronstein and Boleslavsky, who tied for first place. Smyslov's 3rd place exempted him into the next Candidates' tournament.
He was awarded the International Grandmaster title in 1950 by FIDE on its inaugural list.
After winning the Candidates Tournament in Zurich 1953, with 18/28, two points ahead of Keres, Bronstein, and Samuel Reshevsky, Smyslov played a match with Botvinnik for the title the following year.
Played in Moscow, the match ended in a draw, after 24 games (seven wins each and ten draws), meaning that Botvinnik the current champion retained the title.

Smyslov had again won the Candidates' Tournament at Amsterdam in 1956, which led to another world championship match against Botvinnik in 1957. Assisted by trainers Vladimir Makogonov and Vladimir Simagin, Smyslov won by the score 12.5-9.5. In 1958 Botvinnik exercised his right to a rematch, and won the title back with a final score of 12.5-10.5.
Smyslov later said his health suffered during the return match, as he came down with pneumonia, but he also acknowledged that Botvinnik had prepared very thoroughly.
Over the course of the three World Championship matches, Smyslov had won 18 games to Botvinnik's 17 (with 34 draws), and yet he was only champion for a year.

Smyslov represented the Soviet Union a total of nine times at chess Olympiads, from 1952 to 1972 ( except 1962 and 1966). He contributed greatly to the Soviets team gold medal wins on each occasion he played, winning a total of eight individual medals. His total of 17 Olympiad medals won, including team and individual medals, is an all-time Olympiad record.
At Helsinki 1952, he played second board, and won the individual gold medal with 10.5/13. At Amsterdam 1954, he was again on second board, scored 9/12, and took the individual bronze medal. At Moscow 1956, he scored 8.5/13 on second board, but failed to win a medal. At Munich 1958, he scored 9.5/13 on second board, good for the silver individual medal. At Leipzig 1960, he was dropped to first reserve, and made a great score of 11.5/13, which won the gold medal.
After missing out on selection in 1962, he returned for Tel Aviv 1964, on third board, and won the gold medal with 11/13. He missed selection in 1966, but returned with a vengeance for Lugano 1968, and made a phenomenal 11/12 for another gold medal as second reserve. At Siegen 1970, he was first reserve, and scored 8/11 for the bronze medal. His final Olympiad was Skopje 1972, where at age 51 he played third board and scored 11/14, good for the silver medal.
His overall Olympiad score is an imposing 90 points in 113 games (+69 =42 −2), for 79.6 per cent. This performance is the fifth all-time best for players participating to at least four olympiads.
Smyslov also 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. His total score in these events was (+19 =15 -1), for 75.7 per cent.Here is his European teams' record.
• Vienna 1957: board 1, 3.5/6 (+2 =3 -1), board and team gold medals;
• Oberhausen 1961: board 5, 9/9 (+7 =2 -0), board and team gold medals;
• Hamburg 1965: board 4, 6/9 (+3 =6 -0), board and team gold medals;
• Kapfenberg 1970: board 5, 5/6 (+4 =2 -0), board and team gold medals;
• Bath, Somerset 1973: board 6, 4/5 (+3 =2 -0), board and team gold medals.

Smyslov played in and won many tournaments over a long career, but this could have all been different he is a fine baritone singer. He only decided upon a chess career after a failed audition with the Bolshoi Theatre in 1950. He once said, "I have always lived between chess and music."
On the occasion of a game against Botvinnik, he sang to an audience of thousands. He occasionally gave recitals during chess tournaments, often accompanied by fellow Grandmaster and concert pianist Mark Taimanov.
Smyslov wrote some fine chess books his most noted being Rook Endings which he co-wrote with Grigory Levenfish in 1971.
I was very lucky to meet Smyslov in 1996 at the Fox trot tournament in London. He seemed embarrassed by all the attention he was getting,even though in the same tournament was boris spassky.
I give 4 of his games.
This game Smyslov sacrifices his queen to win a brilliant game.

Here he gives the great Karpov a lesson in attacking chess.

In this game Smyslov get a excellent knight posted on d5 thatgives a lot of trouble.

In this game polgar makes a mistake and once smyslov plays qxd8 the e7 bishop is up for grabs or smyslov wins the exchange.

Monday, 5 January 2009


Carl Schlechter (March 2, 1874 - December 27, 1918) was one of the leading Austrian chess masters at the turn of the 20th century. He is best known for drawing a World Chess Championship match with Emanuel Lasker.
From 1893 onwards he played in over 50 international chess tournaments, including four wins: Munich in 1900 (shared), Ostend in 1906, Vienna in 1908 (shared) and Hamburg in 1910.

Schlechter was a typical example of a gentleman chess player of old, offering courteous draws to opponents who felt unwell. If his opponent arrived late for a game, Schlechter would inconspicuously subtract an equal amount of time from his own clock.

From a nearly 800 games he only lost just over a 100 games but he drew almost 400 of them, perhaps he was the Tigran Petrosian of his day.
Schlechter was a difficult player to beat but he again like Petrosian only rarely let his killer instinct out.

In match play he played Georg Marco at the age of nineteen drawing all ten games.
He defeated France's David Janowski in 1902 with the score of six wins, three draws and one loss. He also played matches with Siegbert Tarrasch in 1911 (drawn) and Akiba Rubinstein in 1918 (lost).

Lasker played 4 world championship matches between 1907 and december 1910. The first in 1907 against Frank Marshall and Lasker won 8-0 without losing a game. Then in 1908 a match against Tarrasch the current thinking at the time was that Tarrasch if he did not win will run Lasker very close. Lasker won 8-5 losing 3 games.
The 4th match was another walk over by Lasker against Janowski 8-0 to Lasker. But the 3rd match against Carl Schlechter in early 1910 was perhaps the best of the 4.

After Lasker beat these 2 players not much public interest was given to a match against Carl Schlechter. Everything was against him 1/Lasker had a plus score against Schlechter , 2/ Schlechter has only won a few tournaments.3/ Plus the match was only 10 games long.The feeling of the day was "Lasker would have this done and dusted by game 6 or 7".
But the chess public should have supported this match, it was a cliff hanger. If you believe the rules, Lasker will lose the championship if Schlechter wins(by 1 point).

BUT Lasker had secret rules where by Schlechter had to win the match by 2 points to become champion.
Schlechter went ahead by winning game 5 then in the last game, game 10 still leading by 1 point he had to win by 2 points a draw was no good, even though the game was easier to draw he played on for the win and lost. Making the match score 5-5(+1 -1 =8) a tie leaving Lasker still champion.

The outbreak of the First World War effectively ended his chess career. He did contest one match and three further tournaments in 1918, the last one (in Budapest) took place just a few weeks before he died of malnutrition.

I give 4 of his games.
This one is just a fun game.

In this game Schlechter beats the ex World champion in 24 moves.

If 24.....Qxd6 25Qxd6+ Kb5 26Nxg8 Rxg8 leaving a winning endgame queen v rook.

But when he did go for a win it was beautiful this game shows the old favourite the greek bishop.

This is the 10th and last game of the Lasker v Schlechter World championship, the game Schlechter should of only needed to draw, but in fact had to win.
It may be a bit strange to give a Schlechter loss but it is perhaps his famous game!!!
Play the game and see if you could have drawn the game.