"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Boris Vassilievich Spassky Celebrates His Jubilee

One cannot believe it!
Yesterday, Boris Vassilievich Spassky, the 10th World Chess Champion, a legendary master of initiative, celebrated 75th birthday!
Spassky was born January 30, 1937, in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in the former USSR. 
He won the Soviet Chess Championship twice outright (1961, 1973), and twice more lost in playoffs (1956, 1963), after tying for first during the event proper. He was a World Chess Championship candidate on seven occasions (1956, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1985).
Spassky defeated Tigran Petrosian in 1969 to become World Champion, and then lost the title in the Fischer–Spassky match in 1972, one of the most famous chess matches in history.
Never a true openings maven, at least when compared to contemporaries such as Geller and Fischer, he excelled in the middle game with highly imaginative yet usually sound and deeply planned play, which could erupt into tactical violence as needed.
Spassky succeeded with a wide variety of openings, including the King's Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.f4, an aggressive and risky line rarely seen at the top level. Indeed, his record of sixteen wins (including victories against Fischer, Bronstein, and Karpov), no losses, and a few draws with the King's Gambit is unmatched.
His contributions to opening theory extend to reviving the Marshall Attack for Black in the Ruy Lopez, developing the Leningrad Variation for White in the Nimzo-Indian Defence, the Spassky Variation on the Black side of the Nimzo-Indian, and the Closed Variation of the Sicilian Defence for White. Another rare line in the King's Indian Attack bears his name: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b5!?
Spassky is respected as a universal player, a great storyteller, a bon vivant on occasion, and someone who is rarely afraid to speak his mind on controversial chess issues, and who usually has something important to relate.

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