Reports | August 23, 2012 9:19

Statements by Spassky's sister shed new light on puzzling interview

Boris Spassky at the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden

Statements by Boris Spassky's sister, Iraida Spasskaya, have shed new light on the recent interview with the 10th World Champion. According to Spasskaya the description of what happened is not accurate, and she worries about her brother's safety.

Boris Spassky at the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden

Last Friday we reported on a rather puzzling interview with Boris Spassky, in which the chess legend revealed that he "fled to Moscow" after having been "mistreated" in Paris and "kept in captivity". Admittedly, we weren't sure whether to report on it or not, because it raised more questions than answers. However, since it was obvious that Spassky had travelled to Moscow, and the interview was published by a well known newspaper, we went for it.

A letter by and interview with Spassky's sister, Iraida Spasskaya, gives quite a different version of what happened. She sent her letter to Sovetsky Sport, a daily sports newspaper, and was subsequently interviewed. The newspaper also spoke with some close friends of Spassky who told their version of what happened.

All of this was translated in full by Colin McGourty at WhyChess and his article is a must-read. Here's what Spasskaya wrote in her letter to Sovetsky Sport:

My brother undertook a journey that was unthinkable in his condition, exposing himself to constant danger. To my bitter regret I still have no information about where he is, although the family and I have been trying to get through to him. Yes, there’s a woman involved here – the instigator of the kidnapping and… However, in respect of how scrupulous my brother is I have to keep quiet. All I’d say is that on the 13th August I flew back from Paris, where I'd spent five days. I saw the happy smiles of my family and good friends, there were doctors and physiotherapists and three nurses cared for my brother. And then three days later he was gone…

No doubt we'll hear more about all this...

Update 12:21 CET: Things get even more complicated as Chess-News quotes Deputy Chairman of the Russian Chess Federation Veteran's Commitee, Rimma Bilunova. Apparently she said that Spassky's sister is wrong saying that Boris has been stolen from his house in Paris against his will.

Boris Spassky has always enjoyed to communicate with chess veterans and tried to take part in our events, Bilunova says, we supported him during his ilness, telephoned him, but after his jubilee it became impossible to talk to him. We hope he'll recover soon and we'll be glad to see him on our events again. It is clear that he travelled to Russia because he wanted to do so. There are people who can prove it.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Dorian's picture

what the... what the hell is this all about? Fischer, Kasparov, Spassky, and who else? Give 'em a break for God's sake, if there's a God you believe in. if not, do it in the name of paganism, or atheism - you make a reason up!!

Kemel's picture

What has Kasparov to do with this?

ortopedia's picture

In fact when someone doesn't know then its up to other users that they will assist, so here it occurs.

Erik Fokke's picture

Confusing story. Could it have to with Boris playing in former Yugoslavia? Who would play a dirty trick on this Gentleman and more than honorable world champion?

Hope to read better news soon.

brecht's picture

this is all a publicity stunt for a rematch with Fischer (thought dead) in the Philippines!

chessman's picture

If this proves something, it is that vibes in reykjavik '72 were not good ones mental health.

Anonymous's picture

and you call yourself chessman ?!?!?!? poor poor poor sens of humor

mdamien's picture

On the surface, sadly, this does sound like a progressive brain injury where well-intentioned family are focused on recovery and painstaking physical therapy, while the patient feels like a captive, his confusion compounded by faulty synapse. My family went through something similar recently. May our cherished Spassky recuperate well with his new-found sense of freedom!

JM's picture

I don't know about his condition, but you could be right.

valg321's picture

so, i take it you're a specialised doctor making an on-line diagnosis from your couch?

mdamien's picture

My statement was quite clear and self-explanatory. An imbecile could read it and surmise that I am not a specialized doctor. Take your hostility elsewhere.

RuralRob's picture

However this turns out, it will be good material for a TV miniseries!

giovlinn's picture

This story is getting weirder and weirder...I don't have a clue what to make of it.

Carlos Cleto's picture

Spassky was always very circumspect and very sane of mind.

But, the cruel diseases of old age (he is 75) are sadly prone to affect the brain of the sanest minds.

Anonymous's picture

It is still totally unclear what this is about, even after this article. Written quite badly IMO

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