Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

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 - SpasskyA57 Benko Gambit
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
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-28-17  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: I annotated all games in New Zealand Chess, October 1992 pp. 112–117 and December 1992 pp. 148–155. This was also the first time anyone had used the ChessBase publishing to make camera-ready manuscripts, which was then revolutionary. Now back issues are all online, and these are available at:

These notes were published before the definitive ones by GM Yasser Seirawan in his book No Regrets

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Have you read <No Regrets> the Yassir Seriwan book about the '92 rematch?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <HeMateMe:> did you not see my comment:

These notes were published before the definitive ones by GM Yasser Seirawan in his book No Regrets

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: oh, ok. I don't generally have access to chess magazines, I'm more likely to find chess books. I liked the Seriwan book and also his book on the KK matches <Five Crowns>.
Dec-06-18  john barleycorn: All in all Fischer's performance at an 2640 Elo level here would have put him immediately back into the top10 in 1992 after 20 years of inactivity.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: <john barleycorn: All in all Fischer's performance at an 2640 Elo level here would have put him immediately back into the top10 in 1992 after 20 years of inactivity.>

Almost, but not quite.

Dec-07-18  Howard: Ten years earlier, in 1982, a 2640 rating would have been top-10, with an ironclad guarantee.

But...times change.

Dec-07-18  john barleycorn: Charge it to "rating inflation" hahaha yes, guys you were right.
May-19-19  amadeus: <Petrosianic: We can get a rough idea. Spassky's January 1992 rating was 2545...>

Spassky's rating in July list was 2560, so Fischer's TPR here was 2618*.

(*) = 2560 - 400*(Log10((30/17,5)-1))

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Fisher's 1992 Performance Rating in his 1992 match with Spassky> (part 1 of 2)

<<amadeus> Spassky's rating in July list was 2560, so Fischer's TPR here was 2618*. (*) = 2560 - 400*(Log10((30/17,5)-1))>

It looks like you are using <alexmagnus>'s formula as he gave in Altibox Norway (2017) (kibitz #745) for calculating TPRs based on a Logistic distribution. I'm not sure where he got it from even though he says it's the "traditional formula" of "Arpad Elo himself" since I could not find it anywhere in Dr. Elo's book "The Rating of Chessplayers, Past & Present". I asked him for the source of the formula but unfortunately he never responded.

But, regardless of the source, it gives a pretty close approximation to FIDE's official formula for calculating a performance rating (PR). And I don't think it's any easier to use but you can be the judge.

I'm assuming that you know that FIDE's "official" PR calculation is based on the Normal distribution as described in the FIDE Title Regulations (, section 1.48. FIDE's formula for calculating a PR is:

PR = Ra + Dp(P) where:

Ra = Average rating of opponents. In the case of a match with only one opponent it's just the opponent's pre-match rating.

P = Number of points scored by the player, a.k.a. Scoring % = ( Number of Wins + Number of Draws/2 ) / Number of games

Dp(P) = The effective rating difference between the actual and expected results as specified in FIDE Title Regulations section 1.49, Table 8.1a. This is based on a Normal Distribution with a standard deviation = 2000/7 or ~ 285.7143. It really should be 200*SQRT(2) ~ 282.8427 but Dr. Elo used 2000/7 to simplify the calculations. At any rate, it's not directly involved in the PR calculation.

In this match:

Spassky's July 1992 rating = 2560

Fischer's Scoring % = (10 wins + 15 draws/2) / 30 games played = 0.583333.... ~ 0.58

Dp(0.58) (a table lookup from Table 8.1a) = 57

So Fischer's PR in his 1992 match with Spassky = 2560 + 57 = 2617 according to FIDE. Your formula therefore gives a very good approximation to FIDE's "official" PR calculation (which is in itself an approximation), at least in this case.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Fisher's 1992 Performance Rating in his 1992 match with Spassky> (part 2 of 2)

It always bothered me somewhat that FIDE's table 8.1b in the FIDE Rating Regulations used to calculate ratings ( only has 2 digits of precision and therefore multiple rating differences (D) give the same scoring probability (PD). But, given all the other simplifications and approximations made by Dr. Elo in order to make the ratings calculations (and therefore the PR calculations) relatively simple, that's probably not unreasonable. Still, I expanded the table so that there was one entry for each 1 point rating difference and therefore each rating difference had a unique scoring probability. I found out that in order to ensure that each PD had a unique value 6 digits of resolution needed to be displayed, although internally many more digits of precision could be carried. Since Excel uses 15 digits of precision in its calculations this was not an issue. And since Excel has a NORMDIST function to calculate the Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF) based on the Normal Distribution as used in calculating scoring probabilities, the expanded table is not hard to calculate.

So I used Excel for generating the expanded Table 8.1b for rating differentials in the range (-1000, +1000) and in this expanded table Fischer's Scoring % of 0.583333... corresponds to either a Dp(P) = 59 (resulting from a Scoring % ~ 0.582618...) or a Dp(P) = 60 (resulting from a Scoring % ~ 0.583998). Since 0.583998 is closer to 0.583333 than 0.582618, I used Dp(P) = 60 to calculate Fischer's PR. So then Fischer's PR in his 1992 match with Spassky = 2560 + 60 = 2620.

But this last calculation only gives what I like to call "the illusion of precision". Given all the simplifications and approximations used in creating Dr. Elo's PR formula, a PR of 2617, 2618, or 2620 are probably equally valid and equally imprecise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Some proper proper NUMPTIES on this site. lol lol lol


If you don't get this that's YOUR problem.


Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Fischers rating in 1972 was 2785 ..

This really isn't sinking into the NUMTIES on this site. lol lol lol

May-21-19  The Boomerang: Should have played Karpov instead of Spassky. Would have been more interesting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: was Karpov even old enough to compete in this cycle? Today's players have more opportunities to get the GM title faster and qualify for the Candidates tournament. It's no longer a three year cycle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: < HeMateMe: was Karpov even old enough to compete in this cycle? >

Karpov was 41 during this "cycle". He did not participate in the '72 WC-cycle, and his first major tournament victory came in the Moscow (1971) tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: you must mean age "21." karpy wasn't quite the prodigy that Fischer and Kasparov were. I think too that Karpov was somewhat constrained by the geopolitical structure of the day. The Soviet union was a zonal tournament unto itself (as was the USA). It was probably harder for Karpov to make it out of the Soviet Union cycle, if he was even invited, then it was for Fischer to place top 3 in the USA and make it to the Interzonal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: <HeMateMe: you must mean age "21." >

Nope. You are here: Fischer - Spassky (1992)

<It was probably harder for Karpov to make it out of the Soviet Union cycle,>

Indeed. The number of participants from the USSR was capped. This at a time when 10 out of 13 on top of the FIDE rating list were Soviets.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: Karpov was down at 43rd. place on the same list.
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <The Boomerang: Should have played Karpov instead of Spassky. Would have been more interesting.>

The 60's Spassky would have beaten the 70's Karpov.

Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: Fischer and Spassky are the two most charismatic chess players of ALL TIME.


May-24-19  john barleycorn: Fischer and Spassky are the two most charismatic chess players of ALL TIME.



Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <john barleycorn: Fischer and Spassky are the two most charismatic chess players of ALL TIME. <Discuss>


Clearly the USER John barleybore has lost the plot posting on this site.

We can only apologise .

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: “Charismatic” and “chess player” don’t belong in the same sentence, unless accompanied by “not.”
Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 6)
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific tournament only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC