A look back at the Fischer, Spassky championship match

You explain deep mysteries, because even the dark is light to you. – Daniel: 2:22

It was 45 years ago, that American Bobby Fischer, challenged Boris Spassky of the then Soviet Union, for the world chess championship title; today that story is still being repeated, analyzed and debated. It still lingers in the mind of those who love chess, especially the ones who were fortunate to follow the intrigue of the colossal encounter, and replay the full quota of games.

The Soviets had held the championship for 24 years. The countdown, therefore, for the commencement of the July 1972 match, electrified an international audience. We were in the dynamics of the Cold War, and a chess match between the two ultimate superpowers was a startling event.

The match was scheduled for 24 games, and although Spassky was the world champion, he wasn’t favoured to win. Fischer’s Elo FIDE rating was 2785, 125 points higher than Spassky’s 2660. Even with a 20-point increase, the separation favours the player with the more points. The conditions of the match specified, rightly so, that Spassky would retain the title as world champion should the match finish in a 12-12 tie. Fischer was committed to aim for at least 12½ points to ensure victory.

I was conversing ….


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