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Fischer vs Spassky 1972
The Match of the Century

The name Bobby Fischer, at least to Americans, is synonymous with chess. A prodigy in the 50s, a world class player in the 60s, the 70s saw Fischer at his pinnacle. He earned the right to challenge Boris Spassky in a title run without comparison, defeating Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen with perfect scores of 6-0, and ex-champion Petrosian 6½-2½. Now the stage was set, and the only thing standing between Fischer and Spassky was Fischer himself.

 Fischer vs Spassky 1972
 Fischer vs Spassky, 1972
The match was mired in political overtones, during the height of the Cold War. The Soviet chess system had a monopoly on the title since 1948, and the expectations on Spassky were enormous. While Fischer studied chess virtually in seclusion, Spassky had the full resources of the USSR. Victor Baturinsky, head of Soviet Chess Sports Committee, said: "Basically, the Soviet leadership and the powers that be in sport, were interested in just one issue: how to stop Fischer from becoming World Champion."[1]

With the match set to begin in Reykjavik, Iceland, Fischer (who had not signed any documents confirming his participation) began to make a number of demands, including a percentage of television rights, a larger prize fund, and all manner of conditions covering everything from the lighting to the chair cushions. To satisfy Bobby's demands of a larger prize fund, British chess promoter James Slater donated a dazzling $125,000 to be added to the prize fund. Fischer still needed more convincing by Bill Lombardy (Fischer's last-minute choice as second), and one famously persuasive telephone call from Henry Kissinger. Mere hours before he would be forfeited, Fischer arrived in Iceland.

On July 11th, the "Match of the Century" had begun. Whether it was a blunder, or a passion to win at all costs, the first game saw Fischer uncharacteristically lose a simple drawn endgame. Game 2 was awarded to Spassky by forfeit when Fischer failed to appear in a dispute over the presence of cameras in the playing hall.

With the score 2-0 in Spassky's favor, Fischer refused to play unless TV cameras were removed from the playing hall. Only a last minute agreement by Spassky to play away from the cameras permitted the third game to be held. This turned out to be a huge psychological mistake by Spassky. In game 3, in a small room backstage, Fischer beat Spassky for the first time in his life. The games then returned to the main stage, but without cameras. Winning again in games 5, 6, 8, and 10 the Fischer juggernaut had become unstoppable.

On September 3, 1972, Robert James Fischer became the 11th World Chess Champion.

click on a game number to replay game 123456789101112131415161718192021
Fischer001½11½1½10½1½½½½½½½1
Spassky110½00½0½01½0½½½½½½½0

FINAL SCORE:  Fischer 12½;  Spassky 8½
Reference: game collection WCC Index [Fischer-Spassky 1972]

NOTABLE GAMES   [what is this?]
    · Game #6     Fischer vs Spassky, 1972     1-0
    · Game #13     Spassky vs Fischer, 1972     0-1
    · Game #5     Spassky vs Fischer, 1972     0-1

FOOTNOTES

  1. Clash of the Titans, television documentary, BBC
    2The Match of the Century, Wikipedia

 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Fischer 1-0561972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchE56 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 7...Nc6
2. Fischer vs Spassky 0-101972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchA00 Uncommon Opening
3. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1411972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchA61 Benoni
4. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½451972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB88 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
5. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1271972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchE41 Nimzo-Indian
6. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0411972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchD59 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower
7. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½491972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB97 Sicilian, Najdorf
8. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0371972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchA39 English, Symmetrical, Main line with d4
9. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½291972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
10. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0561972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
11. Spassky vs Fischer 1-0311972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB97 Sicilian, Najdorf
12. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½551972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1741972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB04 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
14. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½401972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½431972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
16. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½601972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
17. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½451972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
18. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½471972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB69 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 11.Bxf6
19. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½401972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
20. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½541972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB68 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7
21. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1411972Fischer - Spassky World Championship MatchB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
 page 1 of 1; 21 games  PGN Download 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 27 OF 29 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Petrosianic: <MissScarlett: What's the collective noun for a group of non-sequiturs?>

<MissScarlett's Syndrome.>

It often comes down to poor vocabulary, of course. In this case, you're using the term "non sequitor" to mean "off topic post". So, although you're wrong, we can at least see what you were shooting for.

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I'm using the term <non-sequitur>, not <non-sequitor>.

<In this case, you're using the term "non sequitor" to mean "off topic post".>

<‘Cantankerous, irritable, vituperative, Steinitz could be contemptuous of the efforts of others to understand his ideas. “Have you ever seen a monkey examining a watch?”, was his answer to one hapless enquirer.’ Page 67 of The Kings of Chess by W. Hartston (London, 1985).>

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <ZonszeinP> Cavett said Bobby was on the show 3 or 4 times but this is the longest segment he has given us. Don't know why he's keeping the others under lock and key. For those folks who believe the MSM in their evaluation of Fischer calling him, nuts, looney, and all the names they LOVE to call our current President as well, one viewing of this 21 minute segment and you know he's totally ordinary, and in full control of his mental functions!
Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: any news on the videos in the vaults of an Icelandic bank?
Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: No news, but it's hard to imagine the videos are watchable any more. At least not without major remastering that nobody is volunteering to pay for.
Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <MissScarlett: I'm using the term <non-sequitur>, not <non-sequitor>.>

Neither one means "off topic post". But at least you're in there swinging.

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <Petrosianic: <MissScarlett: I'm using the term <non-sequitur>, not <non-sequitor>.> Neither one means "off topic post". But at least you're in there swinging.>

For someone who is SO NEGATIVE re RJF ,You sure seem to like posting on his pages on this site lol lol lol

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Is this the Greatest World Chess Championship match ?

Capa v Alekhine 27 and Gazza v Karpov 84 ?

Morphy v Andersen ?

For me "The Greatest" means the biggest SPLASH ... and that is RJF v Bozz 72

But that's just my opinion..

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <harrylime>: <For someone who is SO NEGATIVE re RJF ,You sure seem to like posting on his pages on this site lol lol lol>

For a guy who admitted he <hated> Fischer, you're a little confused here. Did you forget about that lololol?

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <Petrosianic: <harrylime>: <For someone who is SO NEGATIVE re RJF ,You sure seem to like posting on his pages on this site lol lol lol> For a guy who admitted he <hated> Fischer, you're a little confused here. Did you forget about that lololol?>

Will you pleeeeeze put this to bed ?

It's died now ! lol lol

Think of something else .. and my question still remains ..

For someone who is SO NEGATIVE regarding Robert Fischer you sure do seem to like anything relating to him on this site !

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <harrylol>: <Will you pleeeeeze put this to bed ?>

Sure, since you're asking for it, I'll tell the whole story, lol.

If Joshka is a religious fanatic, Harry is the Fischer page's Village Idiot. Harry doesn’t have a narrative to spin, he’s only around to disrupt Fischer discussions. It’s almost impossible to discuss any of Fischer’s games without his trying to stop them. Mainly because Harry doesn’t know anything about either Fischer or chess. He's only interested in Fischer as a pop culture icon.

Harry doesn’t tolerate discussions of Fischer’s games a) because they’re not all victories and b) even the wins contain moves that might be improved on, <especially with computer analysis> (which is what REALLY upsets him). After a while of seeing him shout down Fischer discussions, it became clear that Harry actually hated the real Fischer for not being the imaginary Fischer that he wanted to believe in. I put the question to Harry and he admitted flat out that it was true. I don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe he thought it would be a good way to bail out of a difficult discussion and nobody would remember he’d said it the next day.

Joshka might possibly hate the real Fischer too. He acts like it sometimes. But even he was never foolish enough to admit it. Joshka has at least taken the time to learn some facts about Fischer (even though he frequently misrepresents them), but Harry, doesn’t even know enough about Fischer to misrepresent it. Harry don’t know nuthin’, lololol.

Jan-11-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <Q: What's the collective noun for a group of non-sequiturs?>

A: A fallacy of non-sequiturs.

<hated the real Fischer for not being the imaginary Fischer that he wanted to believe in> The Fischer Mystique!

Strangely enough, from RJF's perspective, this was win-win.

<I put the question to Harry> An unfair fight as the adversary does not remember what he posted before, like all of those terrible terrible terrible things he said on the Raymond Keene page and the Nigel Short page.

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: I will reply to

<PETRO- BORE >

tmoz ..

Cant be arsed now and just noticed another FISCHER HATER has appeared .. it's uncanny ! <TPstar> come on down ! lol lol

As I said .. I will get back to you <PETRO-BORE> ! lol

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <harrylime> Speaking of Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972) you shouldn't boast too loudly when you were kicked off the Fischer page this week for profane content.

Besides, he just said you were the real Fischer hater.

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <tpstar: <harrylime> Speaking of Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972) you shouldn't boast too loudly when you were kicked off the Fischer page this week for profane content. Besides, he just said you were the real Fischer hater.>

You're either

A) My stalker/groupie on this site now

or

B) A Fischer OBSESSED HATER

I reckon it's the latter .. just like your idol THE PENGUIN lol lol

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Hazz>, how everyone will be shocked when our book on Fischer is published.
Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <harrylol>: <You're either

A) My stalker/groupie on this site now>

Um, you came after me, remember? I never mentioned you brought your Fischer-hating self into the mix.

<or

B) A Fischer OBSESSED HATER >

Um, you're the one who confessed to hating Fischer, remember? lolol.

For the saner readers, note that I re-told the story about how Harrylol confessed to hating Fischer in his presence, and he did not deny it.

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <harrylime> and <Joshka> are for Fischer what <tuttifrutty> and <amulet> are to So.
Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: I don't know those two, and haven't followed So all that closely. But from what I've seen, So does seem to have some people who actually can't stand him as well as the usual people who thinks he walks on water. I'm not quite sure why. He seems pretty nondescript and inoffensive as a personality. Anand had worshippers too, but no real haters as far as I know.

With modern players it's a little different. It's impossible to fight computer analysis of their games because it's going on while the game is in progress. With older players there are people who just want to bow down and worship the games but not look at them closely, as some bizarre show of reverence.

Years back, you even used to see people who thought it would be sacrilege to convert Morphy's games into algebraic notation. At least those days are gone.

Jan-12-18  Absentee: Wait, where's the HARRY VERSION?
Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: < Petrosianic: ... But from what I've seen, So does seem to have some people who actually can't stand him as well as the usual people who thinks he walks on water. I'm not quite sure why. He seems pretty nondescript and inoffensive as a personality. Anand had worshippers too, but no real haters as far as I know.

With modern players it's a little different. ...>

I cannot get your point.

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <john barleycorn>: <I cannot get your point.>

Well, with older players like Morphy, Fischer and others, some people get really bent out of shape if their games are examined with a computer, like they should go un-examined, as a show of respect or something. They're more interested in revering the players than in the game of chess itself. With a modern player, the game has already been computer analyzed by the time you see it.

One player that people don't get too bent out of shape about is Tal. A lot of his great combinations don't stand up to analysis, and they weren't supposed to. He wasn't trying to beat a computer 50 years in the future, he was trying to set problems that a living opponent couldn't solve in an hour or two. The point of analyzing Tal's games isn't to try to change the result of an old game, it's to learn how you personally might defend against attacks like those if you ever meet them. I don't think Harrylol even plays chess, so he'd have no interest in that.

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Dick Cavett Interview with Fischer> (part 1 of 3)

I want to encourage everyone to watch the Dick Cavett video that <Joshka> gave a link to. Here is the link again in case you missed <Joshka>'s post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIE.... Two other people in the video, a very young Ralph Nader (just seeing him is reason enough to watch the video) and a very ditzy acting Sandy Duncan. Although she's set up for what I thought was the best question of them all.

It shows Fischer at his best. He was articulate, informative, relaxed, funny, composed, respectful, and very entertaining. I had the occasion to see a similar Fischer during the dinner following the closing ceremony of the 2nd Piatigorsky Cup in 1966, where all of us who worked the event were graciously invited to attend. I remember Spassky giving an impersonation of several of the grandmasters, including Tal. In Tal's case he gazed intently at a chessboard and then quickly raised his head and stared up even more intently at an imaginary opponent. Those who knew Tal or have seen videos of him would understand.

Then, after imitating several of the grandmasters who participating in the event he sat back stiffly on his chair and announced "Bobby Fischer". Everyone was quiet as Spassky gazed at the chessboard for a short while, changing his position in his chair. Then Spassky starts to get up, raises his right hand, and exclaims (in a perfect New York accent) "Mr. Kashdan!".

The entire room was hysterically laughing and the biggest laughs were coming from Fischer himself. Which shows that Fischer had a good sense of humor, even when he was the subject of the joke.

<Joshka> says in his last post that in case anyone wants to doubt how the site I of the match is determined he'd say the man who was involved with the negotiations would know a bit more about it than, say, the blowhard.

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Dick Cavett Interview with Fischer> (part 2 of 3)

Now, perhaps I'm being paranoid but in case he suggests that I'm the blowhard, but people like him like to cite a statement out of context to "prove" whatever assertion they're making. So I urge you to see the video. I've said that I prefer to present the facts and let people form their own opinions. Just to "help" you, in case you don't want to bother watching the video (and I again I strongly urge you to) here are some snippets regarding the match site selection. The times refer to the video times and, of course, (C) = Cavett, (F) = Fischer, N) = Nader, and (C) = Duncan:

<1:25>

(C) There's a thing in the Times today that the location hasn't been pinned down yet for this match.

(F) Yeah, well, we're going to work it out in a couple of weeks.

(C) Depends on who bids the most money, is that how it goes?

(F) Well, it depends if me and the Russians agree on the site, then it's settled. If we don't agree, then this international chess body (i.e. FIDE) is going to work it out.

(C) They (i.e. FIDE) asks you and Spassky, and you both agree on Argentina, say, then that's it?

(F) Yes, but if we don't agree then they're going to decide for us.

(C) How many rejects do you get?

(F) I don't even really know, I haven't studied it too carefully

<2:10>

(C) Do you much care where it's played?

(F) No. I would like to play here but we didn't put up too much money. Chicago only put up around $ 100K; Yugoslavia put up $ 152K and Argentina $ 150K. (Note: Iceland bid the 3rd highest amount, $ 125K, although this was not mentioned in the video).

(C) But you don't automatically go for the highest bidder, do you?

(F) Well, no, but I'm going to go for a pretty high bid (laughter all around)

<2:30>

(C) If Russia were chosen, how would you feel about that?

(F) I wouldn't be too happy. But they didn't even put a bid in, so they saved me the trouble of rejecting them.

It seems to me from this that both Fischer and Spassky had veto power over the site of the match and what FIDE could do was act as an intermediary and try to work out a compromise. Which is what they tried to do, suggesting that the match be played 1/2 in Yugoslavia (Belgrade) and 1/2 in Iceland (Reykjavik). And Fischer admits that he really didn't know how the whole thing would be worked out. There was no way for FIDE to force a site for the match in 1972 any more that they could force a set of match conditions in 1975. If none of the proposed match sites had been acceptable to Fischer he could have simply vetoed them all, as he might have had not James Slater come up with an extra $ 125K to encourage Fischer to play the match. If Fischer would not approve of a match site by a certain date, all that FIDE could do was replace Fischer with Petrosian as the challenger. And how much interest would there have been on a fourth straight Spassky – Petrosian WCC match?

Jan-12-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Dick Cavett Interview with Fischer> (part 3 of 3)

The next snippet is of interest because it reflects Fischer's expectations at this time regarding his chess playing longevity:

<12:08>

(N) What's the peak period, for example; when do you think you'll reach your peak in terms of age?

(F) Well, I'm different; I intend to keep playing for a long time.

(C) What's your age right now.

(F) Twenty-eight. I intend to be real good for another 20 years.

The final snippet I think shows Fischer's composure:

<12:28>

(D) (looking at sheet of paper) It says here, are all chess masters egomaniacs?

(F) This is true, It does attract an egocentric crowd. It's just you, the board, your opponent, trying to prove something. (an excellent answer, I thought)

But, as I said, watch the video and form your own opinions. And consider which blowhard has a better interpretation of it.

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