17 June 2022

Legends of the 1972 Match

During the third calendar year of this blog I wrote a post titled Halldor Petursson Cartoons (February 2008). It started,

Ever wonder how many cartoons Halldór Pétursson drew for the 1972 Fischer - Spassky match? I did, so I used the cards that have been issued to count them.

There were 18 cards, which I displayed in order. A few years later I acquired two posters, similar to the cards, but that had been issued in color. The first of the two is shown below. The scan, taken from the original eBay auction, isn't particularly good, but I would need a large scanner to do better.

A comparison with the 2008 'Cartoons' post shows that it is the same drawing used on the black & white card labelled 'no.01'. The description of the eBay auction for the poster informed,

Color poster from the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland 1972 between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. Size 43 x 36,5 cm. Artist Halldor Petursson. The poster has never been used but is soon 40 years old and there can be a little yellowing on the sides. All characters and their role are named on the bottom, in Icelandic and English.

In creating the image shown above, I started with the color portion of the poster and appended the English legend. The legend says,

Scene one: Bobby's Arrival. The exciting moment, the whole world had been waiting for.
From left to right:
1. Jim Slater: "Saviour of the day". The British Millionaire, who doubled the Prize Money.
2. Fridrik Olafsson: Grand Master. The "M.I.P." in Icelandic Chess Life.
3. Gudmundur G. Thorarinsson: President of the Icelandic Chess Federation (dead-beat).
4. Freysteinn Grettisfang: "The-almost-go-between".
5. Bobby Fischer: Challenger of the Century.
6. Dr. Max Euwe: President of FIDE. World Chess Champion 1935-1937.
7. Harry Golombek: The "never-out-of-balance" Vice President of FIDE.
8. Lothar Schmid: Principal Arbiter and "Master of Silence".
9. Gudmundur Arnlaugsson: Assistant Arbiter.
10. Chester Fox: The "Desperate" Film Producer.
11. Boris Spassky: World Chess Champion.
12. Efim Geller: Grand Master. Spassky's Second. Speciality: Bobby.
13. Ivor Nei: International Master. Spassky's Second.
GENS UNA SUMUS: We Are One Race.
FIDE: Federation Internationale Des Echecs: International Chess Federation.

The sack that Bobby carries is labelled '$ - Principles - £'. The crown that Boris holds is decorated with numerous Soviet hammer and sickle icons.

There are a few mysteries embedded in the legend. The no.2 acronym 'M.I.P.' probably means 'Most Important Person', but no.3 'dead-beat' and no.4 'almost-go-between' go well beyond my familiarity with the match. I'll leave them to real historians to explain.

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