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1972 World Chess Championship
Compiled by Penguincw
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★★★ INTRO ★★★

The 1972 World Chess Championship was between 34 year old defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union and 29 year old challenger Robert James Fischer of the United States.

★★★ BACKGROUND ★★★

Spassky had recently defended his title 12 1/2-10 1/2 over Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian (see Game Collection: 1969 World Chess Championship for games and more info), and it was time for a new challenger.

First, an interzonal tournament was held (see Game Collection: Interzonal 1970 (Palma de Mallorca) for games and more info). Many great players came. The top 6 would advance. They were Fischer (18.5/23), Bent Larsen, Efim Geller, Hübner (all scoring 15/23), Mark Taimanov and Wolfgang Uhlmann (both scoring 14/23). Two players (Lajos Portisch and Vasily Smyslov) fell half a point behind.

The candidates tournament was then held. The top 6 from the interzonal tournament came, along with Petrosian (who lost his title to Spassky) and Viktor Korchnoi (runner-up from last time's candidates). In the quarter-finals, Fischer beat Taimanov 6-0 (!), Larsen beat Uhlmann 5 1/2-3 1/2, Korchnoi beat Geller 5 1/2-2 1/2 and Petrosian beat Hübner 4-3 ( before Hübner's forfeit). In the semi-finals , Fischer beat Larsen by the score of 6-0 (!!) and Petrosian beat Korchnoi by a narrow score of 5 1/2-4 1/2. In the finals, Fischer (of the United States) faced Petrosian (of the Soviet Union). If Fischer won the match, he would end the Soviet's dominance of the title, by being the first non-Soviet to challenge the title, since the Game Collection: 1948 World Chess Championship. Fischer won the first game (see Fischer vs Petrosian, 1971 for game), extending his winning streak in the qualification tournaments to 20 (last 7 from interzonal, 6 from quarters, 6 from semis, 1 from now). Petrosian won the next game (Petrosian vs Fischer, 1971), but Fischer struck back and won the next 4 games to cruise to Iceland by the score of 6 1/2-2 1/2.

★★★ CONDITIONS ★★★

The match took place in Reykjavik, Iceland. It was a best of 24, meaning that the first player to reach 12 1/2 points would be declared champion. However, if the match ended in a 12-12 tie, the holder (Spassky) would retain his title. The first game was played on July 11th, 1972.

★★★ FINAL ★★★

The last game (21) was played on August 31st, 1972. Entering the round, Fischer had 11 1/2 points, and needed just 1 point in the remaining four games to clinch it. On the other hand, Spassky had only 8 1/2, and had to go 3.5/4. However, Spassky committed an error on move 41, and the game was adjourned. The next day, without play, Spassky resigned over the telephone. Fischer had then became the 11th world champion, and ended the Soviet Union's dominance that started in 1948 (see Game Collection: 1948 World Chess Championship for games and more info). Some people thought it was suspicious, but in a lost position in Game 21, even if he salvaged a draw, Spassky needed to win the next three games (two blacks and a white), which was very difficult.

★★★ MINI TABLE ★★★

Fischer 0 0 1 1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1/2 1 0 1/2 1 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1 (7 wins, 3 losses and 11 draws) <59.5% score>

Spassky 1 1 0 1/2 0 0 1/2 0 1/2 0 1 1/2 0 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 0 (3 wins, 7 losses and 11 draws) <40.5% score>

★★★ OTHER LINKS ★★★

See also: Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)

Head to Head Match up Prior to 1972: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches... (3 wins, 0 losses and 2 draws in favour of Spassky)

Previous World Championship: Game Collection: 1969 World Chess Championship

Next World Championship: Game Collection: 1975 World Chess Championship

Game 1, Spassky leads 1-0
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(E56) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 7...Nc6, 56 moves, 1-0

Game 2, Spassky leads 2-0
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 0 moves, 0-1

Game 3, Spassky leads 2-1
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(A61) Benoni, 41 moves, 0-1

Game 4, Spassky leads 2 1/2-1 1/2
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(B88) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack, 45 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 5, Match tied 2 1/2-2 1/2
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(E41) Nimzo-Indian, 27 moves, 0-1

Game 6, Fischer leads 3 1/2-2 1/2
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(D59) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower, 41 moves, 1-0

Game 7, Fischer leads 4-3
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 49 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 8, Fischer leads 5-3
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(A39) English, Symmetrical, Main line with d4, 37 moves, 1-0

Game 9, Fischer leads 5 1/2-3 1/2
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 29 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 10, Fischer leads 6 1/2-3 1/2
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(C95) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer, 56 moves, 1-0

Game 11, Fischer leads 6 1/2-4 1/2
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 31 moves, 1-0

Game 12, Fischer leads 7-5
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(D55) Queen's Gambit Declined, 55 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 13, Fischer leads 8-5
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(B04) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 74 moves, 0-1

Game 14, Fischer leads 8 1/2-5 1/2
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 15, Fischer leads 9-6
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 43 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 16, Fischer leads 9 1/2-6 1/2
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(C69) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation, 60 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 17, Fischer leads 10-7
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(B09) Pirc, Austrian Attack, 45 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 18, Fischer leads 10 1/2-7 1/2
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(B69) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 11.Bxf6, 47 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 19, Fischer leads 11-8
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(B05) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 20, Fischer leads 11 1/2-8 1/2
Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 
(B68) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7, 54 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 21, Fischer leads 12 1/2-8 1/2
Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 
(B46) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 41 moves, 0-1

21 games

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