Monday, January 30, 2012

Spassky turns 75

Today (already yesterday in France) is/was Boris Spassky's 75th birthday!

Here's a ChessBase interview (still in German for the time being; Google Translate version here). Spassky is now confined to a wheelchair, but he reports that his second stroke only affected one hemisphere, and that he can still speak and think. With a self-deprecating laugh, he adds, "Above all, the side responsible for chess works, and is as reliable as before."

I met Spassky in a Mandarin restaurant in Grenoble in the summer of 1978.  It was Spassky who started making small talk with me: perhaps he caught my shock of recognition (I wasn't sure it was Boris, and only found out later that he and Marina indeed lived in Grenoble).  Perhaps he simply wondered what a grubby American college student was doing there.  I remember that I had mu shu pork, that he asked about my studies, and that we didn't talk about chess. He seemed like a very kind man.

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