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The duo that crafted the bestselling Wittgenstein's Poker returns to chronicle "the most notorious chess duel in history," the 1972 match between world champion Boris Spassky and challenger Bobby Fischer. Although the competition has achieved iconic status, Edmonds and Eidinow do an excellent job of making the story fresh, recreating the atmosphere of controversy that surrounded both players long before they met in Reykjavik, not to mention the extraordinary hurdles tournament organizers faced in getting the already eccentric Fischer to even show up, which ultimately required a phone call from Henry Kissinger and prize money put up by an English millionaire. Fischer's troubling personality is a matter of common knowledge, but the thawing of the Cold War enables the authors to flesh out the Soviet side of the story, offering a fuller perspective on the friction between the rebellious grandmaster and Communist officials, and revelations about the very active presence of the KGB during the games, while debunking other rumors about plots to poison or brainwash Spassky. (Declassified FBI files also present groundbreaking information about Fischer and his family.) The actual chess has been analyzed to death elsewhere, so the authors don't delve into the games' details much except when the players made horrendous blunders, which segue into the underlying focus on psychology, addressing Fischer's ability to get away with bullying officials into meeting his exacting demands and Spassky's loss of confidence over the course of the match. Even if you think you know the story, this highly entertaining account will surprise and delight.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Edmonds, author of the unexpectedly popular Wittgenstein's Poker (2001), comes this intriguing look at the world of competitive chess, circa 1972. That was the year Boris Spassky, the Russian, and Bobby Fischer, the upstart American, fought it out for global chess supremacy. It was a match that held the world spellbound, a two-month marathon that hit the front pages (during the last stages of the Vietnam War and the early stages of Watergate) and turned millions of people into chess addicts. But, as the authors demonstrate, the story was not just about two chess masters; it was about politics, about two countries fighting a cold war. Could Fischer break Russia's decades-long hold on the world chess championship? And, by association, could the U.S. vanquish its nemesis? The narrative never really takes off here, as it did in Wittgenstein's Poker, but the book does a very good job of setting the scene, of making us feel as though it's 1972, and we are witnessing something of truly global importance. Good reading, especially for chess buffs. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.