|BIRTHDATE:||March 24, 1921|
|CREDENTIALS:||USSR Champion in 1949. World Champion from 1957 to 1958. In 1991 Smyslov won the inaugural Senior World Chess Championship.|
Known for his positional style and forceful endgame strategies. He once said A chess game is a work of art between minds, which need to balance two sometimes disparate goals; to win and to produce beauty. He is the author of Endgame Virtuoso. As a baritone singer, he was also known for giving recitals during tournaments!
Learned chess at the age of six from his father, who himself was such a strong player that he had once defeated Alexander Alekhine in tournament competition. After his reign as World Chess Champion, he built a reputation as an exceptionally tough tournament player, at ont point winng eight tournaments in a row. A passionate fan of music, Smyslov only decided upon a career in chess after narrowly losing an audition for the Bolshoi Theater in 1950. He is the oldest living ex-world champion.