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Alexander Alekhine vs Vasily Osipovich Smyslov
"Father's Day" (game of the day Jun-23-2019)
St Petersburg Chess Society Tournament (1912), St. Petersburg RUE
English Opening: King's English. Two Knights' Variation Fianchetto Line (A22)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-02-21  RookFile: Lasker has a compelling argument. Like Fischer, he was far ahead of his contemporaries. But Lasker also had longevity.
Feb-02-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: FSR etc. If we take longevity so to speak Fischer loses out. But it is like all these things it depends what you are looking for.

I don't think we can be too harsh say on Alekhine despite the various "tricks" he got up to. It depends or is affected by the time. If we were to go into it cases can be made for hundreds of past chess players, World Champions or not, for their greatness. Rubinstein and Ivanchuk and many others. Sadly for such as Korchnoi, Bogoljubov they were not only time trouble addicts but were targetted for it. You might discuss the personalities of these players. Rubinstein's developing a kind of excessive introversion after WWI and so on.

If you look at Fischer as he was, the enormously hard working obsessed player, whose play seemed miraculous going into and up to winning the World Champs 1972 and his great techinque (paradoxically his 'hero' was Capablanca while later he despised Lasker who has to be one of the great players almost from all counts and who Fischer also resembled in many ways. Spassky was a little more laid back, that was my impression of him when I met him...But seeing Fischer on the Dick Cavet shows there is a certain almost childlike charm. He wasn't a monster. He was deeply troubled. His great talent is not in doubt but he is one of the great human tragedies.

I knew he would be the world champion in the 60s as his play was incredible. But Botvinnik was also a great player, more practical than people think. And not arrogant according to the notes of his book. He admits where he goes wrong. Castigates himself!

It is a great game this trying to find the "greatest". We like who we remember. I recall the days Cassius Clay was to fight Liston and so on....

Feb-03-21  Viking707: While Lasker certainly is arguable for being the chess GOAT, he didn't face Rubinstein in 1914, when Akiba was at his peak powers. Based on longevity, facing his fiercest rivals, and having the best won/lost record as chess champion, I think Kasparov must also be considered the GOAT!
Feb-03-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Richard....(Although Smyslov won once, he player three matches, one tied with the then greatest player and so on, so Smyslov career was more successful than Fischer's and it was really only Fischer's eccentricities that gained him this position as 'the greatest' Fischer only won one match but player no other. Smyslov player 4 World Championship level matches at least)....>

Even Botvinnik acknowledged--if thirty years on--that Smyslov was the strongest player in the world in the mid 1950s. There is no debating that anyone winning consecutive Candidates Tournaments has much in their favour on their resume, to go with three title matches.

As to this latest round of debate over the GOAT, seems pointless to involve oneself over an irresoluble question, especially with one whose hatred of one of the principals involved clouds all reason.

Feb-04-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Richard Taylor> <perfidious> To revise a comment I previously made, first in 2011:

It's very hard to say who is the Greatest of All Time. One reason for that is determining what criterion or criteria to use. If one looks at highest rating ever, Carlsen is the GOAT. If one looks at dominance over other players at one's peak, it would be Fischer in modern times, and in earlier times Steinitz. (According to Chessmetrics, in April 1876 Steinitz was rated 199 points (!!) above No. 2 Henry Bird. http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/...) If one looks at ability to play at a very high level for a very long period of time, it's Lasker (a world-class player from 1889 to 1935) or maybe even Korchnoi. If one counts the number of tournaments won, it's Karpov. If one looks at "invincibility" (difficulty of beating the player) it might be Capablanca (as Chernev concluded 45 years ago in <The Golden Dozen>), or even Carlsen (with his 125-game undefeated streak) or Kasparov. If one looks at how far ahead of his time the player was, it's probably Morphy. If one's criteria are absolute strength (highest rating) and length of time at the top, it's Kasparov. https://chess24.com/en/learn/advanc...

Feb-04-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Viking707> Lasker and Rubinstein were scheduled to play a match in October 1914, but WWII put an end to that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akiba... John Donaldson, a biographer of Rubinstein, opined that Lasker would have been the favorite, but Rubinstein had a chance. Seems reasonable. Note that in April and May of that year, at St. Petersburg 1914 (won by Lasker in an immortal come from behind finish over Capablanca), Rubinstein failed to even qualify for the finals. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._P...
Feb-04-21  Viking707: FSR: While WWI (not WWII) is often given as the reason the Lasker/Rubinstein match was cancelled, the cause primarily down to money. Rubinstein could not raise the cash necessary to fund the championship match as was required in those days. Perhaps the imminent War inhibited Rubinstein's ability to do so, but it is a shame that two great chess players never engaged in what would have been a memorable battle.
Feb-04-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: In Sergeant's <Championship Chess>, he alludes to Rubinstein's lacking the strength of character to get prospective backers to come across in his quest for the elusive funds to mount a challenge to Lasker.
Feb-04-21  Viking707: perfidious: Strength of character??? Akiba was born into a poor jewish family in Poland, and was expected to become a Rabbi, like most of his ancestors had been. Instead he loved chess, and became one of the best players of his time. He also subsequently married and had a family. I don't know what he knew about money raising, but I would think that with WWI about to break out, it would have been harder than usual for anyone to get funding for a chess match.
Feb-04-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Viking>, why don't y'all read the passage rather than arguing over something you simply don't understand?
Feb-05-21  Viking707: perfidious: Oh please! Nothing could be more subjective than an evaluation of someone's "Strength of Character!," especially when its over 100 years since the incident occurred. But, I do understand that you cannot be disagreed with or your condescending character kicks in.
Feb-07-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Rubinstein was deeply affected by WWI and didn't play as well. I think in a deep sense he was one of the greatest players ever to have played. He, according to one story I heard, was saved from death in the Nazi camps as he was recognized by a German soldier who loved chess. But that may be apocryphal.

As to the infometrics I think they all mean nothing. Speculations about who is or might have been the greatest are all pointless as the players had in some cases luck, their were psychological factors, age, health and much else.

It is enough to play over the games and learn from what they played, or enjoy the game.

Most important: who was the happiest of all those so-called "great" chess players?

Feb-07-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Rubinstein was deeply affected by WWI and didn't play as well.>

Hiding under the bed for 4 years probably led to a severe vitamin D deficiency.

Feb-08-21  Viking707: Rubinstein became mentally disorganized after WWI. It's hard to know if it was due to congenital or environmental factors (perhaps both). Why he was spared by the Nazis is also a mystery. But in terms of mental instability he is part of a long line of such sad cases which has included Paul Morphy, and Bobby Fischer.
Feb-19-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <MissScarlett: <Rubinstein was deeply affected by WWI and didn't play as well.> Hiding under the bed for 4 years probably led to a severe vitamin D deficiency.>

Yes, he could have taken Vit D tablets, I take them. Poor old Rubi, hiding under a bed for 20 years....

Feb-19-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Viking707: Rubinstein became mentally disorganized after WWI. It's hard to know if it was due to congenital or environmental factors (perhaps both). Why he was spared by the Nazis is also a mystery. But in terms of mental instability he is part of a long line of such sad cases which has included Paul Morphy, and Bobby Fischer.>

There are different causes though. Morphy was, in one book I read, obsessed with a need to play Staunton. For some reason this got to him. But also maybe it was some kind of existential thing. He's been pushing little or large wooden things around and winning mostly. I believe by the way his forte was really positional chess which puts him ahead of his time. Nevertheless, then he reverted to Law. I think he felt it was a problem he didn't have a "real" job or chess wasn't respectable enough. I don't know, being a Kiwi, but what I have read of him -- from my memory of that -- he had that problem.

Fischer was a sad case. Had he played on he would have been completely assured of or near "top place" (if it matters). But -- and I go by one of the films of Fischer I have watched -- it was almost as if he had won, the kind of thing people "dream of" wasn't for him. Fischer had definite ideas about Chess. He admired Capa, and classical chess. That is he wanted a clear strategical logic. And even his Poison Pawn variation in the Najdorf, that was sound on strategical and even de facto, classical rationale, as time is balanced by weakening the White pawn chain on b2. So, for what it is worth, the first move Qb6 is recommended by computers (something to be wary of though as such is not always for the ordinary human, Carlsen said the other day that if studying an opening don't take too much notice of computer pessimism -- it can put one off a great opening. Fischer, once he was robbed, and the problems of light etc got to him, as well as the issue of his father....his Jewishness etc, his mother's radical connections. These all worked together. Botvinnik, Smyslov etc even Taimanov were more or less more "laid back" as they had fairly wide interests: Fischer over concentrated on chess. Not a bad thing perhaps had the other things been good....

Feb-19-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Aside from the well-known fact that colds and viral infections, in general, recede dramatically during the spring and summer months (when social distancing could account for much of the effect), what other epidemiological evidence exists to suggest that vitamin D, especially in high doses, could be a potent stimulant of the immune system?
Feb-19-21  Granny O Doul: In answer to erichbf above (though I think this post will push his off the current page): Considering that Capa mayor's most famous move was knight from one light square to another, I think it's a safe guess that he never beat any world champions.
Feb-21-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I was in an experiment a few years back on Vit D the questions were about falls, heart issues etc.

The result was as usual with these things: certain percentage, has some good efficacy etc etc. Not dramatic.

But I decided to take them because I saw a Virologist on YouTube (TWiV) was takings a lot each day as was a medical worker in NY so I thought it is one of the few things I can do.

it probably does nothing. But I do need vitamins B including B12. I haven't go pernicious anaemia but it helps my well being.

People go as much by habit and "superstition" as they do by evidence....

Feb-21-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I hadn't had a cold for some time and no flu as I get the vaccines, or I think that and all the lockdowns etc we have here, and other things such as distancing etc.

But I got a sore throat and decided to take a check. I was surprised how easy it was to do and to get done. Just after I got my result by phone the Prime Minister announced that we were going into Lock down. Their way of acting is that as there is a lot not known, better to be safe than sorry. So, total deaths in NZ ~ 26.

But we are all, everywhere, potentially vulnerable to the virus. And other viruses. They just found another virus related to Sars-Cov-2. But because they couldn't get funding those surveying viruses and so on believe there are many world wide. For example, Australia has the largest number of camels and they haven't tested any camels in Australia. But, including bats and pangolins etc there are many other mammals that could be vectors.

Feb-21-21  Nosnibor: <Richard Taylor> With regard to Rubinstein and mental health problems there was a story told that sometime during the early part of W.W.2 he was arrested by the Nazi`s. However he was released following questioning when he stretched his arm with a Nazi salute and said "Heil Hitler".
Feb-21-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <N osnibor: <Richard Taylor> With regard to Rubinstein and mental health problems there was a story told that sometime during the early part of W.W.2 he was arrested by the Nazi`s. However he was released following questioning when he stretched his arm with a Nazi salute and said "Heil Hitler".>

I don’t suppose we’ll ever get a plausible story about Rubinstein and the Nazis during WWII. But in general my sense is that Nazis didn’t treat the mentally ill any better than they treated Jews. I find it easier to believe that Rubinstein never encountered the Nazis for whatever reason than they let him off the hook when they realized that he was insane.

Feb-21-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caparlsen: <The blind worship of a man [Fischer] who won once is puzzling considering the acheivements of Smyslov.> I too think there is an aura around Fischer that is unparalleled. His eccentricities and his retirement from chess afer winning the World Championship have a lot to do with that, almost as much as the quality of his games and his attitude towards chess.

But I also think that Fischer's superiority over his contemporaries in the years 1967-72 is also unparalleled. It's true that he played little, but his performance in the Sousse's interzonal, a tournament that he abandoned, and in the handful of tournaments he took part in from then on, like Buenos Aires (1970), including the Interzonal of Palma de Mallorca (1970) and the Candidates cicle of 1971, are simply amazing. He crushed mercilesly his oponents.

His dominant position in those years was unquestioned (save by Larsen).

Feb-27-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <keypusher: <N osnibor: <Richard Taylor> With regard to Rubinstein and mental health problems there was a story told that sometime during the early part of W.W.2 he was arrested by the Nazi`s. However he was released following questioning when he stretched his arm with a Nazi salute and said "Heil Hitler".> I don’t suppose we’ll ever get a plausible story about Rubinstein and the Nazis during WWII. But in general my sense is that Nazis didn’t treat the mentally ill any better than they treated Jews. I find it easier to believe that Rubinstein never encountered the Nazis for whatever reason than they let him off the hook when they realized that he was insane.>

I think there was more difference between what we call 'The Nazis' and the others, some of the Wehrmacht etc. We wont get to the bottom of it. It is a subject for a novel. The story I was told by fellow chess player here was that a soldier, a chess player, recognised him on a train.

There is a YouTube by an Englishman, a novelist, who studied the SS. Paul Watkins. But it isn't as you would think, he's not a Nazi. He learnt German, I think it was to complete a degree, so he stayed with Germans. His father or one of his parents was American, the other English. The parents of one were rich and didn't like the other etc....so it was that his German family became his parents, his German "father" a father in a significant sense. Then one day that father, when he was soon to leave, called him into his study and told him something he had kept secret from everyone else. He had got into the SS near the end of the war....this had such an effect that Watkins has devoted a lot of his time, as well as writing novels etc, to studying and lecturing I suppose on WWII and the SS. The YouTubes are fascinating.

None of which helps Rubinstein but sometimes the pattern is not kept. People do unusual things.

A long story, maybe to show or say how we can all get caught up into anything, potentially. I see or feel that Rubinstein was sane but very reserved. According to the itro to my book by Bouwmeester I have had for many years he was very much affected by WWI. In any case wars are not good for chess players and humans generally.

If I can believe the parameters (10) in Jorgen Norberg'a book "Progress" then wars are decreasing in severity and size. In fact most things are getting better. Norberg is a Capitalist out and out and so it would be good to see the view of someone from the other side of the fence. I suppose these things are always subjective to a degree.

And none of this helps Rubinstein. Rotlewi-Rubinstein is such a great game by Rubinstein every time I play it over I am amazed again. It is so beautiful. A kind of primal combination.

Mar-26-21  RookFile: There probably should be a distinction between the "greatest" player and the "strongest" player. For example, in boxing Ali was the "greatest", but if I had to have one fighter in his prime fight a match for my life I'd chose Mike Tyson. I think the same is true for chess.

I think Fischer climbed to such a high level that he could see the top of Spassky's head. Not sure that anybody else was that far ahead of his competitors. But maybe Lasker was the greatest.

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