Boris Spassky

Boris Vasilievich Spassky (Russian Борис Васильевич Спасский, scientific transliteration Boris Spassky Vasil'evič; born January 30, 1937 in Leningrad ) is a Russian- French chess master. The victory in his second after 1966 world championship match against Petrosian Spassky in 1969, the tenth world champion in the history of chess before 1972 the American Grandmaster Bobby Fischer defeated.



Boris Spassky learned chess at an early stage: As a 9- year-old he joined the chess section in the Leningrad Pioneer Palace. His enormous talent was immediately recognized and promoted by the state. In addition to providing the respected coach Vladimir Sak Spassky received a monthly stipend. Even as a 10 - year-old he won the Soviet match degree of the first category, as 11- year-old he won the championship of his chess section. In 1952 he participated in the semi-final part of the USSR Championship in Riga and won 50 percent of the possible points. In the same year he finished second in the Leningrad Championship.

His success prompted the Soviet Chess Federation to appoint him in 1953 for his first international tournament in Bucharest. Spassky shared space 4-6 and subsequently received, the age of 16, awarded by the World Chess Federation FIDE the title of International Master.

Youth World Champion and Grand Master

His winning streak continued unabated: in 1954 he won the prestigious " tournament of the young Soviet masters" in Leningrad and was in the semifinals to 22 USSR championship in fourth, making him the USSR championship qualified in 1955. In the USSR Championship, which was also a zone tournament of the FIDE, Spassky came to the split second to sixth place and qualified for the Interzonal. Also this year, Spassky was in Antwerp Junior World Champion U20 and took part in Gothenburg Interzonal, where he arrived on the divided 7th to 9th place and thus for the candidates tournament in Amsterdam in 1956 qualified. For his successes FIDE awarded him in 1955 the title of Grand Master.

Years of stagnation

His split 3rd to 7th place in the Amsterdam Candidates tournament was also a great success for the 19 -year-olds, yet another great victory was denied him in the coming years. Twice (1958 and 1961 ) he lost, each in the lead, his game in the final round at the USSR Championships. Although he won the 29th USSR Championship 1961, but was this not a zone tournament of the FIDE. Only through a shared first to fourth place in the tournament zone of the USSR In 1964, he was able to qualify again for the Interzonal. In the aligned in Amsterdam in the same year Interzonal he also shared the first to fourth rank.

The first attempt on the world champion throne

His success entitled him to participate in the Candidates Tournament 1965 which was first held in contest shape. He met in the quarterfinals on Paul Keres, he and 6-4 ( 4-2 = 4) ausschaltete, in the semi-final he beat Efim Geller even more clearly from 5.5 to 2.5 ( 3-0 = 5) and won the final against former World Champion Mikhail Tal 7-4 ( 4-1 = 6).

His first match for the World Chess Championship 1966, he lost against Tigran Petrosian narrowly 11.5-12.5 ( 3 wins, 4 losses, 17 draws). Spassky stood before the re- transition by the candidate fighting for the next World Cup cycle. As losers of the championship battle, he was vorberechtigt for the Candidates Tournament in 1968. In the quarterfinals, he met again on Efim Geller, whom he struck with the same result as in 1965: 5.5 to 2.5 ( 3-0 = 5). In the semifinals, he finally defeated the Danes Bent Larsen from 5.5 to 2.5 ( 4-1 = 3) in the final of the Leningrad Viktor Korchnoi 6.5 to 3.5 ( 4-1 = 5) and was re- challenger Tigran Petrosian.

World Champion 1969 to 1972

In the world championship fight of 1969 Spassky proved better prepared than significant. He beat Petrosian with 12.5 to 10.5 ( 6 wins, 4 losses, 13 draws ) and became the 10th World Chess Champion in history. In 1970 he played on top board for the Soviet Union USSR competition against the rest of the world three games against Bent Larsen ( 1.5 to 1.5 ), the same year he won at the Chess Olympiad in Siegen with 9.5 points from 12 games, the gold medal on first board. In interviews, he later said that the years have been as world champion the most unhappy of his life, as he had felt burdened by the associated responsibility.

On September 1, 1972, he lost the title against Bobby Fischer in Reykjavik with the end result of 8,5:12,5 ( 3 wins, 7 losses, 11 draws), against whom he had a positive balance until then. Due to its defeat in the mass media about the race of the systems (match of the century ) -hyped match with the American grandmaster was Spassky in the home in disgrace. He was accused of having squandered his title lightly by poor preparation. In Reykjavik Spassky were numerous Soviet grandmaster as helpers available, while fishermen in turn accepted no secondary Danten or employees. Spassky finally rehabilitated in 1973 with a victory at the 41th USSR Championship.

Last candidate fighting

In 1974, he failed in the semifinals of the candidates fighting against the top young player Anatoly Karpov, who according to Fischer's withdrawal from the 12th Chess World Champion in 1975. 1977 Spassky lost the Candidates final against Viktor Korchnoi in 1980 and already the quarter-finals ( against Lajos Portisch ). Spassky took to the Candidates Tournament of Montpellier 1985 (6th - 7th place), no further attempts to re- qualify for a world championship fight.

Chess Olympiads

Since 1976 he lives in France and became a French citizen.

He played for his new home at the Chess Olympiads in 1984 in Thessaloniki, in 1986 in Dubai and in 1988 in Thessaloniki, after this competition with the USSR national team six times (1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1974) had won. In 1978, the USSR was with him in second.

For Solingen in the chess Bundesliga

Spassky enriched by his involvement in Solingen SG 1868 the German chess life. He played for the Solingen since the introduction of the single-track Chess League in the season 1980/81 to 1989/ 90 and has been with his team in 1981, 1986/87 and 1987/88 German team champion. In 1990, he helped his German club in the achievement of the European Cup for club teams.

Competition with Bobby Fischer in Yugoslavia

1992 Spassky played an unofficial match against his friend Bobby Fischer, which he lost with 12.5-17.5. This competition, which was organized after 20 years of American chess abstinence, found in stricken by civil war and by the U.S. with economic sanctions occupied Yugoslavia instead. It was hosted by the head of the private bank Jugoskandik. That Fischer again went to the chess board was perceived by the chess world as a sensation, for the existence of which the person Spasskis was responsible. Fischer himself regarded the contest as a revenge match for the world championship match in 1972.

The prosecution, the fishermen had to expect as a result of this event by the U.S. government and in 2004 even earned him a prison in Japan and the impending deportation to the U.S., moved Spassky ( during Fischer's arrest in Japan) to an open letter to the U.S. President George W. Bush, in which he asked for a correction of the error by President François Mitterrand from 1992: Bobby and I committed the same crime. (...) Arrest me! The reaction of Fischer was: I do not want him in my cell. I want a girl. How about with this Russian woman, as is her name, Kosteniuk? Fischer later found political asylum in Iceland and died on 17 January 2008 in Reykjavik.


Spassky was considered one of the most gifted player ever. In his best phase in the late 1950s and over the whole 1960 years, he was feared as a particularly fine offensive player ( mid-game ), but also dealt with the other match stadiums, such as the opening and the final, extremely precise. In the former Soviet Union were minted as a result Spasskis chess style the concept of universal style, which was considered downright highest award for the playing style of a master. After he had achieved his goal and world champion had become, but he lacked the absolute will to fully exploit its potential.


One of the most brilliant chess games, each won Spassky, has gone down in film history: In the James Bond film From Russia With Love (1963 ) there is a sequence ( with the figure grandmaster Kronsteen ), in the two chess masters each other on the board sitting opposite. On the board, the modified version of the crucial position of Spassky 's - Bronstein, USSR Championship in 1960 placed in the Spassky carried out the winning move.

His best historical Elo rating was 2773, this he reached in July 1969 His current Elo rating is 2548 (as of November 2009).. Spassky is no longer active as a tournament player since mid-2002. Occasionally, however, he plays in exhibition battles, so in 2005 in Mainz on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Wolfgang Unzicker or in December 2009 in Elista in a competition over eight matches against Viktor Korchnoi, which ended in a draw.


His sister Iraida Spasskaya (1944 ) won four times in the Soviet Championship Checkers.


  • Spassky - Bronstein, USSR Championship 1960
  • Larsen - Spassky, Belgrade 1970