Monday, January 21, 2008

Bobby Fischer ( 1943 — 2008 )

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.
—Italian proverb

Bobby Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008), legendary world chess champion, died in Iceland yesterday after a long illness. After defeating Boris Spassky for the World Chess Championship in 1972, Fischer vanished from the chess world until the Fischer-Spassky rematch in 1992 -- which Fischer also won. Toward the end of his life, his anti-American and anti-Semitic remarks -- in my opinion, tragic and inexcusable -- overshadowed his chess accomplishments. However, in all of the game's history, his success is perhaps unequaled: without wealth, without great teachers, without computers, without the entire chess-teaching structure that trains a typical Russian grandmaster -- Fischer defeated the world's best players of his era.

The video clip below shows scenes from Fischer in Iceland in 1972, during his most famous match.

Bobby Fischer in Iceland, 1972

Fischer Remembered by His Friend, Larry Evans

Dick Cavett in the New York Times (including clip from the Cavett-Fischer interview)