A brilliant chess player and a truly strange man

Bobby Fischer has died at the relatively young age of 64. Fischer became famous in 1972 when (still only 29) he became World Chess Champion. This episode was seen as a major cold war victory when Fischer beat the Russian Boris Spassky. Fischer seems to have become progressively more bizarre having his title removed from him for refusing to defend it. He later became known for anti-Semitic comments (despite his mother and probably father being Jewish). He was wanted in the USA for illegally having a rematch with Spassky in Yugoslavia when there were economic sanctions against that state. Later he celebrated the September 11th attacks on the USA and lived essentially in hiding in Japan from where he was meant to be deported to the USA but instead was granted Icelandic citizenship (Iceland being the location of the 1972 chess match) allowing him to move there where he appears to have stayed until his death.

  • perci

    Thanks for the tribute turgon. Aside from Gary Kasparov ( now involved in Russian politics ) most chess-players identify with Fischer as being a legend. He helped to bring alot of young people from Europa and America into playing the game.

    Though later in life he was controversial, this was the way he always was especially even with his match play. He would huff and puff and storm out of tournaments, if he didn’t have the right conditions.

    On the board though he was a genius; and its the chess-worlds hope that he will remembered for his brilliancy, and not for some of his more outspoken comments; which were perhaps better kept to himself than broadcast internationally.

    RIP Bobby Fischer

  • I’m not a fan of pissing on the graves of the dead but given some of Fischers comments and actions towards the end of his life I can only suggest that the world is a better place without him in it.

  • Rory

    It is an accepted fact in any civilised environment that all chess masters are absolutely barking mad and that indeed any who pursue the game with zeal or ardour are not really in the world.

    They are, as F Scott Fitzgerald said of the indolent rich, “different from you and I”. But, unlike the false unworldliness of the young of the haute bourgeoisie, we adore, admire and pity these chess masters all at the same time as we do with all great artists. The madness of the indolent rich Marx said, we can only finally but pity – they have surrendered their humanity for baubles.

    Fischer, in this regard, seemed to be the idiot savant writ large but most of his mental decline subsequent to his victory over Spassky is attributable surely to the psychological pressures heaped upon his unwilling shoulders by the devious mentors of Langley,Va., prior to and during his cold war match with “the commie”, Spassky.

    All the more reason for the abhorrence that followed the distastefully gross persecution of him by the US following on from his rematch with Spassky in Montenegro.

    The charge against him was “trading with the enemy” which was pretty fucking obscene when we consider the interests that insisted upon the charge. “Breaking a buttefly upon a wheel” was the phrase that most readily sprang to mind.

    It is my quirky practice upon the passing of a human person that added something, however fleeting, to my life, that I utter the admittedly corny, yet heartfelt prayer that, “Tonight may he sleep with the angels”. In the case of Bobby Fischer, as with George Best, this I believe is not a necessary prayer. Such people were only ever but angels – by what arrogant vanity should we mere mortals attempt to understand, much less judge them?

    Chess afficionados who are also able to read may well enjoy Ronan Bennet’s novel Zugzwang, a very clever and learned political thriller set in St Petersburg during a grand chess tournament immediately prior to the outbreak of the Great War. I do not know how well Bennet plays chess but his writing is good. It is very good indeed.

    I do not play chess myself. I manage to be barking mad quite without the necessity. You might say that I am an independent man in that regard.

  • abucs

    Rory, perhaps a lot of us at this site might want to take up chess then ?

    We would seem to be well suited to it sometimes ? :o)

  • Dewi