Boris Spassky visited Kilkenny city, Ireland in March 1991. Grand Master Spassky, who was world champion from 1969 to 1972, had been invited to Kilkenny by Kilkenny Chess Club. When he later became Honorary President of Kilkenny Chess Club he is reported to have said: “All my life I was dreaming to be an Honorary President. Long live Kilkenny Chess Club!”
Boris Vasilievich Spassky was born in Leningrad, Russia in 1937. In 1942 at the age of five he was forced to flee Leningrad during the Nazi invasion. He learned to play chess on the train evacuating him and his family from the city. At the age of ten he beat the then world champion Mikhail Botvinnik in an exhibition in Leningrad. He became a Grand Master in 1955 at the age of 18. In 1969 Boris Spassky became World Chess Champion. He remained world champion until he lost in Helsinki in 1972 to American Bobby Fischer in what became known as the “Match of the Century”.
Though a chess club existed in Kilkenny in the 1830’s the present club was founded on February 3rd 1969. The club continues to thrive and has had several notable achievements down the years. There were over 200 players in attendance at the annual Kilkenny Chess Congress which was held on November 26th 2014.
Boris Spassky, chess grandmaster, was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia in the year 1937 On This Day.