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Fischer - Spassky Match

Robert James Fischer17.5/30(+10 -5 =15)[games]
Boris Spassky12.5/30(+5 -10 =15)[games] Chess Event Description
Fischer - Spassky (1992)

This match would inofficially be known as <The World Chess Championship. The Chess Champion Robert James Fischer vs. the Challenger Boris Spassky. The Revenge Match of the Twentieth Century>.

Fischer 1 = = 0 0 = 1 1 1 = 1 0 = = = 1 1 = = 0 1 = = = 1 0 = = = 1 17.5 Spassky 0 = = 1 1 = 0 0 0 = 0 1 = = = 0 0 = = 1 0 = = = 0 1 = = = 0 12.5

The match started at the beginning of September and went until the first week of November, 1992.


FAC No. 129405
Dear Mr. Fischer:

It has come to our attention that you are planning to play a chess match for a cash prize in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) (hereinafter "Yugoslavia") against Boris Spassky on or about September 1, 1992. As a U.S. citizen, you are subject to the prohibitions under Executive Order 12810, dated June 5, 1992, imposing sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro. The United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control ("FAC"), is charged with enforcement of the Executive Order.

The Executive Order prohibits U.S. persons from performing any contract in support of a commercial project in Yugoslavia, as well as from exporting services to Yugoslavia. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the performance of your agreement with a corporate sponsor in Yugoslavia to play chess is deemed to be in support of that sponsor's commercial activity. Any transactions engaged in for this purpose are outside the scope of General License No. 6, which authorizes only transactions to travel, not to business or commercial activities. In addition, we consider your presence in Yugoslavia for this purpose to be an exportation of services to Yugoslavia in the sense that the Yugoslav sponsor is benefitting from the use of your name and reputation.

Violations of the Executive Order are punishable by civil penalties not to exceed $10,000 per violation, and by criminal penalties not to exceed $250,000 per individual, 10 years in prison, or both. You are hereby directed to refrain from engaging in any of the activities described above. You are further requested to file a report with this office within 10 business days of your receipt of this letter, outlining the facts and circumstances surrounding any and all transactions relating to your scheduled chess match in Yugoslavia against Boris Spassky. The report should be addressed to: The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Division, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Annex - 2nd Floor, Washington, D.C. 20220. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Merete M. Evans at (202) 622-2430.

Sincerely, (signed)
R. Richard Newcomb
Office of Foreign Assets Control


In 1974, World Champion Bobby Fischer resigned his FIDE title after negotiations collapsed for his title defense against challenger Anatoly Karpov, though this resignation was not accepted, and he held the title of champion until being deemed in default in April 1975. Although he surfaced from time to time, he played no significant chess after the Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972) crown, and lived most of the next seventeen years in abject poverty.

In 1992, female Hungarian chess player Zita Rajcsanyi began exchanging letters with Fischer, in which he indicated he wanted to play chess again.

Zita was able to get in touch with Janos Kubat, who had rescued the 1990 Chess Olympiad in Novi Sad when it suffered from organizational problems, and from their meeting, negotiations began that would eventually lead to contracts being signed on July 11th for a match between Fischer and Boris Spassky; the bid for the match being won by Yugoslav businessman Jezdimir Vasiljevic. The bid specified a prize fund of $5,000,000, the biggest ever offered in chess.

Bobby’s unconditional demands specified that a clock that he had patented was to be used; there were to be no adjournments; the winner would be the first to win 10 games, draws not counting; FIDE was in no way to be involved; and the match was to be played for the World Championship title, which Fischer still held himself to be, as he had only vacated the FIDE title.

Match Specifications

In addition to these demands, the match would start in Sveti Stefan, an island off the coast of Montenegro, one of the two remaining states of Yugoslavia. After a player wins five games, the match would take a 10-day recess and continue play in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, the other remaining state of Yugoslavia.

Games were to played on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, starting at 3:30 pm and played until conclusion. If a game finished within an hour, the next game starts immediately. This would eliminate very short draws, thus depriving the spectators.

A player could take up to four sickness time-outs in the first 30 games, but only with a medical certificate from the Match Health Committee.

Press conferences are held every Monday. Questions for Fischer are submitted in advance in writing. He chooses which questions to answer. Spassky answers oral questions.

The winner gets $3.35 million, the loser $1.65 million, U.S. funds

The “50 Move Rule” is applied with no exceptions.

GM Lothar Schmid of Germany, arbiter of the 1972 match, repeats as match arbiter here. Fischer’s second is GM Eugenio Torre of the Philippines. Spassky is seconded by IM Aleksander S Nikitin and GM Yuri Balashov. GM Borislav Ivkov is also a member of Spassky’s team.

Fischer Chess Clock

Fischer applied in 1989 for a U.S. patent on a clock he had designed, but the patent was only granted mere weeks before the start of the match. The main feature of the Fischer Clock is bonus time awarded with each move completed. If the bonus time is a minute, a player never has less than a minute to complete his move. Thus, time scrambles are eliminated. A player can still lose the game on time, but he never needs to rush.

In the 1992 match, both players start with one hour and fifty-one minutes. After 40 moves both players get a 40-minute gift, after 60 moves, 30 minutes and after 80 and each succeeding 20 moves, 20 minutes. The gifts are in addition to the regular bonus of one minute a move.

Because of the newness of the clock, Fischer played a 10-game training match with Svetozar Gligoric, winning +3 =6 -1, to get used to the new time controls.


Although Fischer maintained that he would like to continue playing matches, negotiations for further matches were unsuccessful and this match was the last series of official games played by Fischer, who passed away at the age of 64 in 2008.

Original collection: Game Collection: 1992 Fischer - Spassky by User: TheFocus.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0501992Fischer - SpasskyC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
2. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½591992Fischer - SpasskyE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
3. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½391992Fischer - SpasskyC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
4. Spassky vs Fischer 1-0501992Fischer - SpasskyD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
5. Fischer vs Spassky 0-1451992Fischer - SpasskyC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
6. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½611992Fischer - SpasskyD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
7. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0441992Fischer - SpasskyC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1401992Fischer - SpasskyE84 King's Indian, Samisch, Panno Main line
9. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0211992Fischer - SpasskyC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
10. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½681992Fischer - SpasskyE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
11. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0411992Fischer - SpasskyB31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
12. Spassky vs Fischer 1-0541992Fischer - SpasskyE83 King's Indian, Samisch
13. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½451992Fischer - SpasskyB31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
14. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½321992Fischer - SpasskyD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
15. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½331992Fischer - SpasskyE07 Catalan, Closed
16. Spassky vs Fischer 0-1341992Fischer - SpasskyA56 Benoni Defense
17. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0581992Fischer - SpasskyB23 Sicilian, Closed
18. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½361992Fischer - SpasskyD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
19. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½841992Fischer - SpasskyB23 Sicilian, Closed
20. Spassky vs Fischer 1-0431992Fischer - SpasskyA07 King's Indian Attack
21. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0671992Fischer - SpasskyB44 Sicilian
22. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½261992Fischer - SpasskyA07 King's Indian Attack
23. Fischer vs Spassky ½-½801992Fischer - SpasskyB23 Sicilian, Closed
24. Spassky vs Fischer ½-½391992Fischer - SpasskyB20 Sicilian
25. Fischer vs Spassky 1-0351992Fischer - SpasskyB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 30  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Calculating a TPR in a match is nonsense, as at best seen in case of a drawn match between two very differently rated players :D
Jul-25-15  kkdogg: On Fischer's strength, Kasparov's exact quote was:

"Bobby is playing okay, nothing more. Maybe his strength is 2600 or 2650".

If we say Fischer's true chess strength was 2650 (perhaps generous, but keep in mind that Kasparov was not one to give Fischer excess credit), that would be disappointing, but only by today's standards. He would not be in the top 100 today.

But we should consider rating inflation and the context of 1992. A 2650 would be #11 in the world. (In 1992, the #9 player in the world was Yusupov and Salov (tied) at 2655).

As a point of comparison, I looked at Karpov. When he was in the same period of his life (I arbitrarily chose the July 2000 list), he was ranked #12.

Karpov, of course, is one of the strongest players that ever lived, and his ranking relative to his peers at 48 was not all that different than Fischer's. (We can quibble if it was a little better or worse). When you considered that Fischer hadn't played a competitive game in 20 years, that's really remarkable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <SChesshevsky> Can't agree with this: <Defending the title is a lot tougher than winning the title> Not hardly
Jul-25-15  RookFile: I don't have the slightest problem in saying that a guy who hadn't played in 20 years was out of practice. By the same token, remember that we're talking about somebody that went from a class A player to US champ in roughly a year. Certainly if Fischer wanted to, there's no reason to think he couldn't have rapidly increased his strength over the 2650 level.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Petrosianic: We can get a rough idea. Spassky's January 1992 rating was 2545 So 10 wins = 2945x10 = 29,450
15 draws = 2545x15 = 38,175
5 losses = 2145x5 = 10,725

Total = 78,350 / 30 = <2611.667>, or round up to 2612.

So I guess we all went over the actual retail price.>

That is very good. Thanks!

Aug-11-15  Everett: <Jun-05-15 Petrosianic: Nah, he played there to stick it to the US for ruling against him in the Fischer vs. Darrach case. He could have made the same money in lots of places. It was all about politics.>

Nah, he played because he was a douche hungry for money.

Aug-11-15  Absentee: <Everett: <Jun-05-15 Petrosianic: Nah, he played there to stick it to the US for ruling against him in the Fischer vs. Darrach case. He could have made the same money in lots of places. It was all about politics.>

Nah, he played because he was a douche hungry for money.>

Are you high tonight or what?
How's that different from what every chessplayer does? And how does it make Fischer a douche for playing in Yugoslavia?

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<alexmagnus> Calculating a TPR in a match is nonsense, as at best seen in case of a drawn match between two very differently rated players.>

Why is calculating a TPR in a match nonsense, or at least any more nonsense than calculating a TPR in a tournament? In the case of a drawn match between two very differently rated players this would mean that the lower rated player played better than expected and the higher rated player played worse than expected. That's all a TPR is, an estimate of how much better or worse a player scored compared to how the player was expected to score, based on his rating and the rating of his opponents prior to the start of the event.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Petrosianic> We can get a rough idea.>

Maybe we can do a little bit better. In order to calculate a performance rating you need to know the rating of the opponent (match) or the average rating of the opponents (tournament) and then look up the player's performance in a table to get a number to add to the player's pre-event rating.. At least that's how FIDE does it now (see but I don't know how they did it in 1992. However, any scheme used must take into account the opponent(s) rating(s), since a performance rating is a measure of how much better or worse your performance was as expected.

And the problem is that we don't have an accurate rating for Fischer in 1992 since he had been inactive since 1972. His last published FIDE rating was 2780 in 1975 but I don't know how to account for his inactivity's effect on his rating. I don't think that anyone will claim that his effective FIDE rating in 1992 would be higher than in 1975 but how much lower is anyone's guess.

However, we can try to use Chessmetrics ratings even though they are not directly comparable to FIDE Elo ratings. In 1992 Fischer's Chessmetrics rating was 2660 and Spassky's was 2586. Per current FIDE rules Fischer's performance rating would be Rp = Ra + dp, where Rp would be his performance rating, Ra would be Spassky's rating (since he was his only opponent), and dp would be looked up from the table given in section 1.49 in the link above and would be based on Fischer's percentage score (the same as his Win %, (no. wins + no. draws/2) / no. of games). Fischer's percentage score would be (10 wins + 15 draws) / 30 games = 17.5 / 30 = 0.58. Looking it up in the FIDE table we get a dp = 57, so Fischer's Chessmetrics performance rating would be 2586 (Spassky's Chessmetrics rating) + 57 = 2643. So, per current FIDE rules, Fischer performed <worse> than expected in his 1992 match with Spassky.

I suppose that we could approximate Fischer's FIDE Elo performance rating by multiplying his Chessmetrics performance rating by the ratio of Spassky's FIDE Elo rating / Spassky's Chessmetrics rating = 2643 * ( 2545 / 2586) = 2601. Which is pretty darn close to Kasparov's lower bound estimate of 2600. But I will let others decide how valid they think this approximation is.

And, of course, my approximation of Fischer's FIDE performance rating of 2601 is not far from your approximation of 2612 so you were pretty right on.

Aug-13-15  Everett: <Are you high tonight or what? >

No higher than usual.

Mar-12-16  Hunter16: Can anyone tell me Fischer's head to head record against Spassky considering all their games in the 1960s and after 1972?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Hunter16> +17-11=28 Fischer

Jul-17-16  cimatar: This rating comparison doesn't make sense to me, insofar as performance is concerned maybe Fischer is old and rusty during this match, but we have seen the display of Gary Kasparov against young top ten players of today, and you can still feel the difference in strength, this legends can still perform brilliantly at times, and in my opinion Kasparov can still beat the youngsters in matches like this one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jarman: <so Fischer's Chessmetrics performance rating would be 2586>

Maybe somebody already pointed it out, however I remember that after this match Fischer was included in PCA's rating list (the rival organization to FIDE created by Kasparov and Short in 1993) and his rating was pretty similar to this one - 2575 if I recall correctly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  The Boomerang: "sumption.

Feb-28-14 Poulsen: <diceman><I think Fischer would have broke Karpov like a twig. (at least I have a real dominance from that period to back it up)>

That's your opinion - and I fully respect that. Like I said: we will never know. My opinion? I would without hesitation put my money on Karpov.

Sure, he was not fully developed as player by 1975, but he was eager and determined - and immensely talented. I am quite certain, that Fischer by then would not have the same edge as in 1972 - both chesswise and mentally. I am aware, that Peter Biyiasas has testified to the opposite, but that need not be a valid indication of Fischers strenght after 1972.

I believe, that it is generally recognized, that the Fischer-Spassky 92' match was not a show of chess at the highest level. But again - this tells us little about Fischer of 1975.

I remember, that Larsen in his book about the 72'-match foresaw, that Fischer might not defend his title in 1975. He knew Fischer pretty well - Fischers mental state would very likely work against him.

Off course Karpov could be affected as well, if the match had been a reality. And it seems very likely, that Fischer would not take it well, if he was about to lose to Karpov.

However I do think, that Karpov of 1975 overall would have been a much harder nut to crack than Spassky of 1972.

<diceman><Who Karpov & Kasparov “dominated” against. They dominated in an era of the older guard phasing out and powerhouse (Fischer) leaving chess. (even Korchnoi was allowed to hang around until 1986)

Fischer’s dominance took place in an era of Tal’s, Petrosian’s, and Spassky’s at their world champion level strength.>

On this I do not agree at all. 

It's true, that Korchnoi hanged on at high level for many years after The Massacre in Merano in '81. He is a living legend. And even Spassky had a high ranking as late as 1987. Also Polugajevskij and Portisch hanged on long after their prime.

But otherwise the topplayers in the mid-80'es are a pretty awesome lot: Timman, Yusupov, Beliavsky etc.. By 1988 Ivanchuk emerges at the very top. More could be mentioned - and these are all players, that belongs to top-50 of an all time greatest list.

But the duel between Karpov and Kasparov send them both heads and shoulders above all the rest.

As for Fischer he was a world class player from around 1962, a force to reckon, surely in top 5, winning several tournaments, but he did not show <dominance> until his final 4-match-run to win the title. In fact in all those years at the very top at least one other player must be considered better than Fischer. And most of the time that player was Spassky.

Mind you: I do hold Fischer as one of the greatest players of all time. But it is the last year or so of his 'active' career - 4 matches of a total of 42 games - that skyrockets him to stardom.

On Chessmetrics at 10 year peak range - roughly covering his entire career as a WCh-level player - he is surpassed by both Karpov and Kasparov. And Lasker and Capablanca by the way - and with Botvinnik tied with Fischer.

I think, that that is a pretty fair assessment of Fischers strenght on a career level. In the same assessment 


Love what you have written Poulsen....I totally agree with everything. Well done.

It's those 42 final games of Bobby that anyone ever focuses on. I too believe Karpov would have been a handful for Fischer, I mean Kasparov struggled with Karpov, why would Fischer be any different?

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <The Boomerang: "sumption.

Feb-28-14 Poulsen: <diceman><I think Fischer would have broke Karpov like a twig. (at least I have a real dominance from that period to back it up)>

That's your opinion - and I fully respect that. Like I said: we will never know. My opinion? I would without hesitation put my money on Karpov.>

Well it’s an “opinion” backed up by win rates, and ratings. There’s no real evidence Karpov would have won except “hope.”

We even had the “crystal ball” of Karpov only winning by 1 game in 1978. Showing he hadn’t really improved much from 1974 to 1978.

<I believe, that it is generally recognized, that the Fischer-Spassky 92' match was not a show of chess at the highest level>

I think it that had little to do with anything in 1975. Was more about what a “legend” looks like after not playing for 20 years.

<<Fischer’s dominance took place in an era of Tal’s, Petrosian’s, and Spassky’s at their world champion level strength.>

On this I do not agree at all.>

You can disagree, but Tal, Spassky,
Petrosian, were sitting World Champions
during Fischer's career.

<But otherwise the topplayers in the mid-80'es are a pretty awesome lot: Timman, Yusupov, Beliavsky etc.. By 1988 Ivanchuk emerges at the very top. >

The argument would be much better if they were world champions during the two K’s careers.

They were mostly doormats for the two K’s.
These were the first two I looked at:

GK vs Timman: 21wins, 2 losses
AK vs Timman: 30wins, 8 losses

GK vs Beliavsky: 12wins, 2 losses
AK vs Beliavsky: 16 wins, 3 losses

If you remember, Fischer started with negative
scores vs Tal, Spassky. That’s the way it should be when young upstarts meet legends.
(Carlsen has a negative score vs Kasparov)

Fischer hadnt even won a game vs Spassky, before the match. Can you imagine if Fischer had a 21win, 2 loss, score vs Spassky prior to the 1972 match?

There would have been no “buzz” at all.

Jun-13-17  SpiritedReposte: Fischer has a slew of tournaments from the 60s/70s where he just outclassed the field. +11-0=2 or something to that effect. Always winning by multiple points.
Jun-13-17  sudoplatov: While chatting with one of the guys organizing a computer chess tournament in the early '90s, I asked what the scuttlebutt on Fischer was after the 1992 match. His comment was that the consensus of the grandmasters he knew was that Fischer wasn't world #1 but that he was clearly in the top 10. They also thought that a few months study and practice would have easily made Fischer of WC caliber.

Anderssen did improve after his layoff in the 1850s. Adolf was clearly better in the 1860-1880 time frame than he was in the Morphy match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Joshka: <Rookfile> <class A player to US Champion in roughly a year> Yes, good point to remind folks who are unaware. Might be a good idea to list those games Bobby played from Class A player to the US Championship in that 1 year period. Might be a good study for those folks who take lessons and examine these special games!! Guess we are talking about his games from say Spring/Summer of 1956 to his winning the Championship in 1957? Again thanks for the reminder!!
Aug-28-17  jinkinson: The "original collection" link in the description should be removed, as it goes to an error page.
Sep-28-17  sakredkow: "The match would INofficially be known..." Is that a correct usage?
Sep-28-17  Howard: Not sure what you mean, but it wouldn't be an exaggeration to state that the match was just for exhibition and also, naturally, for $$$. FIDE didn't acknowledge the match in any way.

Some, including myself, have always said that Fischer's professional career ended in 1972(!). His "comeback", in 1992, illustrated that by that point he was a rusty has-been, as was Spassky.

Sep-28-17  RookFile: FIDE didn't acknowledge Kasparov's match with short, either. Fischer was just ahead of the curve. Naturally the whole world was playing over the games with great interest, whatever it was called.
Sep-28-17  Howard: Oops! You're right about Kasparov-Short ! Had forgotten about that. Some people may not know that in Volume 60 of the Informant, Kasparov and Short's ratings were in parentheses--in other words, they were estimated ratings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Howard>: <FIDE didn't acknowledge the match in any way.>

Arguably they did. Supposedly to get Fischer to play, Campomanes signed a certificate saying Fischer had never (!) lost the title. This was at the same time that they recognized Kasparov as world champion and recognized all the title matches since 1972. So if true, FIDE talked out of many sides of its mouth. Not for the first or last time.

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