In 1966 and 1969 Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky contested two epic battles for the world crown. In the first of these Petrosian became the only world champion to actually win a title defence for 32 years when his inspired defensive technique thwarted all of Spasskyís aggressive intentions. In the second of these two ferocious fights Spassky eventually broke through to seize the world title. En route the two great players created some of the most beautiful chess ever witnessed at this high level, sparkling with numerous sacrifices of rook for bishop or knight, piece sacrifices to inaugurate enduring attacks and even a stunning queen sacrifice by Petrosian in game 10 of the first encounter.
The commentaries to the games are based on contemporary reports from the British Chess Magazine by eye witness Harry Golombek, who acted as arbiter at the 1966 match, and by noted author and Petrosian expert Peter Clarke, the compiler of Petrosianís chess biography.
Harry Golombek was perhaps the king of chess writers. Chess correspondent for The London Times and The Observer, he possessed an unrivalled gift for transforming a chess game into an heroic saga with himself as the bard, singing the exploits of his chosen heroes of the mind. Several times British Champion, Golombek also played top board for England in the Olympiad and represented the British Chess Federation in the FIDE World Championship cycle. He was fluent in Russian and personally attended the World Chess Championships from 1954 to 1966 as a judge.
Peter Clarke won numerous silver medals in the British Championships. He represented England in the World Championship cycle and he played top board for England in the Chess Olympiad at Havana 1966. He is a fluent Russian reader and his notes access the very best of contemporary Soviet commentary.