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Boris Spassky

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Spassky was the first great chess player to use both 1.e4 and 1.d4 with equal success. He managed to employ these moves more harmoniously than any other world champion.

 
Boris Spassky

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The most individualistic, intransigent, uncommunicative, uncooperative, solitary, self-contained and independent chess master of all time, the loneliest chess champion in the world. He is also the strongest player in the world. In fact, the strongest player who ever lived.

 
Bobby Fischer
 

It must seem strange to people too young to remember that there was once a chess champion — of all things — who became arguably the most famous celebrity on earth. And that his long-anticipated match against the reigning Russian champion, Boris Spassky, was broadcast and watched worldwide as if it were the Super Bowl, except that chess drew a much bigger audience. ... We ordinary mortals can only try to imagine what it might feel like to be both young and so greatly gifted at a complex art. And to be better at it than any other living being, past or present. There are plenty of geniuses and lots of famous people, but few are both. Is anyone really capable of surviving such a double burden?
We assume that geniuses are blessed creatures who don’t have to work hard to achieve their goals. Hard for us, easy for them. But Bobby as a kid — IQ pushing 200 — put in 10 to 15 hours a day of brain power and heavy concentration that would kill an ordinary person. (Or at least me.)
The chess world was already well aware of this kid prodigy. But they were unprepared for him to suddenly go up against the acknowledged top player of the day in the United States Chess Championship. And win — at the age of thirteen. When asked what happened, he said, “I got better.”

 
Bobby Fischer
 

The universal chess style, characterized by the ability to play quite different types of chess positions, is considered by many to derive from that of Boris Spassky. But I think that the general idea that Spassky has a universal style overlooks the fact that from an early age, Spassky had a bent for sharp, attacking play and a good eye for the initiative.

 
Boris Spassky
 

"The best chess-player in Christendom may be little more than the best player of chess; but proficiency in whist implies capacity for success in all these more important undertakings where mind struggles with mind."

 
Edgar Allan Poe
 

There are more pictures of Spassky standing before audiences of chess enthusiasts, who are rocking backwards in their chairs with delighted laughter, than there are of him sitting at a chessboard. He can act the clown while maintaining a dignified reserve - a gift unique among the humorless lot in the chess world.

 
Boris Spassky
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