During one of my chess phases I bought the above book off ebay. It cost me a small fortune since it was a first printing. I have collected other written material about Fischer including the original Life magazine about his historic world championship win. I have been intrigued with chess and its history since I was a young kid. I remember my Dad taking my brother and I to local evening chess classes. I played for my school when I was an adolescent. Although I was never a gifted player I liked the brain exercise and mate-ship which came from playing it during school recess hours and tournaments around the State. I always got a kick out of hanging out with kids way smarter than me.
More than any other chess player I found Bobby Fisher the most compelling, not only because he revolutionized the game and won the USA it’s only world chess championship during the height of the cold war, but because his personal life and psychological state were so perplexing. Published in 1969, Fischer was initially reluctant to release My 60 Most Memorable Games. He had asked to be released from his contract since he did not want to reveal all his secrets, because the book has lengthy annotations and analysis of different possible variations of his games. According to wikipedia – In 1968 he changed his mind and decided to go ahead with publication. His friend and colleague Grandmaster Larry Evans, who helped in an editorial capacity and also wrote introductions to all the games, has said this was because Fischer felt philosophically that “the world was coming to an end anyway” (he thought that the Rapture was coming soon) and he might as well make some money.
One of my favourite documentaries which I frequently revisit is The World Against Bobby Fischer. The entire documentary is available below on You Tube. It does a very admirable job of unpacking the psychological state of one of the world’s greatest chess players. Stephen Tisdale’s reaction to the documentary was poignant:
His youth and upbringing were marred by a lack of love, direction, and identity. Combine these with genius and a extraordinary proficiency at applying that genius to chess and you have a recipe for pain, rejection, foolishness, and antagonism. Never underestimate the power of a good mother and father.
Unfortunately, I never learned how to play. I need to because I’ve always been interested in playing. I’ve seen some documentaries on him…he is very fascinating and different, to say the least.
It’s never too late to learn although it’s a bit like playing the piano or learning a second language. Unless you start really young, it’s very difficult to get really good at it. Bobby Fischer is one of the most fascinating great achievers of the 20th century
Yea I know it will be hard but it would be good for me I think. A very good mind game so to speak.
He was an interesting character…til the end.
I hope you one day get into it. Yeh, I’ve wondered if I might get back into it again or join up here at a club in Bogota. It could be a good social portal. Finding the time is my problem.
Yea the time is hard for me…my spare time goes into music or blogging…I need to cut some more time out.
Same here… well with writing blogs and the usual routine. I should step out of my comfort zone and visit the local chess club. Thanks for the inspiration Max.
I need to cut back on blogging and do other things. Go Washington!
I was barracking Houston, but you can’t help but admire this legendary season of Washington. May the best team win.
Very little to contribute here. Hubby was teaching me how to play 30 years ago and I was picking it up, but then…..stuff happened, years went by, and I never went back.
More power to you!
Bobby Fischer sounds like he may have been on the spectrum…..?
I appreciate any contribution you make no matter how big or small. It means a lot. At least it confirms someone is reading my posts. Lol.
Does your husband still play? I haven’t played for years.. But it would be nice to find time to take it up again.
Regarding whether Fischer was on the spectrum, well I hadn’t considered it before nor had I heard it mentioned. But having Googled it, there seems to be some conjecture over whether he suffered from Aspergers or if his condition was due to his upbringing as a boy. He definitely suffered from OCD and paranoid schizophrenia. It’s very sad.
Yeah, tragic, because imagine what a full and rewarding life he would have lived had he had a normal upbringing, and other things he may have had the emotional space and time for to offer the world.
Husband hasn’t played in years either. If you two got together to play a game right now, today, considering the time that’s gone by, you might be evenly matched !! 🙂
Yes, it’s a tragic story although he did what noone else has accomplished alone. It’s extraordinary what he did considering the resources the Russian players had at their disposal.
May be your husband and I would be evenly matched since we haven’t play for so long. Now that would be fun. Hehe.