SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The late Vasily Smyslov, who died at age 89 this past weekend, thought seriously of dedicating himself to music. Smyslov was a fine baritone singer, who only positively decided upon a chess career after a failed audition with the Bolshoi Theatre in 1950.
He once said, “I have always lived between chess and music.” On the occasion of a game against Mikhail Botvinnik, he sang to an audience of thousands. He occasionally gave recitals during chess tournaments, often accompanied by fellow Grandmaster and concert pianist Mark Taimanov. Smyslov once wrote that he tried to achieve harmony on the chess board, with each piece assisting the others.
In the mid 1990’s , when I was in Moscow, I happened to come across a cassette of Smyslov singing opera. So I bought it and have listened to it on many occasions!
Here is a video that was posted on YouTube last October and purports to be a recording of Smyslov singing Stenka Razin. Enjoy!