- Bobby Fischer
Infobox chess player
playername = Bobby Fischer
caption=Bobby Fischer (left) and John Collins.
birthname = Robert James Fischer
United States, Iceland
datebirth = birth date|1943|3|9
Chicago, Illinois, United States
datedeath = death date and age|2008|1|17|1943|3|9
title = Grandmaster
worldchampion = 1972–1975 (FIDE)
peakrating = 2785 (July 1972)
As a teenager, Fischer became famous as a
chess prodigy. In 1972, he became the first, and so far the only, American to win the official World Chess Championship(though Wilhelm Steinitz, the first official world champion, became an American citizen while he was champion) defeating defending champion Boris Spassky, of the Soviet Union, in a match held in Reykjavík, Iceland. The match was widely publicized as a Cold Warbattle. Fischer is often referred to as one of the greatest chess players of all time. In 2005, Iceland awarded citizenship to Fischer in recognition of his 30-year-old match that put the country "on the map". [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4102367.stm|title=Fischer 'put Iceland on the map' |last=Smith-Spark|first=Laura|date=March 23, 2005|publisher=British Broadcasting Corporation|accessdate=2008-09-13]
In 1975, Fischer failed to defend his title when he could not come to agreement with the international chess federation FIDE over the conditions for the match. He became more reclusive and played no more competitive chess until 1992, when he had a rematch with Spassky. The competition was held in
Yugoslavia, which was then under a strict United Nations embargo. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4374811.stm|title=Bobby Fischer arrives in Iceland |date=March 25, 2005|publisher=British Broadcasting Corporation|accessdate=2008-09-13] [cite web|url=http://ozone.unep.org/Publications/MP_Handbook/Section_3.8_Annexes_Declarations/Question_of_Yugoslavia.shtml|title=Question of Yugoslavia (1992) |date=2004|publisher=Ozone Secretariat|accessdate=2008-09-13] [cite web|url=http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/48/a48r210.htm|title=General Assembly|date=December 21, 1993|publisher=United Nations|accessdate=2008-09-13] This led to a conflict with the US government, and he never returned to his native country.
In his later years, Fischer lived in
Hungary, Germany, the Philippines, and Japan. During this time he made increasingly anti-Americanand anti-Semiticstatements. During the 2004–2005 time period, after his U.S. passport was revoked, he was detained by Japanese authorities for nine months under threat of extradition. After Icelandgranted him citizenship, the Japanese authorities released him to that country, where he lived until his death in 2008. [cite web|title=Chess champion Bobby Fischer dies|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jan/18/sport.davidbatty|publisher= The Guardian|date= 2008-01-18|accessdate=2008-02-19]
Bobby Fischer was born at
Michael Reese Hospitalin Chicago, Illinoison March 9, 1943. His mother, Regina Wender, was a naturalized American citizen of Polish Jewish descent, [cite web|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3261419.ece|title=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manic#Symptoms|last=Quinn|first=Ben|coauthors=Alan Hamilton|date=January 28, 2008|publisher=The Times|accessdate=2008-09-14] born in Switzerlandbut raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She later became a teacher, a registered nurse, and a physician. [de icon [http://www.chessbase.de/nachrichten.asp?newsid=3433 "Schach Nachrichten"] .] Fischer's birth certificate listed Wender's husband, Hans-Gerhardt Fischer, a German biophysicist, as Fischer's father. The couple married in 1933 in Moscow, USSR, where Wender was studying medicine at the First Moscow Medical Institute. They divorced in 1945 when Bobby was two years old, and he grew up with his mother and older sister, Joan. In 1948, the family moved to Mobile, Arizona, where Regina taught in an elementary school. The following year they moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Regina worked as an elementary school teacher and nurse.
A 2002 article by Peter Nicholas and Clea Benson of "
The Philadelphia Inquirer" suggests that Paul Nemenyi, a Hungarian Jewish physicist, may have been Fischer's biological father. The article quotes an FBI report that states that Regina Fischer returned to the United States in 1939, while Hans-Gerhardt Fischer never entered the United States, having been refused admission by US immigration officials because of alleged Communist sympathies. [Nicholas, Peter, and Clea Benson. [http://www.philly.com/inquirer/news/13896736.html "Files reveal how FBI hounded chess king"] . Philadelphia Inquirer. November 17 2002] [Regina Fischer entry, passenger manifest, " SS Manhattan", January 18 1939, pg. 74, line 6, accessed January 20 2008via ancestry.com] [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. 22.] Regina and Nemenyi had an affair in 1942, and he made monthly child support payments to Regina. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 22, 135.] Nemenyi died in March, 1952.
In May 1949, the six-year-old Fischer learned how to play chess along with his sister in instructions found in a chess set that was bought [Edward R. Brace, "An Illustrated Dictionary of Chess", Hamlyn, 1979, ISBN 0-600-32920-8 pp103-104] at a candy store below their Brooklyn apartment. He saw his first chess book a month later. For over a year he played chess on his own. At age seven, he began to play chess seriously, [
Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. 126.] joining the Brooklyn Chess Club and receiving instruction from its president, Carmine Nigro. He later joined the Manhattan Chess Club, one of the strongest in the world, in June, 1955. Other important early influences were provided by Master and chess journalist Hermann Helmsand Grandmaster Arnold Denker. Denker served as a mentor to young Bobby, often taking him to watch professional hockey games at Madison Square Garden, to cheer the New York Rangers. Denker wrote that Bobby enjoyed those treats and never forgot them; the two became lifelong friends.Denker, Arnold, and Larry Parr. "The Bobby Fischer I Knew And Other Stories". Hypermodern Press, 1995, p. ?.] When Fischer was thirteen, his mother asked the Master John W. Collinsto be his chess tutor. Collins had coached several top players, including future grandmasters Robert Byrneand William Lombardy. Fischer spent much time at Collins' house, and some have described Collins as a father figure for Fischer. The Hawthorne Chess Club was the name for the group which Collins coached. Fischer also was involved with the Log Cabin Chess Club. Another mentor and friend during those years was the broadcaster and author Dick Schaap, who often took Fischer to basketballgames of the New York Knicks.
Bobby Fischer attended
Erasmus Hall High Schoolat the same time as Barbra Streisandand Neil Diamond. The student council of Erasmus Hall awarded him a gold medal for his chess achievements.Brady, Frank. "Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy". New York: D. McKay Co., 1965.] Fischer dropped out of Erasmus in 1959 at age 16, the minimum age for doing so, saying that school had little more to offer him.Wade, Robert. "The Chess Games of Robert J. Fischer", article by Arthur Bisguier. London: Batsford Publishers, 1972.]
When Fischer was 16, his mother moved out of their apartment to pursue medical training. Her friend Joan Rodker, who had met Regina when the two were "idealistic communists" living in Moscow in the 1930s, believes that Fischer resented his mother for being mostly absent as a mother, a communist activist and an admirer of the Soviet Union, and that this led to his hatred for the Soviet Union. In letters to Rodker, Fischer's mother states her desire to pursue her own "obsession" of training in
medicineand writes that her son would have to live in their Brooklyn apartment without her: "It sounds terrible to leave a 16-year-old to his own devices, but he is probably happier that way." [cite web|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3261419.ece|title=Bobby Fischer, chess genius, heartless son|last=Quinn|first=Ben|coauthors=Hamilton, Alan|date=January 28, 2008|publisher=Times Newspapers Ltd.|accessdate=2008-10-04]
Fischer's first real triumph was winning the United States Junior Chess Championship in July 1956. He scored 8.5/10 at
Philadelphiato become the youngest-ever junior champion at age 13, [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 100.] a record that stands to this day. In the 1956 U.S. Open Chess Championshipat Oklahoma City, Fischer scored 8.5/12 to tie for 4-8th places, with Arthur Bisguierwinning. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 101.] He then played in the first Canadian Open Chess Championshipat Montreal1956, scoring 7/10 to tie for 8-12th places, with Larry Evanswinning. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 105.] Fischer's famous game from the 3rd Rosenwald Trophy tournament at New York1956, against Donald Byrne, who later became an International Master, was called "The Game of the Century" by Hans Kmoch. At the age of 13, he was awarded the US title of National Master, then the youngest ever. [cite web|url=http://www.chessville.com/BillWall/FischerTrivia.htm|title=Bobby Fischer Trivia|last=Wall|first=Bill|date=2002-2008|publisher=Chessville.com |accessdate=2008-10-04]
In 1957, Fischer played a two-game match against former World Champion
Max Euweat New York, losing 0.5-1.5. ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors, London, Batsford 1972, p. 123.] He then successfully defended his US Junior title, scoring 8.5/9 at San Francisco. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 127.] Next, he won the U.S. Open Chess Championship at Clevelandon tie-breaking points over Arthur Bisguier, scoring 10/12. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 130.] Fischer defeated the young Filipino Master Rodolfo Tan Cardosoby 6-2 in a match in New York.cite web|url=http://db.chessmetrics.com/CM2/PlayerProfile.asp?Params=199510SSSSS3S038178000000111000000000000010100|title=Chessmetrics Player Profile: Bobby Fischer |last=Sonas|first=Jeff|date=1999-2008|publisher=Jeff Sonas|accessdate=2008-10-04] He next won the New JerseyOpen Championship. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972.] From these triumphs, Fischer was given entry into the invitational U.S. Chess Championshipat New York. He won, with 10.5/13, becoming in January 1958, at age 14, the youngest US champion ever (this record still stands).
Fischer eventually played in eight
United States Chess Championships, each held in New York City, winning every one.
His scores were:
* 1957-58: 10.5/13
* 1958-59: 8.5/11
* 1959-60: 9/11
* 1960-61: 9/11
* 1962-63: 8/11
* 1963-64: 11/11
* 1965-66: 8.5/11
* 1966-67: 9.5/11.
His 11-0 win in the 1963-64 championship is the only perfect score in the history of the tournament, and one of only a handful of perfect scores in high-level chess tournaments ever, one that has been called "the most remarkable achievement of this kind." [David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld. "The Oxford Companion to Chess". Oxford University Press, 1984. pp. 67-68.]
Fischer had been forced to attend school, and therefore missed the 1958 Olympiad. But he represented the United States on top board with great distinction at four Olympiads:
His overall total was +40, =18, −7, for 49/65 or 75.4%. [cite web|url=http://www.olimpbase.org/players/q8aycaol.html|title=Fischer, Robert James
date=2003-2008|Publisher=Wojciech Bartelski & Co.] He had planned to play for the United States at the 1968
LuganoOlympiad, but backed out when he saw the playing hall with its bad lighting.
Fischer's victory in the US Championship qualified him to participate in the 1958
Portorož Interzonal, the next step toward challenging the World Champion. The top six finishers in the Interzonal would qualify for the Candidates Tournament. Prior to the Interzonal, he played two short training matches in Yugoslavia. He drew both games against Dragoljub Janosevic. Then he defeated Milan Matulovicin Belgradeby 2.5-1.5. ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Robert Wade (chess player)and Kevin O'Connell, editors, London, Batsford 1972, pp. 163-164.] At the Interzonal, Fischer again surprised the pundits, tying for 5th and 6th places, with 12/20, after a strong finish. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 347.] This made Fischer the youngest person ever to qualify for the Candidates, a record which stood until 2005 (it was broken under a different setup by Magnus Carlsen). It also earned him the title of Grandmaster, making him the youngest grandmaster in history at 15 years and 6 months. This was a record that stood until 1991 when it was broken by Judit Polgar. In addition, Fischer remained the youngest grandmaster in the world until Florin Gheorghiuearned the title in 1965.
Before the Candidates' tournament, Fischer competed in the 1958-9 US Championship (winning 8.5/11) and then in international tournaments at Mar del Plata, Santiago, and
Zurich. He played unevenly in the two South American tournaments. At Mar del Plata he finished tied for third with Borislav Ivkov, half a point behind tournament winners Ludek Pachmanand Miguel Najdorf. At Santiago, he tied for fourth through sixth places, behind Ivkov, Pachman, and Herman Pilnik. He did better at the strong Zurich event, finishing a point behind world-champion-to-be Mikhail Taland half a point behind Svetozar Gligoric. [Frank Brady, "Profile of a Prodigy: The Life and Games of Bobby Fischer". McKay 1973. p. 28] [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. pp. 165, 171, 176.]
Fischer had, up to this point, dressed like a normal teenager, in jeans and casual shirts, at chess tournaments, but was influenced by veteran Grandmaster
Miguel Najdorf, whom he met at Mar del Plata, to improve his appearance. Najdorf dressed well in fine suits. Fischer's strong performances increased his income, and he soon became known for his elegant dress at major events, built up an extensive wardrobe of custom-made suits, and took considerable pride in his image as a young professional. [Arnold Denker and Larry Parr, "The Bobby Fischer I Knew And Other Stories". Hypermodern Press 1995.]
At the age of 16, Fischer finished a creditable equal fifth out of eight, the top non-Soviet player, at the Candidates Tournament held in
Bled/ Zagreb/ Belgrade, Yugoslaviain 1959. He scored 12.5/28 but was outclassed by tournament winner Tal, who won all four of their individual games. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 356.]
1962 Candidates setback
In 1960, Fischer tied for first place with the young Soviet star
Boris Spasskyat the strong Mar del Plata tournament in Argentina, with the two well ahead of the rest of the field, scoring 13.5/15. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 183.] Fischer lost only to Spassky, and this was the start of their relationship, which began on a friendly basis and stayed that way, in spite of Fischer's troubles on the board against him.
Fischer struggled in the subsequent
Buenos Airestournament, finishing with 8.5/19 (won by Viktor Korchnoiand Samuel Reshevskyon 13/19). [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 189.] This was the only real failure of Fischer's competitive career. According to Larry Evans, Fischer's first sexual experience was with a girl to whom Evans introduced him during the tournament. [ Pal Benkoand Jeremy Silman, "Pal Benko: My Life, Games and Compositions", Siles Press, 2003, p. 422 (interview with Evans). ISBN 1-890085-08-1.] Pal Benkosays that Fischer did horribly in the tournament "because he got caught up in women and sex. ... Afterwards, Fischer said he'd never mix women and chess together, and kept the promise." [Benko and Silman, pp. 426-27 (interview with Benko).] Fischer concluded 1960 by winning a small tournament at Reykjavikwith 4.5/5, ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Robert Wade (chess player)and Kevin O'Connell, London, Batsford 1972, pp. 196-197.] , and defeating Klaus Dargain an exhibition game in West Berlin. ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Robert Wade (chess player)and Kevin O'Connell, editors, London, Batsford 1972, p. 198.]
In 1961, Fischer started a 16-game match with Reshevsky, split between
New Yorkand Los Angeles. Despite Fischer's meteoric rise, the veteran Reshevsky (born in 1911, 32 years older than Fischer) was considered the favorite, since he had far more match experience and had never lost a set match. After 11 games and a tie score (two wins apiece with seven draws), the match ended prematurely due to a scheduling dispute between Fischer and match organizer and sponsor Jacqueline Piatigorsky. The hard-fought struggle, with many games being adjourned, had delayed the original match schedule, causing some logistical challenges for site bookings. Reshevsky received the winner's share of the prizes. Fischer later made up with Mrs. Piatigorsky by accepting an invitation to the second Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966, which she helped to sponsor.
Fischer was second behind former World Champion Tal at
Bled1961. He defeated Tal head-to-head for the first time, scored 3.5/4 against the Soviet contingent, and finished as the only unbeaten player, with 13.5/19. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 199.]
In the next World Championship cycle, Fischer won the 1962
Stockholm Interzonalby 2.5 points, scoring 17.5/22, making him one of the favorites for the Candidates Tournamentin Curaçao, which began soon afterwards. [Frank Brady, "Profile of a Prodigy". David McKay, 1973. pp. 53-54.] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2243266,00.html Obituary, Bobby Fischer] . Leonard Barden, The Guardian. January 19 2008] He finished fourth out of eight with 14/27, the best result by a non-Soviet player but well behind Tigran Petrosian(17.5/27), Efim Geller, and Paul Keres(both 17/27). [B.M. Kazic, "International Championship Chess: A Complete Record of FIDE Events". Pitman, 1974. pp. 188-89.] Tal fell very ill during the tournament, and had to withdraw before completion. Fischer, a friend of Tal's, was the only player who visited him in the hospital.. [Benko and Silman, p. 155.]
Following his failure in the 1962 Candidates (at which five of the eight players were from the Soviet Union), Fischer asserted, in an article entitled "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess", which was published in "
Sports Illustrated" magazine, August 1962, that three of the Soviet players ( Tigran Petrosian, Paul Keres, and Efim Geller) had a pre-arranged agreement to draw their games against each other, in order to save energy and to concentrate on playing against Fischer, and also that a fourth, Victor Korchnoi, had been forced to deliberately lose games to ensure that a Soviet player won the tournament. It is generally thought that the former accusation is correct, but not the latter. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 29-30, 37, 40, 83.] "(This is discussed further at the World Chess Championship 1963article)". Fischer also stated that he would never again participate in a Candidates' tournament, since the format, combined with the alleged collusion, made it impossible for a non-Soviet player to win. Following Fischer's article, FIDEin late 1962 voted a radical reform of the playoff system, replacing the Candidates' tournament with a format of knockout matches.Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. pp. 331-46.]
Bent Larsenin a summer 1962 exhibition game in Copenhagenfor Danish TV. He also defeated Bogdan Sliwain a team match against Polandat Warsawlater that year. ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Robert Wadeand Kevin O'Connell, editors, London, Batsford 1972, pp. 207-208.]
Involvement with the Worldwide Church of God
In an interview in the January, 1962 issue of
Harper's Magazine, Fischer was quoted as saying, "I read a book lately by Nietzsche and he says religion is just to dull the senses of the people. I agree." [Ralph Ginzburg, Portrait of a Genius as a Young Chess Master, "Harper's Magazine", January 1962, at 49, 54.] cite web | url=http://www.bobby-fischer.net/Bobby_Fischer_Articles4.html | title=Portrait of a Genius As a Young Chess Master | work=Ralph Ginzburg's January 1962 interview, Harper's Magazine | accessmonthday=21 January |accessyear=2008 ] Nonetheless, Fischer said in 1962 that he had "personal problems" and began to listen to various radio ministers in a search for answers. This is how he first came to listen to " The World Tomorrow" radio program with Herbert W. Armstrongand his son Garner Ted Armstrong. The Armstrongs' denomination, The Worldwide Church of God (then under its original name, the Radio Church of God), predicted an imminent apocalypse. In late 1963, Fischer began tithing to the church. According to Fischer, he lived a bifurcated life, with a rational chess component and an enthusiastic religious component.
Fischer gave the Worldwide Church of God $61,200 of his 1972 world championship prize money. However, 1972 was a disastrous year for the church, as prophecies by
Herbert W. Armstrongwere unfulfilled, and the church was rocked by revelations of a series of sex scandals involving Garner Ted Armstrong. [cite web|url=http://www.hwarmstrong.com/ar/InBed.html|title=In Bed With Garner Ted|date=1977|publisher=Ambassador Report|accessdate=2008-10-04] Fischer, who felt betrayed and swindled by the Worldwide Church of God, left the church and publicly denounced it. [cite web|url=http://www.hwarmstrong.com/ar/Fischer.html|title=Bobby Fischer Speaks Out!|date=1978|publisher=Ambassador Report|accessdate=2008-10-04]
Semi-retirement in the mid-1960s
Fischer turned down an invitation to play in the 1963
Piatigorsky Cuptournament in Los Angeles, which had a world-class field. Instead, he preferred to play at the same time in the Western Open in Bay City, Michigan, which he won, with 7.5/8. Fischer also won the 1963 New York StateChampionship at Poughkeepsie, another minor event, in late summer, with a perfect 7/7. [Frank Brady, "Profile of a Prodigy". David McKay, 1973. p. 70.] He won the 1963-64 U.S. Championship with a perfect 11/11 (see above).
Fischer decided not to participate in the
AmsterdamInterzonal in 1964, thus taking himself out of the 1966 World Championship cycle. He held to this decision even when FIDE changed the format of the eight-player Candidates Tournament from a round-robin to a series of knockout matches, which eliminated the possibility of collusion. Fischer instead embarked on a continent-wide tour through the United States and Canada lasting several months, where he played simultaneous exhibitions and gave lectures. He also turned down an invitation to play for the United States in the 1964 Olympiad. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. ?.]
Fischer wanted to play in the
CapablancaMemorial Tournament, Havana1965, but Americans were not allowed to travel to Cubaat that time. Fischer had traveled to Cuba to play as a youth, before Fidel Castroassumed power in 1959. Fischer was able to play by telegraph, staying in New York and playing from the Marshall Chess Club. His games lasted longer because of the transmission delays and receipt of moves logistics. But Fischer tied for second through fourth places, with 15/21, behind former World Champion Vasily Smyslov, and defeated Smyslov in their game. Chess became a news item in the United States with this unusual achievement. [Wade, Robert and Kevin O'Connell, editors. "The Games of Robert J. Fischer". Batsford 1972. p. 209.]
Fischer started 1966 by winning the U.S. Championship for the seventh time. He then finished second at the 1966
Santa Monicasupertournament, just behind world finalist Boris Spassky, scoring 11/18. In 1967, he won the US Championship for the eighth and final time before victories over strong fields at Monte Carlo(7/9) and Skopje(13.5/17). Fischer traveled to the Philippinesand played a series of nine exhibition games against Master opposition there, winning eight and drawing one. ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer, by Robert Wade (chess player)and Kevin O'Connell, London, Batsford 1972, pp. 450-453.]
In the next World Championship cycle, at the 1967
SousseInterzonal, Fischer scored a phenomenal 8.5 points in the first 10 games. His observance of the Worldwide Church of God's sabbath was honored by the organizers, but deprived Fischer of several rest days, which led to a scheduling dispute. Fischer forfeited two games in protest and later withdrew, eliminating himself from the 1969 World Championship cycle.
Fischer won the tournaments at
Netanya1968 (11.5/13) and Vinkovci1968 (11/13) by large margins. He stopped playing for the next 18 months, except for a win in a New York Metropolitan League team match over Anthony Saidy.
In 1970, Fischer started a new effort to become World Champion. As he became a viable contender, much positive publicity for chess arose. In 1972, he succeeded in his quest, but forfeited his title a few years later.
The road to the world championship
system.] The 1969 US Championship was also a zonal qualifier, with the top three finishers advancing to the Interzonal. Fischer, however, had sat out the US Championship because of disagreements about the tournament's format and prize fund. To enable Fischer to compete for the title, Grandmaster
Pal Benkogave up his Interzonal place. This unusual arrangement was the work of Ed Edmondson, then the USCF's Executive Director.
Before the Interzonal, in March and April 1970, the world's best players competed in the USSR vs. Rest of the World match in
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, often referred to as "the Match of the Century." Fischer agreed to allow Bent Larsenof Denmarkto play first board for the Rest of the World team in light of Larsen's recent outstanding tournament results, even though Fischer had the higher Elo rating. [cite web|url=http://www.olimpbase.org/1970g/1970in.html|title=USSR vs Rest of the World: Belgrade 1970|date=2003-2008|publisher=Wojciech Bartelski & Co.|accessdate=2008-10-04] The USSR team won the match (20.5-19.5), but on second board, Fischer beat Tigran Petrosian, whom Boris Spasskyhad dethroned as world champion the previous year, 3-1, winning the first two games and drawing the last two. [cite web|url=http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/event/wijk08/fischer.html|title=Robert James Fischer 1943-2008|last=Crowther|first=Mark|date=2008|publisher=Mark Crowther|accessdate=2008-10-04]
Following the Match of the Century, the unofficial World Championship of Lightning Chess (5-minute games) was held at
Herceg Novi. Fischer annihilated the super-class field with 19/22(+17=4-1), 4.5 points ahead of Tal. Later in 1970, Fischer won tournaments at Rovinj/ Zagrebwith 13/17 (+10=6-1), and Buenos Aires, where he crushed the field of mostly Grandmasters with no losses: 15/17 (+13=4). Fischer had taken his game to a new level. He defeated Ulf Anderssonin an exhibition game for the Swedish newspaper 'Expressen' at Siegen1970. ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Robert Wade (chess player)and Kevin O'Connell, editors, London, Batsford 1972, p. 279.]
The Interzonal was held in
Palma de Mallorcain November and December 1970. Fischer won it with a remarkable 18.5-4.5 score (+15=7-1), 3.5 points ahead of Larsen, Efim Geller, and Robert Hübner, who tied for second at 15-8. [cite web|url=http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/7072$iix.htm|title=World Chess Championship 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal Tournament|last=Weeks|first=Mark|date=1997-2008|publisher=Mark Weeks|accessdate=2008-10-04] Fischer finished the tournament with seven consecutive wins (Fischer's final game of the tournament against Oscar Pannowent 1.c4 1-0. It was not technically a win by default however, as Panno came to the board and resigned before one hour was up).
Fischer continued his domination in the 1971 Candidates matches. First, he beat
Mark Taimanovof the USSR at Vancouverby 6-0. A couple of months later, he repeated the shutout against Larsen at Denver, again by 6-0. [cite web|url=http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2354|title=The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part II|last=Sonas|first=Jeff|date=April 28, 2005|publisher=Chessmetrics|accessdate=2008-10-04] Just a year before, Larsen had played first board for the Rest of the World team "ahead" of Fischer, and had handed Fischer his only loss at the Interzonal. "The record books showed that the only comparable achievement to the 6-0 score against Taimanov was Wilhelm Steinitz's 7-0 win against Joseph Henry Blackburnein 1876 in an era of more primitive defensive technique." ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Robert Wade (chess player)and Kevin O'Connell, editors, article "From Portoroz to Petrosian", by Leonard Barden, London, Batsford 1972, p. 345.]
Fischer won a strong lightning event in New York in August 1971 with an overwhelming score of 21.5/22. ["The Bobby Fischer I Knew And Other Stories", by
Arnold Denkerand Larry Parr, San Francisco 1995, Hypermodern Press.]
Only former World Champion Petrosian, Fischer's final opponent in the Candidates matches, was able to offer resistance in their match played at
Buenos Aires. Petrosian played a strong theoretical novelty in the first game and had Fischer on the ropes, but Fischer defended and won the game. This gave Fischer a streak of 20 consecutive wins against the world's top players (in the Interzonal and Candidates matches), the second longest winning streak in chess history after Steinitz's 25-game streak from 1873 to 1882. [ [http://www3.sympatico.ca/g.giffen/records.htm "Chess Records"] .] Petrosian won decisively in the second game, finally snapping Fischer's winning streak. After three consecutive draws, Fischer swept the next four games to win the match 6.5-2.5 (+5=3−1). The final match victory allowed Fischer to challenge World Champion Boris Spassky, whom he had never beaten before (+0=2−3).
World Championship Match
Fischer's career-long stubbornness about match and tournament conditions was again seen in the run-up to his match with Spassky. Of the possible sites, Fischer preferred
Yugoslavia, while Spassky wanted Iceland. For a time it appeared that the dispute would be resolved by splitting the match between the two locations, but that arrangement fell through. After that issue was resolved, Fischer refused to play unless the prize fund, which he considered inadequate, was doubled. Londonfinancier Jim Slaterresponded by donating an additional US$125,000, which brought the prize fund to an unprecedented $250,000. Fischer finally agreed to play.
The match took place in
Reykjavík, Iceland, from July through September 1972. Fischer lost the first two games in strange fashion: the first when he played a risky pawn-grab in a drawn endgame, the second by forfeit when he refused to play the game in a dispute over playing conditions. Fischer would likely have forfeited the entire match, but Spassky, not wanting to win by default, yielded to Fischer's demands to move the next game to a back room, away from the cameras whose presence had upset Fischer. The rest of the match proceeded without serious incident. Fischer won seven of the next 19 games, losing only one and drawing eleven, to win the match 12.5-8.5 and become the 11th World Chess Champion.
Cold Wartrappings helped serve to make the result somewhat of a media sensation. This was an American victory in a field that Soviet players had dominated for the past quarter-century, players closely identified with, and subsidized by, the Soviet state. The match was called "The Match of the Century", and received front-page media coverage in the United States and around the world. With his victory, Fischer became an instant celebrity. Upon his return to New York, a Bobby Fischer Day was held, and he was cheered by thousands of fans, a unique display in American chess. ["The World of Chess", by Anthony Saidyand Norman Lessing, pp. 224-225] He received numerous product endorsement offers (all of which he declined) and appeared on the covers of "Life" and " Sports Illustrated". With American Olympic swimmingchampion Mark Spitz, he also appeared on a Bob HopeTV special. [ [http://www.customflix.com/211957 "Bob Hope's Comedy Collection 1972"] .] Membership in the United States Chess Federation doubled in 1972 [ [http://www.uschess.org/about/about.php "About the USCF"] .] and peaked in 1974; in American chess, these years are commonly referred to as the "Fischer Boom." Spassky, referring to professional chess, later summarized: "He made chess popular, briefly, and he made us all rich men." [ [http://www.citypaper.com/special/story.asp?id=6133 Boris Spassky's Last Gambit] July 2, 2003]
Fischer won the '
Chess Oscar' award for 1970, 1971, and 1972. This award, started in 1967, is determined through votes from chess media and leading players.
Forfeiture of title to Karpov
Fischer was scheduled to defend his title in 1975.
Anatoly Karpoveventually emerged as his challenger, having defeated Spassky in an earlier Candidates match. Fischer, who had played no competitive games since his World Championship match with Spassky, laid out a proposal for the match in September 1973, in consultation with a FIDE official, Fred Cramer. He made the following three principal demands:
#The match should continue until one player wins 10 games, without counting the draws.
#There is no limit to the total number of games played.
#In case of a 9-9 score, champion (Fischer) retains his title and the prize fund is split equally.
A FIDE Congress was held in Nice in June 1974, headed by FIDE president
Max Euweand consisting of both U.S. and USSR representatives. It ruled that the match should continue until six wins, not 10. However, Fischer replied that he would resign his crown and not participate in the match. Instead of accepting Fischer's forfeit, FIDE agreed to allow the match to continue until 10 wins, but ruled it should not last longer than 36 games and rejected the 9-9 clause. Many considered that clause unfair because it would require the challenger to win by at least two games (10-8). [Grandmaster Hans Reeremarked of Fischer’s demand that the champion keep his title in the event of a 9-9 tie, "They [FIDE] thought that this demand was too severe. It was rejected, understandably.” Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. p. 46.] In response to FIDE's ruling, Fischer sent a cable to Euwe on June 27, 1974:
:As I made clear in my telegram to the FIDE delegates, the match conditions I proposed were non-negotiable. Mr. Cramer informs me that the rules of the winner being the first player to win ten games, draws not counting, unlimited number of games and if nine wins to nine match is drawn with champion regaining title and prize fund split equally were rejected by the FIDE delegates. By so doing FIDE has decided against my participating in the 1975 world chess championship. I therefore resign my FIDE world chess champion title. Sincerely, Bobby Fischer.
In a letter to
Larry Evans, published in " Chess Life" in November 1974, Fischer claimed the usual system (24 games with the first player to get 12.5 points winning, or the champion retaining his title in the event of a 12-12 tie) encouraged the player in the lead to draw games, which he regarded as bad for chess. Not counting draws would be "an accurate test of who is the world's best player." [cite book|author=Doanldson, John;Tangborn, Eric|title=The Unknown Bobby Fischer|publisher=International Chess Enterprises|isbn=1-879479-85-0|pages=159] Former U.S. Champion Arnold Denker, who was in contact with Fischer during the negotiations with FIDE, claimed that Fischer wanted a long match to be able to play himself into shape after a three-year layoff. [Arnold Denker and Larry Parr. "The Bobby Fischer I Knew And Other Stories". Hypermodern Press, 1995, p. ?.]
Due to the continued efforts of US Chess Association officials, [cite book|author=Mednis, Edmar|title=How To Beat Bobby Fischer|publisher=Dover|isbn=0-486-29844-2|pages=282] a special FIDE Congress was held in March 1975 in
Bergen, North Hollandin which it was accepted that the match should be of unlimited duration, but the 9:9 clause was once again rejected by a narrow margin of 35 votes to 32. [cite book|author=|title=Russians vs Fischer|publisher=Chess World Ltd|isbn=5-900767-01-9|pages=364] After no reply was received from Fischer, Karpov officially became World Champion by default in April 1975. In his 1991 autobiography, Karpov expressed profound regret that the match did not take place, and claimed that the lost opportunity to challenge Fischer held back his own chess development. Karpov met with Fischer several times after 1975, in friendly but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to arrange a match. [Karpov, Anatoly. "Karpov on Karpov: Memoirs of a Chess World Champion". Atheneum 1991.] Garry Kasparovhas argued that Karpov would have had a good chance to defeat Fischer in 1975. [Kasparov, Garry. "My Great Predecessors". Gloucester Publishers, 2004. Volume IV, pp. 473-74.] [Kasparov, Garry. "My Great Predecessors". Gloucester Publishers, 2006. Volume V, pp. 296-97.]
After the World Championship, Fischer did not play another serious game in public for nearly 20 years. He did not defend his title and public perception was reflected in the decline of interest in chess in the West in the following years.
In 1977, Bobby Fischer played three games in Cambridge against the
MITGreenblatt computer program. Fischer won all the games. [ [http://www.bobby-fischer.net/Bobby_Fischer_Biography.html Bobby Fischer Biography] ] [ [http://j-m.50megs.com/whats_new.html Bobby's anti-Computer games!] ]
May 26, 1981, a police patrolman arrested Fischer on the sidewalk of Lake Street in Pasadena, claiming that he matched the description of a man who had just committed a bank robbery in that area. During the arrest, Fischer was slightly injured. He was held for two days and subjected to further assault and interrogation. He was released on $1000 bail and the matter was later dropped. Two weeks later, he published a 14-page pamphletdetailing these experiences and expressing outrage that the arrest had been pre-arranged. [cite web|url=http://bobbyfischer.net/bobby13.html|title="I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!"|year=1982] Chun, Rene. [http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200212/chun "Bobby Fischer’s Pathetic Endgame"] . The Atlantic. December 2002.] Chun, Rene. [http://www.goddesschess.com/chesstories/fischerend.html "Bobby Fischer's Pathetic Endgame"] . GoddessChess.com. (backup copy)]
In the early 1980s, Fischer stayed for extended periods in the
San Francisco-area home of his friend, the Canadian Grandmaster Peter Biyiasas. In 1981, the two played 17 five-minute games. Despite his layoff from competitive play, Fischer won all of them, according to Biyiasas, who lamented that he was never even able to reach an endgame.
After twenty years, Fischer emerged from isolation to challenge Spassky (then placed 96-102 on the rating list) to a "Revenge Match of the 20th century" in 1992. This match took place in
Sveti Stefanand Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia, in spite of a United Nations embargothat included sanctions on sporting events. Fischer demanded that the organizers bill the match as "The World Chess Championship," although Garry Kasparovwas the recognized FIDE World Champion. Fischer had only ever mentioned resigning his "FIDE" title. He insisted he was still the true world chess champion, and that for all the games in the FIDE-sanctioned World Championship matches, involving Karpov, Korchnoi and Kasparov, the outcomes had been pre-arranged. In a 2005 interview he explained his attitude toward Kasparov: "Anyone who prepares matches in advance and, especially, whoplays contractual games, is a liar and a dealer. I just call Kasparov a criminal." [ [http://www.aif.ru/articles/article_prmid_dta135099.html "Bobby Fischer: last move"] . Arguments and Facts Online. May 2005]
The purse for Fischer's re-match with Spassky was reported to be US$5,000,000 with two-thirds to go to the winner. [ [http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/92fs$$.htm 1992 Fischer-Spassky Rematch Highlights] ] Fischer won the match, 10 wins to 5 losses, with 15 draws. Many grandmasters observing the match said that Fischer was past his prime. In the book "Mortal Games", Kasparov is quoted: "Bobby is playing OK, nothing more. Maybe his strength is around 2600 or 2650. It wouldn't be close between us." [Fred Waitzkin, "Mortal Games: The Turbulent Genius of Garry Kasparov". G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1993. p. 298.] Fischer never played any competitive games afterwards. [ [http://www.fide.com/ratings/card.phtml?event=2000016 FIDE card of Robert J. Fischer] ] [chessgames player|id=19233]
During the match, the two contestants gave, in all, nine press conferences between games. The content of these press conferences can be found, in full, in the book "No Regrets" by
Yasser Seirawanand George Stefanovic. On page 291, Seirawan writes, "After 23 September  , I threw most of what I’d ever read about Bobby out of my head. Sheer garbage. Bobby is the most misunderstood, misquoted celebrity walking the face of the earth". [ [http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/instant.html Edward Winter, "Instant Fischer", 1993] ] We also learn that Fischer is not camera shy (page 85), that "He smiles and laughs easily" (page 96), and that "... Bobby is a wholly enjoyable conversationalist. A fine wit, he is a very funny man" (page 303).
The U.S. Department of the Treasury had warned Fischer beforehand that his participation was illegal as it violated President
George H. W. Bush's Executive Order 12810 [ [http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=23630 "George Bush: Executive Order 12810 - Blocking Property of and Prohibiting Transactions With the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)"] . June 5, 1992.] that implemented United Nationssanctions against engaging in economic activities in Yugoslavia. [ [http://www.samsloan.com/newcomb.htm "Threatening Letter to Bobby Fischer"] . samsloan.com.] In front of the international press, Fischer was filmed spitting on the U.S. order forbidding him to play. Following the match, the Department obtained an arrest warrantfor him. Fischer remained wanted by the United States government for the rest of his life and never returned to the United States.
Life as an émigré
Fischer again slid into relative obscurity. Now a fugitive from American justice, he intensified his vitriolic rhetoric against the U.S. For some of these years Fischer lived in
Budapest, Hungary allegedly having a relationship with young Hungarian chess master Zita Rajcsanyi. [ [http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200212/chun Bobby Fischer’s Pathetic Endgame] ] [ [http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920904&slug=1511077 Fischer's 19-Year-Old Companion Shares Chess Limelight] ] He claimed to find standard chess stale and he played varieties such as Chess960blitz games. He visited with the Polgár family in Budapest and analyzed many games with Judit, Zsuzsa, and Zsófia Polgár. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 65, 106-09.] [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpHyqg-gM-s Sofia Polgar discussing Bobby Fischer] ]
In the Philippines
From 2000 to 2002, Fischer lived in
Baguio Cityin the Philippines. He resided in the same compound as the Filipino grandmaster Eugenio Torre, a close friend who acted as his second during his matches with Spassky.cite web | last = Cabreza | first = Vincent |title=Fischer has a Pinoy heir born in Baguio -- friends |url=http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20080119-113499/Fischer-has-a-Pinoy-heir-born-in-Baguio----friends| publisher= Philippine Daily Inquirer|date=2008-01-19 |accessdate=2008-01-20] Fischer played tennis at the Baguio Country Club, where he met a 30-year-old girl friendfrom Davaoin Baguio City.
Torre introduced Fischer to a 22-year-old woman named Justine Ong (or Marilyn Young). Together, they had a daughter named Jinky Ong, born in 2002 (or 2001) at the
Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Sacred Heart Hospital. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. 67.] [ [http://www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/chess2/diary_11.htm "How Jinky Ong came into the world"] March 9th, 2003. Entry 206] ( [ [http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryID=108235 abs-cbnnews.com, Pinay claims share of Bobby Fischer estate] ] [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSMAN22915420080206 Reuters, Filipino woman claims share of Bobby Fischer estate] ] )
Nigel Shortsaid that he had played almost 50 blitz games online with a person whom he believed to be Fischer, but the person's identity has not been verified, and Fischer denied that he was the person. [ [http://www.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20010911chess0911p4.asp Searching for Bobby Fischer: Are online games hoax or real thing?] September 11, 2001. Discussion of the rumor of Fischer playing online.] [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/09/nchess09.xml Bobby Fischer takes on all comers - in cyberspace telegraph.co.uk article 9-9-2001] ] [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 110-13, 120.]
In 1961 Fischer "made his first public statements despising Jews." [Mike Klein, [http://main.uschess.org/content/view/8125/431 Searching for Fischer's Legacy] ,
United States Chess Federation. January 19, 2008] In 1984 Fischer sent an open letter to Encyclopedia Judaica, in which he vehemently denied being a Jew and denounced Judaism. [cite web|title=Open letter to Encyclopedia Judaica|url=http://www.geocities.jp/bobbby_a/list/p_42/42_0.htm] In recent years, Fischer's primary means of communicating with the public was via sometimes-outrageous radio interviews. Fischer participated in at least 34 such broadcasts between 1999 and 2006, mostly with radio stations in the Philippines, but also with stations in Hungary, Iceland, Colombia, and Russia.
In 1999, he gave a call-in interview to a radio station in
Budapest, Hungary, during which he described himself as the "victim of an international Jewish conspiracy." Fischer's sudden re-emergence was apparently triggered when some of his belongings, which had been stored in a Pasadena, Californiastorage unit, were sold by the landlord, who claimed it was in response to nonpayment of rent. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. 41, 65-66, 118-19, 121.] In 2005, some of Fischer's belongings were auctioned on eBay. In 2006, Fischer claimed that his belongings in the storage unit were worth millions. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3468 Fischer on Icelandic Radio] April 11, 2006] [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. 118.] Fischer, whose mother was Jewish, [Nicholas, Peter, and Clea Benson. [http://www.philly.com/inquirer/news/13891951.html "Life is not a Board Game"] . The Philadelphia Inquirer February 8, 2003] made occasional hostile comments toward Jewsfrom at least the early 1960s. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 30, 44.] From the 1980s and thereafter, however, his hatred for Jews was a major theme of his public and private remarks. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 41, 45, 61, 66, 90, 92, 95, 101, 107, 117-20.] He denied the "Holocaust of the Jews," announced his desire to make "expos [ing] the Jews for the criminals they are [...] the murderers they are" his lifework, and argued that the United States is "a farce controlled by dirty, hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards." [Parr, Larry: "Is Bobby Fischer Anti-Semitic?", " Chess News", (May 2001)] In one of his radio interviews, Fischer said that it became clear to him in 1977, after reading "The Secret World Government" by Count Cherep-Spiridovich, that the Jews were targeting him. [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. 123.]
Statements following September 11, 2001
Hours after the
September 11, 2001, attacksFischer was interviewed live by Pablo Mercado on the Baguio City station of the Bombo Radyo network, shortly after midnight September 12, 2001 Philippineslocal time (or shortly after noon on September 11, 2001, New York time). Fischer commented on U.S and Israeli foreign policythat "nobody cares ... [that] the US and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians for years".cite news
last = Bamber
first = David
coauthors = Chris Hastings
title = Bobby Fischer speaks out to applaud Trade Centre attacks
publisher = Sunday Telegraph (London)
date = 2001-12-02
page = 17
accessdate = ] cite journal
title =The Bin Laden defense; Diatribe; Bobby Fischer speaks out in favor of 9/11 attacks; Brief Article; Transcript
journal =Harper's Magazine
date =March 1, 2002
accessdate = ] [
Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, p. 122.] Informed that "the White House ["sic"] and Pentagon have been attacked", Bobby Fischer proclaimed "This is all wonderful news." Fischer stated "What goes around comes around even for the United States." and said that if the US fails to change its foreign policy, it "has to be destroyed." After calling for President Bush's death, Fischer also stated he hoped for a coup d'étatin the US, and that the military government would then execute "hundreds of thousands of American Jewish ring-leaders", "arrest all the Jews", and "close all synagogues".Subsequent to that interview, Fischer's "right to membership in the United States Chess Federation[was] canceled" by a unanimous 7-0 of the USCF, [cite web|url=http://www.uschess.org/docs/pdf/15EBactionsvolex02.PDF|title="US Chess Federation decision"|format=PDF] taken on October 28, 2001.
Shelby Lyman, who in 1972 had hosted the PBS broadcast of that year's Championship, said after Fischer's death that "the anti-American stuff is explained by the fact that ... he spent the rest of his life [after the game in Yugoslavia] fleeing from the US, because he was afraid of being extradited". [cite episode
title = As It Happens Daily
episodelink = As It Happens
network = CBC
airdate = 2008-01-18
minutes = 9:43–10:33
transcript = podcast
transcripturl = http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/asithappens_20080118_4495.mp3 ]
Fischer lived for a time in Japan. [ [http://www.fischer.jp/ Official Site] ]
Fischer was arrested at
Narita International Airportin Narita, Japan, near Tokyofor allegedly using a revoked US passportwhile trying to board a Japan Airlinesflight to Ninoy Aquino International Airportin Manila, Philippines. The passport, issued in 1997, had been said by U.S. officials to be revoked in 2003. Fischer assumed that it was still valid. [ [http://www.fischer.jp/ "www.Fischer.jp"] . ONLY Bobby Fischer website that Bobby himself recommended - Search for the word PASSPORT and follow the links to handwritten letters by Bobby Fischer]
Tokyo-based Canadian journalist and consultant
John Bosnitchset up the "Committee to Free Bobby Fischer" after meeting Fischer at Narita airport and offering to assist him. Bosnitch was subsequently allowed to participate as a friend of the court by an Immigration Bureau panel handling Fischer's case. He then worked to block the Japanese Immigration Bureau's efforts to deport Fischer to the United States and coordinated the legal and public relations campaign to free Fischer until his eventual release. Fischer renounced his United States citizenship. A month later, it was reported that Fischer was marrying Miyoko Watai, the President of the Japanese Chess Association, with whom he had been living since 2000. Fischer also appealed to United States Secretary of State Colin Powellto help him renounce his citizenship. Japan's Justice Minister rejected Fischer's appeal that he be allowed to remain in the country and ordered him deported.
Asylum in Iceland
Seeking ways to evade deportation to the United States, Fischer wrote a letter to the government of Iceland in early January 2005 and asked for Icelandic citizenship. Sympathetic to Fischer's plight, but reluctant to grant him the full benefits of citizenship, Icelandic authorities granted him an
alien's passport. When this proved insufficient for the Japanese authorities, the Althingagreed unanimously to grant Fischer full citizenship in late March for humanitarian reasons, as they felt he was being unjustly treated by the US and Japanese governments. [ [http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2275 "Bobby Fischer: ich bin ein Icelander!"] . March 21, 2005.] Fischer unsuccessfully requested German citizenship on the grounds that his late father, Hans Gerhardt Fischer, had been a lifelong German citizen. The US government filed charges of tax evasionagainst Fischer in an effort to prevent him from traveling to Iceland.
Shortly before his departure to Iceland, on
March 23 2005, Fischer and Bosnitch appeared briefly on the BBC World Service, via a telephone link to the Tokyo airport. Bosnitch stated that Fischer would never play traditional chess again. Fischer denounced President Bush as a criminal and Japanas a puppet of the United States. He also stated that he would appeal his case to the US Supreme Court and said that he would not return to the US while Bush was in power.
Upon his arrival in
Reykjavík, Fischer was welcomed by a crowd. [ [http://fischerwatch.livejournal.com Fischer Watch] Index of Fischer news stories - 2005] He gave a news conference in which he was reminded of a past friend, Dick Schaap, by Schaap's son, and Fischer showed that he was still pointedly resentful over his falling out with Schaap Sr. [ [http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_332337.html Chess legend still intrigues people] May 9, 2005] Fischer had an apartment in Reykjavík as his new home.
Fischer lived a reclusive life in Iceland, avoiding entrepreneurs and other people who approached him with various proposals. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4392 Bobby Fischer dies in Iceland] ]
December 10 2006, Fischer phoned in to an Icelandic television station and pointed out a winning combination which was missed, by players and commentators alike, in a chess game that was televised live in Iceland. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3546 Bobby Fischer and the missed combination] December 17, 2006]
Fischer was suffering from degenerative
renal failure. [ [http://www.mbl.is/mm/frettir/innlent/frett.html?nid=1315727 Dánarorsök Fischers var nýrnabilun] , mbl.is, 2008-01-20] This had been a problem for some years, but became acute in October 2007, when Fischer was admitted to a Reykjavík Landspítali hospital for stationary treatment. He stayed there for about seven weeks, being released in a somewhat improved condition in the middle of November. He returned home gravely ill in December apparently rejecting any further Western medicine.
Fischer stayed in an apartment in the same building as his closest friend and spokesman, Garðar Sverrisson, whose wife Kristín Þórarinsdóttir happens to be a nurse and looked after the terminally ill patient. Garðar's two children, especially his son, were very close to Fischer. They were his only close friends and contacts during the last two years of his life.
Fischer did not believe in prolonging life at any cost – such as by the use of large amounts of pain killers or permanent dependence on a dialysis machine. When he was released from the hospital his doctors gave him a few months to live. His wife Miyoko Watai flew in from Japan to spend the Christmas season with him. She returned on January 10, 2008, just before Fischer's death, and so had to make another trip almost immediately after. [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4410 ChessBase.com - Chess News - Bobby Fischer – his final weeks ] ]
In the middle of January his condition deteriorated and he was returned to the hospital, where elevated levels of
serum creatininewere found in his blood. He died on January 17 2008, at home in his apartment in Reykjavík. [cite web |url=http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2007/11/fischer_hospitalized_in_reykjavik.htm |title=Fischer Hospitalized in Reykjavik |author=Mig Greengard |publisher=Chess Ninja |date=2007-11-23 ] [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hpjkKfonmIFJxdSyG535aNfW6rnQ Chess genius Bobby Fischer, from American hero to paranoid fugitive] January 18, 2008] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3900793.stm Bobby Fischer: Demise of a chess legend] , the BBC on Fischer's personality and downfall] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7195840.stm Chess legend Fischer dies at 64] , BBCNews, 2008-01-18] [cite web |url=http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OBIT_FISCHER?SITE=AP|title=AP Obituary |date=2008-01-18] Citation | last = Bruce | first = Weber
title = Bobby Fischer, Chess Master, Dies at 64
newspaper = The New York Times | year = 2008 | date = January 19
url = http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/crosswords/chess/19fischer.html
accessdate = 2008-01-20] [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3211295.ece Obituary in "The Times", 19 January 2008] ] Like his great predecessors
Howard Stauntonand Wilhelm Steinitz, [In a famous 1964 article, Fischer ranked both Staunton and Steinitz as being among the ten greatest players in history. Bobby Fischer, "The Ten Greatest Masters in History," "Chessworld", Vol. 1, No. 1 (January-February 1964), at 56.] he died at the age of 64. Magnús Skúlason, who stayed with Fischer until he died, said that his last words were, "Nothing soothes pain like the touch of a person." [ [http://www.visir.is/article/20080119/FRETTIR01/80119051 Síðustu orð Fischers] , Vísir.is, 2008-01-20]
Fischer had instructed Garðar that he wished to be buried in the small Catholic
cemeteryof Laugardælir church, outside the town of Selfoss, 60 km south-east of Reykjavik. It was a place Bobby had visited a number of times with Garðar and Kristín, whose parents live there. He said that the Laugardælur countryside would be perfect as his final resting place, should he die in Iceland. He did not wish anyone to be present at the funeral, except Miyoko Watai and Garðar's family, who would arrange it. On January 21st at noon, after a Catholic funeral presided over by Fr. Jakob Rolland of the diocese of Reykjavik, he was buried according to his wishes. [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4403 Chessbase: Bobby Fischer buried in Iceland] ] [ [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Fischer&GSfn=Bobby&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=2008&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=24023886& Find A Grave - Robert James Fischer] ] [ [http://www.ruv.is/heim/frettir/frett/store64/item187254/ Útför Fischers í kyrrþey] Jan. 21, 2008. Icelandic.] [ [http://www.visir.is/article/20080119/FRETTIR01/80119030 Unnustan ræður hvílustað Bobbys] - visir.is, January 19, 2008 (Icelandic)] [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/peopleNews/idUSL2112613820080121 Chess champion Bobby Fischer buried in Iceland] at noon on Jan. 21, 2008]
Fischer's estate was estimated at 140 million ISK (about 1 million GBP or US$2,000,000) and quickly became the object of a legal battle between Fischer's Japanese wife
Miyoko Wataiand a presumed Filipina heir, Marilyn Young. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2247866,00.html Fischer's 'widow' and nephews in legal tussle for £1m estate] , "The Guardian", 28 January 2008] The dispute seems to have been settled amicably in the Icelandic courts. [ [http://www.gmanews.tv/story/82348/Bobby-Fischers-Pinay-heir-may-get-settlement GMA NEWS.TV, Bobby Fischer's Pinay heir may get settlement] ]
Contributions to chess
Fischer was renowned for his opening preparation, and made numerous contributions to chess opening theory. He was considered the greatest practitioner of the White side of the
Ruy Lopez; a line of the Exchange Variation (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0) is sometimes called the "Fischer variation" after he successfully resurrected it at the 1966 HavanaOlympiad.
He was a recognized expert in the Black side of the Najdorf Sicilian and the
King's Indian Defense. He demonstrated several important improvements in the Grünfeld Defense. In the Nimzo-Indian Defense, the line beginning with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 Ba6 is named for him. [Carsten Hansen, "The Nimzo-Indian: 4 e3". Gambit Publications, 2002. p. 132.] [Leon Pliester, "Rubinstein Complex of the Nimzo-Indian Defense". International Chess Enterprises, 1995. p. 272.] [Svetozar Gligoric, "Play the Nimzo-Indian Defense". Pergamon Press, 1985. p. 65.]
Fischer established the viability of the so-called
Poisoned Pawn Variationof the Najdorf Sicilian (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6). Although this bold queen sortie, snatching a pawn at the expense of development, had been considered dubious, [Watson observed that 7...Qb6 "is an astonishing move that those raised with classical chess principles would simply reject as a typical beginner's mistake. Black goes running after a pawn when he is undeveloped and already under attack." cite book
title=Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 1
id=ISBN 978-1-904600-60-2] ["Referring to the Poisoned Pawn Variation ... the brilliant, classically-oriented grandmaster
Salo Flohrcommented, even as late as 1972: 'In chess, there is an old rule: in the opening, one must make haste to develop the pieces, and must not move the same piece several times, particularly the queen. This ancient law holds good even for Bobby Fischer'." cite book
title=Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch
id=ISBN 1-901983-07-2] [The Poisoned Pawn Variation "was considered dubious by certain GMs and crazy by
Bent Larsen". cite book
author=Polugaevsky, L., Piket, J., and Christophe Guéneau
title=Sicilian Love: Lev Polugaevsky Chess Tournament, Bueno Aires 1994
publisher=New in Chess
id=ISBN 90-71689-99-9] Fischer succeeded in proving its soundness. He won many games with it, losing only to Spassky in the 11th game of their 1972 match. Today, the Poisoned Pawn is a respected line played by many of the world's leading players. [Kiril Georgiev and Atanas Kolev, "The Sharpest Sicilian: A Black Repertoire with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6". Simolini 94 (Sofia, Bulgaria), 2007. p. 6.]
On the White side of the Sicilian, Fischer made advances to the theory of the line beginning 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 (or e6) 6. Bc4, which is now called the Fischer-Sozin Attack. In 1960, prompted by a loss to Spassky, [cite web|url=http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1080046|title=Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer|publication="ChessGame.com"|dateaccessed=January 18, 2008] Fischer wrote an article entitled "A Bust to the King's Gambit" for the first issue of
Larry Evans' "American Chess Quarterly", in which he recommended 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6. ["American Chess Quarterly", Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 1961), p. 3.] This variation has since become known as the Fischer Defenseto the King's Gambit. [Viktor Korchnoi and Vladimir Zak, "The King's Gambit". Chess Digest, Inc., Chess Digest, 1975. p. 39.] [Y. Estrin and I.B. Glaskov, "Play the King's Gambit", Vol. 1. Pergamon Press, 1982. p. 115.] After Fischer's article was published, the King's Gambit was seen even less frequently in master-level games, although Fischer took up the White side of it in three games (preferring 3.Bc4 to 3.Nf3), winning them all. [citeweb|url=http://www.chesscafe.com/text/bust.txt|title=A Bust to the King's Gambit]
International Master Jeremy Silmanlisted Fischer as one of the five best endgame players. The others he listed were Emanuel Lasker, Akiba Rubinstein, José Capablanca, and Vasily Smyslov. Silman called him a "master of bishop endings". [Silman, Jeremy "Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master", 2007. pp. 510-23]
The endgame of a rook and bishop versus a rook and knight (both sides with pawns) has sometimes been called the "Fischer Endgame" because of three instructive wins by Fischer (with the bishop) in 1970 and 1971 over
Mark Taimanov. [Müller, Karsten & Lamprecht, Frank, "Fundamental Chess Endings", 2001, p. 304.] [Mayer, Steve, "Bishop versus Knight: The Verdict", 1997, p. 201.] One of the games was in the 1970 Interzonaland the other two were in their 1971 quarter-final candidates match.
In 1988, Fischer filed for US patent|4,884,255 for a new type of digital chess clock. Fischer's clock gave each player a fixed period of time at the start of the game and then added a small increment after each completed move. The Fischer clock soon became standard in most major chess tournaments. The patent expired in November 2001 because of overdue maintenance fees.
Fischer Random Chess
June 19, 1996, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fischer announced and advocated a variant of chess called Fischer Random Chess, also known as Chess960, that is intended to allow players to contest games based on their understanding of chess rather than their ability to memorize opening variations.
Fischer Random was designed to remove the importance of opening book memorization. Fischer complained in a 2006 phoned-in call with a television interviewer that talented celebrity players from long ago, if brought back from the dead to play today, would no longer be competitive, because of the progress in memorization of opening books. "Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get an opening advantage against
Capablanca," he said, merely because of opening-book memorization, which Fischer disdained. "Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorization and prearrangement. It’s a terrible game now. Very uncreative." [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3468 Speaking about Fischer...] Nov. 4, 2006] Fischer described the unsavory side of chess in its current form at the highest levels. [ [http://chess960.net/files/audio/fischer_20022701_iceland.mp3 Audio clip of Bobby Fischer] ]
Fischer was an expert at solving the
fifteen puzzle, which he completed in under 25 seconds multiple times. Fischer demonstrated this on November 8, 1972on " The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson".
Fischer is considered one of the greatest players of all time. Some leading players and some of Fischer's biographers rank him as the greatest player who ever lived. [
Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 47 (Ree interview), 91 (Timman interview), 113 (Short interview).] [ Fred Waitzkin, "Mortal Games: The Turbulent Genius of Garry Kasparov". G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1993. p. 275 (quoting Kasparov).] [ William Hartston, "The Kings of Chess". Harper & Row, 1985. p. 157.] [David N. L. Levy, "How Fischer Plays Chess". RHM Press, 1975. p. 9.] Many other writers say that he is arguably the greatest player ever, without reaching a definitive conclusion. [Euwe, Max. "Bobby Fischer--The Greatest?". Sterling Publishing Co. 1979. p. ix.] [Soltis, Andrew. "Bobby Fischer Rediscovered". Batsford 2003. p. 9.] [Mednis, Edmar. "How to Beat Bobby Fischer". Dover 1997. p. xiii.] [Kasparov, Garry. "My Great Predecessors". Gloucester Publishers, Everyman Chessseries, 2004. Volume IV, p. 490.] [Golombek, Harry, "Golombek's Encyclopedia of Chess". Crown Publishers, 1977. p. 117.] [Nathan Divinsky, "Batsford Chess Encyclopedia". Batsford, 1990. p. 67.] [ Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King", Batsford, 2003, pp. 133-34.] Leonard Bardenwrote, "Most experts place him the second or third best ever, behind Kasparov but probably ahead of Karpov." [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,2243266,00.html Obituary of Bobby Fischer] , Leonard Barden, The Guardian, 19 January 2008]
Fischer was a charter inductee into the United States Chess Hall of Fame in
Washington, D.C.in 1985. He was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame in Miamiin 2001. [ [http://www.chessmuseum.org/inductees.htm World Chess Hall of Fame Inductees] ]
After routing Taimanov, Larsen, and Petrosian in 1971, Fischer achieved a then-record
Elo ratingof 2785. He was rated so far ahead of Spassky and everyone else that he lost five rating points by beating Spassky 12.5-7.5 in played games, taking him to a 2780 rating.
Although international ratings were only introduced in 1970,
Chessmetrics.com uses modern algorithms to rank performances retrospectively and uniformly throughout chess history. According to the Chessmetrics calculation, Fischer's peak rating was 2895 in October 1971. His one-year peak average was 2881, in 1971, and this is the highest of all time. His three-year peak average was 2867, from January 1971 to December 1973 - the second highest ever, just behind Garry Kasparov. Chessmetrics ranks Fischer as the #1 player in the world for a total of 109 different months, running (not consecutively) from February 1964 until July 1974. [http://www.db.chessmetics.com, the Bobby Fischer player file.]
Fischer's great rival
Mikhail Talpraised him as "the greatest genius to have descended from the chess heavens." ["The World of Chess", by Anthony Saidyand Norman Lessing, New York, Random House, 1974, p. 226]
American rival Grandmaster
Arthur Bisguier, who won his first tournament game against Fischer, drew his second, and then lost the remaining 13, wrote "Robert James Fischer is one of the few people in any sphere of endeavour who has been accorded the accolade of being called a legend in his own time." ["The Games of Robert J. Fischer", by Robert Wade (chess player)and Kevin O'Connell, London, Batsford 1972, p. 43.]
Speaking after Fischer's death, Serbian Grandmaster
Ljubomir Ljubojevicsaid, "A man without frontiers. He didn't divide the East and the West, he brought them together in their admiration of him." [ [http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4392 ChessBase.com - Chess News - Bobby Fischer dies in Iceland ] ]
In a sympathetic obituary for Fischer, Kasparov wrote "he became the detonator of an avalanche of new chess ideas, a revolutionary whose revolution is still in progress." [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1707222,00.html The Chessman] , "TIME", 26 January 2008]
In popular culture
*The film "
Searching for Bobby Fischer" uses his name in the title even though it is actually about the life of Joshua Waitzkin(it was named "Innocent Moves" instead in Great Britain). The title refers to the search for Fischer's successor after his disappearance from competitive chess (or about searching for talent like Fischer's in the author's brilliant chess-playing son). In the book on which the film is based, the narrator/author actually looks for Fischer for a brief period and imagines what he would say to him if found.
*In the animated Nickelodeon series "
Hey Arnold", there is a Chinese Checkerschampion named Robby Fischer.
* The musical "Chess", with
lyricsby Tim Riceand music by Björn Ulvaeusand Benny Andersson, tells the story of two chess champions. Although they are known in the musical only as "The American" and "The Russian", their personalities are loosely based on Bobby Fischer and the Soviet(and later Swiss) grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi. (In later versions of the show, "The American" is named "Freddy Trumper".)
*The British band
iLiKETRAiNSwrote the song "A Rook House For Bobby" about Fischer. [The title is an allusion to Fischer's statement in his 1961 interview with Ralph Ginzburg, "I got strong ideas about my house. I'm going to hire the best architect and have him build it in the shape of a rook. . . . I want to live the rest of my life in a house built exactly like a rook." Ralph Ginzburg, Portrait of a Genius as a Young Chess Master, "Harper's Magazine", January 1962, at 49, 55.] It appeared on their debut EP " Progress Reform".
*During the 1972 Spassky-Fischer matches, the Soviet bard
Vladimir Vysotskywrote an ironic two-song cycle "Honor of the Chess Crown". The first one is about preparation to the match with Fischer of a rank-and-file Soviet worker, the second one is about the game. Many expressions from the songs have become catch phrases in Russian culture. [ru icon [http://www.kulichki.com/vv/ovys/articles/0018.html Chess Problems] (about chess songs of Vladimir Vysotsky) ]
*The Australian band Lazy Susan wrote the song called "Bobby Fischer". It appeared on their album "Long Lost", in 2001.
*The British band
Prefab Sproutrefers to Fischer in the song "Cue Fanfare", on their first album Swoon, released in 1984.
HBO sitcom Arli$$featured an episode in the seventh season called [http://www.hbo.com/arliss/episode_guide/season7.html "End Game"] built around a reclusive, neurotic American chess player who quit and went into hiding at the height of his fame after beating a Russian player for the World Championship. This character has some aspects in common with Bobby Fischer.
* "The Great Chess Movie" is a 1982 Canadian film directed by Camille Coudari, starring Fischer,
Viktor Korchnoi, Anatoly Karpovand Ljubomir Ljubojevicamong other notable chessplayers. The documentary is 60 minutes.
*Fischer's famous game with
Robert Byrnein 1963 was displayed in episode 14 of the anime series " Code Geass" with the color of the two sides reversed. In the episode, the protagonist, Lelouch, was seen playing as black in Byrne's position, against Mao. Unlike Byrne's quick resignation after Fischer's 21st move, Lelouch was then checkmated.
*Fischer's 1968 game against
Emil Nikolicwas also featured in episode 1 of the anime series " Code Geass". The two games progressed and ended identically with 31...Kg6.
*Law and Order: Criminal Intent Season 4 (2005) in episode #77 titled "Gone" was loosely based on Bobby Fischer.
*"Finding Bobby Fischer", which appeared on "
Sports Center", won a 2005 Emmyaward for Jeremy Schaap, son of Fischer's early friend Dick Schaap.
*Fischer is referenced in the first episode of the second season of "" when compared to "The Turk" a computer that later becomes the base of the Skynet program.
* "Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess" (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1959). An early collection of 34 lightly-annotated games including the famous "Game of the Century" vs. Donald Byrne. ISBN 0923891463
* "A Bust to the King's Gambit" ("American Chess Quarterly", Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 1961), pp. 3-9) ( [http://www.chesscafe.com/text/bust.txt text] )
* "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess" ("
Sports Illustrated" magazine, August 1962). This is the controversial article, detailing Fischer's assertions of Soviet collusion in the 1962 Curacao Candidates' tournament.
* "Checkmate" column from 1966 to 1969 in "
My 60 Memorable Games" (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1969, and Faber and Faber, London, 1969). "A classic of painstaking and objective analysis that modestly includes three of his losses" ["The Oxford Companion to Chess", 1996, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280049-3, p. 138.] . The book was translated and published in the Soviet Union without Fischer's permission. It was also published in Britain, in 1995, in algebraic notation, after Batsford bought the rights from Faber and Faberfor the United Kingdom. Fischer denounced the Batsford edition as "forged" and "unauthorized" and accused the company of having "intentionally" included "many changes" to it, in an attempt to "make [him] look foolish". [http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/fischer.html Edward Winter, "Fischer's Fury", 1999, with updates] ] Subsequent comparison, undertaken by CHESS magazine, between the original text and the texts of the Russian and Batsford editions show that "570 changes had been made by Batsford, entire notes of Fischer’s had been omitted, individual words had been deleted, other words had been added", and "Fischer’s wording had simply been changed without justification". [ CHESS magazine, issue January 1997, pages 45-48] The Batsford changes included the insertion of a "missed [by Fischer] mate in one" when the suggested line included an illegal move. Grandmaster Hans Reestated, at the time, that "In the Netherlands such changes constitute a criminal offense that could theoretically lead to a prison sentence. ... Fischer had been quite right in his anger." [" New in Chess" magazine, issue 3/1999, page 95]
* "I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!" (1981), pamphlet.
Under Fischer's name
There have been numerous books, in many languages, listing Fischer as author or endorsing the product. [ [http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter28.html Chess Notes 4707, 4721, Edward Winter, Chess Notes Archive] ] One such is
* "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" with Donn Mosenfelder and Stuart Margulies (Bantam Books, May 1972, ISBN 0-553-26315-3). Uses
programmed learning(aka programmed instruction) to help beginners learn how to see elementary chess combinations. This book is widely used by chess instructors, and is one of the highest-selling chess books of all time. Although Fischer allowed his name to be used, he had little involvement with the writing of the book.
*"The Game of the Century" - an external link: [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1008361 Donald Byrne-Fischer, New York 1956, Grünfeld, 5.Bf4 (D92), 0-1] Just 13 years old, Bobby played in a bold combinational style.
* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1008419 Robert Byrne-Fischer, 1963-64 US Championship, Neo-Grünfeld 0-1] From an almost symmetrical position, Fischer as Black beats a grandmaster in just 21 moves.
* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1044351 Fischer-Tigran Petrosian, Buenos Aires Candidates Final 1971, 7th match game, Sicilian Defense: Kan. Modern Variation (B42), 1-0] Even Petrosian, the master of defense, was not able to bear the pressure of Fischer's rooks.
* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1044366 Fischer-Boris Spassky, World Championship 1972, 6th match game, Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (D59), 1-0] One of the most beautiful and most important games of the match.
List of people who have beaten Bobby Fischer in chess
* "Bobby Fischer: A Study of His Approach to Chess" by Elie Agur, Cadogan 1992, ISBN 1-85744-001-3.
* "Bobby Fischer Goes to War" by David Edmonds and John Eidinow, Faber and Faber 2004, ISBN 0-571-21411-8.
* "Bobby Fischer, Profile of a Prodigy" by Frank Brady, McKay 1973.
* "Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King" by
Hans Bohmand Kees Jongkind, Batsford 2003, ISBN 0-7134-8935-9.
* "Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World" by
Brad Darrach, Stein & Day, 1974.
* "Bobby Fischer - wie er wirklich ist: Ein Jahr mit dem Schachgenie" by Petra Dautov, ISBN 3-9804281-3-3.
* "How Fischer Plays Chess" by David N. L. Levy, RHM Press, 1975, ISBN 0-89058-011-1.
* "How to Beat Bobby Fischer" by
Edmar Mednis, Dover; 1998, ISBN 0-486-29844-2. This expanded edition includes Fischer's losses from the second match with Spassky.
* "My Great Predecessors, Part IV: On Fischer" by
Garry Kasparov, London 2004, ISBN 978-1-85744-395-0.
* "Russians Vs. Fischer", second edition, ed. Dmitry Plisetsky and Sergey Voronkov,
Everyman Chess, 2005, ISBN 1-85744-380-2.
* "World Champion Fischer" (
ChessBase, CD-ROM) - includes all Fischer's games (around half annotated), biographical notes, and an examination by Robert Hübnerof Fischer's annotations in "My Sixty Memorable Games".
* "World Chess Champions" by
Edward G. Winter, editor, 1981, ISBN 0-08-024094-1.
* "Bobby Fischer Rediscovered", by
Andrew Soltis, 2003, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-8846-8.
* "The Unknown Bobby Fischer", by John Donaldson and
Eric Tangborn, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-85-0.
* "The Games of Robert J. Fischer", edited by Robert G. Wade and
Kevin J. O'Connell, Batsford, 1972, ISBN 0-7134-2099-5.
* "The Bobby Fischer I Knew And Other Stories", by
Arnold Denkerand Larry Parr, Hypermodern Press 1995, ISBN 1-886040-18-4.
title=Bishop versus Knight: The Verdict
title=Fundamental Chess Endings
title=Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master
surname1=Wade|given1=Robert|authorlink1=Robert Wade (chess player)
title=The Games of Robert J. Fischer
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=24023886 Bobby Fischer Memorial Page at Find-a-Grave]
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1707222,00.html "The Chessman", Gary Kasparov] , TIME magazine, 26 January, 2008
Dick Cavett, [http://cavett.blogs.nytimes.com/ "Was It Only a Game?"] , "NY Times", February 8, 2008.
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jan/19/chess.sport "Death of a madman driven sane by chess", Stephen Moss] The Guardian, 19 January 2008
* [http://www.echecs-photos.be/BobbyFischer-photos/index.html Extensive collection of Fischer photographs, Echecs-photos online]
NAME = Fischer, Bobby
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Fischer, Robert James
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Chess grandmaster
DATE OF BIRTH =
March 9 1943
PLACE OF BIRTH =
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DATE OF DEATH =
January 17 2008
PLACE OF DEATH =
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