How the Soviet-US Cold War played out on the chessboard

The Match of the Century: Fischer-Spassky, 1972. Photo: Wikimedia

“Too many times, people don’t try their best. They don’t have the keen spirit; the winning spirit. And once you make it you’ve got to guard your reputation–every day go in like an unknown to prove yourself. That’s why I don’t clown around. I don’t believe in wasting time. My goal is to win the World Chess Championship; to beat the Russians. I take this very seriously.”

—Bobby Fischer in the prelude to the Chess World Championship in 1972

For the 24 years between 1948 and 1972, Russia, then officially under the......