Bobby Fischer, World Chess Champion: 1943-2008

Bobby Fischer, the only American World Chess Champion, died today at age 64. (Ironically, that is the number of squares on a chess board.) He had won the World Championship in 1972, but then he left competitive chess and forfeited his title in 1975. His behavior in later years had been very erratic, to say the least. After a re-match with Boris Spassky in 1992, he became a fugitive, and eventually renounced his US citizenship and moved to Iceland.

Despite his off-board antics, there is no doubt that he among the greatest chess players to ever live.

Here is an interview with former World Champion Garry Kasparov on the occasion of his death:

Here are links to a few of his best known games. You can use the arrows to move through the game, and there are comments about the game below the board. Don’t be surprised if you don’t understand them.

Donald Byrne-R. Fischer “The Game of the Century”

Robert Byrne – R. Fischer 1963

Fischer- Spassky 1972 : 6th Game of World Championship Match

hat tip: Chessalee

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5 thoughts on “Bobby Fischer, World Chess Champion: 1943-2008

  1. The Game of the Century is fun to play along.
    There are only 40 moves total.
    Bobby “rooked” in his 4th play. (switch queeen and castle – a defensive oriented play, like running in football instead of passing).

    Hit each button on the card in order, and you play the game on both sides.

    Knights flew out of their stalls. Pawns were sacrificed at once. More Knights and Bishops stroll around. Then, whammo! ! !
    Rook and Queen do a dosie-doe square dance!

    There is no analysis or commentary until the 11th play. At the base of the screen, 20-20 hindsight is added to explain why Bobby Fisher was popular at chess, but never once used by Shirley as she sang “The Name Game” Song.

    obby, obby, Bo, Bobby, banana fana fo…oh nevermind.

    I think if you aspire to learn and play chess, this first link here would be a great place to watch each move and learn how they are done and why. Chess is a mind game that likely wards off Alzheimer’s in later life, or, at a minimum, lets you know what you did with your Queen in 1956.

    I remember watching Bobby and Boris battle.
    It was akin to the Olympics with the USA nobodies against the Russian Pros and whopping them on ice (USA won).

    This was like Jimmy Connors in tennis; you never slept during a match.

    Kasparov put me to sleep before his Queen had a portal to step on. Yawn!

    Last, there are many “comments” made below the screen game.
    Ignore all of those. Some chess folks are snobby like wine tasters describing the embodiment of fructose in 1967 Chardonnays. Who cares? Does it hit the spot NOW?

    So there you have it.
    Play chess.
    Avoid Alzheimers.
    Jimmy Connors and Ice Hockey good.
    Garry boring.
    Red wines lead to headaches; whites lead to snobbery.
    The Name Game will drive you nuts.
    It was by Shirley Somebody. I am getting Alzheimer’s maybe.

  2. Can’t say RIP for the man who was probably to chess what Ty Cobb was to baseball– for a time, the best there was.

    But also a miserable, tortured human being.

    We can’t help who impacts our lives, and when those that did pass on, I guess it’s reasonable to reflect.

    I had a lot of fun that summer of ’72; a lot of Americans did. It opened a new world to many of us, and it loomed large as a bloodless Cold War victory until it was surpassed by the “Miracle On Ice” in 1980.

    I thought the tone of “Searching For Bobby Fischer”, a really nice movie, hit it about right– Fischer after 1972 was so despicable, but so clearly mentally ill, that it was just….sad.

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