Connecting The Dots, Thanks To Book On Smyslov

Connecting The Dots, Thanks To Book On Smyslov


The recently-published book on Smyslov by Andrey Terekhov,

has helped me to understand one of Bronstein's most famous and true utterances:

"Do you really believe that I will attack Smyslov, for three roubles a day?"

Yes, it was funny when I first read it, but only with the help of Andrey Terekhov's book have I been able to fully understand it. You see, with Smyslov's career, which spanned more than 50 years, his most famous moment was his three matches against Botvinnik for the World Championship in 1954, 1957 and 1958.

One great virtue of this book is that it tells us Smyslov's whole story; right from 1935, when he started playing in tournaments.

Smyslov is one of the less-known World Champions; he was quiet by nature, a real gentleman.

One thing I did not know was Smyslov's fame as a great defender. Yes, we know that Smyslov's contributions to opening theory are numerous; a few variations bear his name. But I did not know that he had a great ability to fight in inferior positions, which is one of the marks of a great Champion; an invincible spirit!

The following two games illustrate fully Smyslov's tenacity, and enable us to understand Bronstein's famous and funny immortal utterance!

The first game, Belavenets-Smyslov, was from a six-clock simultaneous peformance given by Sergey Belavenets in 1937. This game is not found in the database, and shows the depth of research Mr. Terekhov went through to make this book so thorough!

A great defensive effort by Smyslov in a losing position!

The following game shows my lack of understanding of chess. When I first played over this game, I was amazed at Smyslov's ingenuity! The annotations by Mr. Terekhov (which I will not give here, you have to buy the book!) show that Smyslov was lost, but put up such a resistance, he was able to confuse a great attacker like Tolush! (who later was Spassky's coach!)

So, now we understand Bronstein's utterance- attacking Smyslov for three roubles a day was clearly not worth it!

(By the way, the utterance was said after this 12-move draw in the 1971 Alekhine Memorial)