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Boris Spassky
Number of games in database: 2,256
Years covered: 1948 to 2009
Last FIDE rating: 2548
Highest rating achieved in database: 2690
Overall record: +763 -207 =1234 (62.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      52 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (247) 
    B25 B24 B23 B20 B42
 Ruy Lopez (124) 
    C77 C92 C95 C73 C67
 French Defense (91) 
    C18 C11 C16 C19 C17
 Nimzo Indian (76) 
    E30 E31 E46 E45 E53
 Caro-Kann (73) 
    B17 B19 B18 B12 B14
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (59) 
    C92 C95 C96 C93 C98
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (231) 
    C95 C64 C92 C84 C93
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (134) 
    C95 C84 C92 C93 C89
 Sicilian (119) 
    B83 B81 B31 B80 B23
 Orthodox Defense (96) 
    D58 D55 D59 D50 D56
 Nimzo Indian (74) 
    E59 E21 E47 E42 E20
 Queen's Gambit Declined (64) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D38
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Spassky vs Bronstein, 1960 1-0
   Larsen vs Spassky, 1970 0-1
   Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969 1-0
   Spassky vs Fischer, 1960 1-0
   Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 1-0
   Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 1-0
   Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969 1-0
   Spassky vs Geller, 1968 1-0
   G Andruet vs Spassky, 1988 0-1
   Spassky vs Larry Evans, 1962 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966)
   Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Rematch (1969)
   Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship 1961b (1961)
   Mar del Plata (1960)
   USSR Championship (1973)
   USSR Championship (1959)
   USSR Championship (1963)
   Bugojno (1978)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)
   Palma de Mallorca (1968)
   USSR Championship (1955)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   USSR Championship (1958)
   USSR Championship (1962)
   USSR Championship 1961a (1961)
   Gothenburg Interzonal (1955)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Boris Spassky's 400 Selected Games by jakaiden
   Match Spassky! by amadeus
   Road to the Championship - Boris Spassky by suenteus po 147
   Boris Spassky's Best Games by KingG
   Space Invaders by Gottschalk
   Power Chess - Spassky by Anatoly21
   Spassky! by chocobonbon
   Spassky The Legend by CharlieLuciano
   Match Petrosian! by amadeus
   My Great Predecessors by Garry Kasparov by LionHeart40
   Move by Move - Spassky (Franco) by Qindarka
   Spassky: Getting out of Reykjavik by pawn to QB4
   Some S-upermen by fredthebear
   Favorite Games from (1960-1979) by wanabe2000

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Boris Spassky
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FIDE player card for Boris Spassky

(born Jan-30-1937, 79 years old) Russia
[what is this?]

Boris Vasilievich Spassky was born in Leningrad, USSR. As a child, in 1943, he escaped from the siege of Leningrad by the Nazi forces in World War II. In 1955 he won the World Junior Chess Championship and became a grandmaster - the youngest ever at that time, by virtue of qualifying from Gothenburg Interzonal (1955) for the Candidates Tournament- and in 1956 tied for first place as Soviet Champion (losing the title to Mark Taimanov), becoming the youngest player ever to qualify for the candidates round that would be won by Vasily Smyslov. Many people expected Spassky to be world champion before his 25th birthday, but his 5th place in the Soviet Championship of 1958 was not enough to qualify him for the Portoroz Interzonal. This was due to a last-round loss to Mikhail Tal (Spassky vs Tal, 1958), which shook him deeply.

After winning one of the four semi-finals by finishing equal first with Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov Leningrad champion of 1959 [rusbase-1] and 1961 [rusbase-2] and finally Soviet Champion in 1961 [rusbase-3]. Winner of the Russian Zonal [rusbase-4]. Spassky shared the first place with Smyslov and Bent Larsen at Amsterdam 1964 In 1965 he eliminated Paul Keres, Efim Geller and Mikhail Tal but failed to win against Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, the world champion; Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Match (1966). As Sub-Champion, Spassky was pre-qualified for the next cycle, where he overcame Geller, Larsen and Korchnoi.

Spassky's style of play can be described best as lively and adaptable; this produced many brilliant victories. A position based on his victory in 1960 against David Bronstein was used in the James Bond movie, From Russia With Love. His style of play was key in defeating Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian in 1969 for the World Championship Petrosian - Spassky World Championship Rematch (1969). His polite, friendly disposition and his entertaining games have made him one of the most popular world champions ever. In the West, his tournament victory at Santa Monica 1966 is the most remembered

In 1972, Spassky was challenged by Robert James Fischer for the World Championship; Spassky lost, 12-8, ending the reign of 35-year Soviet hegemony over the World Championship. In the next year Spassky was the Soviet Champion [rusbase-5] ahead Anatoly Karpov, but lost to Karpov at the Candidates semifinal in 1974, after eliminating Robert Eugene Byrne. In 1977 he lost the Candidates final to Viktor Korchnoi, after eliminating Vlastimil Hort and Lajos Portisch. In 1992 he played a rematch against Fischer for five million dollars and lost once again, 10 to 5 (with 15 draws).

Wikipedia article: Boris Spassky

 page 1 of 91; games 1-25 of 2,256  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Spassky vs Rodgaisky 0-18 1948 URSB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
2. Korchnoi vs Spassky 1-012 1948 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
3. Spassky vs Shman 1-035 1948 Trud ChD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. V Liavdansky vs Spassky 0-151 1949 LeningradB23 Sicilian, Closed
5. Spassky vs Avtonomov 1-021 1949 Soviet Junior QualifyersD28 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
6. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-151 1949 LeningradB71 Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation
7. Spassky vs Vilup 1-027 1949 LeningradD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Y Gusev vs Spassky 0-124 1951 RigaA00 Uncommon Opening
9. M Aizenshtadt vs Spassky 0-133 1951 LeningradD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Estrin vs Spassky 0-119 1951 RigaC44 King's Pawn Game
11. Taimanov vs Spassky ½-½59 1952 LeningradD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
12. Spassky vs J Yuchtman 1-028 1952 Rostov on DonE28 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation
13. Korchnoi vs Spassky 0-147 1952 LeningradD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
14. Furman vs Spassky 0-136 1952 LeningradD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
15. Levenfish vs Spassky ½-½32 1952 TournamentD71 Neo-Grunfeld
16. G Chepukaitis vs Spassky 0-135 1952 tC31 King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit
17. Szabo vs Spassky 0-129 1953 BucharestE99 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov
18. Spassky vs Sajtar ½-½30 1953 BucharestD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
19. Spassky vs E G Reicher 1-050 1953 BucharestD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
20. O Barda vs Spassky 0-140 1953 BukharestA43 Old Benoni
21. Spassky vs Radulescu 1-040 1953 BucharestD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. O Troianescu vs Spassky 0-140 1953 BucarestC22 Center Game
23. Sliwa vs Spassky 1-032 1953 BucharestD49 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
24. Spassky vs Tolush ½-½15 1953 BucharestA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
25. Spassky vs Golombek 1-025 1953 BucharestE30 Nimzo-Indian, Leningrad
 page 1 of 91; games 1-25 of 2,256  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Spassky wins | Spassky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, WC Boris Spassky!!!!
Jan-30-16  gars: Happy Birthday, World Champion Spassky! As long as I live I'll never forget your Candidates' Match game against Robert Byrne, in which you sacrificed your Queen. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
Jan-30-16  ketchuplover: ditto
Jan-30-16  Howard: Yes, I remember that game, too. It was in the 1977 book Chess Master vs Chess Master. Second game in the book, as I recall.

The third game, by the way, was Browne's famous 1974 win against Bisguier !

Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: Happy Birthday, Spassky!
Here is the game everyone is talking about: Robert E Byrne vs Spassky, 1974
Jan-30-16  andrewjsacks: Happy birthday to a true gentleman and worthy World Champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  juan31: Un Super Gran Maestro
Feb-08-16  Hawkman: I'm a huge Fischer fan, but Spassky beat him 3 times and tied twice before the WC. Fischer's psychological games took a toll on Spassky's nerves at the WC and I'm not sure the best player won.
Feb-08-16  ZonszeinP: Well said!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: not really true. Spassky was in decline when he played bob for the title. Afterwards, in the next cycle, Korchnoi defeated Spassky, who before that had been better than Korchnoi, Petrosian, Huebner, Byrne, et. al. In the next cycle I think Spassky lost in the semis. He lost a bit of playing strength each cycle. His decline began in 1972.

If he had played Fischer in 1969 he might have won. Maybe Fischer saw that possibility and stayed out of the zonals during that time. That's my opinion as to why Fischer stayed out of chess during the zonals in the 60s--he didn't know if he could beat Petrosian or Spassky in a world championship match.

But please, don't say Spassky lost because Fischer was a jerk. at the end of the day the games are played over the board. Spassky was 35, in good health, played tennis, jogged, swam and arrived in Iceland a couple of weeks before the match, to become acclimated. He was tanned, rested and ready. He lost.

There are reports too that no real work was done at his "training camp" before the match. Perhaps Spassky coasted a bit too much on natural talent, and it finally caught up to him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Hawkman: I'm a huge Fischer fan, but Spassky beat him 3 times and tied twice before the WC. Fischer's psychological games took a toll on Spassky's nerves at the WC and I'm not sure the best player won.>

From the Soviet chess nomenclature's standpoint, Spassky was a brilliantly talented maverick showing early signs of perhaps becoming a 'refusnik'. Yet, he was their best bet for keeping the chess title in the USSR. (Korchnoi was always a loose cannon and Fischer already demolished Petrosian in Belgrad.)

From the standpoint of Spassky, the money he would receive for playing in Reykjavik, win or lose, would effectively be his ticket to freedom.

All in all, Spassky did come under a lot of pressure and he thinks he 'fried his brain' a bit in Reykjavik. He feels that he did not play his very best in 1972; but he also feels his true creative collapse came a couple of years later. (Spassky said so in interviews for Czech chess publications.)

In all of this stress, Fischer's antics certainly played a role. But, in my opinion, the main pressure on Spassky came from his uneasy relationship with USSR Chess 'apparatchiks'.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: He comes off a little bit of a crank and a little bit paranoid himself, but Boris Spassky has the best chess interview so far of 2016:
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: < Shams: He comes off a little bit of a crank and a little bit paranoid himself, but Boris Spassky has the best chess interview so far of 2016:...>

absolutely. I enjoyed reading it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: A friend of mine mentioned today that Spassky did not lose a single game in the calendar year 1970. I checked it out here, and sure enough, in 1970 Spassky had 19 wins, 23 draws and 0 losses!

Capablanca went about eight years without losing a game, albeit with somewhat less impressive competition, but for a much longer period of time.

I wonder what streaks other world champions have had without losses in terms of years.

Mar-17-16  Retireborn: <SteinitzLives> Not strictly true, as Boris did lose one game to Bent Larsen in the USSR vs World match, although it was AFAIK the only game he lost that year.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <I wonder what streaks other world champions have had without losses in terms of years.>

Steinitz' famous streak of 25 wins (wins, not just no-losses!) in a row spanned 9 years (1873-1882) but it were only three events (16 games in 1873, 7 in 1876 and 2 in 1882). He lost in the 1882 event then.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: <Retireborn> Right you are, don't know how I missed that, will let my friend know.
Mar-17-16  Retireborn: <SteinitzLives> I think Spassky's win against 1.b3 is so famous that people simply forget that Larsen won a game too :)
Mar-27-16  ZonszeinP: Hello. And Larsen win in that game was of great class
Apr-02-16  DLev: Spassky's 1970 unbeaten streak pales in comparison to Tal's 1973-74 unbeaten streak of 95 consecutive games.
Apr-02-16  ughaibu: There was also Lasker's seven year unbeaten run from 1914 to 1921. But as with Capablanca's eight year run, this was probably due to the war.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: My own unbeaten streak was from June of 1971 till October 2005. Must be the world record.
Jul-10-16  ZonszeinP: Need to double check.
But probably nobody can match that
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I haven't been beaten by a GM since I took up chess at age 10.
Jul-20-16  ZonszeinP: Amazing
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