In 1979 Smyslov was last in 3rd Interpolis tournament in Tilburg. He had only 2 1/2 points on 12th place, 2 points behind 11th Kavalek.
Smyslov was 59 and everyone believed he should have retired instead of embarrassing himself with horrible oversights.
At the time I was junior player, wasting time in memorizing openings. I was subscribed to Croatian Chess Messenger, and famous editor, commentator and trainer Drazen Marovic, who wrote an article about the tournament, wrote those words from the thread title about Smyslov. Old bug.g.er reached the bottom...everyone reckoned.
And it wasn't the only fall Smyslov experienced.
Another big crysis he had in Primo sixties, when he had turbulent divorce and did not have luck any more in WC competitions. He reportedly had beaten his wife and only intervention from "high nomenclatures" saved his arr.rs from jail. At the time Vladimir Vukovic commented one Smyslov's defeat and in between lines referred to this::: "Smyslov treated his Queen badly again...!", it was a game against Keres in Queen Indian Defense.
And then, the same Smyslov qualified from Las Palmas interzonal in 1982, and then eliminated Huebner and Ribli, and only was defeated by ugly ambitious monster called Kasparov.
I remember I "learned" Cambridge-Springs variation for junior ch of Serbia in 1980. and how Ljubojevic was god at it, but then came Kasparov and refuted it against Smyslov. Dang.
Drazen Marovic completely forgot what he wrote of Smyslov in 1979, now in 1983 he praised him with those words:: "to be able to play high competitive chess in his age,man need to have huge sense for humour, even to be cynical... because, op class chess is nerves-destroyer, just look at the people who tried and failed - they're ruins and almost ready to be hospitalized..."
Marovic also recollected alleged an anecdote from Biel interzonal in 1976, where Smyslov lost shared 3rd place just half point. He said to his second: "Don't worry, man [tcholovjek!], they all will be 3 years older in next WC cycle!"
He even missed next WC cycle
Robert Byrne was at the time NY Times' chess correspondent and he wrote this way on their London 1982 match:::
>>>> Youthful Play by Smyslov, 62
Smyslov, who is 62 years old, was considered the underdog here because of his age, but he played the youngest game of the four semifinalists, scoring two of his victories against the 32-year- old [young! - my remark] Ribli with blistering mating attacks. However, still because of his age - a chess player's prime lies between 20 and 40 - he is once again predicted to lose his upcoming final match with Kasparov, a 20-year-old wonder. Tonight he needed only a draw with Ribli and played conservatively and solidly to insure it. Excitement flared late in the game when Ribli made a last desperate bid for complications, but the Hungarian fell into time pressure and could not carry through his attack.
At the time Ribli offered the draw, he had only seconds left on his clock. He was also a piece down. But the practical Smyslov did not care - the draw gave him the match and he took it at once. Ribli Mounts Late Attack... >>>>>