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BOBBY FISCHER
BEAUTIFUL CHESS GAMES, WEIRD
STUFF AND COOL ARTICLES.

BRENDAN J. NORMAN

Copyright © 2014, 2015 by BJN Publishing.

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wouldn’t you say? So what happened to him? The enormous toll which chess takes on chess grandmasters has. Not bad praise from a 2750 GrandMaster. As GM Teimor Radjabov said “His games are very clean and very clear. but I will do my best”. precise chess. As a result of studying his games I switched from the Caro Kann Defence to the Sicilian Najdorf as my main opening and I learnt so much from his approach to the game… Especially his infamous light-squared bishop endings! His games seem so simple while his annotations make them seem even simpler. . pioneer and finally lone dominator of the world chess scene. yet underneath there is great complexity and brilliance at work. I studied it every night for months and got to know the guy who was a chess genius. in several instances caused them to lose their sanity (Stenitz was one. This book is part biography. part magazine and part games collection. so I’ve packed a lot of very interesting stuff for you Fischer fans to enjoy whilst travelling or even just relaxing on the sofa. So was Fischer just another “victim” of this? We all know he was certainly “different” when he reemerged in 1992. Not yet at his level are my chess games. 40 years after Bobby’s retirement.INTRODUCTION I remember when I first got hold of “My 60 Memorable Games” (it was lent by one of my mother’s friends) as a teenager. not to mention poor Rubinstein).

it dominated their knight and when he had a knight. but the reader can be assured that I am judging the behaviour. but it would be a great experience to set up the board anyway and follow the games as there is really a LOT to learn! Observe for example how his minor pieces were ALWAYS better! When he had a bishop. I hope that you will take from this book a deeper appreciation of Robert (Bobby) Fischer and you’ll respect him for the man and chess Goliath that he was. and not scorn for Bobby himself… Well. I hope that his pained soul rests in peace and thank him for the beautiful chess legacy he has left behind as well as the innumerable lessons he has given me in chess. .I have endeavoured to provide enough diagrams for the reader to be able to follow the games provided without having to set them up. mostly. With some words herein I have judged him harshly. it dominated their bishop! Such amazing strength and such useful instruction for us lesser mortals.

com/free and JOIN US! . you can go and join our “Chess Tactics Essentials” course (which currently has over 970 students!) FREE. I know I always dreamed of something a formal. Sounds good? JUST for purchasing this Kindle book. download course materials and even do homework before moving on the higher levels. lecture-based chess learning experience like this! You’ll actually be able to take chess lectures. interacting chess lovers. Chess Tactics decide every game guys. so this is a no brainer! Visit onlinechesscourse. This all takes place within a community of like-minded.FREE GIFT! Hey again! Before we get started I wanna give you a gift and say THANK YOU for taking the time to get this book in the first place! We’ve recently launched an Online Chess Course where you learn chess just like as if it were a college course.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. WHO WAS BOBBY FISCHER? 2. REVIEW OF “ENDGAME BY FRANK BRADY” 12. FISCHER’S OTHER INTERESTS 8. WAS FISCHER THE GREATEST EVER? 5. FISCHER’S AMAZING WINNING STREAK CONCLUSION ABOUT THE AUTHOR . FISCHER SENSATIONALISTIC? 10. WHY WAS FISCHER SO SUCCESSFUL? 6. WTF HAPPENED IN PASADENA? 9. QUOTES BY FISCHER 4. FISCHER A PSYCHOPATH? 11. HOW WOULD FISCHER HAVE DONE AT POKER? 7. QUOTES ABOUT FISCHER 3.

. whom he found himself unable to relate to. but he would become enraged if he lost due to chance. The man listed as his father on his birth certificate was Hans-Gerhardt Fischer. but for things like chess. trying to soar farther and farther. Regina Fischer. It is almost certain. New York. an American of Polish Jewish stock.1. He ended his life the way he began it. in 2008. He was raised in an apartment in Brooklyn. that the downstairs neighbors complained. Regina never told her son the truth about his father. his homework had to be dragged out of him. Not only was his high level of intelligence generally applicable to the world outside of chess. he was not an idiot savant who would have been hopeless had he not found his one true niche. Illinois. Contrary to popular belief. once he leapt off his bed so many times. he solved puzzles and made up games to challenge himself. He was 64. the number of squares on a chessboard. a Hungarian Jew and also a scientist. Young Bobby was the type of child who today would probably end up on Ritalin. WHO WAS BOBBY FISCHER? Robert James Fischer was born in Chicago. Bobby knew Nemenyi only as a friend of his mother who would occasionally visit and take him out. He never made friends with his classmates. He liked board games. by his mother. he also inherited a marked talent for languages from his mother (who was herself quite bright and well educated). Iceland. in 1943 and died 3000 miles away in Reykjavik. however. Despite scoring a stunning 180 on a school-administered IQ test. despite Nemenyi’s dying wish that he be told. it would have been something else: Bobby Fischer’s brain wasn’t built for chess. Instead of studying or socializing. My opinion is that if it hadn’t been chess. that Bobby’s actual father was Paul Nemenyi. a German scientist whom Regina had met while studying medicine in Moscow. There has been much speculation about how Fischer would have turned out if he and his sister had never come across a plastic chess set in the candy store below their apartment. rootless and nomadic.

In a pivotal moment for Bobby and for chess. but also a way for him to socialize with other kids his age. and subsequently allowed him to play there without paying any dues. If he’d come across a copy of The Moscow Puzzles. he practically lived in the library. He lost nearly every game he played at the Brooklyn Chess Club. so instead of posting it he advised her to take her son to a local library that was staging a simultaneous exhibition to be given by several masters. but he caught the eye of Carmine Nigro. it’s a shame that Caissa found him first.He was destined to end up devoted to a solitary intellectual pursuit. he would have become a great mathematician. but instead forwarded to a man who would take the young prodigy under his wing. but the second was something she’d never find. If he’d been born two decades later and come across a Kenbak-1 as a child. and his life would never be the same again. Nigro was impressed by how seriously the seven-year-old took his game. The man at the newspaper who received her ad didn’t know how to categorize it. She found the first in a big way. This latter consideration was a godsend. Bobby lost quickly to his master opponent. she was hoping to find not only a way for her son to play chess with someone--anyone--other than herself. the practice of which provides strong feedback. he would have become a great computer programmer. devouring every book on chess in their catalogue. the president of the Brooklyn Chess Club. the ad was never published. and he thought that his play hinted at some talent. Still. . When he wasn’t at the club. When Regina Fischer tried to post an ad in the paper seeking chess partners for her seven-year-old son. but he kept coming back for more. Well. The true point of no return came when his mother--always with his best interest at heart if not always physically present--tried to place a personal ad in the paper to find opponents for her restless son. find him she did. since Regina and her two children were virtually impoverished. not quite: he actually set chess aside for a while due to a shortage of opponents. At this point Fischer’s obsession with chess took hold and began to grow. In a way. He invited Bobby to be his guest at the club.

Yuri Averbakh. a definite step up from his previous second home and in fact one of the strongest clubs in the country. had. The game involved a brilliant queen sacrifice. and over the next ten years he changed schools several times. Later that year. He essentially did what he wanted. says that he hadn’t realized that the multi-decade hold on the World Chess Championship enjoyed by the USSR might be in danger until he saw this game. well over the National Master cutoff (2200) and just shy of the Senior Master level (2400). Just over a year later. owing in part to his appearance on the . Fischer. he stopped dressing like a carefree young boy and began wearing hand-tailored suits. After that he didn’t show much interest in the opposite sex for a long time. playing the old duffers in the BCC and the young hustlers in Washington Square Park until one day he and his mentor Nigro wandered into the Manhattan Chess Club. his USCF rating was 2375. at thirteen. with the black pieces. a Soviet Grandmaster. At sixteen. was unable to effectively discipline him. With characteristic suddenness. Over the next five years he did just that. It’s likely that he lost his virginity during a tournament in Buenos Aires in which he performed quite poorly. It did not bode well for his grades. He’d also become a minor celebrity. Over the next few years he behaved and performed accordingly. his mother moved out of their apartment and left him to live alone (while still covering the rent). His mother. Bobby Fischer had become the youngest chess master in the history of the title. and what he wanted was to play and study chess to the exclusion of all else.His school work suffered. and it was given the (exaggerated) title of The Game of the Century. After he played in the 1956 US Open. 7 days a week (whereas the BCC only met a couple of times a week for a few hours each night). he defeated Donald Byrne. where he could now play chess 24 hours a day. on the other hand. been convinced that he was destined to capture the world championship for some time. a strong master. He made such an impression that he was allowed to join the adults-only club. winning the 1957 US Championship at the age of fourteen and becoming the youngest International Grandmaster ever at the age of fifteen. though brilliant and loving.

The match itself was an ordeal like none the chess world had ever seen. creator of the Chessmetrics rating system. He let multiple shots at the world championship slip through his fingers. his 7-0 run to finish the 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal. and in frighteningly good form. but the novelty soon wore off. took his sweet time as he meandered toward the ultimate prize. At one point he took an eighteen-month hiatus from competitive chess. after winning the first match game. such a streak is so amazing in part because games between strong grandmasters often end in draws.) Fischer was back. the chess world wasn’t ready for him. Bobby Fischer was the most dominant chess player on record. whereas most top players count a draw with black as a partial victory. believes that from the end of his candidates match with Bent Larsen to just before his championship match with Boris Spassky. Finally. This came on the heels of his 6-0 sweep of world #9 Mark Taimanov and. in 1970.000 Question (his secret was that he was the US Chess Champion).$64. He published an article in Sports Illustrated publicly accusing Soviet grandmasters of colluding to keep the title “in the family” (surprisingly. Fischer. ending his unprecedented 20-game winning streak (For those less familiar with high-level chess. he hated media attention for the rest of his life. Fischer won the US Championship eight times. once with an incredible perfect score of 11/11. Books about the melodrama have been written and can be enjoyed even by those who have never played a game of chess. his 6-0 pummelling of world #3 Larsen was the strongest performance ever in a single match. Over the next ten years. He became involved with the Worldwide Church of God. not because of poor play but because of his difficult personality. FIDE responded by changing the format of the world championship cycle to pre-empt such collusion). At first he liked the attention. In addition. When. The match had many . he lost the second with Petrosian. he decided he was ready to go for it. as always. his dazzling victories in his candidate’s matches meant that he had qualified to challenge Boris Spassky in the 1972 World Championship match. More importantly. before that. a church similar to Scientology in its walking the fine line between religion and cult. he says. Statistician Jeff Sonas. Fischer also had to win many games with the black pieces.

paranoid self in front of millions of onlookers. FIDE at once agreed to almost all of them. and he worked harder and longer between games. Finally. Spassky wanted Fischer to win. 12. Spassky lost because Fischer played better moves than he did. having achieved his only real goal. of course. but as far as Fischer was concerned FIDE had decided that there would be no match when they failed to meet each of his demands. In any event.000 of about $200. before having a falling out with them. The prize fund would have been $5 million. deep down. he began to feel lost or even depressed. it was the last top-level chess that Bobby Fischer would ever play. it does appear that Spassky engaged in what is called “self-handicapping”. Given Fischer’s apparent form and the aura of invincibility surrounding him. He gave a large chunk of his winnings--about $60. Fischer won the match. Spassky’s team bent over backwards making excuses for their man’s performance. In Spassky’s case. Fischer responded with a list of over 100 conditions. demanding. Spassky could be forgiven for believing in his heart of hearts that losing the title was inevitable. Fischer was now the world champion--and he promptly dropped off the face of the earth. It was an opportunity for Bobby Fischer to be his childish. While there’s no way to confirm such a theory. though the world didn’t know it yet. He received a plethora of offers from businesses to capitalize on his new title.5. It was. He also didn’t work as much or as hard as he knew he should have. It’s likely that. Since no .000-to the Worldwide Church of God.dimensions. he deliberately deviated from his team’s preparation and at least once played an opening that he was not very familiar with. but he rejected almost all of them. Some commenters have speculated that. Self-handicapping is when a person deliberately puts himself at a disadvantage in order to protect his ego in the event of failure. he was a gracious loser. but the match fell through when they refused a condition that would have meant that the challenger would have to win by two full points to take the title. a great contest between two brilliant chess players. even after losing the first game when he played a dubious sacrifice in an effort to win a drawn position and forfeiting the second game when he failed to show up. It was romanticized by the Western and Soviet media alike as a clash of capitalist democracy versus communism. He withdrew from the chess scene and moved to California. The challenger was also better prepared despite not having a team of grandmasters to support him. When FIDE tried to arrange for him to defend his title against Anatoly Karpov in 1975. at one point demanding that the playing area be forensically examined for anything that might be sabotaging him. The truth is.5-8. To Spassky’s credit.

A warrant was issued for his arrest. He also had a relationship with Marilyn Young. He all but stopped playing normal chess. the Philippines. For fear of being arrested. he fell in love with a Japanese woman. For the next 17 years. In 1992. If he went ahead with the match. Fischer probably never truly believed her. Fischer lived the life of a recluse. ignored the warning. Before the match began. preferring a variant he invented and named Fischerandom. Fischer insisted that it be billed as the World Chess Championship. Bobby Fischer returned to chess to play a rematch against Boris Spassky for a purse of $5 million. (The Polgars are Jewish. Hungary.agreement could be reached. eventually wearing out his welcome with his anti-Semitic ranting. When he finally reemerged. against Boris Spassky. and told Fischer that the child was his. Fischer lived most of the rest of his life as a nomad. communism. American imperialism. a Philipino woman less than half his age. He won the match 10 to 5 with 15 draws. in which the pieces are arranged semi-randomly on each player’s home rank. the title passed to Karpov. who hadn’t paid federal income taxes in years and had developed strong antiAmerican beliefs. but . Zita Rajcsanyi. Fischer. (It is now called Fischer Random Chess or Chess 960. He stayed for a time with the Polgar family in Hungary. He pursued a young Hungarian chess master. but she didn’t return his feelings. Fischer received a letter from the US Department of the Treasury informing him that the match violated sanctions currently in place against engaging in economic activities in Yugoslavia. and managed to get his winnings to a Swiss bank account.) While visiting Japan. She had a girl. he could face up to ten years in prison and a quarter-million dollar fine. Held in Yugoslavia. and maintained a relationship with her until his death.) He began broadcasting radio interviews in which he ranted against Jews. two years his junior. Miyoko Watai. and the corrupt US government. it would be to play in the World Chess Championship--in Yugoslavia. and Japan. Jinky Young. he was unable to attend either funeral. which probably contributed to his mental breakdown. He had been interested in conspiracy theories for some time-and he had always been a bit unstable--but in his later years he plunged even deeper into his hatred and delusion. A few years after his rematch with Spassky he lost his mother and then his sister in quick succession. traveling--once he determined that he wouldn’t be arrested at various borders--to Germany. owing to the 960 possible starting positions.

in consideration of the publicity and prestige he’d helped bring to their country thirty years prior. . he and his lawyers finally convinced Iceland to grant him full citizenship. he ignored what turned out to be a urinary tract blockage and later refused treatment. but it wasn’t clear where he should go afterwards.he treated Jinky as his daughter and supported both mother and daughter financially. the Japanese government wanted to deport him to the US. where he would have almost certainly gone to prison. In July. A group of (surprisingly) loyal (given Fischer’s treatment of others) fans and friends protested and agitated for his release. His defiance of the US government had come back to haunt him. 2004. After being denied asylum by several countries. He died of kidney failure on January 17. Japanese immigration authorities arrested and detained Fischer for a period of eighteen months. While living in Iceland. 2008. Posthumous DNA testing later proved that Jinky was not his daughter.

Spassky was the only one who didn’t simply crumple at some point. before going on his legendary tear through the Candidates matches. the grandmasters who battled him over the board. the world champion who Fischer dethroned in 1972. QUOTES ABOUT FISCHER A great mystique has risen up around Bobby Fischer. Self-confidence that borders on a loss of impartiality in assessing one’s potentialities is a poor ally in a difficult contest.” . and the other grandmasters seem to develop an inferiority complex. after their match .” .” Boris Spassky Spassky was.Wolfgang Uhlmann. I still have my music. The other grandmasters felt inferior to Fischer because. There is a vitality in his games.2.Mark Taimanov. they were. and especially his unprecedented run from late 1970 to winning the world championship in 1972. “It’s not if you win or lose against Bobby Fischer.Taimanov to Fischer. “He is too deeply convinced that he is a genius. Fischer said that of all the people he played matches against. What did his peers actually think of him? What was it like to face off against the man? Here are some interesting quotes about the enigmatic champion from his peers. grandmaster and concert pianist. or a tongue-in-cheek reference to Fischer’s psychological tactics. Ironically. “It’s simply unbelievable with what superiority he played in the Interzonal. International Grandmaster Fischer won his last seven games in the tournament referred to here by Uhlmann. of course. in 1970.” . it’s if you survive. before losing his Candidates match to Fischer 6-0 with no draws “Well. It’s not clear whether this was simply hyperbole meant to underscore Fischer’s strength.

“When we’ve all lost to Fischer. when Taimanov returned to the Soviet Union he was virtually excommunicated. but also captures the feeling at the time that Fischer had become an unstoppable force. the man who knew that he must eventually face Fischer to defend his title. They all did.Even the most stalwart Fischer-haters can’t help but feel that Taimanov got his comeuppance--at least. Sadly. The next (and final) quote not only sums up the injustice suffered by Taimanov. those for whom the story ends here.Boris Spassky There was no shame in losing to Bobby Fischer. The only person to stand up for Taimanov was Boris Spassky. . He lost his monthly stipend. will all of us be dragged on the carpet?” . and his passport was revoked for two years as punishment for losing to perhaps the greatest chess player of all time. especially at that time.

This was . “He crushed me. I was just lucky. “Are all chess players crazy?” “I watch what your grandmasters do. QUOTES BY FISCHER Bobby Fischer wasn’t known for being talkative.” This was young Bobby’s uncharacteristically humble explanation of how he won the famous Game of the Century. the result was sometimes shocking and almost always interesting. he’d promptly walk the other way. Bobby. Here are some of his more memorable quotes. “Ask me about something usual instead of making me look unusual. Apparently. “You’ve ruined it!” This was Fischer’s reaction upon learning that a collector had cleaned his first chess set. He would sometimes ask autograph-seekers if they played chess. and full of fighting spirit.” Seven-year-old Bobby spoke these words to no one in particular after losing his first game against a master during a simultaneous exhibition. When he did speak. I know their games. “My mother has an anti-talent for chess. I love you too. if they didn’t. the filthiness of the pieces was an important part of their charm.” An exasperated teenaged Bobby said this to a reporter after hearing one too many questions along the lines of.” Bobby said this to an interviewer for a Russian chess magazine. He then burst into tears. attacking. sweet child of mine. “I just made the moves I thought were best. She’s hopeless. They are sharp.3.” Oh.

“I’m not worried. having dropped out of high school at sixteen. First. “One thing is certain--I am not going to be a professional chess player. There is a great deal of evidence to the contrary. Bobby had undoubtedly analysed hundreds if not thousands of games played by the Soviet grandmasters.no vague praise: at fourteen. His later antics. “I don’t believe in psychology. were merely ways to put off the moment of truth. many who have studied Fischer believe that he was in fact extremely anxious about the match and about playing in general. He had been asked if he believed that he was destined to become world champion. The fact that he would choose to phrase his statement of confidence the way he did says a lot about the artificiality of his interactions with others. this was his take on the experience. Fischer almost certainly never actually took nearly so arduous a final exam. a fellow chess player and journalist took him to a brothel. it was all or nothing. Of course. when Fischer was 18.” Fischer said this in part as an expression of his frustration at how little money a professional chess player could make (outside of the Soviet Union).” In 1962.” This sounds strange coming from a fifteen-year-old Bobby. based on . here Fischer stated how he was feeling at the moment as if it were an unshakable pillar of his philosophy. Second. until you know the context. they say. I believe in good moves.” As was often the case. “Every chess game is like taking a five-hour final exam. Fischer hated gambling and was rarely exposed to anything other than chess. that he believed that psychology was an important aspect of chess. That the irony was lost on him is also almost certain.” This was how Fischer felt about his upcoming match with Boris Spassky for the world championship. The odds should be twenty to one. After spending an hour inside. This statement is interesting for several reasons. Finally. This was his clever way of saying that. for him. “Chess is better. that is.

off and on. The first FIDE rating list had come out less than a year earlier.the rating gap between Fischer and Spassky at the time. There are two competing impulses at play in interpreting this quote: the cynical desire to chalk it up to Fischer’s penchant for making grand statements based on his momentary feelings and whims. Fischer was never a “touchy-feely” kind of guy. “I want to meet girls--vivacious girls with big breasts. nothing soothed as much as playing through a great game of chess in the middle of the night. “Nothing soothes as much as the human touch.” Fischer said this to a friend who visited him in the hospital near his death. he went on to live like a hermit for the next 20 years and probably had little contact with the opposite sex. I don’t know which is worse. and in the end he may have regretted it--if only for a moment. “I am a genius--not just a chess genius but a genius in other things as well. Fischer was almost certainly a GREATER than 20-to-1 favourite.” After winning the world championship and moving back to LA in 1973. as well as the length of the match. Icelanders who spoke with him said that there was nothing he couldn’t discuss at length. Fischer had a specific goal in mind. listening to rhythm and blues and nursing a soda. Fischer gave his life to chess. but I always considered: What else could I do?” . so he probably didn’t know how favoured he really was to win the match. Once again. it’s hard to reconcile this statement with who Fischer was. This is yet another example of Fischer blurting out whatever he felt at the moment without qualifying it appropriately. For him. at first at a local book store and later at the public library. though.” Spoken near the end of his life. While it may be true for most people. there’s a sadness in this statement. and the sentimental desire to conclude that Fischer was just a scared little boy all along. that maybe if he’d only been hugged his life would have turned out differently. “I’ve thought of giving it up. vivacious and big-breasted or otherwise. Of course. After he settled down in Iceland he began to read constantly.

he felt like a national hero. at that moment. and German--and had various other talents. Actually. viewing it as an illegitimate country built on stolen land.What else. If he’d stopped after the word ‘chess’.2. Of the three.” As always. After receiving two calls from Henry Kissinger urging him to play against Spassky (rather than continue to drag his feet like a child).” This one is a head-shaker. losing 6. perhaps he wanted to make sure that he never had too little. Fischer sells himself a bit short here. A more truthful statement would have been.5. “What else could I do without wanting to kill myself or go on a shooting spree?” and the answer was. One can only imagine that. . A moment later.” “Spassky has committed an enormous error in getting married.” Classic Fischer. It’s likely that if he truly were interested in money. of course. Later in life he would come to despise the United States. (Fischer’s other opponents both lost 6 . it was the kind of negative interest often found in people who grow up poor: far from dreaming of having too much of it. He eventually became fluent or nearly so in three foreign languages--Spanish. going to war for the glory of his people. “I felt Petrosian’s ego crumbling after the sixth game. of course. this statement would be quite easy to believe--but Fischer never showed any real interest in anything expensive. “I am only interested in chess and money. it’s hard to take Fischer’s statements at face value. but this had more to do with his desire to fit in with other grandmasters than anything else.5 . he’d forgotten about “his nation” and was set on crushing Spassky’s ego for his own personal gratification. indeed.” Fischer famously demolished his three opponents in the Candidates matches leading up to the 1972 World Championship. He did wear specially tailored suits. Russian. “Nothing. Fischer’s greatest mistake in life was never letting anyone get close to him.0.) “I have decided that the interests of my nation are greater than my own. Fischer gave this as his reason for going ahead with the match. Petrosian actually put up the best fight. The truth is.

but battling it out over the board.” This was Fischer’s way of framing his match against Spassky as he presented it to James Burke from the BBC. If the hallmark of genius is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s mind without going mad. They always suggest that the world leaders should fight it out hand to hand. It’s a microcosm of the whole world political situation. …This little thing between me and Spassky. I hope this has demonstrated. Hmmm. hypocritical Russians. .“It is really the free world against the lying. cheating. Neither the leaders of the Soviet Union nor those of the United States saw the match in the same light. if nothing else. then Fischer was a great genius indeed. And this is the kind of thing that we are doing--not with bombs. that you sometimes can’t take the words of a genius at face value. Although he did go mad.

Another way of answering the question is to simply look at ratings. Second. because he will be in more difficult positions more often. Suppose that one player plays most of his games against experts. at the gap between #1 and #2. “Who was the most dominant player of all time?” Sports fans should find such sleight of hand familiar. What is meant by “best”--that his moves agree most closely by those selected by today’s super-engines when fed his positions? Such a definition is problematic for at least two reasons. longevity does count for something. Such a large gap is almost inconceivable today. This sidesteps the question of objective strength of play entirely. and another player plays most of his games against grandmasters. since it’s a truism that you can’t compare sportsmen of different eras. In 1972. at least at this peak. Using this criterion. in effect changing the question to. why stop at one year? Why not crown as the greatest the player who played the best game. Fischer was clearly the most dominant player ever. First. Kasparov was dominant for twenty years. there are many positions in which a few different moves are of roughly the same value. On the other hand. Fischer dropped out of competitive chess almost immediately after reaching his peak. and vice versa. If we use the same engine to evaluate several different players. to be more precise. WAS FISCHER THE GREATEST EVER? It’s a question that chess players have argued over for the last forty years. It will be harder for the latter player to play enginestrength moves. the player whose style is most similar to the engine’s will come out on top. We will probably never be able to answer the question of who was the . his rating of 2785 was a whopping 125 points higher than world-number-two Spassky’s rating of 2660.4. Was Bobby Fischer the greatest chess player of all time? It’s hard to even know what the question is asking. or even the best move? Clearly. or should we only look at a player’s absolute peak? If that’s the case. and a given engine will pick the one that it “likes” the best. this method of evaluating strength doesn’t take into account the strength of a player’s opponents. Should the period of dominance count for something. or.

The bishop move played allows a sudden crescendo of tactical points to be uncovered by Fischer.Nc3 Bg7 4. Maybe we should just enjoy the brilliance of the great players without worrying about who would have won matches that never took place and can never take place. here are some of my favourite Fischer games.e4 Nbd7 9.Nf3 Nf6 2.Qxc4 c6 8.Qc5 Bg4 11.c4 g6 3. -. 12…Nxc3 . Enjoy! Donald Byrne vs Bobby Fischer [D97] Third Rosenwald Trophy New York USA (8).Qb3 dxc4 7. Nxa4 Nxe4 and White faces considerable difficulties.Rd1 Nb6 10.Bg5 11.10. 17. In that vein.Qa3 On 12.Bf4 d5 6.d4 0–0 5. Be2 followed by 12 O-O would have been more prudent.Wade 11…Na4 ! 12.1956 1.greatest ever to everyone’s satisfaction.

however. Fischer’s plan is quite the opposite.Bc5 Rfe8+ 17. By eliminating the Knight on c3. 14. one might think that this move only helps White create a stronger pawn centre. it becomes possible to sacrifice the exchange via Nxe4 and smash White’s centre. 13.Kf1 Be6!! . while the King remains trapped in the centre.At first glance.Bxe7 Qb6 15.Bc4 Nxc3 16.bxc3 Nxe4 The natural continuation of Black’s plan.

Qxc3 Qxc5 18.h3 Rxa2 27. Kg1 Ne2+ 20.If this is the game of the century.Bxb6 Bxc4+ 19. then 17…Be6!! must be the counter of the century.Nxe1 Bd5 31.Qb8 b5 . Rxf1 Ne2#.Kg1 axb6 24.g. where a king is repeatedly revealed to checks.Kg1 Ne2+ 20.” 21. Other ways to decline the queen also run into trouble: e. Bxe6 leads to a ‘Philidor Mate’ (smothered mate) with …Qb5+ 19.Kg1 Ne2+ 22.Qb4 Ra4 25.Qxb6 Nxd1 26.. Declining this offer is not so easy: 18. is sometimes called a “windmill.Kf1 Nxd4+ This tactical scenario. Kf1 Ng3+ 21.Re1 Rxe1 29.Kh2 Nxf2 28. Kg1 Qf1+ 22.Nf3 Ne4 32.Qd8+ Bf8 30. 18. Fischer offers his queen in exchange for a fierce attack with his minor pieces.Kf1 Nc3+ 23.

h4 h5 34.Ne5 Kg7 35.Kb1 Nc3+ 41.Kc1 Rc2# 0–1 . The white queen has nothing to do.Kc1 Ne2+ 40.Kd1 Bb3+ 39.Kf1 Ng3+ Now Byrne is hopelessly entangled in Fischer’s mating net.Kg1 Bc5+ 36. 33.Ke1 Bb4+ 38. 37.Every piece and pawn of the black camp is defended.

Bh4 b6 8.Bb5 a6 15.f5 exf5 27.Rxf5 Nh7 28.Qe5 Qe8 33.R1f2 Qe8 35.Bc4 Kh8 24.cxd5 Nxd5 9.1972 1.Qa3 Rc8 14.e6 Rbc7 32.Nxd5 exd5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 20.c4 e6 2.e5 Rb8 23.f4 Qe7 22.Rcf1 Qd8 29.Bg5 0–0 6.e3 h6 7.Robert James Fischer vs Boris Spassky [D59] Reykjavik WCh Reykjavik WCh (6).07.Qg3 Re7 30.Qh3 Nf8 25.Rc1 Be6 12.a4 Qd8 34.Rxf6!! .Bd3 Qe8 37.e4! d4 21.Nd4 Qf8 19.h4 Rbb7 31.Nf3 d5 3.R2f3 Qd8 36.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Be2 Nd7 18.Qe4 Nf6 38.dxc5 bxc5 16. 23.Nc3 Be7 5.0–0 Ra7 17.Qa4 c5 13.b3 a5 26.d4 Nf6 4.

Qf4 1–0 .gxf6 39.Bc4 Kh8 41.Rxf6 Kg8 40.

1963 1.Nc3 Bg7 7.Nf4 e6 11.b3 It’s hard for either side to introduce an imbalance into this essentially symmetrical variation. Deadeye equality also ensues after 10. 1…Nf6 2.Ba3 . Kemeri 1937) – Fischer 10…Ba6 11.d4 Notes from various sources.Nge2 Nc6 9.Qb3 maintains more tension.c4 g6 3.cxd5 5.Ba3 Re8 14.Re1 Rc8 13. -.12.e3 0–0 8.Fischer 5…cxd5 6.g3 c6 4.b3 Ba6 12.0–0 b6 10.Rc1 (Stahlberg-Flohr. 18.Robert Eugene Byrne vs Robert James Fischer [D71] US Championship 1963/64 New York City. USA (3).Bg2 d5 5.

-.F.K.After White’s 11th move I should adjudicate his position as slightly superior. South African Chess Quarterly 11…Re8 12.Qd2 e5! . I do not see the man who can stop Bobby at this time. and at worst completely safe. Kirby. To turn this into a mating position in eleven more moves is more witchcraft than chess! Quite honestly.

-. but felt that the tremendous activity obtained by my minor pieces would permit White no time to exploit it.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Rfd1 .Fischer 13.I was a bit worried about weakening my QP. 12…e6 would probably lead to a draw.

Fischer 15…Nxf2! . but still comes to the conclusion that Black can keep the advantage.” -.Fischer ~ “This is very much a case of ‘the wrong rook’. but this turns out to be less important than other considerations. One can understand Byrne’s desire to break the pin on the e2-knight.“Add another to those melancholy case histories entitled: The Wrong Rook. -. Fischer spends a lot of time and energy analysing the superior 14. -.” -.Robert Wade 15.John Nunn 14…Nd3 Now it’s all systems go for the Fischer rocket. Rad1!.Qc2 There is hardly any other defense to the threat of …Ne4.

Fischer 16.Kxf2 Ng4+ 17.Qd2 .The key to Black’s previous play.Kg1 Nxe3 18. The complete justification for this sac does not become apparent until White resigns! -.

Fischer 21. even at the very moment at which I resigned. there suddenly comes… 18…Nxg2!! This dazzling move came as the shocker… the culminating combination is of such depth that. because it was so obviously lost for Black. Byrne’s reply to Fischer’s next move must have been jaw dropping! -.Byrne: As I sat pondering why Fischer would choose such a line.Kxg2 d4! 20.Kf1 In a room set aside for commentaries on the games in progress. that Byrne had a won game. for the benefit of the spectators. -. two grandmasters were stating.Nxd4 Bb7+ The King is at Black’s mercy.Wade 21…Qd7 .Robert Byrne 19. both grandmasters who were commenting on the play for the spectators in a separate room believed I had a won game! -.

I’d hoped for 22.” 0– 1 .And White resigns.Qf2 Qh3+ 23.Kg1 Re1+!! 24.Rxe1 Bxd4 with mate to follow shortly. Fischer writes: “A bitter disappointment.

Qc2 e6 10.Nf3 Qb6 11.c3 Nf6 6.Nbd2 Nc6 13.1970 1.2).Bf4 Bg4 7.a4 Rc8 12.Ne5 Nf6 16.Bh4 Ng8 21.f5 . Rest of the World Belgrade SRB (1. 29.Qb3 Na5 8.h3 Bd6 17.Be3 h6 15.Qa4+ Bd7 9.Bd3 Nc6 5.e4 c6 2.Qb1 Nh5 14.Bf2 Qc7 20.Robert James Petrosian [B13] Fischer vs Tigran Vartanovich USSR vs.0–0 Kf8 18.03.d4 d5 3.f4 Be8 19.exd5 cxd5 4.

dxe5 Bxe5 23.Qf5 Kd8 30.Nf3 Bxh4 26.Kh1 Rf8 .fxe6 Bf6 24.Bxg6 Ke7 29.Nxe5 22.Nxh4 Nf6 27.Ng6+ Bxg6 28.Rae1 Qc5+ 31.exf7 Bxf7 25.

Qe5 Rc7 33.Bf5 Rff7 36.Rde1+ 1–0 .b4 Qc6 34.32.Rd1+ Rfd7 37.c4 dxc4 35.Bxd7 Rxd7 38. Qb8+ Ke7 39.

The difficulty doesn’t lie in the process of planning and evaluating. he played many games against himself. and drive. the Dutch grandmaster J. a particular aspect of Fischer’s approach to studying the game deserves special attention. but in honestly putting as much effort into their opponents’ possibilities as they put into their own. At an early point in his chess development. talent alone is not enough.H. in chess or any other field. Fischer would literally rotate the board as he played. attempting after each move to clear his mind of one side’s plans and think instead of the other side’s counter. but not necessarily playing entire games against oneself. What other factors could have contributed to Fischer’s success? One disturbing hypothesis is that the conditions that allow for achievement in chess overlap with the conditions that contribute to failure in life. independent spirit. In any case. focus. . It’s conceivable that such objectivity had its roots in the many hours he spent literally putting himself in his opponent’s shoes. Donner described his positional judgment as “dispassionate. A more positive way of looking at the same overall picture might highlight his self-reliance. His level of interest in the opposite sex was far below normal for his entire life. After all. even very strong ones. Later in his career. While there’s no doubt that Fischer was extremely talented. Most formal chess study programs involve analysing games. Many players. single-mother household.5. life all too often gets in the way of chess. What was it that made him so good? An easy answer is that it was just raw talent. There are many very talented people who never accomplish anything. WHY WAS FISCHER SO SUCCESSFUL? Bobby Fischer was one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer came from a poor. have difficulty with the idea of mentally playing their opponents’ positions. and there wasn’t a disciplinarian around to help change his mind. mainly due to a lack of opponents. he didn’t do his schoolwork. he lacked social skills. All of these things crippled his development as a person but were vital to his development as a chess player. nearly pessimistic”.

It’s difficult to say what distinguishes a run-of-the-mill prodigy from someone like Bobby Fischer. he might have ended up as just another master. The greatest geniuses tend to be the most single-minded and hardest working. if his mother had settled in. and simply enjoy the gifts given to us by the world’s geniuses. with access to a much smaller and weaker pool of opponents. And.Anyone who’s earnestly tried to do so knows that it feels unnatural and unpleasant. Wyoming instead of New York. he might not have become its only child member and gained access to a constant stream of even stronger opponents. of course. Maybe it’s best not to worry about such unsolvable problems. chess and otherwise. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that he simply got lucky at a few crucial moments. . like trying to prove yourself wrong. say. he might not have started his chess career by playing much stronger opposition at the Brooklyn Chess Club. making it difficult to untangle the various factors contributing to their success. If his mother’s attempt to find chess partners his own age had succeeded. If he hadn’t wandered into the Manhattan Chess Club one day.

both of which are probably necessary in order to become a world-class poker player. As a child he would become enraged if he lost at a game due to a poor roll of the dice. The evidence . The book goes on to discuss the game theoretical aspects of Fischer’s seemingly irrational negotiating tactics leading up to the match. This all got me thinking about how Fischer would have done at poker. a worldclass No Limit Holdem player. Even so. One obvious problem with such a thought experiment is that Fischer himself hated games of chance. When he went on his rampage through the 1972 candidates matches. Still. The example given in the book is of two people playing chicken. He had a legendary memory and an almost perverse drive to understand his chosen game. hooded eyes and a burning glare. His opponent has no choice but to swerve himself. perhaps Fischer was an idiot savant. HOW WOULD FISCHER HAVE DONE AT POKER? While reading Bobby Fischer Goes to War by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. delivered boxes full of specially-ordered chess books and periodicals to the challenger. poker is not chess. Apparently. one of whom removes the steering wheel and throws it out the window. So. all three of his opponents stopped the match at one point or another. before anything else. one of the people who helped him prepare was a guy named Ken “Top Hat” Smith. since Fischer didn’t particularly like gambling. Still. Some grandmasters believed that he worked some kind of dark magic on his opponents. but that’s beside the point.6. He also had an intimidating presence at 6’2” with dark. imagine how strong he might have been. if he could overcome his prejudice against chance. It’s not clear when or how they met. someone would have had to explain to him variance and the idea of the “long run”. Fischer was not the most laid-back guy--going on tilt would have been an issue for him. claiming illness. I came across an interesting passage. One of the things that game theory has taught us is that it can pay to have a reputation for being irrational. when Fischer was preparing for his 1972 match with Spassky. Smith.

Fortunately. A great hand of poker requires too much context to truly appreciate. Even as an adult. If he had become a world-class poker player. Well. . I might go play through the Game of the Century right now. crazy. he kept his emotions close to the surface. its greatness sometimes depends on entire histories between players. Watching even the best poker players is like listening to one side of a conversation that someone’s having on the phone: you never get the full story. In fact. I’m glad that Fischer became a chess player. you can’t avoid losing many hands. while you can ensure long-term success with strong play. he would sometimes break down in tears after losing a game. and this may have prevented him from excelling at poker. Fischer’s games are an open book that anyone can enjoy. In fact. and near the end of his life he spoke fluent Spanish and near-fluent Russian and German. He was. but that’s neither here nor there.suggests otherwise: he was a voracious reader. The only thing that prevented this from ruining his chess career was his ability to keep losses to a minimum. I’m not sure Fischer could’ve handled that. Overall. of course. The point is that he was not a chess robot. In poker. after this hand. we’d never be able to share in his brilliance. even ones that you thought you were very close to winning.

however. although he unsurprisingly preferred individual sports such as swimming. . Fischer had a knack for languages. Had he lived longer. he may have gone quite far as a swimmer. During his match with Spassky he always had someone available to serve as a bowling or table tennis partner. tennis. there’s no telling how many languages he could have mastered. No human being can be summed up in a few paragraphs. He also liked radio shows. which he inherited from his mother. but it’s certainly possible to dispel the myth that Bobby Fischer was a soulless chess robot. there was more to the man than a board game. which he studied in school. It’s likely that he would have picked up at least some Japanese and some Icelandic. day or night. he learned languages by immersion and by reading (often chess-related) books in other languages. He was also a natural athlete. Fischer replied that he’d probably have turned to athletics. or that he sometimes spent 12 hours a day or more immersed in his study of the game. It’s no secret that for most of his life he had little interest in anything else. What follows is a window into his interests outside of chess. he was fluent in Spanish and semi-fluent in German and Russian. Fischer also liked to listen to the radio late at night. When asked what he thought he would have become if he hadn’t found chess. since he lived in Iceland and was married to a Japanese woman. he would sometimes go for walks while no one else was out and about. By the time of his death. FISCHER’S OTHER INTERESTS Bobby Fischer’s life revolved around chess. where he didn’t use a translator. With the exception of Spanish. Nevertheless. especially westerns. and table tennis. saying that he preferred the “intimacy of radio” to television. but more often he listened to rhythm and blues. He did. bowling. Given his swimmer’s build and natural obsessiveness.7. Sometimes he would blare rock music as he and Larry Evans analysed positions. enjoy some movies. His knowledge of Russian and German was extensive enough for him to get around and converse with people in Hungary. A night owl.

Some of his favourite radio shows were sermons broadcast by fundamentalist preachers. For a time he was involved with the Worldwide Church of God. . a borderline cult that at one point housed and fed him but also managed to extract from him a third of his world championship winnings. An ethnic Jew. He later denounced the church as liars and thieves. but he eventually realized that chess was more important to him than theology.Fischer also had a complex spiritual life. At one point he was spending half of his waking hours studying scripture. and eventually his mistrust of religion widened to include both Judaism and Christianity. Fischer would ultimately become a raging anti-Semite--but that’s another story.

while out for a walk. but they still took him in. His 14-page pamphlet purports to describe his treatment inside the jail. He remained handcuffed during the interrogation. but they arrested him anyway. around 2 PM. he was taken to an unfurnished cell and stripped . During his arrest. After his interrogation. and Fischer was “surrounded” by several officers.) A summary of the pamphlet follows. First. WTF HAPPENED IN PASADENA? After reading a biography of Bobby Fischer. some background. They told him that there had just been a bank robbery. On the way to the police station. Fischer moved to California and became a recluse. “I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!”. an 8500-word alleged account of his mistreatment by the Pasadena police. was a (transcribed) copy of his 1981 pamphlet. On May 26. Upon their arrival at the station he was interrogated. Later. I already knew that Fischer wasn’t all there. Eventually he was arrested and then held for 48 hours.8. and that he couldn’t recall his exact address. He answered their questions to the best of his ability. hard copies of the pamphlet have become collectors’ items in chess circles. One of the easiest things to come across. Fischer gives a detailed description of his assailant. Fischer told them that he didn’t have a driver’s license because he didn’t drive. After becoming world champion in 1972 and then abdicating in 1975. a second car arrived. having bought into anti-Semitic and anti-American conspiracy theories later in life. his right knee was badly bruised. and the cuffs tore into his skin. and during his interrogation one of the officers choked him. the cops were informed via radio that the bank robbery suspect had been apprehended. thanks to the magic of the Internet and Google. 1981. he was stopped by the police and asked for ID. I did some research of my own. so I decided to read his account for myself and see if I could spot any inconsistencies in his story. (Incidentally. A cop car pulled up alongside Fischer while he was walking down the sidewalk on the afternoon of the 26th. and that he matched the description of the suspect.

The next day. still naked. Fischer claims that his right knee was badly bruised and that the handcuffs dug into his flesh. The pamphlet concludes with an apology for its roughness and the suggestion that a more thorough account might be forthcoming. and that no written charges were filed against him. he was told that he was being charged with interfering with a police investigation and that bail was set at $500. Fischer or Bobby Fischer. then. his height.completely naked. Fischer goes on to say that the jail tried to keep the pocket money he came in with. the World Chess Champion”. He was finally released after being fingerprinted against his will and coerced into signing several documents without being allowed to read them. What did they want to know? The bank robber had been caught. It’s signed “Sincerely. and his weight. He also claims that he was choked. which can leave marks for days. it’s full of holes. Central to the narrative is the theme of the police wanting information from him and his refusal to cooperate. his birthplace. his address. but to no avail. Besides simply appearing ridiculous on its face.) Fischer’s story is hard to believe. and deprived of food for over 24 hours. one of the guards threw water on him and on his bed. His jailers also claimed that he’d destroyed a prison mattress--which Fischer claims was torn up when he got there--and that there would be an additional $500 bail set on the charge of destruction of prison property. Robert D. This cell had a window overlooking the street through which he screamed for help at passers-by. which proves that they never really suspected him. his date of birth. and Fischer himself says that he wasn’t asked about the robbery. he was taken to an even more uncomfortable cell. After being taken back to his original cell. He says that he was never asked about the bank robbery. Later. Later. Why. after being threatened with being sent to a mental institution. the world champion was Anatoly Karpov. he gives a list of six pieces of information that he was required to provide before he was allowed to leave: his name. didn’t he take photographs after his release and include copies of them with the pamphlet? Surely the idea couldn’t have simply slipped his mind. James (professionally known as Robert J. Are we . given his high intelligence. (In May of 1981.

no one could. If he had indeed fallen victim to a gang of sadistic police officers bent on torturing him for their own amusement.” Sadly. What’s truly sad is that none of his friends who read the pamphlet managed to get him some sort of mental health treatment. this pamphlet was a giant neon sign reading. why would his captors put him in a position to expose them? More importantly. . After reading and rereading the pamphlet and considering the possibilities. Again. of course--I can’t imagine trying to get Bobby Fischer to do anything that he didn’t want to do. I’ve come to the conclusion that Fischer fabricated or greatly exaggerated the mistreatment he suffered. why would they risk getting caught by trotting him around naked in front of other prisoners and department staff? He claims that one of his cells had a window through which he was able to shout at passers-by. “HELP ME. This is perhaps the most absurd part of the entire story. I don’t blame them. even during his transfers between cells. why would a jail have a cell with a window overlooking a public street? I can’t recall the last time I was walking around downtown in the vicinity of the local police department and heard someone wailing at me through a window.supposed to believe that his interrogators wanted to know these things so badly that they were moved to choke him? He claims that he was naked for the entire 48 hours. Still.

” (He also thought that the KGB could send radio signals to the fillings in his teeth. The war in Vietnam was winding down. he wasn’t even a member of the Communist Party. the public largely viewed him as strange. Nobody important cared about the outcome of a chess match. . he would contain its ideological spread by robbing the Soviets of their greatest claim to ideological superiority: the world chess championship title. There’s just one problem with this narrative: every aspect of it is completely absurd. standing alone against the international Jewishcommunist conspiracy. In fact. FISCHER SENSATIONALISTIC? Bobby Fischer once claimed that “communism is just a mask for Bolshevism. but we’ll leave that to one side for now. Just as Nixon’s army of conscripts was struggling to contain the material spread of the evil Soviet empire. especially since mainstream anti-Semitism had all but died in the US by 1972. antisocial. They hardly saw themselves or their values reflected in him. he must have seen himself as a cross between Captain America and Hitler. and the champion of the Soviet system was a man who wished the Communist Revolution had never taken place! Neither the US government nor the Soviet government considered the match important. The Cold War theme was pasted on by the media as a way to spice up the story. On the other side of the contest. which is just a mask for Judaism. In 1972. and there were talks of the USSR opening itself to foreign trade. He admired the tsars of old and thought that the revolution in 1917 had been a disaster. American-Soviet relations were better than they’d been in twenty years. but he was viewed with suspicion by the government and by his fellow grandmasters due to his lack of enthusiasm about communism. and unpleasant. Spassky was better liked by the public. it was only after Henry Kissinger called him personally and told him that his country was rooting for him. Fired by a sudden patriotism. Thus the champion of the American way was an anti-social geek with fringe political views. His country was rooting for him.) When he finally decided to play against Spassky for the world championship. but only because he was a US citizen.9.

. reality is stranger than fiction. as has been rumoured. Fischer. anti-communist grandson of an Orthodox Christian priest! The moral of the story is twofold. First. The champion was proud of his family’s ties to the church and even considered himself to be “an honourable antiSemite”. expect sensationalism. when it comes to the media. fighting against “Jewish commie bastards” by playing chess against the anti-Semitic. a Jew (by Jewish law--he himself disclaimed his heritage). but in fact the son of an Orthodox Christian priest. Spassky’s father was not Jewish. either religiously or ethnically. whereas both of Fischer’s parents were Jews. in his mind. Second.The final irony is that neither of Spassky’s parents were Jewish. was.

Near the end of his life. 2. ‘That’s what I want. though having no difficulty in establishing them The only people who had long-term relationships with Fischer were either related to him or chose to remain his friend despite a complete lack of effort on his part. “I used to look in on him every day to try to cheer him up. I said. Fischer showed other signs.’ And it turned out he had captured some poor creature and was banging on each one of its legs. Fischer responded to the news by reassuring his lawyer that this didn’t bother him.’ And he said. as well.10. ‘Why do you leave the door open? You get all these tropical bugs in here. a quick look at the DSM-IV criteria for antisocial personality disorder--the modern name for psychopathy--suggests that Fischer might have been a psychopath.” Torturing small animals is one of the signs of psychopathy in children. 3. and obligations Fischer was responsible when it came to working on his chess game and doing well in tournaments. his rude behaviour and insane ranting . Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others In the weeks leading up to his world championship match against Boris Spassky. whose father fell ill at one point. but not much else. Fischer stayed with his lawyer. 1. And I saw that there was a door open and he had a shoe in his hand. rules. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships. In fact. FISCHER A PSYCHOPATH? Was Bobby Fischer a psychopath? Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier once recounted the following disturbing incident involving Bobby Fischer while they were both playing in a tournament in Curacao.

had alienated nearly all of his former allies. he bit a fellow chess player in the arm hard enough to leave a scar. Fischer’s behaviour can perhaps be explained away as that of a troubled. much like the Soviet grandmasters he despised. 4. Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience. he seriously entertained the notion that the loss was a result of a conspiracy against him involving his lawyer. A journalist once reported that he assaulted a former co-religionist who he felt had betrayed him. As a young teen. including violence Once he had the necessary clout. Nevertheless. I’m not a psychologist. the evidence is hard to ignore. 5. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression. Of course. lonely man who never grew up. Fischer wouldn’t play in an event unless every little detail was just right. author of Bobby Fischer Goes to War. One of the few pieces of evidence that he ever felt guilty about anything is a letter to Spassky apologizing for his disrespectful behaviour leading up to their match. but otherwise he never matured beyond the level of a thirteen-year-old boy. particularly punishment Fischer certainly learned from his chess games. . 6. When he lost some of his belongings that had been sitting in a storage facility. suspects that the letter was written in part by his lawyer. and the storage company. David Edmonds. Marked readiness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behaviour that has brought the person into conflict with society Fischer. never took ownership of his own failures and shortcomings. “international Jewry”.

11. The author’s affection for his subject is clear but doesn’t appear to cloud his view of Fischer’s darker side. and that if he was lonely it was because he drove his friends away. was only “honest” in the sense that he believed it. far too honest for his own good. Written in the style of a novel. Endgame is a biography of Bobby Fischer written by a man who knew Fischer for most of the great chess prodigy’s life. the Marshall Club put in an air conditioner the very next year. However. and the consensus among chess historians is that the Soviets did indeed make quick draws with each other in an effort to decrease the overall winning chances of the threatening American. As for his own chess ethics. he referred to the strongest Russian grandmasters of his time as “commie cheaters”. it neither pulls punches nor finds fault. Fischer was just as honest with himself as he was with others. struggling to make sense of a world filled with people seemingly uninterested in the truth. if not more so. This is not a biography of Fischer the chess player. Some will say that Fischer wasn’t so much honest as he was rude. by Frank Brady Published in 2011. a careful reading of Endgame--if it is to be taken as an accurate portrayal--suggests that Fischer was (mostly) only rude insofar as the truth hurts. While playing in his first masters-only invitational tournament at the Marshall Club. but of Robert James Fisher. even though nearly everyone else regards it as a mish-mash of crazy conspiracy theories. Brady recounts several instances in which Fischer told fans and interviewers that he thought he played his last game terribly. The picture that emerges is of a lonely boy. Most would say that some of what Fischer said. especially in his later years. Furthermore. he brashly complained about the heat and the large number of spectators. he clearly demonstrated that they were sterling: when the lights went out during a game while his clock was running. a troubled soul who played amazing chess. True. On the other hand. his opponent . REVIEW OF “ENDGAME BY FRANK BRADY” Review of Endgame.

Even his odd and hateful beliefs about a worldwide Jewish conspiracy hinted at a certain dispassionate outlook. give a frank account of Fischer’s upbringing that nearly indicts his mother for neglect. Ironically. however. Perhaps this contributed to one of his other major character traits-the other being paranoia--a fanatical desire to control his environment. Though the book doesn’t describe any games in detail. since he knew perfectly well that he himself was Jewish (or “half Jewish”. Unfortunately. but it comes off as honest above all. Bobby would have liked it. the result was that Fischer virtually raised himself. as detailed in the second half of Endgame. his style is described as uncompromising. Since his father was out of the picture and his older sister spent nearly all her time studying. Reading about how Fischer alienated his friends. He does. the need for control. Brady addresses and dismisses the theory that Fischer’s anti-Semitism was somehow related to feelings of animosity that he had towards his mother. lucid. Endgame is sometimes hard to read. and paranoia-are what drove Fischer near insane. . and adopted increasingly poisonous conspiracy theories is like watching a car accident in slow motion.complained that his clock ought not be stopped since he could easily continue to contemplate the position without sight of the board--Fischer immediately agreed. having a Jewish mother and a likely non-Jewish father). incurred the wrath of the US government. these traits taken to their extremes ultimately destroyed the man that they’d help become the World Chess Champion. they may well be the same traits that made it possible for his innate chess talent to realize itself as spectacularly as it did. as he liked to say. and nearly error-free. asserting that Bobby loved his mother deeply. These three traits--merciless honesty.

After that I cover his clean sweep of Mark Taimanov in the quarterfinals of the 1971 Candidates matches. Part three covers his clean sweep of Bent Larsen in the semi-finals. with the more interesting games given more attention. The first section covers Fischer’s seven-game winning streak to finish the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal in clear first by a stunning 3. Each game is briefly described. and finally. .5 points.12. as well as the first game of his match with Tigran Petrosian in the finals. FISCHER’S AMAZING WINNING STREAK This last chapter examines Bobby Fischer’s unprecedented 20-game winning streak leading up to his 1972 World Championship match against Boris Spassky.

sacrificed a bishop for two pawns and an attack in the middlegame of an open Sicilian. With Black’s king stuck in the centre and White’s queenside pawns storming forward and opening lines in their wake. e4 c5 2. playing White. Bh4 Nc5 12.1970 1. Rubinetti.The first game of the historic streak was played in the seventeenth round of the 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal against J. Given Fischer’s avid consumption of chess periodicals.) Bobby Fischer vs Jorge Alberto Rubinetti Palma de Mallorca Interzonal. Bb3 b5 8. d4 cxd4 4. Fischer. Bg5 h6 11. Bc4 a6 7. Fischer’s 12. and quite recently.11. 9. it’s likely that he’d seen both games. Nf3 d6 3. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Re1 Nbd7 10.A. a quick victory was inevitable. Nc3 e6 6. Bd5!! . and the winning streak had begun. (As an aside. Black resigned on move 24. O-O Bb7 9. Bd5! had already been played twice before.

Qxa4 Qd7 18. exd5+ Kd7 14.12…exd5 13. c4 Kc8 17. Bg3 Nh5 . Qb3 g5 19. b4 14…Na4 15. Nxa4 bxa4 16.

bxc5 Qxd5 22. Qa4+ Bc6 24. Re8+ Kd7 23. c5! 20…dxc5 21.20. Nxc6 .

Bf4 a6 8. “Loose Pieces Drop Off. The reason it works? The undefended bishop on f4. Nc3 exd5 5.1970 1. e4 g6 7.1-0 A friend of mine once told me a story about a chess master who plays a long series of blitz games with a strong grandmaster. h3? loses a pawn to a nice combination. cxd5 d6 6. 12. c4 c5 3.” In the following game. d5 e6 4. Wolfgang Uhlmann vs Bobby Fischer Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 3.” “LPDO?” my friend asks.” says the master. d4 Nf6 2. “but all I learned was LPDO. “I thought I’d gain some deeper insight into the game.12. a4 Bg7 .

Qxf3 Rb4-+ . Bd3 Bxf3 16. Be2 Bg4 11.9. h3? Nxe4! 13. Nf3 O-O 10. O-O Re8 12. Nxe4 Rxe4 14. Bg5 Qe8 15.

Qd1 Qxa4 19. Be2 Bxf4+ .17. Qxa4 Rxa4 20. Kh1Nd7 22. f4 Bd4+ 21. Rxb7 Nh5 24. Re7 Nf6 23. Rae1 Be5 18. Kh2 Be3 25.

26. Bxf4 Rxf4

27. Rb6 Rxf1 28. Bxf1 Rd8 29. Bxa6 Kg7 30. Bb5
Kf6 31. Bc6 Ke5

32. Rb7 Rf8 33. Re7+ Kd4 34. Rd7 Nf6 0-1

In a taste of things to come, Fischer beats Mark Taimanov in 58 moves in
this Sicilian Paulsen. Black sets up a hedgehog formation, and a battle of
manoeuvres ensues. White eventually reaches an endgame with active
versus passive rooks and a strong light-square bishop against a passive
knight.
He decides to go into a pawn-down ending with a rook, bishop, and three
pawns versus a rook, knight, and four pawns.
Though White is down a pawn, he has an outside passer on the a-file and a
bishop on f3 staring at a8. Once it became apparent that Black couldn’t stop
the passer, he resigned.
This is one of my favourite games of the winning streak, not necessarily
because of its quality, but because of a discussion that took place in its
comment thread on www.chessgames.com and the subsequent discovery I
made (at least for myself).
That discussion ended in August of 2005, nine years ago.
At issue was Fischer’s move 42. c5, which sacrifices a pawn to reach the
aforementioned rook-and-bishop versus rook-and-knight ending. One poster
says that the sacrifice was dubious, and that the engine Crafty evaluates the
resulting position as a bit better for Black.
Another poster disagrees, claiming that Fischer saw deeper into the position
than Crafty and knew that White would win despite his pawn deficit.
Curious, I fed the position after 41. …Rd4 into stockfish and let it analyze.
What would the silicon oracle say, 9 years later and probably 400 Elo
points stronger than Crafty in 2005?
Would it recommend that White play g3 with a slightly worse position, like
Crafty did?
Don’t even think about it.
After thinking about the position for 15 minutes, at depth 34, stockfish gives
42. c5! with a score of +1.61. Fischer 1, Crafty 0.

N5c3 Nf6 8.Bobby Fischer vs Mark Taimanov Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 6. Be3 Bd7 12. e4 c5 2. Qe1 Be8 16. Nb5 d6 6. Be2 Be7 9. Nc2 Rd8 15. f3 Ra7 14. c4 a6 7. Na3 b6 11.1970 1. O-O O-O 10. Nxd4 e6 5. Rc1 Qb8 13. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4.12. Qf2 .

Nd4 Nxd4 19. Rfd1 e5 23. Rd2 Nd7 25. a4 a5 18. Bxd4 Nd7 20. Bd1 Nc5 26.Rb7 17. f4 exf4 . Qh4 h6 24. Bxf6 Nxf6 22. Qg3 Bf6 21.

27. Nd5 Qc5+ 30. Qg3 Qc7 29. Rc3 . Kh1 Bc6 31. Qxf4 Ne6 28.

Rb5 Rd4 42. Bg4 Nf6 40.Ng5 32. Bc2 Bxd5 33. Bf5 Qxe5 37. h4 Nh7 39. Qxe5 Rdb8 36. c5!! . Rxd5 Qc7 34. Rxe5 g6 38. e5! dxe5 35. Bf3 Rd7 41.

Rxc5 .Rxh4+ 43. Rxb4 axb4 45. Kg1 Rb4 44. Rc4 bxc5 46.

Ke3 Nc7 53. and his activity eventually nets him a pawn and a strong knight against a white bishop hemmed in by white pawns on d5 and h3. The resulting position features kings castled on opposite wings. Rd5+ Kc7 58.Kg7 47. Kb5 1-0 Fischer plays Alekhine’s Defence and his opponent springs a novelty on him. Kf2 Ne8 51. Ra1 Re7 50. Duncan Suttles vs Bobby Fischer . His opponent resigns when it becomes clear that he’ll have to give up his bishop to stop Black from queening. Kc4 Kd6 57. Ra5! Kf6 55. Kd3 Ke7 56. Rc1 Re5 49. but Suttles misses his chance to launch an effective attack. a5 Re8 48. a6 Ra7 52. Bb7 Ne6 54. Fischer sets up both the classic Alekhine’s Gun and a lateral one (on the fourth rank).

Be3 g6 7. Qxd4 O-O 10. e5 Nd5 3. exd6 cxd6 6. e4 Nf6 2.12. Nf3 N8d7 .1970 1. d4 d6 4.Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 7. Qd2 f5 12. d5 Bg7 8. c4 Nb6 5. Nc3 e5 11. Bd4 Bxd4 9.

h3 Nbd7 18.13. Qe3 . Re1 e4 16. Qh6 Qe7 15. Nd2 Ne5 17. O-O-O Qf6 14.

Rc1 Be4 28. f4 exf3 22. Kb1 Nc5 21. Qxf3 Qh4 25. Nxe4 Rxe4 29. Nxf3 f4 23. g3 Qf6 20. Rh2 29…Rfxf4 . gxf4 Nxf3 24. Be2 Bf5+ 26.18… Qh4! 19. Ka1 Rae8 27.

Qe3 . Re2 Qf6 34. Rxe2 Rxc4 37. Bg2 Rf2 35.30. Qc3 Qe7 31. Qd2 Ref3 33. Rce1 Rxe2 36. Bf1 Re3 32.

37…Qe5! 38. Kc2 Kf7 42. Be2 Nf6 46. b4 Nd7 45. Rf3 Kg7 47. Rxe3 Rf4 40. Bf3 h5 41. Kd2 Rb4 43. Kb1 Qxe3 39. Kc3 Rh4 44. Rd3 g5 .

a3 g4 49. Re3 gxh3 52. Kc2 Nf2 51. Bf1 Ne4+ 50.48. Re7+ Kf8 0-1 .

d3 Be7 8. Qg4 . e3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nc6 4. b3 d5 2. f4 Nd7 12. O-O e6 7. Bb2 c5 3. Nf3 instead of 3. but two more pawns drop off and Black resigns. and White cashes in for a pawn when Black misses a subtle intermezzo. but he botches the opening by playing 3. Black struggles on in the endgame. Bxc6 Bxc6 9. Nd2 O-O 11.12. Bb5 Bd7 6. Bobby Fischer vs Henrique Mecking Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 8.1970 1.Fischer tries out the Nimzo-Larsen Attack. lackadaisical play by his opponent allows him to build a kingside initiative. Nevertheless. Ne5 Rc8 10. e3 (to allow f4).

exf6 Rxf6 . Rf3 Qe715.Nxe5 13. Raf1 a5 16. Rg3 Bxe5 17. Bxe5 Bf6 14. fxe5 f5 18.

Nf3 . Qxg7+! Qxg7 20. Rxf6 Qxg321. g4 a4 23. hxg3 Re8 22.19.

Nh4 Bd7 27.axb3 24. Rd6 Be6 28. Ke3 . Rb6 Re7 30. b4 Bg4 33. e4 dxe4 31. g5 e5 26. dxe4 c4 32. axb3 Kg7 25. Kf2 Kf7 29.

g6+ Kf8 35. gxh7 Rxh7 36. Ng6+ Ke8 37. Nxe5 .Rd7 34.

Nxc4 Kd8 39. Be2 O-O 9. Qc2 12…g5 . Nc3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. c4 e6 3. O-O Re8 10. a4 Ne512. e4 Bg7 8. Nf3 g6 7. …Nd3.12. Rf2??. cxd5 d6 6. Nd6 Rg7 40. Nxc8 Kxc8 42. Kf2 Kc741.Bc8 38. d4 Nf6 2.1970 1. Svetozar Gligoric vs Bobby Fischer Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 10. Rd6 1-0 White speculatively gives up two pieces for a rook and a pawn in an attempt to play against Black’s undeveloped queenside. losing the exchange and the game to 29. when the knight can’t be captured due to a somewhat camouflaged back-rank weakness. He blunders with 29. Nd2 Nbd7 11.

Bxf3 h6 15. Be2 Qe7 17.13. Rae1 Qe5 18. Bd2 a6 16. Kh1 Qd4 19. f3 Nh5 . Nf3 Nxf3+ 14.

Bxb5 Qe5 22. Bxe8 Qxe8 24. Bxg7 Kxg7 25. Qxb4 . Bc3 Qe7 23. Nb5?! axb5 21. Qb2+Qe5 27. b4 cxb4 26.20.

h4 Ra1 0-1 . Rd1 b6 29. Kg1 Ra1 33. Qxf2 Rxa4 32. Qg3 Qb2 35. Qxb6 Nxf2+ 31. Qe1 Ra2 34. Rf2?? Nd3! 30.Nf4 28.

After winning the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal by a whopping 3. “He is too deeply convinced that he is a genius. and two pawns. soviet grandmaster and concert pianist. but Black defends and the game reaches an ending with White having three minor pieces and four pawns versus two minor pieces. White decides to conserve his energy by resining rather than struggling on. e4 d6 5.5 points.” . Nf3 O-O 6. c4 g6 3. Rc1 10…f5 . His first opponent was Mark Taimanov.5. Nc3 Bg7 4. before their candidates match White sacks a pawn and gets the bishop pair and open lines with which to attack Black’s pawn centre. Be2 e5 7.Taimanov on Fischer. Fischer advanced to the Candidates matches. Self-confidence that borders on a loss of impartiality in assessing one’s potentialities is a poor ally in a difficult contest. a rook. Bd2 Ne8 10. O-O Nc6 8. Mark Taimanov vs Bobby Fischer Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match 16. He then sacks the exchange for an attack on Black’s king.1971 Game “1” 1. d4 Nf6 2. d5 Ne7 9.

Be2 .11. Qxb7 Nf6 18. Ne6 Bxe6 14. dxe6 Qc8 15. exf5 gxf5 12. Bh5 Qxe6 17. Ng5 h6 13. Qb3 c6 16.

18…Rfb8 19. Bf4 d5 . Qa3 Rb722. Rfd1 e4 21. Qa6 Rxb2 20.

Rxg7+ Kxg7 31. Rc7 29…Qa4 30. Bxh6+ Kf7 32. Nb5 Ng6 25. Ba6 Rb6 29. cxd5 cxd5 24. Be2 Rfb8 . Qe3 Kh7 27. h3 Rf8 28.23. Nd4 Qd7 26.

Nxf5 Rb1 34. Nd4 36…Qd6+ . Kh2 Qd7 36. Rxb1 Rxb1+ 35.33.

g3 Qb4 38. Nxa7 Qxe3 40. Nc6 Qb6 39. Bxe3 Re1 0-1 .37.

Nb5 Be6 15. Bc8! in particular is nice. d4 cxd4 4. Be3 Nf6 8. Qd2 Nxe4 10. Nxd4 e6 5. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nb5 d6 6. Be3 Kd7 12. e4 c5 2. and an uncastled Black king on d8 in a queenless middlegame.5. and the game enters a rook-and-bishop versus rook-and-knight endgame. He eventually wins his pawn back and then another. an isolated Black pawn on d6. Bobby Fischer vs Mark Taimanov Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match 18.1971 Game “2” 1.White sacks a pawn for the bishop pair. N1c3 Nxc3 13. 82. O-O-O . White displays excellent technique. Nxc3 Kd8 14. Qxa5 Nxa5 11. Bg5 Qa5+ 9. Bf4 e5 7.

Rd2 Be7 20. Be2 Bd7 19. f4 exf4 17. Bxf4 Nb7 18. Re2 Bf6 23. b4 a5 . Rhd1 Bxb5 21. Bxb5 Kc7 22.15…b6 16. Rde1 Rac8 24. Bc4 Rhf8 25.

Rd1 d4 31.26. Bxc3 Rxc3 32. Bd2 d5 30. Bd5 Kb8 27. a3 Rfd8 28. Kb2 . Bxf7 Bc3 29.

h3 Rf4 42. Kxc3 dxe2 34. Re1 Nd6 35. Rf2 h5 45. Rf1 Re4 43. Bh5Nb5+ 36.d3 33. Bd3 Re5 44. axb4 Rd4 38. c4 . Rd1Kc7 41. c3 Rh4 39. Kb2 axb4 37.Bxe2 39…Nd6 40.

Kd4 .45…Rg5 46. Ra2 Kc8 48. Kc3 Kd7 47.

Bd1 h4 59. Kf4 Rg6 58. Kf5 .48…Kc7 49. Bc4 Kd7 54. Rb2 Kc6 55. c5 bxc5+51. Ra2 Nc7 53. bxc5 Ne8 52. Bb3 Nb5+ 56. Ke3 Kxc5 57. Ra7+ Kd8 50.

Kf4 Kd4 64. Rb4+ Kc3 65. Kg4 Ne5+ 63. Bg4 Ke4 73. Bd1 Rg8 72. Kxg5 Rg6+ 70. . Bc2 Nf7+ 62. Kg4 68…Ne5+ 69. Rb5 Nf7 66. Rf5 g5+ 68. Rc5+ Kd4 67. Kxh4 Rxg2 71.59…Rh6 60. Kg5 Nd6 61.

Kg5 Rg7+ 79. Rf6 Rxf6+ 81. Kxf6 . Ra6 Ne5 77. Ra4 Ng6 76. Rf4+ Kd5 75. Kf5 Rf7+ 80. Kf4 Rf7+ 78.Kg3 Rg7 74.

Ke4 82. Bc8!! Kf4 83. h4 Nf3 84. h5 Ng5 85. Bf5 Nf3 86. h6 Ng5 87. Kg6
Nf3 88. h7 Ne5+
89. Kf6 1–0

White sacks a pawn for an attack, and later either sacks his queen for a rook
and a bishop or overlooks a fork.
Black consolidates and wins. A poor game by Taimanov.

Mark Taimanov vs Bobby Fischer
Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match
21.5.1971
Game “3”

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O
Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Bd2 Ne8 10.Rc1 f5 11.Qb3 b6 12.exf5 gxf5 13.Ng5 Nf6

14.f4 h6 15.fxe5 dxe5 16.c5 Nfxd5 17.Nxd5 Nxd5 18.cxb6 axb6
19.Rc6

19…Kh8 20.Nf3 Bb7 21.Rg6 Nf4 22.Bxf4 exf4 23.Rd1 Qe7

24.Re6 Qc5+ 25.Kf1 Rad8 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.Qa4

Re8 Bc6-+ .27…Qc1+ 28.Kf2 Bf8 29.b4 Be4 30.

31.Nb5 Be5 37.Rc8 Qe7 34.Kxh2 Qe5+ .Nd4 35…Bg7 36.gxf3 Bxh2 40.Rxd8 Qf6 33.a3 Qd7 38.Ra8 f3 39.Qxc6 Qxc6 32.Kg2 Qg7+ 41.Kf1 Kh7 35.

0-1 .

Be3 Bg4 14. Bxc5 dxc5 15. Bg2 Nf6 8. Nc3 e6 6. Qd2 h6 12. ultimately sacking the bishop to obtain two connected passers and an active king with the knight on the wrong side of the board. Nf3 Nc6 3. Rad1 e5 13.White wins an extremely instructive minor piece ending with a bishop versus a knight. Bf4 d6 11.5. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 4. Bobby Fischer vs Mark Taimanov Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match 25. Qxd4 Bc5 10. g3 a6 7. f4 . f3 Be6 16. Nxd4 Qc7 5. O-O Nxd4 9.1971 Game “4” 1.

Rxe4+ Kd8 21. Nd5 Bxd5 18. Rfe1 Rxd5 20. Qxd7+ Kxd7 .16…Rd8 17. exd5 e4 19. Qxd1+ Qd7 23. Qe2 Rxd1+ 22.

24. Re5 b6 25. Kf3 . Bf1 a5 26. Bc4 Rf8 27. Kg2 Kd6 28.

Nd7 29. Re3 Nb8 30. Rd3+ Kc7 31. c3 Nc6 32. Re3 Kd6 33. a4 Ne7 34. h3
Nc6
35. h4

h5 36. Rd3+ Kc7 37. Rd5 f5 38. Rd2 Rf6 39. Re2 Kd7 40. Re3 g6 41. Bb5
Rd6 42. Ke2 Kd8 43. Rd3

Kc7 44. Rxd6 Kxd6 45. Kd3 Ne7 46. Be8 Kd5 47. Bf7+ Kd6
48. Kc4

Kc6 49. Be8+ Kb7 50. Kb5 Nc8 51. Bc6+ Kc7 52. Bd5 Ne7 53. Bf7

Kb7 54. Bb3 Ka7 55. Bd1 Kb7 56. Bf3+ Kc7 57. Ka6 Nc8
58. Bd5

Be8 Kd8 62. b4 axb4 66. Kxc5 Ne7 65. cxb4 Nc8 67. a5 Nd6 .Ne7 59. Kxb6 Kd7 64. Bxg6!! Nxg6 63. Bf7 Ne7 61. Bc4 Nc6 60.

68. Kb6 Kc8 70. b6 1-0 . b5 Ne4+ 69. Kc6 Kb8 71.

5. e3 Be6 8. Nxc4 O-O 15. c4 g6 3. d4 Nf6 2. f4 Bd5 13. Mark Taimanov vs Bobby Fischer Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match 27. Nf3 c6 11. O-O Nd7 14. Rb1 b6 9. Bh4 Nxc3 6. a4 c5 16. Ne5 Nxe5 17.Taimanov blunders a rook to a two-move combination after the adjournment. bxc3 dxc4 7. Nc3 d5 4. dxe5 . Bg5 Ne4 5.com suggests that perhaps too many GMs assisted him during the adjournment and he somehow got his lines mixed up. A commenter on www. I can’t imagine the embarrassment of losing this way AFTER an adjournment. Be2 Bh6 10.chessgames. Ne5 Bg7 12.1971 Game “5” 1.

Qxd2 Qe8 25.f6 18. Qe2 Rd8 23. a5 Bf8 28. Qd2 Be7 . Bf3 Rb8 22. Rfd1 Rxd2 24. Bg4 Qc8 21. exf6 exf6 26. Qd6 Rc8 27. Rd2 Qc7 20. Rb2 Be6 19.

Bd5 Qf7 30.29. Qd7 Kf7 32. Bxe6 Qxe6 31. Qxa7 bxa5 33. e4 .

Qb2 Ke8 40. Bf2 Kf8 37. h3 a4 36. Qxa3 Ra8 39. c4 37…a3 38. Qb5 Kf8 41. Rd1Qxf4 42. Qxc5+ Kg7 .Qc6 34. Bxc5 Bxc5+ 43. Rd7 Qxe4 35.

44. Qc7+ Kh6 46. Rxf6 Qd4+ 47. Rf1 Qe4 45.Rf2 Ra1+ 0–1 .

Be3Nf6 8.Nb5 d6 6.N1c3 a6 10.After two wins with a bishop versus a knight.6. He shows nice technique.Bg5 Be6 9.Nxd4 e6 5.Na3 Nd4 12.Bf4 e5 7.Nf3 Nc6 3.e4 c5 2.1971 Game “6” 1.Nc4 12…f5 .d4 cxd4 4. Bobby Fischer vs Mark Taimanov Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match 1.Bxf6 gxf6 11. Fischer wins with a knight (and an extra pawn) versus a bishop.

Rad1 Qf5 20.O-O Qg5 19.Bxf5 Rxc4 16.Bd3 Rc8 15.Bxe6 fxe6 17.Rxd4 exd4 .13.Qe2 Rd4 18.exf5 Nxf5 14.

Qxd4 Qxd4 25.21.Rd1 Qe5 23.Rxd4 .Ne4 Be7 22.Qd3 Rf8 24.

Ne2 Ra4 30.Nd4 b4 34.Nb3 .c3 a5 33.Nc3 Bc5 27.Kg2 b5 32.g3Rc4 29.a3 Kd7 31.d5 26.Rd2 Rf4 28.

axb4 axb4 36.Bb6 35.Nd4+ .c4 Kc6 37.c5 Bc7 38.

Taimanov to Fischer. most of the chess world believed that he would beat Larsen. ranked significantly higher than Taimanov.f5 Bd8 43.c6+ Kc8 41.Kd7 39.” . “Fischer was playing against children. after their candidates match After Fischer’s humiliation of Taimanov.Nb5 Ra2 42. on Fischer’s 11-0 performance in the 1963-1964 US Championship .Bent Larsen. after all.f4 e5 40. I still have my music. Larsen was. but no one thought he would sweep him.” .Rxd5 1-0 “Well.

Nf3 Bd7 9. Nc3 Bb4 4. e4 e6 2. e5 Ne7 5. bxc3 c5 7.White sacks a pawn for dark square control. Bd3 Qc7 10. the bishop pair. and to trap Black’s king in the centre. He wasn’t shaken. a3 Bxc3+ 6. a4 Nbc6 8. Bobby Fischer vs Bent Larsen Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match 6.7. This game is a good example of Fischer’s strong nerves. he ends up with a rook and two bishops versus a queen in an open position. by allowing an attack on his king that he believed would fail. After tolerating an illusory attack on his king. d4 d5 3. as many players are. and wins with his outside passed pawn.1971 Game “1” 1. O-O c4 .

11. Nxe5 Nxe5 16. Re1 Ng6 13. Qd4 . Ba3 fxe5 14. dxe5 Ncxe5 15. Be2 f6 12.

Bf3 Ne5 22.Ng6 17. Rxe5 Qxe5 24. Qd4 Kg6 23. Bh5 Kf7 18. f5 exf5 20. Qxb7 . Qxd5+ Kf6 21. Qxd7 Rad8 25. f4 Rhe8 19.

Bc5 . Kf1 Rd2 27. Qc6+ Re6 28.Qe3+ 26.

Kh1 Rxc6 32. Kg1 Rxg2+ 30.Rf2+ 29. Bxa7 g5 35. Bd8+ . Bxc6 Qxc3 33. Kxg2 Qd2+ 31. Bb6 Qxc2 36. a5 Qb2 37. Rg1+ Kf6 34.

Rb1 c3 41. Bb6 1-0 . Bb7 Qc5 40. a6 Qa3 39.Ke6 38.

Nxd4 Nc6 5.1971 Game “2” 1. Qxd4 Bg7 9.7. leading to a simpler endgame down two pawns. c4 c5 2.White drops a pawn to a simple combination in the middlegame and later drops another one to a more complicated combination in the endgame. Black played the whole game energetically and White ended up in a mating net while focusing on how to stop Black’s pawns. Nc3 d6 7. Bg5 h6 10. Be2 Nxd4 8. Be3 O-O 11. O-O Be6 13. Nf3 g6 3. a3 15…a6 . Bent Larsen vs Bobby Fischer Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match 8. f4 Rc8 14. Qd2 11…Kh7 12. b3 Qa5 15. d4 cxd4 4. e4 Nf6 6.

16. Nxe4 Qxe4 21. f5 Bd7 17. Bxh6 Qxd2 . b4 Qe5 18. Bd3 Qd4+ 22. Bf4? 19…Nxe4! 20. Be3 Qc3 24. Kh1 Rce8 23. Rae1 Bc6 19.

h4 e6 . Rg5+ Kh6 30. Rxf5 Kg7 29.25. Bxd2 25…Be5 26. Bf4 Bxf4 27. Rxf4 gxf5 28.

Kg2 Kxg5 .31. b5 axb5 34. Rf1f5 32. cxb5 Bd7 35. Bxf7 Rxh4+ 40. Re1 Rf7 33. Bc4? 37…Ra4! 38. gxf5 exf5 37. g4 Ra8 36. Rc1 Bxb5 39.

41. Rxd6 Ra2+ 45. Kg1 Kf4 . Bd5 Ba6 42. Rd1 Ra4 43. Bf3 Rxa3 44.

Bh3 Bg4 50. Ba6 Ke3 53. Rb8 Be4 52. Bf1 Bf3 51. Rd8 Be2 49. Rd7 b6 48. Kh2 Kf4 .46. Rc8 Rb1+ 54. Bg2 Rb2 47.

0-1 .

1971 Game “3” 1. Bb3 Be7 8. Be3 O-O 9. fxe6 Bxe6 13.7. Nc3 Nc6 6. d4 cxd4 4. Bc4 e6 7. Nf3 d6 3. f4 9…Bd7 10. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxe6 fxe6 14. f5 Qc8? 12. Na4 . e4 c5 2. O-O a6 11. which drops a pawn and the game.Larsen gives the point away with 11…Qc8?. Bobby Fischer vs Bent Larsen Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match 11.

Nd5 Nxd5 20. Nb6 Qe8 16. Bxe6+ Kh8 17. Ba7 Rbe8 22.Rb8 15. Qxd5 Qe2 21. Rf2 Qb5 23. g3 Qxd5 25. Qd4 18…Qh5 19. exd5 Bf6 . c3 Bh4 24. Bf5 Ne5 18.

Ke2 .26. Raf1 26…Nc4 27. cxd4 Rxf2 30. Rxf2 b5 31. Be6 Ra8 28. Bd4 Bxd4 29. Kf1 g6 32. b3 Na3 33.

Rxd6 Nb5 37. Rxe6 a5 40. Kd3 Nxe6 39.33…Ra7 34. Re2 . Rf8+ Kg7 35. Rd8 b4 36. Rb6 Nxd4+ 38. Kd4 Kf7 41.

1-0 .

Be2 e5 7. Nd2 c5 10.1971 Game “4” 1. Nf3 Bg7 3. a4 f513. O-O Nc6 8. Qa4 14…Bd7 . d4 Nf6 4. a5 Nf6 14. c4 g6 2. d5 Ne7 9. Larsen had spent a great deal of time preparing for Fischer’s King’s Indian but it was of no use here. Nc3 O-O 5. Bent Larsen vs Bobby Fischer Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match 13.7. e4 d6 6. b4 b6 12.White gets outplayed in a typical KID with attacks on both sides of the board. Rb1 Ne8 11.

Nde4 20…Bxc1 21. Nxf6+ Rxf6 22. Bc2 a6 20. exf5 gxf5 19. bxc5 bxc5 18.15. Qa3 Bh6 16. Ne2 f4 . Rfxc1 Raf8 23. Bd3 Qc7 17. Rb6 Bc8 24.

25. Be4 Nf5 26. Qd3 Bf5 29. Kh1 f3 . Rb1 Nh4 28. Rc6 Qg7 27.

Ng3 fxg2+ 31. Qxe4 Nf3+ 33. Kxg2 Nd2 0-1 .30. Kg1 Bxe4 32.

Bb3 Be7 8. Bxd4 exf5 13. d4 cxd4 4. and an active rook on the seventh rank. An imaginative game by Fischer. an anchored bishop on d5.1971 Game “5” 1. Qxe4 Be6 16. he trades down into a king-and-pawns ending with even material that is nevertheless won for White due to his outside passed pawn. e4 c5 2.7. Bc4 e6 7. Bobby Fischer vs Bent Larsen Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match 18. f4 Qc8 11.White sacks a pawn for two laser bishops. Rf3 . Nxd4 Nf6 5. O-O Bd7 10. development. He later sacks the exchange for a pawn. Qd3 fxe4 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Be3 O-O 9. After some very energetic play. Nc3 Nc6 6. f5 Nxd4 12. Nf3 d6 3. and a potential attack.

Rxb7 Rac8 24. Rg3 g6 20. c4 a5 . Re7 Bd6 23. Rxe4 d5 19. Bxd5 Bd6 21. Re1 Qxe4 18.Qc6 17. Rxe6 Bxg3 22.

Bf6 Re3 29. g3 Rfe8 27.25. Ra7 25…Bc7 26. Bc3 h5 30. Ke2 . Ra6 Be5 31. Kf1 Re7 28. Bd2 Rd3 32.

Rxa5 36…Rxa5 37.32…Rd4 33. Bc3 Bxc3 40. Bc3 Rcxc4 34. Bxc4 Rxc4 35. a4 Kf8 39. Kd3 Rc5 36. Bxa5 Bxb2 38. Kxc3 .

Kd4 Kd6 42. a7 Kb7 45. Ke6 1-0 . a6 Kc6 44. Kd5 h4 46.Ke7 41. a5 f6 43.

as today’s generation of players-human and computer alike--aren’t intimidated by pyrotechnics. Bent Larsen vs Bobby Fischer Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match 20. The attack fizzles out. c3 O-O 9. Nf3 g6 3. d3 e6 7. Na3 Nge7 8.Black adopts an Accelerated Dragon setup against White’s 1. f4 c5 2. Fischer shows that he’s not afraid to accept what he considers to be unsound sacrifices. Be2 Nc6 5. In the middlegame White decides to sack first one pawn and then a second for an attack on the kingside dark squares. which Black happily gobbles up. In this sense.7. and White resigns in a lost endgame. Once again. Be3 a6 10. he was ahead of his time. d4 cxd4 11. O-O d6 6. even if his king comes under heavy fire. I hate to think how Tal’s style would do in today’s game.1971 Game “6” 1. f4. Nxd4 11…b5 . e4 Bg7 4.

Nd4 dxe5 . b4 Nc6 19. Qd2 Qc7 14. e5 Bf8 18. a3 Na517. Nc2 Rb8 16. Rad1 Rd8 15.12. Nxc6 Nxc6 13.

Bf6 Bxf6 25. Bg5 Rd5 22. h4 Rb7 24. fxe5 Nxe5 21. Qxf6 Qxc3 .20. Qf4 Bg7 23.

Bxg4 hxg4 29. Qh6 Bb7 34. Qf6 Bc8 32. Nxe6 Qf6 . Rff1 Rf7 33. Rf4 f5 31. Kh1 Ng4 28. Qh6 Bd7 30.26. h5 gxh5 27.

Re8+ Kg7 . Qg5+ Qxg5 38. Rxe1 Bd5 40.35. Qe3 Re7 36. Nxg5 Rxe1 39. Rde1 Rd6 37.

after his match with Bent Larsen Okay. anyway.0-1 “One of these days I really should start playing against adults. I made that up. fine.” . .Bobby Fischer. That’s what he should have said. Our final game is one that showcases. Fischer’s ability to work through massive complications over the board even when in an unfamiliar position. among other things.

exd5 Bxa3 . He eventually wins with an outside passed pawn in a rook-and-knight versus rook-and-knight endgame. Bf4 e5 7. When it turns out that White actually has a small edge.9. Nb5 d6 6.Black springs a major novelty on White. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Fischer’s composure and will to win shine through here. N1c3 a6 10. d4 cxd4 4. e4 c5 2. Na3 d5 12. Bg5 Be6 9. he decides to push it rather than take a draw by repetition and move on to the next game. Bobby Fischer vs Tigran Petrosian Fischer-Petrosian Candidates Match 30.1971 Game “1” 1. who manages to walk the tightrope and survive to an endgame. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Be3 Nf6 8. Nf3 e6 3.

Qd2 O-O-O 15. Rd1Bf5 17.13. bxa3 Qa5 14. Bd3 Bxd3 18. O-O . Bc4 Rhg8 16. Qxd3 Nd4 19.

cxd3 23…Rc2 24. Ne4 Qxd3 23. fxe5 Re8 27. f4 Rc8 22. Kh1 Qxa3 21. Rd2 Rxd2 25. Re1 .19…Kb8 20. Nxd2 f5 26.

Rh3 . Re2 Nd4 29. Re3 Nc2 30.27…Nc2 28.

30…Rxe5 31. Nf3 Rxd5 32. Rxh7 Rxd3 33. h4 Ne3 34. Rxf7

34…Rd1+ 35. Kh2 Ra1 36. h5
36…f4?

37. Rxf4 Rxa2 38. Re4 Nxg2 39. Kg3 Ra5 40. Ne5

1-0

After Petrosian won the next game, Fischer’s otherworldly streak ended.
After his win, Petrosian was carried around on the shoulders of his
comrades while he crowd chanted, “Tigran the tiger!”
It’s not hard to see why.

we would have certainly been blessed with a lot more beautiful chess (from BOTH players) in a very tough match.CONCLUSION So what’d you guys think? I hope some of my comments about Bobby weren’t too harsh. but please do take me up on that offer of the free chess course (at onlinechesscourse. but as a chess fan (and truly a huge fan of Fischer) it is so sad for me that somebody who created such beautiful chess masterpieces. Had his 1975 match with Karpov taken place. could become so bitter and turn against basically the whole world. Anyway. Find me at https://www. Also please do come over to my Facebook page and connect with me…I love to make new chess friends from all over the globe.com/free) as it will help you improve your tactics immeasurably.facebook.com/bjnchess . I hope this book gave you some interesting opinions on Bobby’s life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR BRENDAN J. while still providing high level instruction. China and Portugal and even helped some gain 200+ ELO points in just 3 weeks! Brendan writes chess books which are aimed to be conversational and casual.com Get your free Chess Tactics course by Brendan at onlinechesscourse. He has recently started to create courses aimed at helping the aspiring player to improve rapidly. Australia. creates chess learning content and studies Mandarin Chinese. NORMAN is a full-time chess coach. He has trained over 10. Learn more about Brendan at brendanjnorman. author and video personality and has been helping players to improve their chess full-time for 7 years now. New Zealand.com . keeping the reader entertained. with his current course having close to 1000 students so far! Brendan now lives in Southern China where he teaches chess.000 players from the United States. France.