Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bobby Fischer Against The World

Another good film.  A sort of blast from the past, remembering the intense worldwide, and particularly US, interest in the chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.  I attended with my daughter and she was laughing hard at chess matches getting first place on news report against other significant world events.

Fischer was an extraordinary chess player, winning the US championships from the age of 14.   At the height of the Cold War, beating a Russian at chess for the world championship was a really big deal.  Fischer was unforgivably erratic leading up to the big match in Iceland, delaying the beginning of the match, losing a match by default, unsettling his opponent with his vexatious demands.  However, he was not to be denied the victory, after playing brilliantly, and, in at least one game, in a totally unorthodox way.  

Except for that brilliant flourish of the championship, Fischer's life was dismal.  His childhood was spent with his single and distant mother.  After winning the championship, his behaviour grew more and more eccentric as he faced escalating mental health issues.  A sad ending for a brilliant mind.

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