September 6th, 2011 / 5:31 pm
Craft Notes

Boris Spassky on Writing

“I also follow chess on the Internet, where Kasparov’s site is very interesting.”

“I don’t want ever to be champion again.”

“Computer defends well, but for humans it is harder to defend than attack, particularly with the modern time control.”

“Time control directly influences the quality of play.”

“I lost to Bobby [Fischer] before the match because he was already stronger than I. He won normally.”

“We were like bishops of opposite color.”

“The power of hanging pawns is based precisely in their mobility, in their ability to create acute situations instantly.”

“The shortcoming of hanging pawns is that they present a convenient target for attack. As the exchange of men proceeds, their potential strength lessens and during the endgame they turn out, as a rule, to be weak.”

“Nowadays the dynamic element is more important in chess – players more often sacrifice material to obtain dynamic compensation.”

“If they had played 150 games at full strength, they would be in a lunatic asylum by now.” – (on Kasparov and Karpov, 1987)

“The place of chess in the society is closely related to the attitude of young people towards our game.”

“When I am in form, my style is a little bit stubborn, almost brutal. Sometimes I feel a great spirit of fight which drives me on.”

“The best indicator of a chess player’s form is his ability to sense the climax of the game.”

“I don’t play in tournaments, but I follow some.”



  1. Leapsloth14

      As a former child chess badass, me like.

  2. Ethan

      I liked this too. I love chess, and I think it goes well with literature. The chess game / battle of wills between the protagonist and his girlfriend’s aunt in All the Pretty Horses is the best chess game in a novel I can think of, but I’m sure I’ve read others too.

  3. Guestagain

      general purpose statement?
      “The place of [insert] in the society is closely related to the attitude of young people towards [insert].”

  4. Bill Hsu

      I have fond memories of Spassky commenting on a Karpov-Korchnoi match on TV in the early 80s. The facilitator Shelby Lyman (who still writes a lame-ass chess column) would ask Spassky a stupid question, and Spassky would reply, barely able to contain his sarcasm, “Weeellll, Shellllbeee…”