Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

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  • Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

    Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

    November 13, 2016

    From the Associated Press:

    Board used by Fischer, Spassky up for auction


    Published on Nov. 12, 2016

    NEW YORK — The historic 1972 title chess match between American Bobby Fischer and the defending Soviet champ, Boris Spassky, was as much about Cold War politics as it was about pawns and bishops.
    Now, a chess board used in the “Match of the Century” is slated to be auctioned off in New York City on Friday, in a memorabilia sale timed to coincide with the FIDE World Chess Championship, which began in the city this past Friday.

    Fischer and Spassky used the board in games 7 through 21 at the world championship in Reykjavik, Iceland. It replaced a stone board — likely substituted because of Fischer’s unpredictable and demanding demeanor — that had been used in the earlier games and now resides in the National Museum of Iceland.

    Heritage Auctions has set an opening bid of $75,000 for the board, now owned by an unidentified New York collector.

    Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of sports auctions, said the Spassky-Fischer match remains revered both for the level of play, and the geopolitical climate of the time.

    The description of the board and Fischer score sheets are given in two subsequent postings.

  • #2
    Re: Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

    Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

    November 13, 2016

    From Heritage Auctions

    Lot #53382
    Reserve Amount $150,000

    1972 Bobby Fischer vs. Boris Spassky World Championship Used Chess Board


    We've been trained to consider the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team's "Miracle on Ice" as the greatest competitive victory over the Soviet Union short of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but, for a certain breed of intellectual, that Lake Placid victory pales in comparison to a decidedly more cerebral contest in Reykjavik, Iceland eight years earlier. The World Chess Championship of 1972 remains to this day the most studied and celebrated series in the history of the game, both for the elite level of its play and the geopolitical climate in which it lived and breathed.

    In many ways, the two competitors were the ideal personification of their respective warring tribes-the American Bobby Fischer young and brash, and the Russian Boris Spassky serious and sedate. Fischer was an odd loner, a self-taught obsessive, while Spassky was the product of a regimented training funded and controlled by the state. The collision of geniuses upon the stage of the Laugardalshöll arena in the Summer of 1972 has been aptly dubbed "The Match of the Century," an event that captivated chess enthusiasts worldwide and nearly the entirety of the populace of both nations, each sharing the belief that the outcome would be representative of something far larger than a board game. The Soviets had dominated the global rankings since 1948, with Spassky the latest in an unbroken chain of World Champions. Fischer, by contrast, had been vocally critical of the Soviet style, going so far as to level accusations of match fixing in Sports Illustrated and the German periodical Der Spiegel, fueling the fire of Soviet antipathy toward the arrogant Yank.

    The aggravation toward the young American only intensified through Fischer's erratic behavior at the eleventh hour, as he failed to arrive in Iceland for the opening ceremony on July 1 and voiced increasing demands for financial compensation beyond the original agreements. Some wondered if Fischer was attempting to derail the impending battle, while others chalked it up to gamesmanship to rattle the Soviet Champion.

    But the international disappointment of a cancellation was ultimately averted and the two greatest chess minds came together for twenty-one matches over the course of fifty days, Fischer's victory on August 31, 1972 clinching the tournament and raising the stars and stripes over an intellectual landscape where the hammer and sickle had flown for decades.

    Presented is the board that was used for the final fifteen games of the tournament, games seven through twenty-one, the battleground of the highest stakes chess competition ever waged. It is unclear exactly why the initial stone board used in the earlier matches was replaced with the wooden model presented here, but one suspects that Fischer's erratic, paranoid suspicions had been the catalyst for the transition. He had asked for the television to be removed from his hotel room, believing the Russians were watching him through it, and voiced suspicions that his food was being poisoned.

    The sixth game had given Fischer the lead (3 ½ to 2 ½) for the first time in the tournament, a lead he would never surrender. Spassky would manage only a single victory in the final fifteen frames while Fischer would claim four, the balance ending in draws. Spassky would signal his resignation of the final match by telephone, perhaps too disappointed and burdened by the dashed hopes of the Soviet people to congratulate Fischer in person.

    Along with the board (19x19") that carried the greatest chess tournament ever played to its conclusion, this lot contains identical period components to complete the tools of war:

    1) The distinctive table crafted by Icelandic furniture designer Gunnar Magnusson and produced by cabinetmaker Ragnar Haraldsson. It is one of two extra and identical tables built immediately after the tournament, this one having been used in the World Championships candidate match between Spassky and Vlastimil Hort in Reykjavik in 1977. Dimensions are approximately 51x39x30", at a weight of two hundred pounds (200 lbs.).

    2) Two matching personal side tables, each approximately 20x20x30". Weight each thirty pounds (30 lbs.).

    3) An original contemporary set of Staunton pieces, held in reserve but never used for the 1972 tournament.

    4) An original Garde chess clock, identical in design to the original used in Fischer vs. Spassky.

    Fischer and Spassky autographed the board after the completion of the last match in bold black marker, retaining 9+/10 boldness to this day. Third party shipping required.

    Auction Dates November 17 – 19, 2016


    • #3
      Re: Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

      Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

      November 13, 2016

      From Heritage Auctions

      Lot #53381
      Reserve Amount $4000

      Fischer Handwritten US Chess Championship Score Sheets Lot of 10 & More


      1959-60 Bobby Fischer Handwritten US Chess Championship Score Sheets Lot of 10 & More. "There is no great genius without some touch of madness," Aristotle once wrote, and few better examples of this phenomenon exist than the biography of Bobby Fischer, a man whose single-minded obsession established him as the most brilliant and most troubled figure in the history of chess elite. Fischer maintained a suspicious distance from the public for almost the entirety of his life, leaving the collectibles market severely lacking in mementos of his mastery. This auction represents a rare exception to that trend, containing both the chess board from his historic 1972 victory over Boris Spassky and the early score sheets offered here.

      Ten relate to his victory in the 1959-60 US Chess Championship, official carbon copies tracking both his own moves and that of his opponent in games 4, 10, 15, 23, 26, 36, 37, 48, 50 and 59. The game 15 sheet is stuck to the back of game 4 by some sort of brown substance staining both. Also here are five earlier (1956) score sheets for contests involving Fischer at just thirteen years of age, effectively the start of his global fame. All pages exhibit expected storage and handling wear, but other than the two stained and affixed pages mentioned earlier, all present without any significant condition problems.

      Guide Value or Estimate: $8,000 - up.

      Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Flat Material, Small (view shipping information)

      Auction Dates Nov. 17-19, 2016

      From the photographs at the site, I see Manhattan Chess Club Scoresheets with these games

      Fischer-Bisguier (with stain)
      Jenkins-Fischer (3/2/56)

      And two with indecipherable names


      • #4
        Re: Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

        Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

        November 21, 2016

        Neither the chess board nor the carbons of Fischer score sheets were bid on and so the sheets have a Buy Now of $4,780 and the auction house is accepting offers until 8:00 a.m. CT, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

        The Buy Now on the chess board is $119,500 with the same Dec. 5 deadline for receiving offers.


        • #5
          Re: Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

          Fischer-Spassky Match Board Up for Auction

          December 6, 2016

          Neither the chessboard nor the Fischer game carbons appear to have been sold in the time frame given.

          Photos were given of all the score sheets and I looked in various books of reference to see if they were given and found that five were not.

          Two were alluded to in The Games of Robert J. Fischer (Wade and O’Connell) 2nd ed, Batsford 1973 (Bacardi 135 and Rigler 139).

          This would mean that they aren’t in any Fischer game collection and so, have been stuck away since they were played sixty years ago.

          The notation is English descriptive and sometimes the writing so faint as to be almost unreadable. I worked on the five scores and failed on one.

          Before the photos are taken from the auction site, interested parties should make copies and see if they can do better than I.


          New Jersey Amateur 1956
          Asbury Park, N.J.
          May 1956
          Fischer, R.J. – Bacardi, J.F.
          A05 Reti Opening

          1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 Nc6 3.d4 d5 4.Bg2 e6 5.O-O Be7 6.c4 dxc4 7.Qa4 O-O 8.Qxc4 Bd7 9.Rd1 a6 10.Ne5 Na5 11.Qc3 c6 12.b4 Nd5 13.Bxd5 cxd5 14.Nxd7 Rc8 15.Qd3 Qxd7 16.bxa5 Bb4 17.Bd2 Bd6 18.Nc3 Bb4 19.Nxd5 Qxd5 20.Bxb4 Rfe8 21.e4 Qb5 22.d5 exd5 23.exd5 Rcd8 24.d6 Qd7 25.Re1 Rxe1+ 26.Rxe1 f5 27.Qd5+ Kf8 28.Re7 1-0

          New Jersey Amateur 1956
          Asbury Park, N.J.
          May 1956
          Rigler, R.R. – Fischer, R.J.
          B20 Sicilian, Cochran (Burger) Attack

          1.e4 c5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Ne2 e6 4.Nbc3 Nge7 5.Ng3 d5 6.exd5 exd5 7.Bb3 c4 8.Ba4 g6 9.O-O Bg7 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.Nce2 h5 12.Rb1 h4 13.Nh1 Rf8 14.g3 Bg4 15.f3 Qb6+ 16.Nf2 Bxf3 17.c3 Nf5 18.Re1 O-O-O 19.Qc2 Rde8 20.d4 cxd3 21.Qxd3 Be4 22.Be3 Nxe3 23.Nxe4 dxe4 24.Qd4 Bxd4 25.Nxd4 Nc2 26.Red1 Nxd4 27.Rxd4 e3 28.Rb4 e2+ 29.Rxb6 e1=Q+ 30.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 31.Kf2 axb6 32.Kxe1 Re8+ 33.Kf2 Rd8 34.Ke3 Rd5 0-1

          The next game is with someone I believe to be Thomas Jenkins and the date is 3/2/56. I have reconstructed it by working out that White’s move 19 was omitted, screwing up the scoresheet.

          [Event "?"]
          [Site "?"]
          [Date "1956.03.02"]
          [Round "?"]
          [White "Jenkins"]
          [Black "R.J. Fischer"]
          [Result "*"]
          [ECO "B20"]
          1.e4 c5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 e5 4.Nf3 d6 5.Nc3 f5 6.d3 f4 7.h4 Bg4 8.Be2 Nf6 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.Nd4 Nxd4 12.Bxg4 Nxc2+ 13.Kf1 Nxa1 14.Bxa1 Nxg4 15.Qxg4 O-O 16.Bc3 b5 17.Qe2 a5 18.f3 b4 19.Bb2 a4 20.Qc2 axb3 21.axb3 Qe6 22.Ke2 Ra2 *

          If my assumptions are correct, the game score is:

          Event Unknown
          March 2, 1956
          Jenkins, T. – Fischer, R.J.
          B20 Sicilian Defence

          1.e4 c5 2.b3 Nc6 3.Bb2 e5 4.Nf3 d6 5.Nc3 f5 6.d3 f4 7.h4 Bg4 8.Be2 Nf6 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.Nd4 Nxd4 12.Bxg4 Nxc2+ 13.Kf1 Nxa1 14.Bxa1 Nxg4 15.Qxg4 O-O 16.Bc3 b5 17.Qe2 a5 18.f3 b4 19.Bb2 a4 20.Qc2 axb3 21.axb3 Qe6 22.Ke2 Ra2 0-1

          The next game possibly against Isaac Spector, I have been unable to transcribe beyond move 24. If you have good eyesight and good analytical abilities you might want to try your hand at decrypting the score. This is as far as I got:

          [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "1956.02.16"] [Round "?"] [White "R.J. Fischer"] [Black "Spector"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B95"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qf3 Be7 8.O-O-O Qc7 9.Qg3 Nbd7 10.Nb3 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.f3 O-O-O 13.Bxb5 Ne5 14.Be2 h5 15.h4 Nc4 16.Rd4 Na5 17.Nxa5 Qxa5 18.Ra4 Qb6 19.Rb4 Qa5 20.Be3 Nd7 21.Ra4 Qe5 22.f4 Qf6 23.Bxa6 Nb6 24.Bxb7+

          Finally, a very faint score from 2/16/56. It looks to me as if White is Smith. Anyway, it is a working assumption!

          Event Unknown
          February 16, 1956
          Smith – Fischer, R.J.
          C48 Four Knights, Rubinstein Counter-Gambit, Exchange Variation

          1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Nxd4 exd4 6.e5 dxc3 7.exf6 Qxf6 8.bxc3 c6 9.Be2 d5 10.Rb1 Bd6 11.d4 O-O 12.Be3 b5 13.Qd2 Qg6 14.Kf1 Bf5 15.h4 Be4 16.f3 Bxc2 17.Rc1 Rad8 18.h5 Qe6 19.Kf2 Ba4 20.Rc2 f5 21.Bg5 h6 22.Re1 hxg5 23.Qxg5 Qh6 0-1

          Remember that this is Fischer, not quite 13 years-old.

          Hoping to find these games I have also checked, Mueller and the latest David DeLucia Fischer collection. It is quite possible that I have missed something or that someone will improve upon my transcriptions.

          It does though look like there are four “new” Fischer games (at least) to enjoy.