Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Boris Spassky always the sportsman.

Given the passing of Bobby Fischer and his controversial behavior I think that it's an appropriate time to think about his 1972 opponent Boris Spassky who had the unfortunate role of having to face a contender that Gary Kasparov has said was thirty years ahead of anyone else in 1972.

Spassky could have pushed back in many different ways in 1972 and driven Fischer away, thus keeping his title. Instead noble Spassky fought the fight that no one could win, facing fate for the good of the game. A situation that Fischer later was afraid to face.

Reykjavik eclipsed the amazing games of Spassky of the 1960's and the fact that he was once the youngest grandmaster at a time before Fischer. Spassky's actions have always been a stark contrast to either Fischer then, or the world champion level players of today, and when you include FIDE (which at times has acted more like the New Jersey Boxing Commission), many in the non chess public have the impression there is always a slight odor with all chess dealings. The money, maneuvers, and mechanizations have hurt the game to a point where it's difficult to get the support of good organizers. Global image even hurts chess locally. To this day Spassky has never spoke disparaging of Fischer as exampled the day of his stroke on 10/01/2007

Fortunately Spassky has recovered nicely. When Victor Korchinoi defected in 1976 he stuck it in the face of the Soviet Union (granted he was number two in the world), always in contrast the same year Boris Spassky also defected and married a French woman, but did so in quiet.

I think we should think about Boris Spassky and chessplayers of class that foster sportsmanship and honor as examples as how we should behave when playing and living. We demand that chess raise the bar. Are there any other examples of chess sportsmen or positive incidents that you can please comment on? – Mike Griffin 02/13/2008

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