There’s a shop on the Piazza Navona where there are many chess sets for sale. Note also special decks of cards for Italian games like scopa and briscola. There are decks from different regions for their games, Brescia, Naples, Lombardy, Piacenza, Sardinia… Salzburg.
Click for larger.
Once upon a time, there was no internet. There were no smart phones. People had to engage with other people. One of the ways they engaged was through games. I recently read an interesting book – Birth of the Chess Queen: A History – about the evolution of the chess piece the Queen. It was written by a feminist, but there was some good history and, in the balance, not strange. The book served to underscore the importance of games in history.
On the theme of chess…
Fifty years ago TODAY, 1 Sept 1972, the Match of the Century came to a close.
On 31 August, Spassky and Fischer entered into a Sicilian Taimanov [1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6] face off. The game adjourned for the say at move 40, Spassky sealing his next move into an envelope for the next days, today’s, resumption at 2 PM.
At Noon, Spassky called the match’s arbiter and resigned the 21st Game, which made Fischer the 11th World Champion. He asked that the announcement be made from in the hall from the stage. Hence, at 2PM, the arbiter went to the microphone and said
‘Ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Spassky called me at 12.50 today and resigned the game. This is an accepted and legal practice.’ Schmid continued: ‘Mr. Fischer has won game no. 21 and he is therefore the winner of the match. The final result is 121/2-81/2!”
Fischer stood there as the thunderous applause went on.
Spassky did come to the closing ceremony on 3 September.
During the speeches Fischer was analyzing the 21st game on a pocket set.
For more, and a source I used, try…
The edgy Roman writer Martial said that if, during the summer, a boy is healthy he has learned enough. (Epigrams 10, 62)
I was 12 when the Match was going on. It was 1972. The first hand-held calculator was on the market ($395 = $2800 today). The IRA was bombing. The Godfather had premiered.
Bobby Orr was still playing. In August, Nixon was renominated at the RNC. During the chess Match in Iceland, the Summer Olympics had started in Munich, with a bad end on 5-6 Sept. During the Fischer-Spassky Match, it was the depths of the Cold War. I was in the great American West, with my grandparents in Montana and Wyoming, living a boyhood now hard to imagine in these troubled times. The summers had been filled with sun and grass and horses and games, some organized, some not so much. I played a lot of chess in those days. Each day during the Match, I couldn’t wait to get the newspaper so I could see what had happened.
Aestate pueri si valent, satis discunt.
It was 50 years – half a century – ago.