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My Goodness, is it 1997 already? It seems barely yesterday that I first met a promising young player named Boris Spassky, and now he is 60 years old already. If only Spassky had not had the misfortune to be world champion when Bobby Fischer was around, Spassky's reign would have been one of the most glorious in history instead of one of the shortest. Here is an example of his wasted talent.

White: Boris Spassky

Black: Yasser Seirawan

Montpellier 1985

1.e4 e5 2.f4!

A romantic at heart, Spassky usually let his head overrule him when tempted to adopt the King's Gambit.

2...exf4 3.Nf3 Ne7

A curious reply with a made-in-America label. The standard 3...d5 or 3...g5 are better.

4.d4 d5 5.Nc3 dxe4 6.Nxe4 Ng6

Now we see Black's plan: his knight supported ...d5, then switched to guarding his extra pawn. But Spassky is ready.

7.h4! Qe7 (see diagram)

Since 8.Bd3 loses to f5, Black believes that 8.Qe2 is forced, when 8...Bf5 gives him a highly comfortable game.


The perfect developing move. Now 8...Qxe4 loses to 9.Bb5+ Kd8 10.Re1 and the queen is skewered against a mate on e8. With his bishop now blocked in at f8, Black's entire strategy is refuted.

8...Bg4 9.h5! Nh4 10.Bxf4

10...Qxe4 still loses to Bb5+ and Re1.

10...Nc6 11.Bb5 0-0-0 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.Qd3

Finally the knight is defended.

13...Nxf3 14.gxf3 Bf5 15.Qa6+ Kb8 16.Nc5 Bc8 17.Qxc6

A pawn up, with better development and a safer king, White also has the killing threat of Rae1, driving the queen from her protection of c7. There is no defence.

17...Rxd4 18.Rae1 Rxf4

18...Qd8 19.Re8 is disastrous. White now kindly helps Black add to his move total.

19.Qb5+ Ka8 20.Qc6+ Kb8 21.Rxe7 Bxe7 22.Rd1 Rf6 23.Nd7+ Bxd7 24.Qxd7 Rd8 25.Qb5+ Kc8 26.Rxd8+ Bxd8 27.Qa4 g5 28.Qxa7 Rf4 29.Qa6+ Kb8 30.Qd3 Be7 31.Qxh7 g4 32.Kg3 resigns.