Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Very Different Bobby Fischer

Appearing on The Dick Cavett Show in the summer of 1971, Bobby Fischer shares his various views about chess.

One month after Bobby Fischer's death Dick Cavett wrote this piece in the New York Times titled " Was It Only A Game ? "

In this article Dick Cavett writes "Towering genius, riches, international fame and a far from normal childhood might be too heady a mix for anyone to handle. For him they proved fatal".

Robert James Fischer was born on March 9, 1943, in Chicago. By the age of 14, Bobby Fischer won the US Championship, becoming the youngest player ever to win that title. In 1958, at the age of 15, he became the youngest international grandmaster in history. He won the US Championship eight times in eight attempts, including, at the age of 20, setting a record with a perfect 11-0 score. In 1971 he set another record, when he won the quarter-final and semi-final matches for the world championship by identical scores of 6-0 against Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen respectively. Then, when he won against Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian in the first game of the final candidate match, he had thus set a record of 20 consecutive wins (without draws) at the highest level of competition. By 1972 he achieved a FIDE rating of 2785, making him, at that time, the highest rated player in history.

In Reykjavik, 1972, Fischer became the 11th World Chess Champion by defeating the defending champion, Boris Spassky in what is often referred to as "The Match of the Century." The final score was 12½ to 8½. In 1975, FIDE refused to meet Fischer's conditions for a World Championship match with Anatoli Karpov, and Fischer consequently refused to play. FIDE therefore awarded the title of World Champion to Karpov. Fischer then vanished from the public eye for twenty years. He resurfaced in 1992 to play a match against his old rival Spassky in Yugoslavia, which he won, 10 to 5 (with 15 draws). This action violated a U.N. sanction, and Fischer evaded authorities for twelve years until July 13, 2004, when he was arrested in Japan. On March 22, 2005, he was granted Icelandic citizenship and finally freed from Japan. He died of renal failure in Iceland in 2008.

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