Happy Birthday Boris Spassky

01.29.17 Boris Vasilievich Spassky celebrates his 80th birthday today. He was born in Leningrad on January 29, 1937 and is the oldest living former World Champion. Known for his universal style, Spassky seemed to always be solid and unshakable but battled self doubt throughout his career. He said of himself, "I believe in truth at the chessboard, but down deep I lack faith in myself." His stellar chess achievements highlight the axiom that the actions of confidence precede the feelings of confidence. Happy Birthday Boris Vasilievich!

Boris Spassky celebrates his 80th birthday today. image courtesy of chessintranslation.com

Thanks to Darrell Salisbury for contributing to this report.

In 1964 the American wunderkind Bobby Fischer described what it was like to play against Spassky:

In a game I played with him several years ago, he lost a pawn for no compensation. Then he played as if the pawn he had lost meant nothing. While I was trying to figure out what was going on in his head, I blundered and lost the game. Spassky sits at the board with the same dead expression whether he's mating or being mated. He can blunder away a piece, and you are never sure whether it's a blunder or a fantastically deep sacrifice.

Spassky learned to play chess at the age of five while on a train evacuating from Leningrad during World War II. At the age of ten, he defeated then World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik in a simultaneous exhibition. In 1953, Spassky made his international debut finishing fourth in Bucharest, Romania. He qualified for the candidates tournament and became a grandmaster (at that time the youngest in the world) in 1956.

Spassky tied for first place at Moscow in 1959 with Vasily Smyslov and David Bronstein.

He won the World Championship crown in 1969 by defeating Tigran Petrosian 12.5-10.5. He held the title for three years until he was defeated by Bobby Fischer in 1972.

Spassky continued to play top-level chess but 1985 was his last appearance in the Candidates' Matches.

Spassky has been living in Moscow since 2012. In 2016 he made a speech at the Tal Memorial tournament in Moscow during which he remembered his friend former World Champion Mikhail Tal.

We wish Boris good health and all the best on this his 80th birthday.

Enjoy some of Spassky's greatest games thanks to Chessgames.com.


thanks for the update.

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