Bobby Fischer is one of the greatest chess players that has ever lived. Despite the fact the many people considered him to have gone crazy, he is greatly misunderstood. Although no one should condone his anti-American and anti-Semitic statements many of the things that he said were taken out of context. Regardless of any of this Bobby Fischer will always be remembered as America’s World Champion and one of the greatest chess players of all time.
bobby kotick an individual that lived for chess. From the age of 6 when his sister bought a chess set from a candy shop below their apartment until he virtually dropped out of competitive chess and off the face of the Earth, he was completely obsessed with the game. With an IQ measured to be 187, within the top 0.000003% of the population or an IQ that appears in roughly 1 out of 36,927,646 people. This level of intelligence, especially the ability of spacial reasoning is almost certainly what contributed to his great chess play. You don’t need to be a genius to play chess but it certainly helps.
At the age of 13 Bobby played a game against Donald Byrne dubbed “The Game of the Century”. This game featured a brilliant queen sacrifice by Bobby that gave him tremendous compensation and he went on to win the game decisively. By this time Bobby was arguably the strongest chess player in the United States. He won 8 United States Championships and was widely considered to be one of the strongest chess players in the world before he even turned 18.
When Bobby was 16 he dropped out of high school to concentrate on chess. From this point on the trend of him becoming more and more reclusive and detached to the real world; the world to him was 64 checkered squares.
Bobby considered chess a physical activity. He swam to improve his cardiovascular circulation and ate healthy food, all to keep his mind in peak shape. This certainly has some truth behind it. Large chess tournament, as you may or may not know, have time controls that can allow a single game to last up to 6 hours. After a few hours your mind starts to seem sluggish which means that not enough blood is going to your head for you to think clearly. There are a few way to avoid this with one being to stay in great physical shape. Many people avoid this by getting up and stretching a bit or by walking over to the water cooler to get a drink. A lot of people will say that this will ruin your concentration but this simply isn’t true. What will ruin your concentration however is sitting like a couch potato for 6 hours.
Bobby dropped of the 1969 World Championship Cycle matches after a scheduling dispute. He remained relatively inactive for the next 3 years. When the 1972 World Championship Cycle came around, he did not qualify due to the fact that he not played in any strong tournaments (and won) in the past 3 years. The only way that Bobby could play is if one of the contenders gave up his seat. Someone did however give up their seat and that player was the great Pal Benko for which I give him tremendous credit. Perhaps this is hard to understand but Benko and the rest of the world wanted to see Bobby Fischer go up against the Boris Spassky who was a product of the mighty Russian chess machine.
When the Interzonal came Bobby crushed the competition with a remarkable 18.5/23 far ahead of far ahead of Bent Larsen, Efim Geller, and Robert Hübner, who tied for second place with 15/23. When it came time for the Candidate Matches Bobby Fischer did some unprecedented and accomplished a feat that has not been matched before or since. In his first match Bobby defeated Mark Taimanov 6-0. Next he played Bent Larsen and once again scored 6-0! Then in the third match Fisher played the former World Champion Tigran Petrosian who was the only one able to put up some resistance but Bobby still crushed him 6.5-2.5, losing only one game. This feat of 18.5/21 may seem like just a good result but when you consider the fact that these were the strongest players in the world then this accomplishment takes on a meaning on a whole new level.
Now it was time for Bobby to face the Soviet Union’s World Champion, Boris Spassky. This event was covered around the world. Never before had chess been so popular. Bobby lost the first game with by grabbing a rook pawn with his bishop that allowed Spassky to trap his bishop, which is something even a beginner knows not to do so it is a mystery as to why Bobby did it. Then in the second game Bobby forfeited due to playing conditions (the cameras were disturbing him). Fischer was preparing to forfeit the match but Spassky, a good sportsman, yielded to Bobby’s demands and agreed to play in a back room, away from the cameras. This proved to be a fatal mistake. Bobby won 7 of the next 19 games, losing only one and drawing eleven, to win the match 12½-8½ and become the 11th World Chess Champion. This however virtually marked the end of Bobby Fischer’s chess career with the one exception being his 1992 rematch against Spassky which he also won decisively. When the 1975 World Championship Cycle came around and it was time for Bobby to defend his title against the Soviet chess prodigy Anatoly Karpov, he refused to play over a dispute of the playing conditions and match rules. In a telegram he forfeited his title as World Chess Champion.
Bobby Fischer was the most dominant chess player in the modern era. The only other person who as dominant as Bobby Fischer was the 19th century American chess master Paul Morphy, who ironically also quit chess at his pinnacle. Bobby must be remembered as the great chess player that he was and not by the things that he said later in life. After all how often is an American chess player proclaimed a National Hero; no one has had this honor except for Bobby Fischer.