Mastery: Master Games

Play Like Vasily Smyslov

Play Like Vasily Smyslov

Vasily Smyslov was the World Chess Champion in 1957 - 1958. He played three epic matches with Mikhail Botvinnik, finishing with one win, one draw and one loss. Even after his time as champion, Smyslov remained one of the best players in the world, nearly qualifying for another title match at the age of 62. Try to figure out the moves in five of Smyslov's greatest games.

  • Play Like Vasily Smyslov: Smyslov vs Botvinnik

    Smyslov and Botvinnik were great rivals, competing in three title matches. In this game, Smyslov makes short work of Botvinnik's favorite French Defense.

    • 1 challenge
  • Play Like Vasily Smyslov: Smyslov vs Rudakovsky

    Iosif Rudakovsky was a Ukrainian master, who played numerous top Soviet events. However, he wasn't of Smyslov's level. In this game Smyslov created an ideal good knight vs bad bishop position and won quickly.

    • 1 challenge
  • Play Like Vasily Smyslov: Keres vs Smyslov

    Paul Keres was one of the best players to never qualify for a title match. One reason was this game from the candidates tournament in Zurich in 1953. Smyslov won this game and finished two points ahead of Keres and Bronstein to earn a shot at the title.

    • 1 challenge
  • Play Like Smyslov: Smyslov vs Euwe

    In the 1948 World Championship tournament Smyslov came in 2nd, behind Botvinnik, but ahead of three other top players, including former World Champion Max Euwe. This game demonstrated how Smyslov had already surpassed the former champion.

    • 1 challenge
  • Play Like Vasily Smyslov: Smyslov vs Kottnauer

    Čeněk Kottnauer was an International Master and won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympiad. In this game Kottnauer developed too slowly and Smyslov refused to let him off the hook.

    • 1 challenge
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