Some More Boris Spassky. Games, Quotes and Pictures.

Some More Boris Spassky. Games, Quotes and Pictures.


Last time round I mentioned that there was still a lot left unposted in the folder I had put together. A dear chess friend - in the comments - suggested that I should post that stuff, so here goes.

Firstly though, in the same comments @Spektrowski posted some quotes of Spassky that you may have missed, so will include them here.

Other Spassky quotes, this time from about 2012.

"You can't imagine how relieved I was when I stopped being the world champion. Those were the hardest years of my life - I was crushed by my responsibilities and got no outside help. I was the king, and I had to answer for my every word."

"I approached the [1966] match against Tigran Vartanovich [Petrosian] completely exhausted, I played 98 games to qualify. At the last stretch, I had bloody matches against Keres, Geller and Tal. The hardest match was against Keres, a hard-fought melee. Geller was relatively weak in defence, so I had to attack him. And against Tal, I didn't allow him to get any initiative. This approach was successful. But to defeat Petrosian, I needed something new. You need to have the feeling that your victory is inevitable. The opponent feels that. But to have that feeling, your mind and body should be in harmony. And I was a poor student, unsettled, very far from lofty thoughts. In the first match, I jumped at Petrosian like a kitten at a tiger. It was easy for him to deflect my strikes. But in the second match, I became more mature and turned into a bear, who constantly squeezed the tiger, holding him under small, but persistent pressure, and he didn't like that.

...I think that Petrosian got psychologically tired of being the world champion. He held the crown for six years, even though he was not the world's strongest player. It was clear from his tournament results. I think this also influenced him a bit."

"I once met [Fischer] in an empty restaurant. Robert, who suffered from persecution mania, proceeded to search the place thoroughly. He searched for spies everywhere. I calmed him down, 'It's all right, Bobby, I've already destroyed all the Soviet security cameras.'"


The photos here - unless otherwise stated - are from the wonderful Douglas Griffin on twitter and elsewhere.

Moscow 1967. With Tal.

@Spektrowski also confirmed my suspicions as to Spassky's record with the Saemisch variation of the King's Indian. A quick bit of counting gives his results in the 20 years leading up to the 1972 match with Fischer. Played 23, won 18, drew 5. Incredible!!

One for the sadists amongst you. Gufeld was  a fine player of the K.I.D. and later included a small article in his books concerning the line he uses in this game. Spassky swats him like a fly stuck in treacle.

Yerevan 1962.

Some more in The Saemisch.

Korchnoi made a spur of the moment decision to play the King's Indian in one their Candidates match games. Act in haste - repent at leisure.

We have played many fine games but I never managed to win and I know why. I always tried to disrupt his logical play right from the opening. This worked against others such as Botvinnik but it failed against Spassky!!. Bronstein. The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

One of their games captured the imagination of the chess world.

Havana Olympiad 1966.

Spassky was - like Bronstein - unafraid to play the King's Gambit. Rather than churn out the Fischer game - I try to post games that will be new to most readers - here's another run out for the opening.

The young Spassky from a wonderful interview here :-  

A little more Spassky in Gambit Mode.

The Spassky - Timman Match, 1977

And the last game that had come flying into my head when I was grabbing game files was this next one. It was one that drove analysts - me included!! - mad back in pre engine days.

''Spassky sacrifices his pieces with the utmost imperturbability. He can blunder away a piece, and you are never sure whether it's a blunder or a fantastically deep sacrifice. He sits at the board with the same dead expression whether he's mating or being mated''. – Bobby Fischer.

As my regular readers will know I am a fan of Alexander Beliavsky.

Lucerne 1982.

In this particular tournament he was in great form. By then Spassky was happy to draw most of his games, but it seems like on that day he wanted to show how he could really play.

And the other bits and pieces in the folder.

Havana Olympiad 1966.

I think that I was the best in the world from 1964 to 1970, but in 1971 Fischer was already stronger.


To be great should be quite sufficient for anyone. Yet, once meeting a leading Grandmaster, known for his ferocity and stinginess in compliments, I could not resist asking him who, in his opinion, was the greatest chess player. To my surprise, without any hesitation he said ''Boris Spassky''. Gregor Piatigorsky.1966.

Alekhine Memorial 1971. With a final note of respect to Douglas Griffin.