Fischer vs Spassky - match of the century

Fischer vs Spassky - match of the century

One of the important battles in the cold war happened in 1972 in Reykjavík, Iceland. The battle actually happened over the chess board where Robert James Fischer from USA challenged Boris Spassky from USSR for the world title. The match attracted much more interest than any other chess event before or since then so lot of people refer to it as the match of the century

Fischer was born in 1943 and grew up in New York. From his early age he showed remarkable chess results. He was only 14 when he became the youngest ever US chess champion and at the age of 15 he became the youngest Grandmaster ever. He dominated candidates matches in 1971 like no one before and for the first time after WWII challenger for the  world title become player outside USSR.

Spassky was born in 1937 in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). Spassky learned to play chess at the age of 5 on a train evacuating from Leningrad during the siege of Leningrad in World War II. He first drew wide attention in 1947 at age 10, when he defeated Soviet champion Mikhail Botvinnik in a simultaneous exhibition in Leningrad. Since then he achieved lot of chess accomplishments but the most important probably happened in 1969 when he defeated Tigran Petrosian and became the world champion.

USSR dominated the world chess

Since World War II world championships had been almost entirely dominated by the USSR so not many people believed that Fischer can change that. One of the big Spassky's advantage was preparation for the game where he had a lot of help from top USSRS grandmasters. Lot of people saw the match like the battle between lonly american genius against mighty USSR machine.

Psychological games

 A lot of psychological battles were fought even before the match officially started. Robert Fischer put a lot of pressure to the organizators with his demands what could easily influence Spassky's psychology. Fischer even threatened not to participate in the match. He complained about lot of things:  lighting, his hotel room view,  tables, chairs, the contrast of the chessboard squares. The chessboard even had to be remade at Fischer's request. 

Match started

The match was played as the best of 24 games, with wins counting 1 point and draws counting ½ point, and would end when one of the players scored 12½ points. If the match ended in a 12–12 tie, the defending champion (Spassky) would retain the title.

In first game the ending looked very drawish, so everyone expected the draw. But then Fischer made a huge blunder and lost a game. 

After he lost the first game Fischer requested that all the cameras should be removed from the playing hole. When they were not, he refused to appear for game 2, giving Spassky a default win. His appeal was rejected. Some people believed that what Fischer did was special move to upset Spassky's equanimity.

Third game proved to be the turning point of the match. Fischer showed very deep understanding of the position and won the game. 

After third game Fischer had only one loss and all the other results were draws or victorys for Fischer. In the end result was 12.5 : 8.5 for Fischer what made Fischer a world champion.


When Fischer returned to US he instantly became celebrity and his pictured appeared on covers of magazines. He was offered numerous product endorsement offers worth "at least $5 million", all of which he declined.

Today lot of people consider Fischer as one of the greates player ever.



  • sahmat
    16.07.2020 09:47:56

    Dalo bi se raspravit o meču stoljeća, možda je bolji bio meč Botvinik - Talj (1961).