The Soviet pre-eminence in chess can be traced to the average Russian’s readiness to brood obsessively over anything, even the arrangement of some pieces of wood. Indeed, the Russians’ predisposition for quiet reflection followed by sudden preventive action explains why they led the field for many years in both chess and ax murders. It is well known that as early as 1970, the U.S.S.R., aware of what a defeat at Reykjavik would do to national prestige, implemented a vigorous program of preparation and incentive. Every day for an entire year, a team of psychologists, chess analysts and coaches met with the top three Russian grand masters and threatened them with a pointy stick. That these tactics proved fruitless is now a part of chess history and a further testament to the American way, which provides that if you want something badly enough, you can always go to Iceland and get it from the Russians.
— Marshall Brickman, Playboy, April, 1973