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Fischer-Spassky Iceland 1972

  • maricheri
  • | Dec 13, 2007
  • | 4148 views
  • | 2 comments

Poster of the long awaited match

There was great interest in the staging of this match. Belgrade put up the highest bid of 152,000 dollars. Buenos Aires followed with 150,000 dollars, and Reykjavik offered 125,000 dollars. 

After considerable negotiation, the President of FIDE, former World Champion Max Euwe declared that the match would be played half in Reykjavik and half in Belgrade. The Russians protested at this. Fischer said that no-one had the authority to make decisions on his behalf, and the match was renegotiated. Coming up to three months before the match, Belgrade wanted reassurance from Fischer that Fischer would play there. Fischer did not give any reassurance and Belgrade withdrew their offer, and the match was transferred to Reykjavic.

The match was for the best of 24 games. Fischer as challenger required 12.5 points to win the title while the defending champion Boris Spassky required 12 to retain it.

No match in the history of the game received more world-wide publicity and chess playing was given a tremendous impetus everywhere. Even UK chess clubs such as Barnet chess club felt the effects of this match, with a tremendous boost in membership!


Political undertones

The challenger to the World title was the American, Bobby Fischer. Fischer was the first westerner since the 2nd world war to seriously threaten the Soviet dominance of the game. Fischer, a difficult and solitary character, felt he was on a personal mission to strike a blow at the heart of the Soviet Empire. 

Larry Evans who knew Fischer very well, said in [1]

"He [Fischer] said in an interview.. 'I have been chosen to teach the Russians some humility'. And up until that point, the Russians had used chess as a weapon in the cold war. To them their superiority in chess was proof to the World that Communism was better than Capitalism." 

Victor Baturinsky, head of Soviet Chess Sports committee [1] 

"Basically the soviet leadership and the powers at be in sport, were interested in just one issue.. how to stop Fischer from becoming World champion

Defending his crown was World Champion Boris Spassky. Spassky was an independent minded product of the Soviet chess machine. He had declined to join the communist part. Despite his personal doubts about the Soviet system, the hopes of the strongest chess nation in the World rested in his shoulders. 

Alexander Roshall, Editor '64' chess magazine [1]

"It was ours!...We couldn't surrender it.. How could we give away what was ours? It would be like surrendering a piece of our own country... You didn't want to give up the Fawklands.. and we didn't want to give up our own crown."

Under the Soviet system Chess was not just another game. It had always been popular in Russia, but the Bolsheviks promoted it as part of state policy.

Alexander Cockburn, Writer

"Marx was a very keen chess player... Lenin was keen on chess although he he gave it up because he said it was interfering with his political activities..Marx was a bad loser apparently.. Lenin was a good loser" 

Alexander Roshall, Editor '64' chess magazine [1]

"Lenin was really passionate about chess..It's said that Lenin coined the phrase 'Chess is the gymnastics of the mind'...'Chess for the masses!' ... Chess is a weapon of proletarian culture. Now we can raise the cultural level of the people at one stroke." 

Chess in the USSR was under strict party control. The game received generous state subsidies, and its champions were national heroes. By 1970, the World chess champion was Boris Spassky who had become an international master at the tender age of 16. Spassky had been nurtured from the earliest age by the chess authorities, but had always distanced himself from the political nature of chess in Soviet Russia. 


Boris Spassky

"You'd think that being World Champion would make you very happy...That you're the very best.. But with me, things were somehow the other way round...My years as champion were the unhappiest years of my life because I felt a huge responsibility. After all, I lived in a communist state, but I was not a communist. It was really a great Burden. In Russia they have a saying that 'Shapka Monomakha wears heavily'. The Shapka Monomakha is the Psar's crown. And I felt it quite keenly."

Chess in America bore no comparison with the Soviet Union. America had neither the will, the talent, nor the resources to take on the Soviets in Chess. But despite this public indifference, in the mid 1950's a child prodigy emerged who was to change all this. Bobby Fischer grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in the shadow of Ebbits field, home of the Brooklyn dodgers. But Baseball never held any attraction for a teenager obsessed with Chess.

 
Robert Byrne

"Watch out for this new kid we've got ...he's really good... I should have believed him... But you know.. you hear that so often... Everyone has a nephew or a cousin who is really great...Then comes in a bright kid that would give a good game for a few moves and then I was goanna squash him... But oh my God, came this maniac came at me!... and everything indicated he knew exactly what he was doing...I had White but I was on the defensive in about 10 moves and scared skinny... I said to myself this kid is different from all other bright kids"

Fischer Interview

Question:

"Did at any time when you were young look ahead and say one day I will be World Champion?"



Fischer

Answer:

"Not at the beginning, no. It was like an impossible dream.. Just like a kid plays baseball doesn't mean he's going to be a star of the Yankees or something like that"

Larry Evans

"Chess was his health. That was his sanity. Outside of chess, he was a fish out of water.. But chess was his native tongue"

By the age of 13, Fischer was US Champion. If he was to prove himself the best in the World, he would have to beat the Soviets. But throughout his teenage years, he became convinced that they were trying to thwart his progress in World chess


Fischer

"When I first started playing chess, to me the Russians were heroes...and they still are as chess players... but.. and I used to study all their literature.. most of the first books I read were Russian chess books...But the first time the Russians ever mentioned me...I remember I was 13 and they said...'Well, he is a very fine talented young player. But all this publicity he is getting is sure do damage to his character'. Then sure enough from then on, they started attacking my character....."

As his playing career developed, he accused them of outright cheating.


Fischer

"Basically what they were doing were drawing among themselves and then playing hard to beat me, so they were..having one or two days of rest... so when they were playing me, they were fresh"

Victor Baturinsky, head of Soviet Chess Sports committee [1] 

"In the candidates tournament of 1962, perhaps his suspicions were not entirely groundless. If the first four places were taken by Soviet Grandmasters and they had drawn all their matches with one other...That was what particularly annoyed him...Fischer did not generally like draws. He played to the very end.. "to the Kings" as they say... that was his style...Perhaps this is why he became suspicious... But there were never any instructions issued from here....from the leadership of the Sports committee, from the Chess Department or higher up....concerning fixing matches"


Fischer interview [1]

Question

"You obviously consider yourself the best chess player in the World. Does this ever strike you as a touch arrogant? 


Fischer

No, I mean it's true.. I don't know...

Question

"Who do you think is going to win between you and Spassky"

Answer


Fischer

"I mean I am definitely the heavy favourite, according to all the past results.. so, ..I'm just goanna go in there... I'm not going to stay up nights worrying, its goanna be over pretty soon.."

Question

"What is the most important thing about winning this title.. for yourself.. or knowing that other people regard you as World champion?"


Fischer

"I guess knowing that other people regard me as champion because I have known all along that I'm the best...but even that I would like to prove this to myself too.. but especially the general public.. it would be nice to show the Russians too...That's what I'm goanna enjoy most about winning the title, reading what Russian magazines say about it"


The Drama

By 1972, Fischer had defeated all other contenders and was the undisputed challenger for Spassky's crown. The contest was set to take place in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, strategically positioned between Russia and America. 

The world title match comprised 24 games to be played in July and August. Fischer retreated to a resort hotel in upstate New York to prepare for the match. Unlike Spassky who could call on all the resources of the Soviet Chess School, Fischer had no one else but himself

Larry Evans [1] said:-

"When we were engrossed in things.. we would play over Spassky games usually in the wee hours of the morning.. we would have the rock radio blasting to the accompany of the rock and roll.. and going over his games and trying to find his weak points and his strong points .. but the preparation was no where near what the Russians had as a team..He was in a great state of mind, he said 'Well, After I beat Spassky I am goanna have the 'bum of the month' club like Joe Lewis used to have, fight a different guy every month.' ...I was trying to tell him that once he won the title, he should set fair conditions once and for all, to show the Russians the way it should be done...The New York times did a big article...They interviewed me for it and they said how much influence do you have on Bobby?.. I said I probably had more influence on him than anyone else, and that was exactly zero."

Spassky's preparation did not go so smoothly. The pressure of his position was getting to him. 


Boris Spassky

"I sensed that my nerves were shredded. And when your nerves have all gone, its like being in a car when the electrics have failed. You just can't do anything. And so I had this subconscious premonition that something was going wrong with me. But I had to put this feeling aside because I had no other choice. I had to play the match.... I didn't feel for instance that I was defending a political system which stood in opposition to another political system...I always considered myself a chess king"

The opening ceremony was scheduled for the 1st July. The Soviet team had arrived in good time. But Fischer refused to fly to Reykjavik until all his demands regarding playing conditions were met.

Nikolas Krogius, Soviet Grandmaster and Doctor of Psychology [1]:

"The match is declared open, but Schmidt saids that Fischer is delayed... Our ambassador makes a speech.. The American charge d'Affaires makes a speech...But there is no sign of the challenger... For the first time in the history of chess."

Larry Evans [1]

"First of all he wanted more money.... The match had.. I think the purse originally was 125,000 dollars ..and then an Englishman by the name of James Slater doubled the match to 250,000. And then Bobby wanted more of the profits from the TV filming and the rights..... he always wanted one thing more... he was very hard to deal with... he always wanted that extra pair of pants no matter what he got"

Fischer was staying at Anthony Saidy's house, refusing to talk to anybody.

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attorney [1]:-

"He was looking at every angle. Why it was in Reykjavik?... What were the playing conditions going to be like in Reykjavik? Was the money really going to be paid? Would they take any unfair advantage? And, he was concerned about it. It was a semel moment in his life, it was the World championship and he had worked like hell to get there.."

 
Robert Byrne

"He was just so hard, that people can't believe it.. and without shall we say...some of the normal restraints of rationality.. and just common sense.. but I don't think any of that is ploying....he is sincere about that...its the same sincerity I think...You know I suppose.. that he was always terrified of taking Airplane trips because he was certain that the Soviets wanted to blow up his plane... you didn't know that?!.. yes.. and he had several fillings in his mouth removed, because he thought the Soviets were able to implant devices and read his brainwaves"

Nikolas Krogius [1]:

"The worst state for anyone to be in, is that of uncertainty.. of not knowing what to expect...And this was the state Spassky was forced into....We tried to distract him with other matters- tennis, walks... The Icelanders rang up and suggest going fishing but the trip didn't come off...Moscow was also ringing incessantly to find out what was going on...how, why and so on."

Saidy [1]:

"It was not directed against Spassky. It was his own inner Demons...it had nothing to do with Spassky and it wasn't done purposely...and I don't think he was even sure he was going to win.. I think there may have been some fear in his heart.."

All of Fischer's hard work in challenging for the World title was about to be thrown away, if he didn't turn up in time to start the match. 

At Rejkjavic conference
"I just wondered if you have ever seen Mr Fisher.. if you have any proof that he actually exists".. <some laughing> ... "That's a good question! " ..."Yes gentlemen I think we can agree on the point that Fischer exists"

In the end, the Icelanders made an approach to the Whitehouse to see if they could influence Fischer. 

Thorarinson, President of the Icelandic Chess Federation:-

"Fischer's lawyers told me that they had been present ...There was no way of getting him to Iceland.. he was determined.. but when Kissinger talked to him, and told him that he had to fight the Russians. They said his face changed...he was like a young man going to a battle like a soldier and he said 'I will fight the Russians' "

The combination of the extra prize fund of Slater and the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asking Fischer to play finally persuaded Fischer to fly to Reykjavik. 

Fischer's arrival was only some five hours before the deadline before he would have to forfeit the challenge to the title. Fischer was so intent in getting into his car and driving to Rejkjavic at speed, that he did not greet the Icelandic officials who had gone to the airport.

When Fischer arrived in Reykjavik, he went to bed, and missed the opening ceremony for the drawing of lots. For the Soviet delegation this was seen as a calculated insult. They were furious and they demanded an apology from Fischer and from Euwe.

Krogius [1]

"This was the final straw for Spassky and indeed for all of us....We said that there could be no further discussion... Fischer had to appear in person at the draw before the match could begin...those were the rules.. We had to settle several issues.. Fischer had to apologise...And so the question of the match was still very much open"

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attorney [1]

"They repeat the line.. the party line.. over and over and over again.. and if you are not accustomed to it.. and I wasn't ..emm... it's an irritant... and after the 7th time, Krogius who was the spokesman came out with the same phrase with the same inclination... as I recount 'Bobby should forfeit' ..ehh.. I said.. 'I now get the point.. You want tommorow's headlines to read 'Bobby comes and Russia runs .. so be it' and they got...for the first time they got upset.. they left the room...And then that night we got this demand for an apology letter as a face saver"

Fischer wrote a personal letter of apology to Boris Spassky which the Soviets accepted. The letter offered his 'sincerest apology for my disrespectful behaviour'. He had become 'carried away by my petty dispute over money' with the organisers. He hoped that he would not have to default the first game, because he did not believe that 'the world's champion desires such an advantage'... and continued with praising words of Spassky, '...I know you are a sportsman and a gentleman, and I am looking forward to some exciting games with you.'

Finally ten days later than scheduled, the first game got underway on July 11 1972.

Fischer arriving at the Exhibition Hall for the first game

Thorarinson, President of the Icelandic Chess Federation [1]

"I was very much relieved.. We finally made it...now it's started... its over.. they will be occupied with the problems on the board.. and it will be very easy for us the organisers.. the rest..."

Spassky-Fischer opening game in progress, 
10 days later than scheduled


Boris Spassky

"The first game is always very nerve-wracking for everyone.. and during the first game your pulse often rises to about 160...even if you have a healthy heart, on average your pulse is 40...Mine at that moment was around 55... I was physically quite strong, not an athlete but generally healthy...But my nerves - that was another matter"

Spassky playing White was clearly content with a draw, and exchanged pieces into a totally level endgame. The always ambitious Fischer decided to sacrifice a bishop to keep the game alive. Accurate play by Spassky however, ensured that he won a delicate endgame.

1 Spassky,B - Fischer,R 1-0


Boris Spassky

"Fischer's style was always to be on the offensive. Here he was in a passive position. If he had just held that position, he would have got a draw... he wouldn't have had any problems...But he found himself in a passive position and didn't want to draw. He wanted to change the course of the battle at any cost, and to do that was very risky.... That is why he lost that game"

Fischer was one game down in the match. He then didn't show for the beginning of the 2nd game, saying the noise of the film cameras in the main hall was distracting him. It led to him forfeiting the game. He was now two down and seriously considering abandoning and returning to the States. 

 
Robert Byrne

"He was ready to head for the airport, but the doughty Paul Marshall and his official assistant whom he never used really Bill Lombard , em.. surged to the fore"

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attourney [1]

"Bill Lombardy, a devout Catholic priest came in very shame faced saying 'I have just ripped the magneto wiring out of Fischer's car so he could not get to the airport. "

 
Robert Byrne

"Fischer didn't know a distributor from a Unicorn...Bill could just shrug his shoulder and say it wont go.. That was before we got him back to the room...They brainwashed him... They wouldn't let him sleep... They kept walking the floor...and explained to him why he had to play... why it was in his own best interest to play"

Fischer decided to stay, but his failure to show for the 2nd game, prompted many in the Soviet camp to call for Spassky's withdrawal. They felt the match had descended into a farce. 

Viktor Babkin, Chess correspondent, TASS

"We wrote that Spassky was being very noble, but in the corridors of power, they felt he should leave. There was no match, no contest at all.. But I think Fischer himself didn't know what he was doing"

Victor Baturinsky, head of Soviet Chess Sports committee [1]

"Believe me if they wanted to call the match off, then the match would have been stopped...More probably, the pressure that was exerted was in terms of trying to persuade Spassky to leave.. but there was never some sort of diktat"


Boris Spassky

"I had two chances to abandon the match, and to remain World Champion and this would have suited the Sports Committee perfectly...But it did not suit me at all.. That was the problem"

2 Fischer,R - Spassky,B 0-1

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attourney [1]

"Bobby had lost the second game by theft called Forfeit, and he refused to play where those cameras existed under any circumstances"

Fischer wanted the game to be played in a back room away from the prying eyes of the cameras. Spassky reluctantly agreed.


Boris Spassky

"The match took place in a small room...where a camera, a video camera had been set up opposite the chessboard...When the time came to play, the main referee Lothar Schmidt said something along the lines of 'Gentleman it's time to start the game'. And at that moment Bobby said 'Earghhh the camera is too loud. I don't want to play'. And he started wrangling with the main referee. And at some point when the latter said that five minutes had already gone by.. Bobby said to him 'Earghhh shut up' .. And I think it was at that very moment that I lost the match. Because if then I said 'Gentlemen I don't like these conditions and I don't want to start play under them.. I shall forfeit this game, the loss will be mine.. but I'm ready to continue playing the fourth game under normal conditions in the main hall. But because I had promised to play this game, I didn't do this. And I played it like a rabbit caught in the gaze of a Boa Constrictor. That was the first game I ever lost to Fischer." 

 
Robert Byrne

"I have known Fischer since he was a little boy, and I have never seen him look the way he looked during that game...He was always you know in very good health.. nothing to worry about...how was he going to play a serious chess match, when he looked like an inmate!"

Dr Frank Brady, biographer [1]

"His [Fischer's] face was white. He was really involved in some sort of extostential confrontation. I don't know what really would have happened if he had lost that game and then would have been three down... or even drawn that game...What occurred was one of the most beautiful games in whole match. Fischer really came forward and proved to himself, to the World and to Spassky that he could do it."

3 Spassky,B - Fischer,R 0-1

From game 4 onwards, the players moved back into the main hall. With the film cameras banned, the only record of the event that survived are the tapes of the closed circuit TV. 

4 Fischer,R - Spassky,B ½-½
5 Spassky,B - Fischer,R 0-1
6 Fischer,R - Spassky,B 1-0

Larry Evans [1]

"By the fifth game, I think Fischer had evened the score. And then he won game 6 which was the best game of the match... and in fact Spassky stood on stage applauding him with the audience.. It was an amazing moment.. This never happened before.. I had never seen a player lose and then start applauding his opponent"

7 Spassky,B - Fischer,R ½-½
8 Fischer,R - Spassky,B 1-0
9 Spassky,B - Fischer,R ½-½
10 Fischer,R - Spassky,B 1-0
11 Spassky,B - Fischer,R 1-0
12 Fischer,R - Spassky,B ½-½
13 Spassky,B - Fischer,R 0-1

The rest of the 1st half of the match was dominated by Fischer. Fischer won games five, six, eight and ten, obtaining a three point lead. Spassky fought back, by winning game eleven. Fischer in game thirteen, increased his lead once again, clearly indicating that he was the firm favourite to win the match. 

Dr Frank Brady, biographer [1]

"Fischer played into the match, and learned how to beat Spassky... Each game he got better".

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attourney [1]

"All this nonsense.. all this delay.. all this haggling... I think had an adverse effect on Boris Spassky, who was a very straightforward decent , certainly a brilliant chessmen  and very nice man... I think this was against his character" 

14 Fischer,R - Spassky,B ½-½
15 Spassky,B - Fischer,R ½-½
16 Fischer,R - Spassky,B ½-½
17 Spassky,B - Fischer,R ½-½

Spassky doggedly fought back and by game 17, the score stood Fischer 10, Spassky 7. It was at this point, the Russians launched their own psychological attack on Fischer. Prompted by an anonymous letter, they claimed that Fischer and the Americans were using some sort of secret weapon to put Spassky off.

Krogius [1]

"We received a lot of letters about the underhand ways in which Fischer was trying to influence Spassky's mind... Starting with some sort of power source allegedly installed in a submarine somewhere or in the Keflavik and finishing with the idea that a generator has been installed in Fischer's chair...and every time he got up he shifted the chair...and the generator would come on and this would direct rays at Spassky...Then Fischer would return to his chair, sit down again...and the device would be switched off."


Boris Spassky

"I don't discount the possibility as I've already mentioned that Fischer and I may have been targets....for some sort of new weapon deployed from elsewhere... because the sensation I experienced during the games was quite unpleasant...I felt uncomfortable.. I felt that something was disturbing me"

Fischer's chair and the whole playing area underwent a thorough examination.

 
Robert Byrne

"They took the light-fixture in the ceiling apart you know, and all they found were two dead flies..."

One member of the Soviet delegation suggested that an autopsy be performed on the insects and was subsequently disciplined.

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attourney [1]

"I have learned, that once you start a World championship, you may never change the conditions of play, so when they put back the fixture, I demanded that they restore the house lice"

 
Robert Byrne

"And the chair.. there wasn't anything in the chair.. I guess it was just a tit for tat business"

18 Fischer,R - Spassky,B ½-½
19 Spassky,B - Fischer,R ½-½
20 Fischer,R - Spassky,B ½-½

By the end of the 20th game, Fischer needed only 1 point from the last four matches to win. Spassky who had put up such a strong rearguard action knew he was beaten. 


Boris Spassky

"There was period in the match when Bobby was under severe pressure. For six games in a row, I was piling more and more pressure on him and at the very last moment, he managed to escape"

21 Spassky,B - Fischer,R 0-1

The players took a break during match 21. It was the last time in the contest that Spassky faced Fischer over the board. During the adjournment, he surrendered his crown.


Boris Spassky

"...I felt I had lost the match even before it began, when I said that my nerves were in a bad way.. But Bobby Fischer had problems of his own. I could sense this only too well...I left him to his own problems, but I was unable to sort out mine." 

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attourney [1]

"The official notice came by way of a phone call from World champion Spassky...and he said you may tell Fischer that he is the new World Champion.. and we thanked him.....and then hung up the phone...and we began doing an Indian war dance ran up the hall screaming... Bill who was a seriously Catholic priest.. knocking Fischer's door down...Bill you come here and analyse the adjourned position with me...Paul did they put it in writing.. if not get it in writing', and he closed the door."


Fischer wearing the World Champion laurel. Dr Max Euwe, head of FIDE and himself world champion from 1935-37 presents Fischer with the championship medal.

Fischer Interview

"Bobby Fischer, how are you feeling now?"


Fischer

"Very good, very happy.. the whole thing's finished.."

"How do you rate Spassky now? I mean what are the chances do you think of holding on again in a return match against Spassky?"


Fischer

"Oh I think I would beat him more easily.. There is no question in my mind  about it in my mind..."

This is because really you have?!


Fischer

"I've broken him..."

This is what you set out to do isn't it?!


Fischer

Yeah..yeah..

How would you rate him against other players you played against?


Fischer

"The best definitely, all the other players I have played against have crumbled"

Thorarinson, President of the Icelandic Chess Federation [1]

" I had the feeling that they were both heavily damaged psychologically...at the end..The pressure.. I had a feeling that they were friends and that it didn't affect their relationship.. I was very glad... it was the surrounding that was hostile"


Post match implications

At the final banquet after the match, Fischer gets his pocket set out, and wanted to discuss one of the games they had played.

 
Robert Byrne

"At the final banquet after the match, he comes over to Boris, pulls out his Pocket chess set, and Boris looks like 'Oh my God! Hasn't he had enough' ..no he hadn't had enough and he wanted to discuss one of the game they had had.." 

Thorarinson, President of the Icelandic Chess Federation [1]

"When Fischer left, he told me 'I will be a worthy champion of the World.. I will play very much...I will not brush past the Russians.., I will be playing in lots of tournaments... I will be defending the title' "


Fischer

"The Russians are the ones that started all of this...and they have been using chess as a propaganda weapon...using every trick to keep the title...now they are the ones to lose the title...now it turned against them...Probably they wish they never start to play chess at all...Years of propaganda. and they get all upset by this one thing..." 

"You see them as using chess for purely..?!"


Fischer

" They have been using it for twenty years...It was one of their big things.. military might... combined with this intellectual might... now the intellectual might is err..."

Spassky was personal blamed for the defeat by the Soviet Chess Authorities. Quickly discarding him, they  turned their attention to Anatoly Karpov as the man to take back the crown for the USSR. 

Fischer having become World Champion proceeded to turn down millions of dollars of endorsements and appearance fees. When challenged by Karpov in 1975, Fischer made numerous conditions many of which were accepted. Fischer however required all conditions to be met. FIDE stood firmly despite intense lobbying from the USA. Fischer declined to play and Karpov was declared champion by default. Fischer became ever more reclusive.

Larry Evans [1] 

"I had a feeling after he beat Spassky that something dreadful was going to happen... I didn't know what it was..but.. Either he would never play again.. or he would die young...or whatever...he never played another game for 20 years.. he disappeared"

Paul Marshall, Fischer's attourney [1]

"Bobby may have just reached the pinnacle and there was nothing else exciting"

Saidy [1]

"He let American chess down.. He let the other professionals down when he quit.. Interest in the game began to lag on the part of the American public...so it was an abandonment"

Spassky was allowed to leave the Soviet Union in 1976 and moved to Paris where he continued to play competitive chess. But he still felt bitter about his exile.


Boris Spassky

"I knew that a time would come when I would have to pay for it all...I would be called to account.. and Ultimately that is what happened...I had to leave my country...I am Russian, it's my land...and nevertheless I had to abandon my home land...Incidentally Bobby Fischer who is an American also had to abandon his country...And now we are both living as émigrés....So you see what strange things can sometimes happen in life...As the French say 'C'est la vie' "

While Spassky moved west, Fischer moved east and is rumored to live in Budapest. He shuns any attempt to draw him out into the public eye. In 1992 he restaged the match between himself and Spassky and once again, was the winner. It was the only time in 26 years he had played chess in Public.

Alexander Cockburn, Writer

"He was good as Ali...He was chess's Ali.... Ali got you know..Parkinson's in the end, and Fischer was a recluse now living in Europe and has never cashed in... so the two great American champions from the post war period were Ali and Fischer.. were both pretty eccentric now"

Thorarinson, President of the Icelandic Chess Federation [1]

"He stood looking out of the window in the Loftleider Hotel...In a rather weak moment, when Fischer was looking out of the window and said...'The only thing I can do is to play chess'...and he seemed rather sad, but then there came a smile on his face, and he smiled and said 'But I do that rather well'




Comments


  • 6 years ago

    figrock

    Oh good, more Bobby!

  • 7 years ago

    theplayer

    this a great article thnx...

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