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Endgame by Frank Brady - Excerpt

Endgame by Frank Brady - Excerpt

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3.86

(64)
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From a respected biographer who was a longtime friend of Bobby Fischer and who secured unique access to the champion's papers and family archives, comes the first-ever, full-scale biography of Fischer--one that captures his dizzying journey from precocity to madness. It will finally answer the question: "Who was Bobby Fischer?"

When Bobby Fischer passed away in January 2008, he left behind a confounding legacy. Everyone knew the basics of his life: He began as a brilliant youngster, then became the pride of American chess, then took a sharp turn, struggling with paranoia. But nobody truly understood him. What motivated him from such a young age and what was the source of his remarkable intellect? How could a man so ambivalent about money and success be driven to succeed? What drew this American of Jewish descent, whose closest friends were Jews, to fulminate against Jews and the United States? And how was it that a mind so famously disciplined could unravel so completely? At last, Endgame will answer all of those questions.

To read more about Endgame or Frank Brady please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
From a respected biographer who was a longtime friend of Bobby Fischer and who secured unique access to the champion's papers and family archives, comes the first-ever, full-scale biography of Fischer--one that captures his dizzying journey from precocity to madness. It will finally answer the question: "Who was Bobby Fischer?"

When Bobby Fischer passed away in January 2008, he left behind a confounding legacy. Everyone knew the basics of his life: He began as a brilliant youngster, then became the pride of American chess, then took a sharp turn, struggling with paranoia. But nobody truly understood him. What motivated him from such a young age and what was the source of his remarkable intellect? How could a man so ambivalent about money and success be driven to succeed? What drew this American of Jewish descent, whose closest friends were Jews, to fulminate against Jews and the United States? And how was it that a mind so famously disciplined could unravel so completely? At last, Endgame will answer all of those questions.

To read more about Endgame or Frank Brady please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.

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Published by: Crown Publishing Group on Nov 03, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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Copyright © 2011 by Frank BradyAll rights reserved.Published in the United States by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown PublishingGroup, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.www.crownpublishing.comCROWN and the Crown colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataBrady, Frank, 1934–Endgame : Bobby Fischer’s remarkable rise and fall—from America’s brightest prodigy to theedge of madness / by Frank Brady.p. cm.1. Fischer, Bobby, 1943–2008. 2. Chess players—United States—Biography. 3. Chess—Collection of games. I. TitleGV1439.F5B68 2010794.1092—dc22[B]2010033840ISBN 978-0-307-46390-6eISBN 978-0-307-46392-0Printed in the United States of AmericaBook design by Leonard W. Henderson Jacket design by David Tran Jacket photograph © Stephen Green—Armytage/ 
Sports Illustrated 
 /Getty Images1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2First Edition

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poingu_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I found this book incredibly sad. It's well known that Bobby Fischer became a paranoid racist in later life, but by the end of this book I could understand why. Even though Brady works hard to be non-judgmental to all parties, it's clear that Fischer was exploited by those around him from a very early age, and left to fend for himself when very young. Heart-wrenching.
jburlinson_3 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Humans have evolved brains that are great at problem solving. Chess is the problem solving game par excellence. A chess master can identify and solve problems that will happen 20 or 30 moves ahead of time.. The master can do this playing 20 or 30 separate games simultaneously. He can memorize and critique games that were played 200 to 300 years in the past. It's phenomenal. But here's a problem that's hard for a chess master to solve: why do bad things happen to him? Using the tools that make him such a tremendous problem solver, the chess master comes up with a solution that sounds something like this: there's a global Jewish, Communist conspiracy to make bad things happen to him. "How can I be wrong?", the chess master asks himself; "I can beat anybody in the world at chess, therefore I must be right and anybody who disagrees with me is a Jew." It's so clear. It's so tragic.
lukep_49 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Brady's biography is doubtlessly harmed by its sympathetic view of Fischer and his family. This sympathy at times seems even-handed and even allows for quite informative passages in the sections describing the young Fischer, but I feel that Brady's bias led him to deny the mental illness that most infamously manifested itself in Fischer's virulent and very public anti-semitism (which is also soft pedaled by Brady). Fischer's website and various radio recordings were generally more extreme and vicious than the examples presented in the book, and give evidence of a more profoundly disturbed (if not unhinged) mind than Brady is willing to admit. The details of Fischer's last years in Iceland are interesting, but as one who followed Fischer throughout the 2000s, it is clear that Brady has been selective in the stories and episodes that he has chosen to recount. The author was a friend to (if not of) Fischer, and in the end it seems that Brady wrote this book to protect the memory of what Fischer once was (and what he could have become) rather than to create a balanced biography describing what Fischer became.
cwlongshot reviewed this
Rated 5/5
A fascinating book on the life of chess champion Bobby Fischer. He turns from hero to antihero after the championship, and this book gives the most convincing reasons why, if there are any. I only rate this 4.5 stars because the real question of why Fischer only played one public match after 1972 remains a mystery.
lemuel_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
A well-written biography of a chess genius and an extreme flake. The book starts with Bobby as a child, who was driven to play chess as soon as he learned the game from his older sister. He started being real difficult when the world championship came along, and just got worse after that. The book tells of his triumphs and plusses, along with his minuses, the worst being his extreme hatred of Jews. The book reads well, doesn't go into the technical aspects of chess at all. I remember Fischer winning the world championship when I was a kid, and it was interesting and sad to read how he turned out.
tod_christianson_1 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
It is important to mention that this is a Biography and not a Chess book. There are no diagrams or games to replay, it is all about the man. However there is no way to separate this man from Chess, the game defined him and then he redefined the game. I especially enjoyed the discussion of Bobby's early years and the manner in which the author was able to put Fischer's life in the context of a teen growing up in Brooklyn. The grim details of Fischer's later years are related factually and fairly. The tragedy speaks for itself.If you did not experience the World Championship of 1972 it is hard to convey to what an amazing extent the match captured the imagination of the world. I was a paperboy at the time, and I recall the excitement of getting my delivery of papers and then having to forestall their delivery while I examined the moves for that day's game, often printed on the front page of the paper. I cut them all out and saved them. In the beginning I was not cheering for Fischer, I wanted him to get a taste of humility, but in the end he won everyone over through his sheer technical brilliance. If he could have seen a way to continue playing, his battles with Karpov and Kasparov would have been epic. Instead he became tragically paranoid and died much too soon.
jewelknits reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I usually do a quick synopsis, because most descriptions only give you a vague overview of the book. In this case, the description is very good at telling you what this book is really about, so I will skip that part of the review.Before reading this, I only knew that Bobby Fischer was a chess prodigy who grew very eccentric and almost paranoid towards the end of his life. I haven't played much chess since I was in the chess club in junior high school (don't even think of asking me how long ago THAT was!) :) I was interested in reading more about the actual person, so I read this book.The writer, Frank Brady, knew Bobby Fischer personally, so I expected to gain some personal insight from him regarding his own interactions with Bobby. But that was not to be; the author explains in his author notes that he wanted to leave his own impressions out of the book, and, except for one instance, he doesn't recount any of his personal experiences with Bobby.We read of Fischer's family: His mother Regina and his sister , both extremely intelligent. Contrary to popular opinion, it appears that Regina was NOT a bad mother, but the family WAS exceedingly poor and she worried that his life lacked balance. She continually introduced new activities to Bobby, and he DID have interests outside of chess.We read the history of how Bobby became involved in chess; his joining of various chess clubs, sponsorship by individuals, and the mentors that he later (and rather heartlessly, in my opinion) dismissed as "not having taught him anything."The author portrays Fischer in his notes as contradictory: "secretive, yet candid; generous, yet parsimonious....", but in all honesty, I came away from this reading with a rather strong dislike of Fischer. The son of a Jewess, he was a raving anti-Semite. He snubbed people who helped him rise, and was extremely ungrateful to many, if not all, of the people who aided him in his bid to escape extradition and prosecution in the United States. He was a cruel genius.This title was a bit dry for my personal taste as well. Part of it may be that I never really felt much of a connection with Mr. Fischer, but part of it was definitely that there really wasn't much emotion imbued in these pages. It was a clear recounting of facts, and while I came away knowing more than I knew before, I didn't feel as though I really knew the person I was reading about. I would have liked more insight into his motivations and into what caused him to really be so faithless to the people in his life, and I didn't really get that.If you are a chess aficionado you will likely enjoy reading some of the recounts of his famed matches. This book does dispel some popular myths about Bobby Fischer, and also provides some information regarding Fischer's 20 years of isolation and seclusion. In the end, however, I came away with more questions than answers. Although researched and written meticulously well, I would have liked to feel some sort of emotional connection to ANYone in this biography, but other than feeling really sorry for a couple of people who put their necks out for Fischer and were treated exceedingly badly by him, there was no emotional connection at all.QUOTESThe Russians claimed that his retreat from the world stage was because of his "pathological" fear of the "hand of Moscow." But back in Brooklyn, Bobby said he just no longer wanted to be involved with those "commie cheaters," as he called them.What no one knew was that the FBI was investigating Bobby, and had been for years. Their interest in him may have been triggered by their belief that his mother was a Communist, in part because she'd spent six years in Moscow attending medical school; they'd been investigating Regina since Bobby was a child.
toobusyreading reviewed this
Rated 4/5
My father taught me to play chess, although I never was very good despite his best efforts. Around this same time, decades ago, I heard of Bobby Fischer, the American chess genius, who was almost a U. S. hero. Years later, I read of some of the controversy surrounding him but didn't pay much attention, only knew that he had fallen off his throne. This new biography about him seemed interesting, worth a try.The author knew Bobby Fischer for years, from the time Bobby was still a child. Still, this is not his memoir, it is a biography of Bobby. He makes minimal mention of himself in the book. Actually, I would have liked to have read a little more of his firsthand experiences.Bobby started playing chess at six, when his sister, Joan, bought for him a little plastic chess set to keep him occupied when she babysat him. Even as a child, he was different, didn't have many young friends, moved to new residences too much, marched to a different drummer.And in the end, he was virulently anti-Semitic, a neo-Nazi who alienated most of his friends, someone who was happy to see the tragedy of 9/11. He even turned on the country that would accept him when no one else would. All his life he craved both attention and privacy, was incredibly self-absorbed, and made outrageous demands that he thought were reasonable and due. “He won the Monte Carlo International and ungallantly refused to pose for a photograph with His Royal Highness Prince Rainier, the tournament's sponsor, and at a public ceremony when Princess Grace awarded him his cash prize, he rudely tore open the envelope and counted the money first before he thanked her....”Although this book could have been boring, especially for someone not a chess fan, it was not. There were descriptions of lots of chess matches, perhaps a few more than I would have liked, but they were used to show Bobby's and the other participants' behavior. I am amazed that so many people befriended him for so long, especially his Jewish friends after he became anti-Semitic. There were some holes in the story, some events where all the facts are not available, but the author presents a thorough and engaging portrait of a very strange man. It is well worth the reading.I was given an uncorrected proof of this book by the publisher. The quote may not reflect the published edition.
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