The cold war was a time when states did not rise in arms against each other but took part in all alternative forms of political hostility such as propaganda and threats. The main proponents of the cold war were the United States and the Soviet Union. Other states that were involved in the cold war mainly assumed the role of affiliations to either the United Sates or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Being that these two countries behaved like foes and rivals for the entire epoch that defined the cold war, their relationship can very well be defined by the game of chess. The confrontation between the Soviet Union and the US finally led to great communication, mutual respect and safety between the two nations.
Chess as art imitates the happenings of life; this it does on all fronts, i.e., socially, economically, and politically. With a political lens, the cold war can be juxtaposed to chess since both of them are defined by political power parallels that are uncanny and their legacy has persisted over a couple of centuries. Whats more, the cold war can be seen as a game of calculated tactics for two entities, played on a global front. The sixteen pieces that are moved about and used to capture rival pieces concerning specific rules can be compared to the political figures and underhand methods from both the USSR and the US that were used to politically attach each other. It is worth mentioning that we can look at the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as the kings on both side of the chess board, and then the states that were in support of them can be regarded as pawns.
How Bobby Fischer was portrayed in the American media as a national hero in the Cold War, and how Bobby Fischer himself viewed his games through a Cold War lens
When Russia (former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and the United States of America were on the brink of war, there was a need for heroes on both sides of the divide. Bobby Fischer was one of the people deemed as a hero in the United States. Concerning a cold war lens, both Bobby Fischer and the entirety of Americas felt they were winning the entire war if an American happened to defeat a Russian in the sport. Russians felt the same way. For Bobby Fischer, beating the then celebrated world chess champion Boris Spassky and winning was an event worthy to give the United States bragging rights. Bobby Fischer played a critical role during the Cold War as a media personality earning him the title of a hero.
The reason why Bobby Fischer was portrayed in the American media as a national hero in the Cold War is that in as much as he was young (Age 14), he managed to defeat Boris Spassky. Their 1972 face-off was dubbed The Match of the Century'; it was a showdown between two superpowers. There hasnt been another world chess champion ever since Bobby Fischer clinched the title. After this match in Reykjavik, Bobby talked about his victory in a very brash manner; an indication that he was involved in chess for the sake of the game and not to pass across political undertones.
All the same, there is no denying that Bobby felt like he represented America in the cold war and won against the Russians. This is because he said the Russians are the ones that began all of this and have been making use of chess as a weapon for propaganda, using the tricks they can to maintain the title. Today the tables have eventually turned against them, and probably they wish they never even began to play the game. With a tale as the one above we can look at chess using a cold war lens.
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