Thursday, October 18, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Boris Spassky

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One of the soundest attacking players ever, Spassky nonetheless took very few chances. Totally dominant until he lost to the irresistible juggernaut known as Bobby Fischer. After that loss, he was never the same.
--
Bruce Pandolfini

 
Boris Spassky

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Despite the ugliness of his decline, Fischer deserves to be remembered for his chess and for what he did for chess. A generation of American players learned the game thanks to Fischer and he should continue to inspire future generations as a model of excellence, dedication, and achievement. There is no moral at the end of the tragic fable, nothing contagious in need of quarantine. Bobby Fischer was one of a kind, his failings as banal as his chess was brilliant.

 
Bobby Fischer
 

Bobby is a tragic personality... He is an honest and good natured man. Absolutely not social. He is not adaptable to everybody’s standards of life. He has a very high sense of justice and is unwilling to compromise as well as with his own conscience as with surrounding people. He is a person who is doing almost everything against himself. I would not like to defend or justify Bobby Fischer. He is what he is. I am asking only for one thing. For mercy, charity. If for some reason it is impossible, I would like to ask you the following: Please correct the mistake of President François Mitterand in 1992. Bobby and myself committed the same crime. Put sanctions against me also. Arrest me. And put me in the same cell with Bobby Fischer. And give us a chess set.

 
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
 

In his play, Fischer was amazingly objective, long before computers stripped away so many of the dogmas and assumptions humans have used to navigate the game for centuries. Positions that had been long considered inferior were revitalized by Fischer’s ability to look at everything afresh. His concrete methods challenged basic precepts, such as the one that the stronger side should keep attacking the forces on the board. Fischer showed that simplification—the reduction of forces through exchanges—was often the strongest path as long as activity was maintained. The great Cuban José Capablanca had played this way half a century earlier, but Fischer’s modern interpretation of “victory through clarity” was a revelation. His fresh dynamism started a revolution; the period from 1972 to 1975, when Fischer was already in self-exile as a player, was more fruitful in chess evolution than the entire preceding decade.

 
Bobby Fischer
 

So why the unfair and out-of-line hysteria about Bobby? Well, it turns out that Bobby, an independent thinker in other fields than chess is definitely not Politically Correct. Apparently, even chess players are not allowed to stray beyond the narrow bounds of PC without being severely punished.

 
Bobby Fischer
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