A last goodbye to Vasily Smyslov

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A last goodbye to Vasily SmyslovYesterday Vasily Smyslov was buried in Moscow. Many friends and fans visited the Moscow Central Chess Club to say goodbye to the 7th World Champion. We also say goodbye, with video footage, links and some games. (We invite you to contribute!)

The following report, which includes fascinating old video footage of Smyslov, comes from vesti.ru where the text of the program is given as well. Below we give an English translation.




In Moscow, people said goodbye to the famous chess player Vasily Smyslov, who passed away last Saturday. The hall in the Central House of Chess, where the funeral service was held, was packed. After all, it was a farewell to a legend, which Smyslov become more than half a century ago, after defeating Botvinnik. But he himself was always modest about his victory.

The mansion of the noble family Vasilchikova has been on Gogol Boulevard for almost 200 years. For a quarter of this period, it has been known as a chess club. The doors are opened. Inside - silence. There's even a table for gloves - tournament chess. Closeby is the book tray.

A chronology of the battle for the chess crown between Botvinnik - Smyslov in 1957 catches the eye. The whole world followed the battle on the radio, including, of course, everyone in Moscow. There´s a portrait of the seventh world champion in an azure frame. Today it´s goodbye to him.

"We are in the building of the Central Chess Club, the world-famous building on Gogol Boulevard, - says the vice-president of Russia's Chess Federation, Alexander Bach. - Vasily Smyslov took an active part in obtaining this building. In this sense, too, it´s symbolic that we are on this very spot to say goodbye to him.

In the thirties, chess was a serious passion for Vasily Smyslov. Many had a sporting interest in the ancient game. There were even rural chess clubs. But even in this very tight competitive environment, Smyslov was noticed.

"It was three-quarters of a century ago when he first went to the Stadium of the Young Pioneers," writer and chess historian Isaac Linder recalls. "I played with him in qualifying tournaments. His genius was visible already then. We all saw that he would be a future champion."

"1954 was to be a rich year for chess. For me it was, first of all, important because there would be a match for the world title with Botvinnik," said Vasily Smyslov at the time.

Smyslov would obtain the title of World Champion only three years later. And the next year, it returned again to Botvinnik. But by that time, Smyslov had already entered chess history.

His matches were followed with breaths held by everyone in the Hall of Columns. His composure was amazing. His fans adored him. "There you go, dear Smyslov!", chess players said to each other on the benches in Sokolniki Park.

Specialized publications were devoted to the study of Smyslov´s games. Smyslov kept on playing until the end of the century. He participated in international tournaments and young and talented grandmasters were often amazed by him. His previous potential enemies - now, of course, simply friends - have come to the club today. They talk about him, like a half-century ago, beginning with a warm "Vasya".

"Vasya had a remarkably harmonious relationship with chess," international grandmaster Yuri Averbakh says. "It´s no accident that he even named one of his books In Search of Harmony. His chess style was very personal, it is "Smyslov Style".

Chess, one of the toughest games on earth, inspired Smyslov. Even in recent years, he continued to compose chess studies. He had his own theory on the origin of his inspiration. And it didn´t only manifest itself in this game.

"Calm and technical. An excellent strategist and a very patient teacher. Smyslov's main strength was his astuteness." These were the words of Botvinnik. For the very best chess players, Vasily Smyslov will remain the standard of chess technique and harmony.


On the web we found the following articles on Smyslov (do add more in the comments):



Here's a small selection of fine games by Smylov. If you think other games should be included, let us know in the comments and we'll add them as soon as possible.

Some Smyslov games



Game viewer by ChessTempo
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