Boris Spassky

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Boris Spassky

Boris Spassky (born January 30, 1937) is a chess grandmaster and tenth World Chess Champion (1969–1972).


By Garry Kasparov[edit]

  • I believe that judged by his style of play, Spassky is much closer to Alekhine and Tal than to Smyslov, Botvinnik, or Petrosian. This is probably why, when Spassky was in his best form, neither Tal nor Korchnoi could really put up much resistance against him. Spassky could read their play (especially that of Tal) like an open book.
  • The universal chess style, characterized by the ability to play quite different types of chess positions, is considered by many to derive from that of Boris Spassky. But I think that the general idea that Spassky has a universal style overlooks the fact that from an early age, Spassky had a bent for sharp, attacking play and a good eye for the initiative.
  • It is characteristic that Spassky has never in his life started a game with 1.Nf3. He must have considered it a 'semi-move', real moves being only those that lead to an immediate fight. All of those notorious opening peculiarities (such as avoiding this, that, and the other and preventing the other that and this) seemed repulsive to him.
  • Spassky was the first great chess player to use both 1.e4 and 1.d4 with equal success. He managed to employ these moves more harmoniously than any other world champion.
  • He was less concerned about the position’s evaluation than about the character of the arising struggle. If he liked the character of the battle, he felt absolutely at home and, as a rule, didn’t fail to outplay his opponents.

By Larry Parr[edit]

  • There are more pictures of Spassky standing before audiences of chess enthusiasts, who are rocking backwards in their chairs with delighted laughter, than there are of him sitting at a chessboard. He can act the clown while maintaining a dignified reserve - a gift unique among the humorless lot in the chess world.
  • The Cary Grant of the 64 Squares.
  • At a strictly personal level, if not to the manor born, Spassky was certainly to the gracious manner born.


  • One of the soundest attacking players ever, Spassky nonetheless took very few chances. Totally dominant until he lost to the irresistible juggernaut known as Bobby Fischer. After that loss, he was never the same.
  • Highly cultured with interests in all fields of human knowledge, a man of impeccable comportment, great modesty … one of the favorites of all chessplayers.
  • 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.

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