Master Class Band 14 - Vasily Smyslov

Master Class Volume 14 - Vasily Smyslov

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In 1957, Vasily Smyslov defeated Botvinnik at his second attempt, becoming the 7th world champion in chess history, but had to give up the title in a rematch the following year. Smyslov remained among the absolute world elite for many years. His performance in the 1982-1985 World Championship cycle was sensational, when he defeated Robert Hübner and Zoltan Ribli in the candidate matches, one after the other, and only lost in the final to the young Garry Kasparov - Smyslov himself was 62 years old at the time! Smyslov had a particularly deep understanding of chess. Perhaps influenced by music (he was a trained opera singer), his game was characterized by naturalness and harmony. He cultivated a clear positional style and, even in sharp tactical positions, often relied more on his intuition than on concrete calculations of variations, although he was certainly able to combine brilliantly when necessary. He shied away from unclear complications, however. Smyslov had a particular fondness for the (early) exchange of queens as a precursor to his brilliant technique, especially in the endgame, in which he was considered an absolute luminary. The 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik called Smyslov "the truth in chess".