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Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense (C93)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5
7 Bb3 O-O 8 c3 d6 9 h3 h6

Number of games in database: 853
Years covered: 1908 to 2021
Overall record:
   White wins 30.7%
   Black wins 15.9%
   Draws 53.3%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Bruno Parma  17 games
Mikhail Tal  17 games
Aleksandar Matanovic  10 games
Svetozar Gligoric  64 games
Efim Geller  33 games
Aleksandar Matanovic  20 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Geller vs Portisch, 1967
Timman vs Kasparov, 1985
Deep Blue vs Kasparov, 1997
A Medina Garcia vs Gligoric, 1968
Tal vs Gligoric, 1968
Keres vs Spassky, 1965
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 page 1 of 35; games 1-25 of 853  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Schlechter vs Prokes 1-0371908PragueC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
2. S Rosselli del Turco vs G Cenni  ½-½551925BolognaC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
3. E Bhend vs L Weltjens  1-0301958Munich Olympiad qual-4C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
4. Geller vs Tal  ½-½1419613rd Soviet Team CupC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
5. Tal vs Smyslov ½-½2119613rd Soviet Team CupC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
6. Tal vs Smyslov  ½-½311961USSR Championship 1961bC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
7. Najdorf vs E C Guevara ½-½161962HavanaC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
8. Keene vs M Phillips  1-0341962Clapham tourneyC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
9. Portisch vs I Bilek  ½-½211962Stockholm InterzonalC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
10. Gligoric vs Korchnoi  ½-½311962Stockholm InterzonalC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
11. P Dely vs A A Bikhovsky  0-1271962MoscowC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
12. Shamkovich vs Bronstein  1-0451962MoscowC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
13. A Matanovic vs Pachman  ½-½261962Capablanca Memorial 1stC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
14. Gligoric vs Spassky  ½-½331962Capablanca Memorial 1stC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
15. Parma vs Kholmov  ½-½281962URS-YUGC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
16. Evans vs Lombardy 1-0371962New York (training match)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
17. Evans vs Lombardy 0-1401962New York (training match)C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
18. J Szily vs Kholmov  ½-½481962Asztalos Memorial 5thC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
19. I Platonov vs Kholmov  ½-½431962Spartak-chC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
20. W Pietzsch vs Spassky 0-1351962Varna Olympiad qual-1C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
21. M Johansson Sr vs N Suer  0-1331962Varna Olympiad qual-1C93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
22. Tringov vs Spassky  ½-½401962Varna Olympiad Final-AC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
23. Unzicker vs Filip  ½-½271962Varna Olympiad Final-AC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
24. Geller vs A Matanovic 1-0361962Varna Olympiad Final-AC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
25. Ghitescu vs A Kolarov  ½-½561962Varna Olympiad Final-AC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
 page 1 of 35; games 1-25 of 853  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-08-04  Taidanii: Why is 9...h6 even being considered over 9...Na5?
Apr-08-04  Kenkaku: Actually, I feel that the Breyer or the Flohr-Zaitsev (popular these days) may be the best, rather than the Tchigorin. This is the Closed Ruy Lopez though, so any strategy can be effective, including the waiting move 9...h6 (it keeps the knight off g5, and will be useful in fighting off a kingside pawn storm as well, of course).
Apr-08-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: The problem with 9...h6 is that the tempo spent on it allows White to complete the knight maneuver b1-d2-f1-(e3 or g3) with impunity - of course this is also present in the Breyer and some lines of the Chigorin. The Flohr-Zaitsev is probably Black's most testing line, as the pressure arrives at e4 fast enough to stop said maneuver. Given the choice, I would probably go for either the Zaitsev or the Breyer over the slow Smyslov and the "knight on the rim" Chigorin, but of course they are also both viable defenses.
Apr-08-04  acirce: Yes, 9. - h6 is slow, probably unnecessarily so because Ng5 isn't often too effective. That is why Smyslov isn't so often played, but it is not unsound.
Apr-08-04  ruylopez900: 9...h6 seems to be a waiting move, seeing what White will do. I agree with ken and bill that the Flohr-Zaitzev is the most testing line for White in the Closed Ruy Lopez.
Oct-25-04  Helloween: I don't like moves that commit the pawn structure when there are at least 3 or 4 better moves on the board. To me, this is a poor man's Flohr-Zaitsev, since h7-h6 is an almost universal move in that system anyway.

I play the Karpov variation (9...Nd7) almost exclusively in the closed.

Jul-22-05  Backward Development: <I don't like moves that commit the pawn structure when there are at least 3 or 4 better moves on the board...h7-h6 is an almost universal move in that system anyway.> Thus, the move doesn't really commit anything, since the move is common. Examining the main lines of the Zaitsev, white has many strong, forcing variations at his disposal which seem to leave black in trouble of being mated. While the QS majority is very important, quite often the weakness of Black's KS is more telling. In the Smyslov, direct attacks seem to happen less frequently and Black's QB in particular can benefit from the flexibility of 9...h6. In the closed positions after a d4-d5 push, it's well known that a bishop on d7 is generally more useful. I believe that critical difference is a reason to favor the Smyslov. The Karpov variation follows the maxim of making no weakening pawn moves, if possible. Although the main-line positions are very solid, they don't seem to offer black many winning chances. I'm learning how to defend the Spanish, and I think the Smyslov is maybe best.
Jul-23-05  OneBadDog: If Black doesn't want a three move repetition in the Flohr-Zaitsev, he should be prepared to play the Smyslov.
Jul-23-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: It is only a 3-fold repetition if one of the players claims it, as Van der Wiel vs Karpov, 1989 shows. Both players got nearer to the time-control with the multiple repetition.
Aug-01-05  gambitfan: is it the Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez ???
Apr-09-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here is a little collection of puzzles from miniatures of the RL Closed, Smyslov (C93): http://www.wtharvey.com/c93.html What's the best move?
Aug-17-10  rapidcitychess: <gambitfan? Er, no. 9...Bb7 and then 10...Re8
Seems like a the classical(Not like the Corden or Moller) defense, in order to play 10...Re8, 11...Bf8, 12...g6, 13...Bg7. Just to get a basic Ruy Lopez setup.
Mar-12-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗b5 a6 4.♗a4 ♘f6 5. O-O ♗e7 6.♖e1 b5 7.♗b3 O-O 8.c3 d6 9.h3 h6


click for larger view

Sep-29-13  Kikoman: <Opening of the Day>

Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d6 9. h3 h6


click for larger view

May-12-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: <Opening of the Day> The Ruy Lopez is 1 of my favorite openings & Smyslov is 1 of my favorite players! I plan to try out this variation vs a computer (at my rating level or weaker) soon.

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