SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
July 17, 1972
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July 17, 1972


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The openings of classic chess matches are always of intense interest to followers of the game. Herewith, the early moves in the Fischer-Spassky encounter:

1. Fischer gains the initiative with a series of smashing victories in qualifying matches. Accompanying publicity clearly establishes him as the world's most famous chess player.

2. Fischer's bent for publicity, despite the grumpy image he projects, creates extraordinary interest in his forthcoming meeting with Spassky and attracts a prize of $152,000, which is 10 times greater than anything these chess masters have competed for before.

3. Fischer pushes his advantage by demanding Belgrade as site of matches.

4. Spassky, countering at last, insists on Reykjavik.

5. A compromise (half the matches in Belgrade, half in Reykjavik) fails. Spassky recovers much lost ground when Reykjavik is picked.

6. Fischer tries a new gambit: the Long Island Sulk.

7. Spassky, overaggressive, reaches Reykjavik too soon.

8. Fischer feints brilliantly by making and canceling several flight reservations.

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