Spassky won the USSR Chess Championship twice outright (1961, 1973), and twice more lost in playoffs (1956, 1963). He was a World Chess Championship candidate on seven occasions (1956, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1985).
Boris won the Candidates match series in 1965 and 1968. He played for the world championship three times. Against Tigran Petrosian in 1966 he lost; against Petrosian again in 1969 (winning), and against Bobby Fischer in 1972 (losing). The match with Fischer in Reykjavik was the most publicised chess match of any time. His loss was subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny by the Soviet central committee for chess, and he was criticised for lack of adequate preparation.
On 1 October 2006, Spassky suffered a minor stroke during a chess lecture in San Francisco. On 23 September 2010, ChessBase reported that Spassky had suffered a more serious stroke that had left him paralyzed on his left side. After that he returned to France for a long rehabilitation programme.
Spassky is the oldest living former world champion.
- Cafferty, Bernard 1969. Spassky's best games. Batsford.
- Winter, Edward G. 1981. World chess champions. ISBN 0-08-024117-4
- Seirawan, Yasser 1997. No regrets: Fischer-Spassky International Chess Enterprises. ISBN 1-879479-08-7
- Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John 2004. Bobby Fischer Goes to War: how the Soviets lost the most extraordinary chess match of all time. Ecco.
- Garry Kasparov 2004. My great predecessors, part III. Everyman Chess. ISBN 1-85744-371-3
- Russian: Бори́с Васи́льевич Спа́сский
- Hooper D. & Whyld K. 1992. The Oxford companion to chess. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- "Chess News – Boris Spassky in grave condition". ChessBase.com. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
- mishanp on November 26, 2010 (2010-11-26). "Bits and Pieces #1". Chessintranslation.com. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
- "Boris Spassky, fearing death, 'flees' to Russia". ChessBase.com. 2012-08-18. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- "Spassky's sister: help save my brother!". ChessBase.com. 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Spassky surfaces – on Russia 1TV's Tonight Show". ChessBase / Chess News. January 30, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
- McGourty, Colin (March 4, 2016). "Boris Spassky: "I'm waging a war"". Chess24. Retrieved May 15, 2016.