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Bobby Fischer Goes To War

UK Publisher: Faber & Faber

A thrilling account of the legendary 1972 clash between Soviet champion Boris Spassky and American challenger Bobby Fischer, an epic Cold War confrontation and the most famous of all chess matches.

Since 1948 the USSR had dominated the World Chess Championships – evidence, Moscow claimed, of the superiority of the Soviet system. But then came Bobby Fischer.

A dysfunctional genius, Fischer was uniquely equipped to take on the Soviets. His every waking hour was devoted to the game, and he had steamrollered all opposition to reach the championship. When he became increasingly volatile, Henry Kissinger phoned Fischer, urging him on to fight for his country.

Against him was Spassky: complex, sensitive, the most un-Soviet of champions. As the authors reveal, when Spassky began to lose, the KGB decided to help him to fight back.

Drawing upon unpublished Soviet and US records, this is a fascinating story of history, politics and chess. And at its core it is a human tragedy, a story of brilliance and triumph, hubris and despair.

David Edmonds is a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University and the author...
John Eidinow was educated at King's School, Worcester and at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge where he read law. Between...