Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov, 1921-2010
The former Soviet world chess champion Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov died Saturday of heart failure at Moscow’s Botkin Clinic, just days after celebrating his 89th birthday.
“A titan has left us," was the immediate comment made by Boris Spassky on the announcement of his death. And indeed he was a titan of the game with a long and distinguished career that spanned four decades and almost included a title challenge into his sixties. There's a fitting obituary of Smyslov by Leonard Barden in The Guardian (UK) - click here to read.
Smyslov was runner-up to fellow countryman Mikhail Botvinnik in the 1948 world championship tournament and throughout the 1950s, his results were better than anyone’s. It was during this period he had a series of titanic tussles for the world crown with Botvinnik. Their first title match ended in a draw in 1954, allowing Botvinnik to retain his crown. Smyslov finally beat Botvinnik in 1957 to become the seventh world champion, before losing it again the follow year due to a rematch clause.
All this week on ICC Chess.FM, regular shows by John Watson, Larry Christiansen and Joel Benjamin will be remembering the life and times of Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov, 1921-2010.
Amber: Carlsen & Ivanchuk tie for first
The topsy-turvy performance from Magnus Carlsen continued till the bitter end of the Amber Tournament in Nice, France, as the Norwegian teenage world number one blew his chances of a remarkable comeback lone victory following a rare blindfold oversight.
Despite Carlsen scoring 13 wins (and was only one short of Anand's Amber record number of wins - 14), it was veteran Vassily Ivanchuk, at 41, who has competed in all 19 Amber tournaments, who saved the best till last with a spectacular final round victory over Boris Gelfand as he shared the overall title with the young 19-year-old Norwegian as both finished on 14.5/22.
Checkout all the free-to-view Game of the Day videos from the Chess.FM team of Larry Christiansen, Joel Benjamin, Jon Speelman, Gregory Kaidanov, Varuzhan Akobian, Alex Yermolinsky and Nick De Firmian for their grandmaster spin of the highlights of the best games from Amber.
Also go to the official Amber site (http://www.amberchess2010.com/) for videos by the dynamic duo of our own Macauley Peterson and Peter Doggers of Chessvibes.
Chess.FM's free live coverage and GOTD selection from Amber is just a highlight of what to expect for our extended coverage of next month's Topalov vs. Anand World Championship Match in Sofia, Bulgaria that will be restricted to ICC members only. Join ICC now by clicking here to be ready for all our exclusive live coverage and GOTD action from Sofia.
Nakamura Blitzes Dos Hermanas
Hikaru Nakamura | |
Dos Hermanas has always been considered the biggest, best and strongest online blitz tournament in the world - and fittingly, the latest edition, the 11th Dos Hermanas online tournament, hosted exclusively on www.chessclub.com, was won in convincing style by arguably the strongest and best online blitz player in the world today: GM Hikaru Nakamura of USA.
Seattle-based Nakamura fought his way to the 32-player KO Finals (held 19th-20th March) after top-scoring in winning one of last week's 12 qualifiers (spanning 144 rounds). He was the top-seed and fan favorite for the finals, which had a prize-fund on offer of over $10,000.
Dos Hermanas though has a long history of being the graveyard of top seeds; but it wasn't to be this year. Nakamura (Smallville) beat GM Simonian Hrair (EREBUNI), IM Federico Perez Ponsa (Federicov), GM Rodrigo Vasquez Schroeder (Kastor), and then GM Yaroslav Zinchenko (MEGAYARICK) in the final to take the title and$2,700 first prize.(Click here for brackets for Dos Hermanas 32-player finals, scores and all the game downloads)
It's been quite a year so far for Nakamura since he won his second US Championship title last May in St. Louis: his book Bullet Chess: One Minute to Mate (co-authored with Bruce Harper) was published; he beat Magnus Carlsen to win the BN Bank Blitz in Norway; two superb performances at elite tournaments of London Chess Classic and Corus A Group; individual gold for his outstanding top-board performance at the World Team Championship that inspired Team USA to silver in Turkey; and now winning Dos Hermanas, the world's biggest, strongest and best online tournament.
This story was also covered in a recent edition of The New York Times - click here to read.