Spassky in Moscow clinic “at own request”

The ugly spectacle of conflicting accounts of Boris Spassky’s move from Paris to Moscow continues, with Rimma Bilunova (in the photo above), who was the captain of the USSR women’s chess team for many years and now works in the Russian Chess Federation’s Veterans Commission, claiming that Spassky didn’t receive the required help in France and had been prevented from travelling to Moscow by his wife only “under the pretext of concern for his health”.

Bilunova was responding at Chess-News.ru to comments by Spassky’s sister Iraida that we reported here at WhyChess (similar quotes from Iraida also appeared today at St. Petersburg News). Bilunova explained the circumstances as follows:

Spassky has a difficult family situation, and his sister is on the side of his wife Marina. It was a mistake to send Boris for rehabilitation in France after his stroke. For those two years he wanted to go to Russia, but his wife wouldn’t allow him under the pretext of concern for his health. However, that concern was shown by taking him home from the clinic where he was being given real help as soon as the medical insurance ran out. She didn’t consider it necessary to take out new insurance.

Bulinova goes on to say that a lot of work had gone on behind the scenes to prepare Spassky’s trip, including the involvement of “professional French lawyers”. She adds that she’d tried to get in touch with Spassky in connection with her role in the chess veterans organisation, but after his 75th birthday that had become “almost impossible”.

She ends:

In any case, Spassky’s move took place at his own request – that’s absolutely certain. There are witnesses.

Spassky and Bilunova (far right), along with Yuri Averbakh and others at a celebration of the centenary of Lyudmila Rudenko in 2004 | photo: ChessPro

It does seem as though there are two “camps” in this situation, and the truth surely lies somewhere in between. Numerous sources have backed up the suggestion that Spassky was keen to travel to Moscow, but it’s a long way from that to suggest he was badly treated in France. It’s good news, at least, that Spassky appears to be in a Moscow clinic (his sister had worried about him being “in a normal Moscow flat”) and should be receiving medical attention.