Great Players

Vasily Smyslov

Here is a great player whose wonderful games may be little known to many of you.

Vasily Smyslov reigned as World Champion from 1957-1958, defeating Botvinnik but losing the title in a re-match. He may have held the world title for only a year, but for more than 60 years, Smyslov ranked as one of the world's top grandmasters. I provide here all of the games in his wonderful book, 125 Selected Games and here is a closer look at one of his earlier efforts.

Smyslov,V - Kottnauer,C [B84/06]
Groningen, 1946

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 The Sicilian Najdorf 6.Be2 A less popular reply, but quite worthy as this game well illustates 6...e6 ...e5 also makes sense owing to the earlier ...a6 stopping Nd4-b5 7.0-0 b5 But this is premature. Black begins his counterplay on the queenside well before completing his development. 8.Bf3 An aggressive posting made possible by the early Be2 8...Ra7 [8...Bb7 9.e5 Bxf3 10.Qxf3+-] 9.Qe2! Aimed at preventing Rd7 9...Rc7 [9...Rd7 10.e5 dxe5 11.Nc6 Qc7 12.Nxb8 Qxb8 13.Bc6+-] 10.Rd1 Nbd7 11.a4! The early advance of the black b-pawn creates a target for white's attack. 11...bxa4 [11...b4 12.Na2 a5 13.Nb5] 12.Nxa4 White now has a huge lead in development 12...Bb7 [12...Be7 13.Bd2 With the devastating threat of Ba5] 13.e5! Nxe5 [13...dxe5 14.Bxb7 exd4 (14...Rxb7 15.Qxa6 Rc7 16.Nf3+/-) 15.Bxa6] 14.Bxb7 Rxb7 15.Qxa6 Qb8 16.Nc6 Nxc6 [16...Qc8 17.Nxe5+-] 17.Qxc6+ Nd7 Diagram

18.Nc5! Breathtaking! 18...dxc5 [18...Rc7 19.Nxd7+-] 19.Bf4! Bd6 [19...Qxf4 20.Qc8+ (20.Qxb7+-) 20...Ke7 21.Qxb7 Kf6 22.Rxd7+- Kg6 23.g3 Qf5 24.Ra7+-] 20.Bxd6 Rb6 21.Qxd7+ [21.Qxd7+ Kxd7 22.Bxb8+ With a clear piece to the good.] 1-0