BORIS SPASSKY

Boris Spassky, who was the tenth world champion, had a versatile style. Overcoming adversity to win a title, ironically he became far more popular for losing the world title, because it was to Bobby Fischer, than for winning it. Boris Vasilievich Spassky was born on January 30, 1937 in Leningrad, USSR in what is now St. Petersburg, Russia. When he was a boy of five years old his family was forced to flee Leningrad. Fatefully, he would learn to play chess on the train that evacuated them and fell in love with the game. Like many great champions Spassky was a prodigy. At the age of ten he defeated soon-to-be world champion Mikhail Botvinnik in a simultaneous exhibition.

Recognized for his natural abilities, Spassky began training under the coaching of Vladimir Zak and eventually other Soviet Masters. He progressed rapidly and in 1952 at the age of fifteen Spassky became the youngest Soviet national master in history. The following year Spassky would begin his international chess career in earnest. His results continued to improve and he earned the title of International Master in 1955, at the age of eighteen. The following year he would finish second in the Soviet Championships, losing in a playoff. In 1956 he would earn the title of International Grandmaster and was at the time the youngest player awarded the title.

For the next decade Spassky continued to compete in strong international tournaments and pay his dues. Spassky would have mixed results. He would have moments of brilliance that were a preview to his world championship, and at other times seemed to lack the veteran experience to close out matches. In 1958 he failed to qualify for the world championship cycle, but in the 1959 Moscow Tournament he tied for first with David Bronstein and former world champion Vasily Smyslov. In 1960 Spassky won the Mar del Plata tournament in Argentina and in the process defeated up and coming American grandmaster Bobby Fischer. Yet, the following year Spassky again would not qualify for the Interzonal tournament and an opportunity to play for the world championship.

Name

Boris Spassky

Country

Russia

Born

January 30, 1937

Death

Title

Grandmaster

Peak Rating

2690

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Spassky's surge toward the top would begin in 1961 when he won his first Soviet Championship. He would win the Soviet Championship again in 1963 asserting himself as a legitimate future world title contender. Spassky's improved results and greater consistency were in part due to him studying with a new trainer, Igor Bondarevsky. It was at this time where Spassky's attacking style became more refined and his play became more ubiquitous. In 1964 Spassky would finally qualify for the Interzonal, and in 1965 he would win the Candidates Match and qualify to play for the world chess championship against Tigran Petrosian. The match would take place in Moscow in 1966. Spassky fought valiantly but could not take the title from Petrosian and narrowly lost the match 12 ½ to 11 ½.

Undeterred by the defeat, Spassky marched forward in his quest to become world champion. In 1966 he won in one of the strongest tournament fields assembled, the Piatagorski Cup, finishing half a point ahead of Fischer. In 1968 Spassky would again win the Candidates Tournament, defeating Victor Korchnoi in the final. This earned him a rematch against Tigran Petrosian for the world title. The two once again played in Moscow in 1969. Spassky was at last victorious by a final score of 12 ½ to 10 ½. Spassky would hold the title for three years before his epic "match of the century" against Bobby Fischer would take place in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1972. He would go on to lose to Fischer 12 ½ to 8 ½ and go into the history and trivia books forever. Spassky would eventually have a long friendship with the troubled and misunderstood Fischer.

Spassky played in the Candidates Tournament in 1974 for the right to rematch Bobby Fischer for the crown. He eventually lost in a semifinal match to Anatoly Karpov, who would ultimately earn the right to face Fischer. Spassky played in the Candidates Tournament in 1980, but again failed to reach the final and would never again play for the championship. In 1992, Spassky played Fischer in a controversial 20th anniversary return match for the "championship". The controversial match was held in war-stricken Yugoslavia. Fischer again defeated Spassky. Fans were delighted to see the reemergence of Fischer, but most chess critics agreed that both Fischer's and Spassky's best chess was behind them. Spassky continued to play infrequently throughout the 1990's. In the past decade Spassky has been a wonderful ambassador for the game of chess. Today, Boris Spassky is the oldest living former world champion and is easily one of the most revered and respected figures in chess. He is admired both for his flexible all-around style and benevolent outspoken personality.v

Some Famous Boris Spassky Quotes:
"I am sure that chess has a splendid future, because it is an eternal struggle."

"The best indicator of a chess player's form is his ability to sense the climax of the game."

On Spassky:
"Spassky sits at the board with the same dead expression whether he's mating or being mated." – Bobby Fischer

"As a fellow traveler and living witness of Spassky's progress, I can testify I know no man is more capable of self-perfection than Spassky." - Victor Korchnoi

Year of Publication
2004 2014 2004 to 2014
Author(s)
  1. Garry Kasparov (1)
  2. Gedeon Barcza (1)
  3. Ivo Nei (1)
  4. Richard Roberts (1)
  5. Robert Byrne (1)
  6. Samuel Reshevsky (1)
  7. Samuel Reshevsky (1)
  8. Svetozar Gligoric (1)
Show Less Show More
Chess Notation Type
  1. FAN - Figurine (1)
  2. AN - Algebraic (1)
  3. DN - Descriptive (4)
Popular Book Series
  1. My Great Predecessors (1)

    Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors - VOLUME III
    Petrosian and Spassky
    The battle for the World Chess Championship has witnessed numerous titanic struggles which have engaged the interest not only of the chess enthusiasts but of the public at large. The chessboard is the ultimate mental battleground and the world champions themselves are supreme intellectual gladiators.

    This magnificent compilation of play from the 1960s through to the 1970s forms the basis of the third part of Garry Kasparov's long-awaited definitive history of the World Chess Championship. Garry Kasparov, who is universally acclaimed as the greatest chessplayer ever, subjects the play from this era to a rigorous analysis, the examination being enhanced by the use of the latest chess software.
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    Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors - VOLUME III

    Petrosian and Spassky
    Catalog Code: B0134EM
    Our Price: $39.95

    Boris Spassky - 10th World Champion
    This CD contains all the games of the 10th World Champion, one of the superior masters of attack in chess history
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    Boris Spassky - 10th World Champion

    Catalog Code: WIN0046CV
    Our Price: $32.95

    Fischer vs. Spassky
    The Chess Match of the Century
    The World Chess Championship Match 1972 The chess match of the century has finally taken place and chess masters throughout the world have already agreed that some of the games are among the greatest that have ever been played.
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    Fischer vs. Spassky

    The Chess Match of the Century
    Catalog Code: B0168IS
    Our Price: $19.95

    Chess - The Fischer-Spassky Games
    Of the World Chess Championship
    This is the authoritative book on the famous 1972 Fischer Spassky Match, and the book by the strongest player to write about the match. An appendix at the end contains all 20 games of the match in Algebraic Notation plus the concluding diagram for each game. Also added the five games Fischer played against Spassky before the match, which had resulted in the lopsided score of three wins by Spassky and two draws, with no wins by Fischer.
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    Chess - The Fischer-Spassky Games

    Of the World Chess Championship
    Catalog Code: B0189IS
    Our Price: $14.95

    Both Sides of the Chessboard
    An Analysis of the Fischer / Spassky Chess Match
    An analysis of the 1972 World Championship Chess Match from both sides of the chessboard - a Russian and an American analysis.
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    Both Sides of the Chessboard

    An Analysis of the Fischer / Spassky Chess Match
    Catalog Code: B0241IS
    Our Price: $25.95

    Fischer Spassky
    Report On the Chess Match of the Century
    AT LAST- after cancellations, protests, demands, disappearances, apologies, reporter limitations, referee uncertaincies, chessboard glares, unsuitable chairs and disputes about lighting, noise, and player and audience distance were resolved-at last Bobby Fischer was in Iceland and ready to play. Jully 11, 1972, the Green Day, had arrived at last...
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    Fischer Spassky

    Report On the Chess Match of the Century
    Catalog Code: B0240IS
    Our Price: $25.95

    Die Weltmeister Des Schachspiels 2 von Botwinnik bis Fischer - GERMAN EDITION
    World Champions of Chess, Volume 2 - containing biographies and games of Botvinnik , Smyslov , Tal , Petrosian , Spassky and Fischere
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    Die Weltmeister Des Schachspiels 2 von Botwinnik bis Fischer - GERMAN EDITION

    Catalog Code: B0255IS
    Our Price: $25.95

    Weltgeschichte des Schachs - 27 - Spassky - GERMAN EDITION
    This is the book Bobby Fischer studied in preparing to play his epic match for the World Chess Championship against Boris Spassky. In order to complete the record of these games, the scores of the Fischer-Spassky Match are included in an appendix in the back of this book. The New York Times reported: "FERNDALE, N.Y. March 31 – Nearly always, when he is seen, he is carrying or reading what is jokingly called “the big red book” to distinguish it from “Quotations From Chairman Mao”, which is the little red book.
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    Weltgeschichte des Schachs - 27 - Spassky - GERMAN EDITION

    Catalog Code: B0256IS
    Our Price: $31.95

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