The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov. Volume I
The cover of my book on Vasily Smyslov

The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov. Volume I

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For the past few years I’ve been working on a book about the 7th world champion, Vasily Smyslov, and I am happy to announce that "The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov. Volume I: The Early Years 1921-1948" has finally gone to print! If everything goes according to the plan, it should become available in November, first in the United States, and then in other countries.  

I started working on this book more than four years ago. Initially I planned to write a relatively standard "best games" collection, but I quickly realized that I should aim for more. Vasily Smyslov played close to 3,000 tournament games in his lifetime. His chess career spanned almost 70 years and he retained grandmaster class to his final days. There is no way to do proper justice to this great legacy in a single volume, and so I decided that this is going to be a multi-volume series. 

I always felt that Smyslov is the least known of all chess world champions. He was a deeply private person, he did not share much about himself and thus he largely remained an enigma. I spent countless hours trying to fill that gap by picking up bits and pieces of information in the the old newspapers, journals and books. One and a half years into this project I hit the jackpot. A Russian chess historian connected me to the heir of Vasily Smyslov, who graciously agreed to grant me access to Smyslov's personal archive.

In 2017 I went to Moscow and spent a week at Smyslov's house. It felt quite surreal to work in the same room that Smyslov himself used to work, read his manuscripts and browse through his photos. Here is one of the famous photos of Smyslov in the final years, taken at his home:

Smyslov and his cat, Belka
Smyslov and his cat, Belka

Smyslov passed away in 2010, but to my surprise, Belka was still around and greeted me with the proverbial curiosity.

Belka in 2017
Belka in 2017

It took me many months to sort out all the content that I gathered during this trip. It took me even longer to write and finalize the text of the book. Fortunately my publisher, Russell Enterprises, was incredibly patient and supported me through the endless edits and revisions. 

As I mentioned, the book is still with the printer, but there are already some snippets that I would like to share:

Last but not least, there is no better way to support the author than to buy the book  If you are interested, you can already pre-order it on Amazon. Apparently, some kind souls have already done it; otherwise I can not explain the fact that my book features in the Chess books ranking... two months before the release  

I am planning to publish a few more posts based on my Smyslov research in the coming weeks. There were some game fragments that I could not include into the book because of size limitations (it's already 500+ pages!), a few vintage videos (alas, there is no way to use them in the book) and some other interesting materials, so stay tuned!