“I will not claim that I understand the truth of chess better than anyone else, but I will assert that I can feel it more keenly than most.”

Vasily Smyslov was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, born on March 24, 1921, and passing away on March 27, 2010. He was the seventh World Chess Champion, holding the title from 1957 to 1958. Smyslov was known for his deep understanding of the game, excellent endgame skills, and harmonious style of play. Over his long career, he participated in numerous top-level tournaments and remained competitive into his later years. Smyslov was also a talented opera singer, which he pursued alongside his chess career. His contributions to chess theory, particularly in the areas of openings and endgames, are highly regarded.

Vasily Smyslov was known for his versatile and classical style. He excelled in all phases of the game, with a particular strength in the endgame. Some of his preferred openings included:

  • Ruy López (Spanish Opening): Known for its rich strategic possibilities and deep positional play.
  • English Opening: Allowing flexible pawn structures and a wide range of strategic ideas.
  • Grünfeld Defense: Offering dynamic and counter-attacking chances, which Smyslov used to great effect.

Smyslov’s games are often studied for their clarity, strategic depth, and technical precision.

Vasily Smyslov’s peak Elo rating was 2620, which he achieved in July 1971. This rating placed him among the top players in the world during his peak years. Smyslov’s high ratings, coupled with his consistent performances in top tournaments, underscore his status as one of the greatest chess players in history.