Boris Spassky

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Spassky, Boris

Spassky, Boris, 1937–, Soviet chess champion. A child prodigy, he became an international master at the age of 16 and in 1955, at age 18, he became an international grand master. Subsequently in international matches his success was somewhat erratic, and in late 1960 Soviet officials removed Spassky temporarily from the international team. He continued to play in USSR championships, however, and subsequently twice won the right to challenge world champion Tigran Petrosian for the international title, defeating him in 1969. In 1972 he lost the title to U.S. grand master Bobby Fischer.


See D. Edmonds and J. Eldinow, Bobby Fischer Goes to War. (2004).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Spassky, Boris


(Boris Vasil’evich Spasskii). Born Jan. 30, 1937, in Leningrad. Soviet chess player. Grand master of the USSR and international grand master (1956); Honored Master of Sport (1964). Journalist.

Spassky graduated from Leningrad State University in 1959. He was chess champion of the USSR in 1962 and 1973 and world champion from 1969 to 1972, defeating T. V. Petrosian. He also held the world youth championship title in 1955. The winner of tournaments of contenders of the entire Soviet Union in 1965 and 1968, Spassky has won international tournaments in Mar del Plata, Argentina (1960), Belgrade (1964), Santa Monica, Calif. (1966), Beverwijk, the Netherlands (1967), San Juan, Puerto Rico (1969), and Leiden, the Netherlands (1970). He played on the Soviet team in the chess olympiads from 1962 to 1970 and in 1974.

Spassky has been awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor and various medals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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After learning the game age four, Karpov joined Mikhail Botvinnik's legendary chess school aged 12, and by 15 was tied with Boris Spassky as the youngest ever Soviet grandmaster.
Fischer first came to prominence as a teenager, becoming US champion at 14, but he shot to fame in 1972 when he beat Boris Spassky to the title of chess World Champion in what was dubbed "the match of the century".
Amid the stalemate in the Japanese bureaucracy, what finally broke the ice was Iceland's decision to give Fischer full citizenship on March 22, reflecting Iceland's gratitude to Fischer for boosting their nation to global prominence with his 1972 historic chess showdown against longtime rival Boris Spassky of the former Soviet Union in Reykjavik during the Cold War.
In 1992, Fischer--in defiance of a UN embargo, and after spitting on a letter of warning from the State Department--played a rematch against his storied Russian chess opponent, world champion Boris Spassky.
The arms race, the space race, and the Olympic games are common examples, and even the 1972 world championship chess match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer seemed less about chess and more about whether "our guy" could beat "their guy." Kotkin omits references to these competitions, however, because the competition that mattered most fundamentally was societal: Which country (or system) could produce a society of abundance and justice?
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Chess player Boris Spassky and actress Vanessa Redgrave (Jan 30, 1937).
And it is interesting to note in this connection that ex-World Champion Boris Spassky singled out a game he lost as the finest of his entire career.[12]
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The Closed System against the Sicilian, adopted and strongly recommended by the late world champion Vassily Smyslov in the 50s and 60s, but only former world champion Boris Spassky succeeded in making it popular.