7th World Champion
1957 - 1958
Vasily Vasilievich Smyslov was born in Moscow, Russia in 1921. He learned to play chess at the age of 6. He learned much about chess from his father and studied the chess books in his father's library. Smyslov was an opera singer but made chess his career after narrowly failing an audition for the Bolshoi Opera in 1950. He once said, "I have always lived between chess and music." and brought music to his games. He once sang operatic extracts on Swiss radio and during the interval of a serious living chess game against Botvinnik; he sang to an audience of thousands. He defeated Botvinnik in 1957 World Championship match but lost the title to Botvinnik in the 1958 rematch.
He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions. Smyslov was twice equal first at the Soviet Championship (1949, 1955), and his total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals won is an all-time record. In five European Team Championships, Smyslov won ten gold medals. He remained active and successful in competitive chess well into the 1960s and 1970s and he qualified for the finals of the World Championship Candidates' Matches as late as 1983. Despite failing eyesight, he has remained active in the composition of chess problems and studies and he is currently the oldest living former World Chess Champion.
Who is your teacher, he's lived very long.
It's true he's half blind, but he sings a nice song.