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    Entries in Bobby Fischer (18)

    Thursday
    Aug072014

    A Chess Documentary from 1986

    The documentary film Chess: A State of Mind came out in 1986 and was written by British IM William Hartston. This (almost) 30-minute piece offers a recap of the world championship from Paul Morphy (not an official champion) through the beginning of the Garry Kasparov era. It goes from Morphy through Boris Spassky pretty quickly, and then takes its time with Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov. Viktor Korchnoi gets a lot of air time in the Karpov segment, and both Korchnoi and Spassky have a bit of fun at Karpov's expense.

    Young whippersnappers should watch for the history lesson, and oldsters should watch for the nostalgia.

    Wednesday
    Mar192014

    Kasparov At Fischer's Grave

    Garry Kasparov went to Bobby Fischer's graveyard on what would have been the latter's 71st birthday and attended a small memorial at the church there. More here, with a video and transcript of his remarks during an accompanying on-site interview.

    Tuesday
    Oct222013

    "Anand-Carlsen Bigger Than Spassky-Fischer"?

    This claim, which is also the headline of this article (HT: Jaideep Unudurti), initially struck me as utter poppycock. The 1972 match between world champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union and Bobby Fischer of the U.S.A. involved the world's two super-powers, nations that were not only significant in their own right but as the representatives of two very different and radically opposed political systems. India is an up-and-coming (and extremely populous) nation and Norway is a beautiful and prosperous country, but neither plays the sort of role that the USSR or the USA did.

    What about the players? Viswanathan Anand strikes me as a more impressive version of Boris Spassky. Both are gentleman and fantastic players in their own right, both were world junior champions and both took a bit longer to become champion than their immense talent and great early results led people to expect. Anand's results and longevity are greater than Spassky's, though on the other hand Spassky's dominance from 1965 to 1970 may represent a longer stretch at the top than Anand's.*

    As for Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen, both were dominant players. The distance between Fischer and world #2 Spassky was colossal - 125 points! Carlsen is "only" 69 points higher-rated than world #2 Levon Aronian and 95 points higher than Anand. ("Ouch!" for the champion in any case.) On the other hand, Carlsen has achieved this match and his dominance at an earlier age than Fischer did. Still, Fischer was a far more charismatic and enigmatic figure than Carlsen. Carlsen comes across as a normal, well-adjusted individual, and I suspect that what non-chessplaying people remember most about Carlsen after seeing some program about him is that he is called the "Mozart of chess". (That label was bestowed on him in 2004 by Lubosh Kavalek, and is to me even more cringeworthy** than Hans Kmoch's calling Fischer's 1956 win over Donald Byrne the "Game of the Century".) Further, while Carlsen has received strong coaching every step of the way, Fischer was largely (not entirely) a self-made player. Both are fantastic players with staggering amounts of talent and drive, who made the most of their gifts, but in terms of their "notoriety quotients" Carlsen barely registers as a blip compared to Fischer. (That's not necessarily a bad thing!)

    So, as I said, I was inclined to dismiss the organizer's remark as near-nonsense, as a bit of self-serving and self-congratulatory propaganda, and wasn't going to post. But I recognize that my thoughts about this are very likely influenced to some degree by the fact that I live in (what was) Fischer's country, the United States of America. So I ask my European and South Asian friends and readers, especially those who go back to the Fischer era or at least know those who lived through it, to tell me how things seem in your neck of the woods. Could it really be that the upcoming Anand-Carlsen match is making a bigger splash than Spassky-Fischer in 1972 - particularly in the broader culture?

     

    * (Yes, I'm aware that Spassky was world champion from 1969-1972.)

    ** Kavalek came up with that moniker to meet a deadline, Carlsen himself apparently didn't and maybe still doesn't care for it very much, and the game that inspired Kavalek (Carlsen-Ernst, Wijk aan Zee 2004) was already worked out by Carlsen beforehand, if I remember correctly.

    Wednesday
    Aug282013

    Fischer Movie Forthcoming

    It will be a while yet, but there's apparently a movie in the works which will star Tobey Maguire, centering on Bobby Fischer's famous and infamous 1972 world championship match against Boris Spassky. More here.

    HT: Ross Hytnen

    Sunday
    Jul212013

    Fischer: The Russians Have Fixed World Chess

    After his fourth-place finish in the 1962 Candidates tournament in Curacao, Bobby Fischer subsequently complained that the "Russians" (the Soviets) had "fixed" the competition against him by agreeing to draw amongst themselves. That may not seem like a brilliant strategy (let alone cheating), but over the course of a 28-round tournament the energy the players saved by doing this - energy that would be spent in preparation, play, and if necessary, adjournments. Considering the way top players complain about being out of energy at the end of a nine-round event nowadays, there is something to be said for the complaint, even if it's unlikely that Fischer would have won in any case. A more serious charge, and one which is less often repeated when Fischer's article is mentioned, is that the "Russians" would discuss his games while they were in progress, and would continue to do so when Fischer's opponent would join them!

    But why bring this up now? It's 51 years after the event, and Fischer is dead while the USSR no longer exists. The answer is that a reader (Ross Hytnen) wrote in with a link to the famous article alluded to in the previous paragraph. Most U.S. readers middle-aged and up have heard of Fischer's famous article entitled "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess", but how many of us have read it? It's of historical interest and written in Fischer's characteristically punchy style, so it's worth a few minutes of your time to read if you haven't already.

    Saturday
    Mar092013

    Bobby Fischer's 70th Birthday

    Bobby Fischer would have turned 70 years old today. He has been gone for a little over five years now, and his chess heyday passed more than 40 years ago. He remains a towering figure in chess history, though, especially to those of us who can at least remember his second match with Boris Spassky in 1992. For those who are feeling nostalgic, or want to get a glimpse into the Fischer phenomenon, ChessBase has an article featuring a large quantity of video material covering his life from his teenage appearance on "I've Got a Secret" up through the end of his life.

    Happy viewing!

    Sunday
    Nov112012

    A Pair of Fischer Training Games

    In 1992, Bobby Fischer played a series of ten training games with his old friend, the late Yugoslav/Serbian grandmaster Svetozar Gligoric. Gligoric was nearly 70 then, but Fischer clearly felt that Gligoric would make a useful training partner for his forthcoming rematch with Boris Spassky. Fischer won at least three games, Gligoric at least one, and at least two of the games are available to the general public - or at least, two scoresheets are. Whether the attempts to decode Fischer's lousy handwriting are successful is another story!

    You can read much more about that training match here, and see the scoresheets for yourself; my attempt to reconstruct those games is here.

    Friday
    Feb172012

    Magnus Carlsen on 60 Minutes This Weekend (Updated)

    The news magazine show "60 Minutes" is one of the longest-running television shows in U.S. history, airing every Sunday night on CBS since the invention of dirt (or so it seems). 41 years ago Bobby Fischer was interviewed on the program

    and this coming Sunday night they will have a piece on Magnus Carlsen. Hopefully it will be available afterwards on the web; if not, then those who can see the program and are interested will want to watch or set your DVRs or VCRs. After all, we might have to wait another 41 years until our next opportunity!

    UPDATE: Macauley Peterson comments that the show will be be available online Monday after 12 a.m. ET.  Who needs VCRs? (For the kids out there, that's what we used to record TV shows and watch movies back in the dark ages.)

    (HTs: Brian Karen and Brian Perez-Daple)

    Sunday
    Jun192011

    1992 Fischer Training Games

    Before his "world championship" rematch against Boris Spassky in 1992, Bobby Fischer played a series of 10 training games against his old friend, the former super-GM Svetozar Gligoric. Well-known collector David DeLucia released three of the game scores last year (why not the other seven?), and they can be replayed on ChessGames.com - you'll find them at the end of the list on this page.

    HT: Brian Karen

    Monday
    May302011

    Karpov on Fischer

    It's not a new interview (and almost all the info was familiar), but it was new to me and may be to you as well.

    HT: Brian Karen