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Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was the eleventh World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. He was the first official FIDE world number one rated chessplayer, and his 54 total months at number one is third all-time behind only Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. He remains the only American ever to become world number-one, and was the first player from a western nation to become world number-one, followed only by Magnus Carlsen in 2010.[1][2] Later in life Fischer renounced his US citizenship and became an Icelandic citizen.

Fischer's achievements are legendary. At 13, he won a brilliancy that became known as the Game of the Century. Starting at age 14, he played in eight United States Championships, winning each by at least a point. At 15½, he became both the youngest Grandmaster and the youngest Candidate for the World Championship up until that time. He won the 1963-64 US championship 11-0, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. In the early 1970s he became the most dominant player in modern history—winning the 1970 Interzonal by a record 3½-point margin and winning 20 consecutive games, including two unprecedented 6-0 sweeps in the Candidates Matches. According to research by Jeff Sonas, in 1971 Fischer had separated himself from the rest of the world by a larger margin of playing skill than any player since the 1870s.[3]

In 1972, he wrested the World Championship from Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union in a match held in Reykjavík, Iceland that was widely publicized as a Cold War battle.

In 1975, Fischer did not defend his title when he could not come to agreement with the international chess federation FIDE over the conditions for the match. He became more reclusive and played no more competitive chess until 1992, when he won a rematch against Spassky. The competition was held in Yugoslavia, which was then under a strict United Nations embargo.[4][5][6] This led to a conflict with the US government, and he never returned to his native country.

In his later years, Fischer lived in Hungary, Germany, the Philippines, and Japan. During this time he made increasingly anti-American and anti-Semitic statements, despite his Jewish ancestry. When his U.S. passport was revoked, he was detained by Japanese authorities for nine months in 2004 and 2005 under threat of extradition. After Iceland granted him citizenship, the Japanese authorities released him to that country, where he lived until his death in 2008.[7]

Early years

Bobby Fischer was born at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois on March 9, 1943.[8] His birth certificate listed his father as Hans-Gerhardt Fischer, a German biophysicist. His mother, Regina Wender Fischer, was an American citizen of Polish Jewish descent,[9] born in Switzerland but raised in St. Louis, Missouri.[8] She later became a teacher, a registered nurse, and a physician.[10] The couple married in 1933 in Moscow, USSR, where Regina was studying medicine at the First Moscow Medical Institute. They divorced in 1945 when Bobby was two years old, and he grew up with his mother and older sister, Joan. In 1948, the family moved to Mobile, Arizona, where Regina taught in an elementary school. The following year they moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she worked as an elementary school teacher and nurse.

A 2002 article by Peter Nicholas and Clea Benson of The Philadelphia Inquirer argued that Paul Nemenyi, a Hungarian Jewish physicist, was Fischer's biological father.[11] The article quoted an FBI report which stated that Regina Fischer returned to the United States in 1939, while Hans-Gerhardt Fischer never entered the United States, having been refused admission by US immigration officials because of alleged Communist sympathies.[12][13][14] Regina and Nemenyi had an affair in 1942, and he made monthly child support payments to her, paying for Fischer's schooling until his death in 1952.[15] Fischer later told the chess player Zita Rajcsanyi that Nemenyi would sometimes show up at his Brooklyn apartment and take him on outings.[11]

In May 1949, the six-year-old Fischer and his sister learned how to play chess using the instructions from a chess set bought at a candy store below their Brooklyn apartment.[16][17] When the family vacationed at Patchogue, Long Island that summer, Bobby found a book of old chess games, and studied it intensely.[18] On November 14, 1950, his mother sent a postcard to the Brooklyn Eagle, seeking to place an ad inquiring whether other children of Bobby's age might be interested in playing him. The paper rejected her ad because no one could figure out how to classify it, but forwarded her inquiry to Hermann Helms, the "Dean of American Chess", who told her that master Max Pavey would be giving a simultaneous exhibition on January 17, 1951.[19][20] Fischer played in the exhibition, losing in 15 minutes. One of the spectators was Carmine Nigro, president of the Brooklyn Chess Club, who introduced him to the club and began teaching him.[21][22] In the summer of 1955, Fischer joined the Manhattan Chess Club, the strongest in the country.[23]

In June 1956, Fischer began attending the "Hawthorne Chess Club", which was actually master John W. Collins' home. Collins had coached some of the country's leading players, including Robert and Donald Byrne and William Lombardy. Fischer played thousands of blitz and offhand games with Collins and other strong players, began studying the books in Collins' large chess library, and ate almost as many dinners at Collins' home as his own.[24][25][26] Future grandmaster Arnold Denker was also a mentor to young Bobby, often taking him to watch the New York Rangers play hockey at Madison Square Garden. Denker wrote that Bobby enjoyed those treats and never forgot them; the two became lifelong friends.[27] Fischer was also involved with the Log Cabin Chess Club of Orange, New Jersey, which in March 1956 took him on a tour to Cuba, where he gave a 12-board simultaneous exhibition at Havana's Capablanca Chess Club, winning 10 and drawing 2.[28][29]

Fischer attended Erasmus Hall High School at the same time as Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.[30][31] In 1959, its student council awarded him a gold medal for his chess achievements.[32][33] The same year, Fischer dropped out of high school at age 16,[34][35] later explaining to Ralph Ginzburg, "You don't learn anything in school. It's just a waste of time."[36]


Regina Fischer protesting on Bobby's behalf in front of the White House during the Eisenhower Administration

When Fischer was 16, his mother moved out of their apartment to pursue medical training. Her friend Joan Rodker, who had met Regina when the two were "idealistic communists" living in Moscow in the 1930s, believes that Fischer resented his mother for being mostly absent as a mother, a communist activist and an admirer of the Soviet Union, and that this led to his hatred for the Soviet Union. In letters to Rodker, Fischer's mother states her desire to pursue her own "obsession" of training in medicine and writes that her son would have to live in their Brooklyn apartment without her: "It sounds terrible to leave a 16-year-old to his own devices, but he is probably happier that way."[37] The apartment was on the edge of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, which had one of the highest homicide and general crime rates in New York.[38]

Young champion

On the tenth national rating list of the United States Chess Federation (USCF), published on May 20, 1956, Fischer's rating was a modest 1726,[39] over 900 points below top-rated Samuel Reshevsky (2663).[40] Fischer's first real success was winning the United States Junior Chess Championship in July 1956. He scored 8½/10 at Philadelphia to become the youngest-ever junior champion at age 13,[41] a record that still stands. In the 1956 U.S. Open Chess Championship at Oklahoma City, Fischer scored 8½/12 to tie for 4th-8th places, with Arthur Bisguier winning.[42] In the first Canadian Open Chess Championship at Montreal 1956, he scored 7/10 to tie for 8-12th places, with Larry Evans winning.[43]

Fischer accepted an invitation to play in the Third Lessing J. Rosenwald Trophy Tournament at New York 1956, a premier tournament limited to the 12 players considered the best in the country.[44] In that elite company, the 13-year-old Fischer could only score 4½/11, tying for 8th-9th place.[45] However, he won the first brilliancy prize for his game against Donald Byrne.[44] Hans Kmoch christened it "The Game of the Century", writing, "The following game, a stunning masterpiece of combination play performed by a boy of 13 against a formidable opponent, matches the finest on record in the history of chess prodigies."[46]

In 1957, Fischer played a two-game match against former World Champion Max Euwe at New York, losing ½-1½.[47][48] On the United States Chess Federation's eleventh national rating list, published on May 5, 1957, Fischer was rated 2231, a master - over 500 points higher than his rating a year before.[49] This made him at that time the country's youngest master ever.[50] In July, Fischer successfully defended his US Junior title, scoring 8½/9 at San Francisco.[51] In August, he played in the U.S. Open Chess Championship at Cleveland, scoring 10/12 and winning on tie-breaking points over Arthur Bisguier,[52][53] making Fischer the youngest U.S. Open Champion ever.[54] He next won the New Jersey Open Championship, scoring 6½/7.[55] Fischer then defeated the young Filipino Master Rodolfo Tan Cardoso 6-2 in a match in New York.[56][57]

Based on Fischer's rating, the USCF invited him to play in the 1957-58 U.S. Championship.[58] The tournament included such luminaries as four-time champion Reshevsky, defending champion Bisguier, and William Lombardy, who in August had won the World Junior Championship with the only perfect score (11-0) in its history.[59][60] Fischer was expected to score around 50%.[61][62] He scored eight wins and five draws to win the tournament with 10½/13, a point ahead of Reshevsky.[63] Still two months shy of his 15th birthday, he became the youngest US champion in history[64] - a record that still stands.[65] Since the championship that year was also the U.S. Zonal Championship, Fischer's victory earned him the International Master title.[66][67]

U.S. Championships

Fischer played in eight United States Chess Championships, each held in New York City, winning every one.[68][69] His margin of victory was always at least one point.[70]

His scores were:

  • 1957-58: 10½/13
  • 1958-59: 8½/11
  • 1959-60: 9/11
  • 1960-61: 9/11
  • 1962-63: 8/11
  • 1963-64: 11/11
  • 1965-66: 8½/11
  • 1966-67: 9½/11.[68][71]

Fischer missed the 1961-62 championship; there was no 1964-65 event.[72] His total score is 74/90 (82.2%), with only three losses (to Edmar Mednis, Samuel Reshevsky, and Robert Byrne).[73]

His 11-0 win in the 1963-64 championship is the only perfect score in the history of the tournament,[74] and one of about ten perfect scores in high-level chess tournaments ever.[75][76][77] David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld call it "the most remarkable achievement of this kind."[75]


Fischer at the age of 17 playing world champion Mikhail Tal in Leipzig.

Fischer refused to play in the 1958 Munich Olympiad when his demand that he, as the reigning U.S. Champion, play first board ahead of Samuel Reshevsky was turned down.[78] However, he represented the United States on top board with great distinction at four Olympiads:

Olympiad Individual result US team result
Leipzig 1960 13/18 (Bronze) Silver
Varna 1962 11/17 (Eighth) Fourth
Havana 1966 15/17 (Silver) Silver
Siegen 1970 10/13 (Silver) Fourth

Fischer's overall total was +40, =18, −7, for 49/65 or 75.4%.[79][80] In 1966, he missed the individual gold medal by a whisker, scoring 88.23% to World Champion Tigran Petrosian's 88.46%. Fischer played four more games than Petrosian, faced stiffer opposition, and would have won the gold if he had accepted Florin Gheorghiu's draw offer in the penultimate round rather than declining it and suffering his only loss.[81]

Fischer had planned to play for the United States at the 1968 Lugano Olympiad, but backed out when he saw the poor playing conditions.[82][83]

Grandmaster, Candidate

Fischer's victory in the US Championship qualified him to participate in the 1958 Portorož Interzonal, the next step toward challenging the World Champion.[57] The top six finishers in the Interzonal would qualify for the Candidates Tournament.[84] Prior to the Interzonal, he played two short training matches in Yugoslavia. He drew both games against Dragoljub Janošević. Then he defeated Milan Matulović in Belgrade by 2½-1½.[85]

Most observers doubted that a 15-year-old with no international experience could finish among the six qualifiers at the Interzonal, but Fischer told journalist Miro Radoicic, "I can draw with the grandmasters, and there are half-a-dozen patzers in the tournament I reckon to beat."[86] Despite some bumps in the road, Fischer succeeded in his plan: after a strong finish, he ended up with 12/20 (+6=12-2) to tie for 5th-6th.[87] The Soviet grandmaster Yuri Averbakh observed, "In the struggle at the board this youth, almost still a child, showed himself to be a fully-fledged fighter, demonstrating amazing composure, precise calculation and devilish resourcefulness."[88] Fischer became the youngest person ever to qualify for the Candidates. He also became the youngest Grandmaster in history at 15 years and 6 months. This record stood until 1991 when it was broken by Judit Polgar.[89]

Before the Candidates' tournament, Fischer competed in the 1958-59 US Championship (winning with 8½/11) and then in international tournaments at Mar del Plata, Santiago, and Zürich. He played unevenly in the two South American tournaments. At Mar del Plata he finished tied for third with Borislav Ivkov, half a point behind tournament winners Ludek Pachman and Miguel Najdorf. At Santiago, he tied for fourth through sixth places, behind Ivkov, Pachman, and Herman Pilnik. He did better at the strong Zurich event, finishing a point behind world-champion-to-be Mikhail Tal and half a point behind Svetozar Gligorić.[90][91]

Until late 1959, Fischer "had dressed atrociously for a champion, appearing at the most august and distinguished national and international events in sweaters and corduroys".[92] A director of the Manhattan Chess Club had once banned Fischer for not being "properly accoutered", forcing Denker to intercede to get him reinstated.[93] Now, encouraged by Pal Benko to dress more sharply, Fischer "began buying suits from all over the world, hand-tailored and made to order".[94][95] He boasted to journalist Ralph Ginzburg in 1961 that he had 17 suits, all hand-tailored, and that his shirts and shoes were also handmade.[96]

At the age of 16, Fischer finished a creditable equal fifth out of eight, the top non-Soviet player, at the Candidates Tournament held in Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1959. He scored 12½/28 but was outclassed by tournament winner Tal, who won all four of their individual games.[97]

1960-62, Candidates setback

In 1960, Fischer tied for first place with the young Soviet star Boris Spassky at the strong Mar del Plata tournament in Argentina, with the two well ahead of the rest of the field, scoring 13½/15.[98] Fischer lost only to Spassky, and this was the start of their relationship, which began on a friendly basis and stayed that way, in spite of Fischer's troubles on the board against him.

Fischer struggled in the subsequent Buenos Aires tournament, finishing with 8½/19 (won by Viktor Korchnoi and Samuel Reshevsky on 13/19).[99] This was the only real failure of Fischer's competitive career.[100] According to Larry Evans, Fischer's first sexual experience was with a girl to whom Evans introduced him during the tournament.[101][102] Pal Benko says that Fischer did horribly in the tournament "because he got caught up in women and sex. ... Afterwards, Fischer said he'd never mix women and chess together, and kept the promise."[103] Fischer concluded 1960 by winning a small tournament at Reykjavik with 4½/5,[104] and defeating Klaus Darga in an exhibition game in West Berlin.[105]

In 1961, Fischer started a 16-game match with Reshevsky, split between New York and Los Angeles. Despite Fischer's meteoric rise, the veteran Reshevsky, 32 years Fischer's senior, was considered the favorite, since he had far more match experience and had never lost a set match.[106] After 11 games and a tie score (two wins apiece with seven draws), the match ended prematurely due to a scheduling dispute between Fischer and match organizer and sponsor Jacqueline Piatigorsky.[107] Reshevsky was declared the winner of the match, and received the winner's share.[108]

Fischer was second behind former World Champion Tal at Bled 1961, which had a super-class field. He defeated Tal head-to-head for the first time, scored 3½/4 against the Soviet contingent, and finished as the only unbeaten player, with 13½/19.[109]


Fischer (right) visiting Mikhail Tal in the hospital in 1962.

In the next World Championship cycle, Fischer won the 1962 Stockholm Interzonal by 2½ points, scoring an undefeated 17½/22.[110] He was the first non-Soviet player to win an Interzonal since FIDE instituted the tournament in 1948.[111] Fischer's decisive victory made him one of the favorites for the Candidates Tournament in Curaçao, which began soon afterwards.[112][113] He finished fourth out of eight with 14/27, the best result by a non-Soviet player but well behind Tigran Petrosian (17½/27), Efim Geller, and Paul Keres (both 17/27).[114] Tal fell very ill during the tournament, and had to withdraw before completion. Fischer, a friend of Tal, was the only player who visited him in the hospital.[115]

Following his failure in the 1962 Candidates (at which five of the eight players were from the Soviet Union), Fischer asserted in an August 1962 article in Sports Illustrated magazine, entitled The Russians Have Fixed World Chess, that three of the Soviet players (Tigran Petrosian, Paul Keres, and Efim Geller) had a pre-arranged agreement to draw their games against each other in order to save energy and to concentrate on playing against Fischer, and that a fourth, Victor Korchnoi, had been forced to deliberately lose games to ensure that a Soviet player won the tournament. It is generally thought that the former accusation is correct, but not the latter.[116][117] (This is discussed further at the World Chess Championship 1963 article). Fischer also stated that he would never again participate in a Candidates' tournament, since the format, combined with the alleged collusion, made it impossible for a non-Soviet player to win. Following Fischer's article, FIDE in late 1962 voted a radical reform of the playoff system, replacing the Candidates' tournament with a format of one-on-one knockout matches; this was the format that Fischer dominated in 1971.[118][119]

Fischer defeated Bent Larsen in a summer 1962 exhibition game in Copenhagen for Danish TV. He also defeated Bogdan Śliwa in a team match against Poland at Warsaw later that year.[120]

In the 1962-63 U.S. Championship, Fischer had a close call. In the first round he lost to Edmar Mednis, his first loss ever in a U.S. Championship. Bisguier was in excellent form, and Fischer caught up to him only at the end. Tied at 7-3, the two met in the last round for the championship. Bisguier stood well but blundered, handing Fischer his fifth consecutive U.S. championship.[121]

Involvement with the Worldwide Church of God

In an interview in the January 1962 issue of Harper's, Fischer was quoted as saying, "I read a book lately by Nietzsche and he says religion is just to dull the senses of the people. I agree."[122][123] Nonetheless, Fischer said in 1962 that he had "personal problems" and began to listen to various radio ministers in a search for answers. This is how he first came to listen to The World Tomorrow radio program with Herbert W. Armstrong and his son Garner Ted Armstrong. The Armstrongs' denomination, The Worldwide Church of God (then under its original name, the Radio Church of God), predicted an imminent apocalypse. In late 1963, Fischer began tithing to the church. According to Fischer, he lived a bifurcated life, with a rational chess component and an enthusiastic religious component. Fischer gave the Worldwide Church of God $61,200 of his 1972 world championship prize money. However, 1972 was a disastrous year for the church, as prophecies by Herbert W. Armstrong were unfulfilled, and the church was rocked by revelations of a series of sex scandals involving Garner Ted Armstrong.[124] Fischer, who felt betrayed and swindled by the Worldwide Church of God, left the church and publicly denounced it.[125]

Semi-retirement in the mid-1960s

Fischer declined an invitation to play in the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup tournament in Los Angeles, which had a world-class field. His decision was probably influenced by ill will over the aborted 1961 match against Reshevsky.[126] Instead, he played in the Western Open in Bay City, Michigan, which he won with 7½/8.[127] In August-September 1963, he won another minor event, the New York State Championship at Poughkeepsie, with 7/7, his first perfect score.[128][129]

The 1963-64 U.S. Championship was expected to be exciting, particularly since Fischer had only narrowly won it the previous year. It was, but not as expected. "One by one Fischer mowed down the opposition as he cut an 11-0 swathe through the field, to demonstrate convincingly to the opposition that he was now in a class by himself."[126] This stunning result brought Fischer more fame than any chessplayer had ever known, including a profile in Life magazine.[130] Sports Illustrated diagrammed each of the 11 games in its article, "The Amazing Victory Streak of Bobby Fischer".[131]

Fischer decided not to participate in the Amsterdam Interzonal in 1964, thus taking himself out of the 1966 World Championship cycle.[132] He held to this decision even when FIDE changed the format of the eight-player Candidates Tournament from a round-robin to a series of knockout matches, which eliminated the possibility of collusion.[130] He instead embarked on a tour of the United States and Canada from February through May, playing a simultaneous exhibition and giving a lecture in each of more than 40 cities.[133] His 94% winning percentage over more than 2000 games is one of the best ever achieved.[134] Fischer also declined an invitation to play for the United States in the 1964 Olympiad.[135]

Fischer wanted to play in the Capablanca Memorial Tournament, Havana 1965, but the State Department refused to endorse his passport as valid for visiting Cuba.[136] Fischer instead proposed, and the tournament officials and players accepted, a unique arrangement: Fischer played his moves from a room at the Marshall Chess Club, which were then transmitted by teletype to Cuba.[137][138][139] Luděk Pachman observed that Fischer "was handicapped by the longer playing session resulting from the time wasted in transmitting the moves, and that is one reason why he lost to three of his chief rivals".[140] The tournament was an "ordeal" for Fischer, who had to endure eight-hour and sometimes even twelve-hour playing sessions.[141] Despite this handicap, he tied for second through fourth places, with 15/21, behind former World Champion Vasily Smyslov, whom he defeated in their individual game.[140] The tournament received extensive media coverage.[142][143]

Fischer began 1966 by winning the U.S. Championship for the seventh time despite losing to Robert Byrne and Reshevsky in the eighth and ninth rounds.[144][145] He also reconciled with Mrs. Piatigorsky, accepting an invitation to the very strong second Piatigorsky Cup tournament in Santa Monica. Fischer began disastrously and after eight rounds was tied for last with 3/8. He then staged "the most sensational comeback in the history of grandmaster chess", scoring 7/8 in the next eight rounds. At the end, World Championship finalist Boris Spassky edged him out by a half point, scoring 11½/18 to Fischer's 11.[146] Now aged 23, Fischer would win every match or tournament he completed for the rest of his life.[147]

In 1967, Fischer won the US Championship for the eighth and final time, ceding only three draws.[148][149] In March-April and August-September, he won strong tournaments at Monte Carlo (7/9) and Skopje (13½/17).[150][151] In the Philippines he played a series of nine exhibition games against master opponents, winning eight and drawing one.[152]

In the next World Championship cycle, at the 1967 Sousse Interzonal, Fischer scored a phenomenal 8½ points in the first 10 games. His observance of the Worldwide Church of God's sabbath was honored by the organizers, but deprived Fischer of several rest days, which led to a scheduling dispute. Fischer forfeited two games in protest and later withdrew, eliminating himself from the 1969 World Championship cycle.[118]

In 1968, Fischer won tournaments at Netanya (11½/13) and Vinkovci (11/13) by large margins.[153] He stopped playing for the next 18 months, except for a win against Anthony Saidy in a New York Metropolitan League team match.[154][155]

World Champion

In 1970, Fischer began a new effort to become World Champion. His dramatic march toward the title made him a household name and made chess front-page news for a time. Chess statistician Jeff Sonas observes that "for about a year, Bobby Fischer dominated his contemporaries to an extent never seen before or since".[156] He won the title in 1972, but forfeited it three years later.

The road to the world championship

Bobby Fischer's scoresheet from his round 3 game against Miguel Najdorf in the 1970 Chess Olympiad in Siegen, Germany. Throughout his career, Fischer used the older descriptive chess notation system when recording his games, never switching to the modern algebraic system.

The 1969 US Championship was also a zonal qualifier, with the top three finishers advancing to the Interzonal. Fischer, however, had sat out the US Championship because of disagreements about the tournament's format and prize fund. Benko, one of the three qualifiers, agreed to give up his spot in the Interzonal in order to give Fischer another shot at the world championship.[157][158][159]

Before the Interzonal, in March and April 1970, the world's best players competed in the USSR vs. Rest of the World match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, often referred to as "the Match of the Century." Fischer allowed Bent Larsen of Denmark to play first board for the Rest of the World team in light of Larsen's recent outstanding tournament results, even though Fischer had the higher Elo rating.[154][160] The USSR team eked out a 20½-19½ victory, but on second board Fischer beat Tigran Petrosian, whom Boris Spassky had dethroned as world champion the previous year, 3-1, winning the first two games and drawing the last two.[161]

After the USSR versus the Rest of the World Match, the unofficial World Championship of Lightning Chess (5-minute games) was held at Herceg Novi. Petrosian and Tal were considered the favorites,[162] but Fischer overwhelmed the super-class field with 19/22 (+17=4-1), far ahead of Tal (14½), Korchnoi (14), Petrosian (13½), Bronstein (13), etc.[162][163] Fischer lost only one game, to Korchnoi, who was also the only player to achieve an even score against him in the double round robin tournament.[164][165] Fischer "crushed such blitz kings as Tal, Petrosian and Smyslov by a clean score".[166] Tal marveled that, "During the entire tournament he didn't leave a single pawn en prise!", while the other players "blundered knights and bishops galore".[166][167]

In April-May 1970, Fischer won easily at Rovinj/Zagreb with 13/17 (+10=6-1), finishing two points ahead of a field that included such leading players as Gligoric, Hort, Korchnoi, Smyslov, and Petrosian.[168][169] In July-August, he crushed the mostly grandmaster field at Buenos Aires, scoring 15/17 (+13=4) and winning by 3½ points.[170] In Siegen right after the Olympiad, he defeated Ulf Andersson in an exhibition game for the Swedish newspaper 'Expressen'.[171] Fischer had taken his game to a new level.[172]

The Interzonal was held in Palma de Mallorca in November and December 1970. Fischer won it with a remarkable 18½-4½ score (+15=7-1), far ahead of Larsen, Efim Geller, and Robert Hübner, who tied for second at 15-8.[173] Fischer's 3½-point margin set a new record for an Interzonal, beating Alexander Kotov's 3-point margin at Saltsjöbaden 1952.[174] Fischer finished the tournament with seven consecutive wins (including a final-round walkover against Oscar Panno).[175] Setting aside the Sousse Interzonal (which Fischer withdrew from while leading), Fischer's victory gave him a string of eight consecutive first prizes in tournaments.[157]

Fischer continued his domination in the 1971 Candidates matches. First, he beat Mark Taimanov of the USSR at Vancouver by 6-0.[176] "The record books showed that the only comparable achievement to the 6-0 score against Taimanov was Wilhelm Steinitz's 7-0 win against Joseph Henry Blackburne in 1876 in an era of more primitive defensive technique."[177]

Less than two months later, he astounded the chess world by beating Larsen in their Denver match by the same score.[178][179][180] Just a year before, Larsen had played first board for the Rest of the World team ahead of Fischer, and had handed Fischer his only loss at the Interzonal. Gary Kasparov later wrote that no world champion had ever shown a superiority over his rivals comparable to Fischer's "incredible" 12-0 score in the two matches.[181] Chess statistician Sonas concludes that this victory gave Fischer the "highest single-match performance rating ever".[182]

In August 1971, Fischer won a strong lightning event at the Manhattan Chess Club with a "preposterous" score of 21½/22.[163]

Only former World Champion Petrosian, Fischer's final opponent in the Candidates matches, was able to offer resistance in their match, played at Buenos Aires. Petrosian played a strong theoretical novelty in the first game, gaining the advantage, but Fischer played resourcefully and even won the game after Petrosian faltered.[183][184][185] This gave Fischer an extraordinary run of 20 consecutive wins against the world's top players (in the Interzonal and Candidates matches), a winning streak topped only by Steinitz's 25 straight wins in 1873-82.[186] Petrosian won decisively in the second game, finally snapping Fischer's streak.[187] After three consecutive draws, Fischer swept the next four games to win the match 6½-2½ (+5=3−1).[188] The final match victory allowed Fischer to challenge World Champion Boris Spassky, whom he had never beaten (+0=2−3).[189] Fischer appeared on the cover of Life.[190]

Fischer's amazing results gave him a far higher rating than any player in history up until that time.[191] On the July 1972 FIDE rating list, his Elo rating of 2785 was 125 points ahead of Spassky, the second-highest rated player (2660).[192][193]

World Championship Match


Fischer (at right) playing Spassky in 1972

Fischer's career-long stubbornness about match and tournament conditions was again seen in the run-up to his match with Spassky. Of the possible sites, Fischer's first choice was Belgrade, Yugoslavia, while Spassky's was Reykjavik, Iceland.[194] For a time it appeared that the dispute would be resolved by splitting the match between the two locations, but that arrangement fell through.[195] After that issue was resolved, Fischer refused to appear in Iceland until the prize fund was increased. London financier Jim Slater donated an additional US$125,000 to the prize fund, bringing it to an unprecedented $250,000.[196] Fischer finally agreed to play.[196]

The match took place in Reykjavík from July through September 1972.[197] Fischer lost the first two games in strange fashion: the first when he played a risky pawn-grab in a drawn endgame, the second by forfeit when he refused to play the game in a dispute over playing conditions.[198] Fischer would likely have forfeited the entire match, but Spassky, not wanting to win by default, yielded to Fischer's demands to move the next game to a back room, away from the cameras whose presence had upset Fischer.[199][200] The rest of the match proceeded without serious incident. Fischer won seven of the next 19 games, losing only one and drawing eleven, to win the match 12½-8½ and become the 11th World Chess Champion.[197]

The Cold War trappings made the match a media sensation.[201] It was called "The Match of the Century",[202][203][204] and received front-page media coverage in the United States and around the world.[205][206] Fischer's win was an American victory in a field that Soviet players had dominated for the past quarter-century, players closely identified with, and subsidized by, the Soviet state.[207][208] Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman calls Fischer's victory "the story of a lonely hero who overcomes an entire empire".[209][210]

Fischer became an instant celebrity. Upon his return to New York, a Bobby Fischer Day was held, and he was cheered by thousands of fans, a unique display in American chess.[211] He was offered numerous product endorsement offers worth "at least $5 million" (all of which he declined)[212] and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.[213] With American Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz, he also appeared on a Bob Hope TV special.[214] Membership in the United States Chess Federation doubled in 1972[215] and peaked in 1974; in American chess, these years are commonly referred to as the "Fischer Boom." Fischer also won the 'Chess Oscar' award for 1970, 1971, and 1972. This award, started in 1967, is determined through votes from chess media and leading players.

Forfeiture of title

Fischer was scheduled to defend his title in 1975. Anatoly Karpov eventually emerged as his challenger, having defeated Spassky in an earlier Candidates match.[216] Fischer, who had played no competitive games since his World Championship match with Spassky, laid out a proposal for the match in September 1973, in consultation with a FIDE official, Fred Cramer. He made three principal demands:

  1. The match should continue until one player wins 10 games, without counting the draws.
  2. There is no limit to the total number of games played.
  3. In case of a 9-9 score, champion (Fischer) retains his title and the prize fund is split equally.[217]

A FIDE Congress was held in 1974 during the Nice Olympiad. The delegates voted in favor of Fischer's 10-win proposal, but rejected his other two proposals, and limited the number of games in the match to 36.[218] In response to FIDE's ruling, Fischer sent a cable to Euwe on June 27, 1974:

As I made clear in my telegram to the FIDE delegates, the match conditions I proposed were non-negotiable. Mr. Cramer informs me that the rules of the winner being the first player to win ten games, draws not counting, unlimited number of games and if nine wins to nine match is drawn with champion regaining title and prize fund split equally were rejected by the FIDE delegates. By so doing FIDE has decided against my participating in the 1975 world chess championship. I therefore resign my FIDE world chess champion title. Sincerely, Bobby Fischer.[219][220]

The delegates responded by reaffirming their prior decisions, but did not accept Fischer's resignation and requested that he reconsider.[221] Many observers considered Fischer's requested 9-9 clause unfair because it would require the challenger to win by at least two games (10-8).[222][223]

In a letter to Larry Evans, published in Chess Life in November 1974, Fischer claimed the usual system (24 games with the first player to get 12½ points winning, or the champion retaining his title in the event of a 12-12 tie) encouraged the player in the lead to draw games, which he regarded as bad for chess. Not counting draws would be "an accurate test of who is the world's best player."[224] Former U.S. Champion Arnold Denker, who was in contact with Fischer during the negotiations with FIDE, claimed that Fischer wanted a long match to be able to play himself into shape after a three-year layoff.[225]

Due to the continued efforts of US Chess Association officials,[226] a special FIDE Congress was held in March 1975 in Osterbek, the Netherlands in which it was accepted that the match should be of unlimited duration, but the 9:9 clause was once again rejected, by a narrow margin of 35 votes to 32.[227] FIDE set a deadline of April 1, 1975, for Fischer and Karpov to confirm their participation in the match. No reply was received from Fischer by April 3 and Karpov officially became World Champion by default.[228] In his 1991 autobiography, Karpov expressed profound regret that the match did not take place, and claimed that the lost opportunity to challenge Fischer held back his own chess development. Karpov met with Fischer several times after 1975, in friendly but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to arrange a match.[229]

Sudden obscurity

After the World Championship, Fischer virtually retired from chess: he did not play a competitive game in public for nearly 20 years.[230] In 1977, he played three games in Cambridge against the MIT Greenblatt computer program, winning all of them.[231]

On May 26, 1981, a police patrolman arrested Fischer while he was walking in Pasadena, claiming that he matched the description of a man who had just committed a bank robbery in that area.[232] During the arrest, Fischer was slightly injured.[233] He was held for two days and subjected to further assault and interrogation.[234] He was released on $1000 bail[235] and the matter was later dropped. After being released, Fischer published a 14-page pamphlet detailing these experiences and alleging that his arrest had been "a frame up and set up."[236][237][238][239]

In the early 1980s, Fischer stayed for extended periods in the San Francisco-area home of a friend, the Canadian Grandmaster Peter Biyiasas. In 1981, the two played 17 five-minute games. Despite his layoff from competitive play, Fischer won all of them, according to Biyiasas, who lamented that he was never even able to reach an endgame.[238][239]

1992 Spassky rematch

After twenty years, Fischer emerged from isolation to play Spassky (then tied for 96th-102nd on the FIDE rating list) to a "Revenge Match of the 20th century" in 1992. This match took place in Sveti Stefan and Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia, in spite of a United Nations embargo that included sanctions on sporting events. Fischer demanded that the organizers bill the match as "The World Chess Championship", although Garry Kasparov was the recognized FIDE World Champion. Fischer insisted he was still the true world chess champion, and that for all the games in the FIDE-sanctioned World Championship matches, involving Karpov, Korchnoi and Kasparov, the outcomes had been pre-arranged.[240] The purse for Fischer's re-match with Spassky was US$5,000,000, with $3.35 million of that to go to the winner.[241]

Fischer won the match, 10 wins to 5 losses, with 15 draws.[242] Many grandmasters observing the match said that Fischer was past his prime. Kasparov reportedly said, "Bobby is playing OK, nothing more. Maybe his strength is 2600 or 2650. It wouldn't be close between us."[243] Fischer never played any competitive games afterwards.[244]

Fischer and Spassky gave a total of ten press conferences during the match.[245] Seirawan wrote, "After September 23 [1992], I threw most of what I'd ever read about Bobby out of my head. Sheer garbage. Bobby is the most misunderstood, misquoted celebrity walking the face of the earth."[246][247] Seirawan wrote that Fischer is not camera shy, "smiles and laughs easily", and "is a wholly enjoyable conversationalist. A fine wit, he is a very funny man".[248]

The U.S. Department of the Treasury had warned Fischer beforehand that his participation was illegal as it violated President George H. W. Bush's Executive Order 12810[249] that implemented United Nations sanctions against engaging in economic activities in Yugoslavia.[250] In front of the international press, Fischer was filmed spitting on the U.S. order forbidding him to play. Following the match, the Department obtained an arrest warrant for him. Fischer remained wanted by the United States government for the rest of his life and never returned to the United States.

Life as an émigré

Fischer again slid into relative obscurity. Now a fugitive from the American legal system, he intensified his vitriolic rhetoric against the U.S. For some of these years Fischer lived in Budapest, Hungary, allegedly having a relationship with young Hungarian chess master Zita Rajcsanyi.[251][252] He claimed to find standard chess stale and he played chess variants such as Chess960 blitz games. He visited with the Polgár family in Budapest and analyzed many games with Judit, Zsuzsa, and Zsófia Polgár.[253][254]

From 2000 to 2002, Fischer lived in Baguio City in the Philippines.[255] He resided in the same compound as the Filipino grandmaster Eugenio Torre, a close friend who acted as his second during his matches with Spassky.[255] Torre introduced Fischer to a 22-year-old woman named Marilyn Young.[256] On May 21, 2001 Marilyn Young gave birth to Jinky Young at the Saint Louis University Sacred Heart Hospital in Baguio City.[257][258] Her mother claims that Jinky is Fischer's daughter, citing as evidence Jinky's birth and baptismal certificates, photographs, a transaction record dated December 4, 2007 of a bank remittance by Fischer to Jinky, and Jinky's DNA through her blood samples.[257][259][260] On the other hand, Magnús Skúlason, a friend of Fischer's, has said that he is certain that Fischer is not the girl's father.[261]

Anti-Jewish statements

Fischer, whose mother was Jewish,[123][262] made occasional hostile comments toward Jews from at least the early 1960s.[123][263] In 1961, he "made his first public statements despising Jews."[264] Jan Hein Donner wrote that at the time of Bled 1961, "He idolized Hitler and read everything about him that he could lay his hands on. He also championed a brand of antisemitism that could only be thought up by a mind completely cut off from reality."[100] Donner writes that he took Fischer to a war museum, which "left a great impression, since he is not an evil person, and afterwards he was more restrained in his remarks—to me, at least".[100]

From the 1980s and thereafter, however, Fischer's hatred for Jews was a major theme of his public and private remarks.[265] He denied the Holocaust and announced his desire to make "expos[ing] the Jews for the criminals they are [...] the murderers they are" his lifework, and argued that the United States is "a farce controlled by dirty, hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards."[266] In 1984 he sent an open letter to Encyclopedia Judaica, in which he vehemently denied being a Jew and denounced Judaism.[267]

In the last years of his life, Fischer's primary means of communicating with the public was via sometimes-outrageous radio interviews. He participated in at least 34 such broadcasts between 1999 and 2006, mostly with radio stations in the Philippines, but also with stations in Hungary, Iceland, Colombia, and Russia. In 1999, he gave a call-in interview to a radio station in Budapest, Hungary, during which he described himself as the "victim of an international Jewish conspiracy." In another radio interview, Fischer said that it became clear to him in 1977, after reading The Secret World Government by Count Cherep-Spiridovich, that Jewish agencies were targeting him.[268] Fischer's sudden re-emergence was apparently triggered when some of his belongings, which had been stored in a Pasadena, California storage unit, were sold by the landlord who claimed it was in response to nonpayment of rent.[269] In 2005, some of Fischer's belongings were auctioned on eBay. In 2006, Fischer claimed that his belongings in the storage unit were worth millions.[270][271]

Fischer's library contained anti-Semitic and white supremacist literature such as Mein Kampf, Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and The White Man's Bible and Nature's Eternal Religion by Ben Klassen, founder of the Church of the Creator.[272][273] A notebook written by Fischer is filled with sentiments such as "8/24/99 Death to the Jews. Just kill the Motherfuckers!" and "12/13/99 It's time to start randomly killing Jews."[274]

Anti-American statements

Hours after the September 11, 2001, attacks Fischer was interviewed live by Pablo Mercado on the Baguio City station of the Bombo Radyo network, shortly after midnight September 12, 2001, Philippines local time (or shortly after noon on September 11, 2001, New York time). Fischer commented on U.S and Israeli foreign policy that "nobody cares ... [that] the US and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians for years".[275][276][277] Informed that "the White House [sic] and Pentagon have been attacked", Bobby Fischer proclaimed "This is all wonderful news."[275][276] Fischer stated "What goes around comes around even for the United States,"[275][276] and said that if the US fails to change its foreign policy, it "has to be destroyed". After calling for U.S. President George W. Bush's death, Fischer also stated he hoped for a coup d'état in the US, and that the military government would then execute "hundreds of thousands of American Jewish ring-leaders", "arrest all the Jews", and "close all synagogues".[275][276] On October 28, 2001, Fischer's "right to membership in the United States Chess Federation [was] canceled" by a unanimous 7-0 vote of the USCF's Policy Board.[278]

Fischer drafted a letter to Osama bin Laden, which began:[279][280]

Dear Mr. Osama bin Laden allow me to introduce myself. I am Bobby Fischer, the World Chess Champion. First of all you should know that I share your hatred of the murderous bandit state of "Israel" and its chief backer the Jew-controlled U.S.A. also know [sic] as the "Jewnited States" or "Israel West." We also have something else in common: We are both fugitives from the U.S. "justice" system.

After Fischer's death, chess columnist Shelby Lyman, who in 1972 had hosted the PBS broadcast of that year's Championship, said that "the anti-American stuff is explained by the fact that ... he spent the rest of his life [after the match in Yugoslavia] fleeing the US, because he was afraid of being extradited".[281] IM Hans Böhm and Kees Jongkind write that Fischer's radio broadcasts show that he was "out of his mind ... a victim of his own mental illness".[282]

Detention in Japan

Fischer lived for a time in Japan.[283] In July 2004, he was arrested at Narita International Airport near Tokyo for allegedly using a revoked US passport while trying to board a Japan Airlines flight to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines. He sustained bruises, cuts and a broken tooth during the arrest.[284] At the time Fischer had a passport, issued in 1997, that according to U.S. officials had been revoked in 2003. Fischer believed that it was legally still valid.[285] The authorities held Fischer at a custody center for 16 days before transferring him to another facility. Fischer claimed that his cell was windowless and he had not seen the light of day during that period, and that the staff had ignored his complaints about constant tobacco smoke in his cell.[284][284].

Tokyo-based Canadian journalist and consultant John Bosnitch set up the "Committee to Free Bobby Fischer" after meeting Fischer at Narita Airport and offering to assist him.[286] Bosnitch was subsequently allowed to participate as a friend of the court by an Immigration Bureau panel handling Fischer's case. He then worked to block the Japanese Immigration Bureau's efforts to deport Fischer to the United States and coordinated the legal and public relations campaign to free Fischer until his eventual release. Fischer renounced his United States citizenship. A month later, it was reported that Fischer was marrying Miyoko Watai, the President of the Japanese Chess Association, with whom he had been living since 2000.[287] Fischer also applied for German citizenship on the grounds that his father was German.[288] Fischer appealed to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell to help him renounce his citizenship.[289] Japan's Justice Minister rejected Fischer's appeal that he be allowed to remain in the country and ordered him deported.[290]

Asylum in Iceland

Seeking ways to evade deportation to the United States, Fischer wrote a letter to the government of Iceland in early January 2005 and asked for Icelandic citizenship. Sympathetic to Fischer's plight, but reluctant to grant him the full benefits of citizenship, Icelandic authorities granted him an alien's passport. When this proved insufficient for the Japanese authorities, the Althing agreed unanimously to grant Fischer full citizenship in late March for humanitarian reasons, as they felt he was being unjustly treated by the US and Japanese governments,[291] and also in recognition of his 1972 match, which had "put Iceland on the map".[292] The US government filed charges of tax evasion against Fischer in an effort to prevent him from traveling to Iceland.

Shortly before his departure to Iceland, on March 23, 2005, Fischer and Bosnitch appeared briefly on the BBC World Service, via a telephone link to the Tokyo airport. Bosnitch stated that Fischer would never play traditional chess again. Fischer denounced President Bush as a criminal and Japan as a puppet of the United States. He also stated that he would appeal his case to the US Supreme Court and said that he would not return to the US while Bush was in power.

Upon his arrival in Reykjavík, Fischer was welcomed by a crowd and gave a news conference.[293][294] He lived a reclusive life in Iceland, avoiding entrepreneurs and others who approached him with various proposals.[295]

On December 10, 2006, Fischer telephoned an Icelandic television station and pointed out a winning combination, missed by the players and commentators, in a chess game that had been televised live in Iceland.[296]

Fischer moved into an apartment in the same building as his closest friend and spokesman, Garðar Sverrisson, whose wife Kristín Þórarinsdóttir, a nurse, later looked after the terminally ill patient. Garðar's two children, especially his son, were very close to Fischer. Fischer also developed a friendship with Magnús Skúlason, a psychiatrist and chess player who later recalled long discussions with Fischer about a wide variety of subjects.[297]


Church of Laugardælir, Fischer's resting place.

Fischer's grave.

On January 17, 2008, Fischer died from degenerative renal failure in a Reykjavik hospital.[298][299][300] Magnús Skúlason reported his last words as "Nothing is as healing as the human touch."[297][301] On January 21, he was buried in the small Christian cemetery of Laugardælir church, outside the town of Selfoss, 60 km south-east of Reykjavík, after a Catholic funeral presided over by Fr. Jakob Rolland of the diocese of Reykjavik. In accordance with Fischer's wishes, no one else was present except Miyoko Watai and Garðar Sverrisson and his family.[302][303]

Fischer's estate was estimated at 140 million ISK (about GBP 1 million or US$ 2 million) and quickly became the object of a legal battle involving claims from four parties: Fischer's presumed Philippine daughter, his presumed wife, his American nephews and the American government due to unpaid taxes.[261][297][304][305]

Contributions to chess

This section uses algebraic chess notation to describe chess moves.

Opening theory

Fischer was renowned for his deep opening preparation and made numerous contributions to chess opening theory.[306] He was one of the foremost experts on the Ruy Lopez.[307] A line of the Exchange Variation (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0) is sometimes called the "Fischer Variation" after he successfully resurrected it at the 1966 Havana Olympiad.[308][309] Fischer's lifetime score in tournament and match games with 5.0-0 was six wins, three draws, and no losses (83.3%).[310]

He was a recognized expert in the Black side of the Najdorf Sicilian and the King's Indian Defense.[311] He used the Grünfeld Defence and Neo-Grünfeld Defence to win his celebrated games against Donald and Robert Byrne, and played a theoretical novelty in the Grünfeld against reigning World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik, refuting Botvinnik's prior published analysis.[312][313] In the Nimzo-Indian Defense, the line beginning with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 Ba6 is named for him.[314][315][316]

Fischer established the viability of the so-called Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Najdorf Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6). This bold queen sortie, snatching a pawn at the expense of development, had been considered dubious,[317][318][319] but Fischer succeeded in proving its soundness.[320] Out of ten tournament and match games as Black in the Poisoned Pawn, Fischer won five, drew four, and lost only one, the 11th game of his 1972 match against Spassky.[321] Today, the Poisoned Pawn is a respected line played by many of the world's leading players.[322]

On the White side of the Sicilian, Fischer made advances to the theory of the line beginning 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (or e6) 6.Bc4,[320][323] which is sometimes named for him.[324] In 1961, prompted by a loss the year before to Spassky,[325] Fischer wrote an article entitled "A Bust to the King's Gambit" for the first issue of the American Chess Quarterly, in which he stated, "In my opinion, the King's Gambit is busted. It loses by force."[326] Fischer recommended 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6,[327] which has since become known as the Fischer Defense to the King's Gambit.[328][329][330] Surprisingly, Fischer later played the King's Gambit as White in three tournament games (preferring 3.Bc4 to 3.Nf3), winning them all.[331]


Fischer had excellent endgame technique.[332] International Master Jeremy Silman listed him as one of the five best endgame players, along with Emanuel Lasker, Akiba Rubinstein, José Capablanca, and Vasily Smyslov. Silman called him a "master of bishop endings".[333]

The endgame of a rook, bishop, and pawns against a rook, knight, and pawns has sometimes been called the "Fischer Endgame" because of three instructive wins by Fischer (with the bishop) in 1970 and 1971 over Mark Taimanov.[334][335] One of the games was in the 1970 Interzonal and the other two were in their 1971 quarter-final candidates match.

Fischer clock

In 1988, Fischer filed for Template:US patent for a new type of digital chess clock. Fischer's clock gave each player a fixed period of time at the start of the game and then added a small increment after each completed move. The Fischer clock soon became standard in most major chess tournaments. The patent expired in November 2001 because of overdue maintenance fees.

Fischer Random Chess

On June 19, 1996, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fischer announced and advocated a variant of chess called Fischer Random Chess, also known as Chess960, that is intended to allow players to contest games based on their understanding of chess rather than their ability to memorize opening variations.

Fischer Random was designed to remove the importance of opening book memorization. Fischer complained in a 2006 phoned-in call with a television interviewer that talented celebrity players from long ago, if brought back from the dead to play today, would no longer be competitive, because of the progress in memorization of opening books. "Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get an opening advantage against Capablanca", he said, merely because of opening-book memorization, which Fischer disdained. "Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorization and prearrangement. It's a terrible game now. Very uncreative."[336] Fischer described the unsavory side of chess in its current form at the highest levels.[337]


Kasparov calls Fischer "perhaps the most mythologically shrouded figure in chess".[338] Some leading players and some of his biographers rank him as the greatest player who ever lived.[339] Many other writers say that he is arguably the greatest player ever, without reaching a definitive conclusion.[340] Leonard Barden wrote, "Most experts place him the second or third best ever, behind Kasparov but probably ahead of Karpov."[341] Brian Carney opined in the Wall Street Journal that Fischer's victory over Spassky in 1972 left him nothing to prove, except that perhaps someone could someday beat him, and he was not interested in the risk of losing. Fischer's refusal to recognize peers also allowed his paranoia to flower: "The world championship he won...validated his view of himself as a chess player, but it also insulated him from the humanizing influences of the world around him. He descended into what can only be considered a kind of madness."[342]

Fischer was a charter inductee into the United States Chess Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. in 1985. After routing Taimanov, Larsen, and Petrosian in 1971, Fischer achieved a then-record Elo rating of 2785.[192][193] He was rated so far ahead of Spassky and everyone else that he lost five rating points by beating Spassky 12½-8½ in played games, dropping him to a 2780 rating.[193]

Although international ratings were only introduced in 1970, uses modern algorithms to rank performances retrospectively and uniformly throughout chess history. According to the Chessmetrics calculation, Fischer's peak rating was 2895 in October 1971. His one-year peak average was 2881, in 1971, the highest of all time. His three-year peak average was 2867, from January 1971 to December 1973—the second highest ever, just behind Garry Kasparov. Chessmetrics ranks Fischer as the #1 player in the world for a total of 109 different months, running (not consecutively) from February 1964 until July 1974.[343]

Fischer's great rival Mikhail Tal praised him as "the greatest genius to have descended from the chess heavens."[344] American Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier, who won his first tournament game against Fischer, drew his second, and lost the remaining 13, wrote "Robert James Fischer is one of the few people in any sphere of endeavour who has been accorded the accolade of being called a legend in his own time."[345]

Kasparov wrote that Fischer "became the detonator of an avalanche of new chess ideas, a revolutionary whose revolution is still in progress."[346] In January 2009, reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand described him as "the greatest chess player who ever lived. He was a very special person, and I was fortunate to meet him two years ago."[347] Serbian Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojević called Fischer, "A man without frontiers. He didn't divide the East and the West, he brought them together in their admiration of him."[348]

German Grandmaster Karsten Müller wrote:[349]

Fischer, who had taken the highest crown almost singlehandedly from the mighty, almost invincible Soviet chess empire, shook the whole world, not only the chess world, to its core. He started a chess boom not only in the United States and in the Western hemisphere, but worldwide. Teaching chess or playing chess as a career had truly become a respectable profession. After Bobby, the game was simply not the same.

St. Louis philanthropist Rex A. Sinquefield offered a $64,000 Fischer Memorial Prize to any player who won all nine games at the 2009 US Chess Championship. By the fifth day of the championship, all 24 participants were ineligible for the prize, having drawn or lost at least one game.[350]

In popular culture

File:Florijan Mićković - Bobby Fischer.jpg

Bobby Fischer (seated), 1961

  • The musical Chess, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, tells the story of two chess champions, referred to only as "The American" and "The Russian". The musical is loosely based on the 1972 world championship match between Fischer and Spassky.[351] In later versions of the show, "The American" is named "Freddie Trumper" and "The Russian" is "Anatoly Sergieveski".[352]
  • During the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match, the Soviet bard Vladimir Vysotsky wrote an ironic two-song cycle "Honor of the Chess Crown". The first song is about a rank-and-file Soviet worker's preparation for the match with Fischer; the second is about the game. Many expressions from the songs have become catchphrases in Russian culture.[353]
  • The 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer uses Fischer's name in the title even though it is actually about the life of Joshua Waitzkin.[354] Outside of the United States, it was released as Innocent Moves.[355] The title refers to the search for Fischer's successor after his disappearance from competitive chess (or about searching for talent like Fischer's in the author's brilliant chess-playing son). In the book on which the film is based, the narrator/author actually looks for Fischer for a brief period and imagines what he would say to him if found. In an unpublished 1997 manuscript, Fischer complained that he had not "received one thin dime for the totally exploitative Paramount Pictures 'rip-off' full-length feature film".[356]


  • Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1959). ISBN 0923891463. An early collection of 34 lightly-annotated games including the famous "Game of the Century" against Donald Byrne.
  • "A Bust to the King's Gambit" (American Chess Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 1961), pp. 3–9).
  • "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess" (Sports Illustrated magazine, August 1962). This is the controversial article in which Fischer asserted that the Soviet players in the 1962 Curaçao Candidates' tournament had colluded with one another.
  • "'The Ten Greatest Masters in History" (Chessworld, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January-February 1964), pp. 56–61). A famous article, in which Fischer named Paul Morphy, Howard Staunton, Wilhelm Steinitz, Siegbert Tarrasch, Mikhail Chigorin, Alexander Alekhine, José Raúl Capablanca, Boris Spassky, Mikhail Tal, and Samuel Reshevsky as the best players of all time. He modestly omitted himself, and controversially did not include World Champions Emanuel Lasker and Mikhail Botvinnik.[357]
  • "Checkmate" column from 1966 to 1969 in Boys' Life.
  • My 60 Memorable Games (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1969, and Faber and Faber, London, 1969; Batsford 2008 (algebraic notation)). "A classic of painstaking and objective analysis that modestly includes three of his losses".[358]
  • I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse! (1982) pamphlet.

Under Fischer's name

There have been numerous books, in many languages, that list Fischer as the author or as endorsing the book.[359] One of these is the 1972 book Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess with Donn Mosenfelder and Stuart Margulies.[360] The book uses programmed learning to help beginners learn how to see elementary chess combinations. Although Fischer allowed his name to be used, he had little involvement with the writing of the book.[361]

Notable games

See also

  • List of chess games
  • List of people who have beaten Bobby Fischer in chess


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  50. Wall, Bill (2002-2008). "Bobby Fischer Trivia". Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  51. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 127.
  52. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 130.
  53. Collins 1974, p. 56.
  54. Chess Review, September 1957, p. 260. Also available on DVD (p. 294 in "Chess Review 1957" PDF file).
  55. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 138-40.
  56. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 135-37.
  57. 57.0 57.1 Brady 1973, p. 19.
  58. Harkness 1967, p. 272.
  59. Brady 1973, p. 20.
  60. Kažić 1974, pp. 273-74.
  61. Bisguier predicted that Fischer would "finish slightly over the center mark". Brady 1973, p. 20.
  62. A writer in Chess Life, apparently Editor Fred M. Wren, expected Fischer to score about 50%. "The Monday-Morning Quarterback Speaks", Chess Life, January 20. 1958, p. 4. Also available on DVD (p. 12 on Chess Life 1958 PDF file).
  63. Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 51.
  64. Brady 1973, pp. 20-21.
  65. In 2005, at age 16, Hikaru Nakamura became the youngest champion since Fischer. John Donaldson and John Watson, "Nakamura, Goletiani Soar to the Top at the U.S. Championship", Chess Life, February 2005, p. 9; Macauley Peterson, "Nakamura Claims U.S. Championship!", Chess Life, July 2009, p. 35. The champions since then - Alexander Onischuk, Alexander Shabalov, Yuri Shulman, and Nakamura himself in 2009 - have all been older.
  66. Edward Winter, Chess Note 6428 (citing Chess Life, February 5, 1958).
  67. Edward Winter, Chess Note 6436 (citing FIDE Revue, April 1958, p. 106).
  68. 68.0 68.1 Bisguier & Soltis 1974, pp. 282-84.
  69. Hooper & Whyld 1992, pp. 136-37.
  70. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 51 (1-point margin in 1957-58), 57 (1-point margin in 1958-59), 62 (1-point margin in 1959-60), 67 (2-point margin in 1960-61), 71 (1-point margin in 1962-63), 77 (3½-point margin in 1963-64), 82 (1-point margin in 1965-66), 87 (2-point margin in 1966-67).
  71. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 51, 57, 62, 67, 71, 76, 82, 87.
  72. Bisguier & Soltis 1974, p. 283.
  73. Mednis 1997, pp. x-xi, 179-83, 202-11.
  74. Bisguier in Wade & Connell 1973, pp. 49-50.
  75. 75.0 75.1 Hooper & Whyld 1992, p. 81.
  76. Soltis 2002, pp. 81-83.
  77. Sunnucks 1970, p. 76.
  78. Larry Evans in Müller 2009, p. 7.
  79. Kažić 1974, pp. 75, 81, 94, 108.
  80. "Fischer, Robert James". Wojciech Bartelski & Co. 2003-2008. 
  81. Müller 2009, pp. 276-77.
  82. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 286-87.
  83. Kasparov 2004, p. 335. Petrosian later wrote:

    It was not only Fischer who did not like the conditions. This also applied to me and my colleagues. Imagine a hall, in which three thousand players, trainers and spectators are gathered, a hall without any ventilation and in addition with poor lighting. I have never complained about my eyesight, but I only needed once or twice in a game to think intensively over a move, and my eyes began to hurt.

  84. Brady 1973, p. 25.
  85. Wade & O'Connell 1972, pp. 163-64.
  86. Leonard Barden, "From Portoroz to Petrosian", in Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 332.
  87. Wade & O'Connell 1972. p. 332-34, 347.
  88. Kasparov 2004, pp. 225-26.
  89. Forbes 1992, p. 171.
  90. Brady 1973, p. 28.
  91. Wade & O'Connell 1972, pp. 165, 171, 176.
  92. Brady 1965, p. 34.
  93. Denker & Parr, pp. 103-04 .
  94. Brady 1965, p. 35.
  95. "At 16 he was able to earn his living from chess, and soon began to dress well, with suits tailored in London and New York." Hooper & Whyld 1992, p. 136.
  96. Ginzburg 1962, pp. 53-54.
  97. Wade & 'Connell 1972, p. 356.
  98. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 183.
  99. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 189.
  100. 100.0 100.1 100.2 Donner 2006, p. 228.
  101. Benko & Silman 2003, p. 422 (interview with Evans).
  102. Donner writes of Fischer's performance at Buenos Aires 1960, "One of his rivals in that tournament was American grandmaster Larry Evans, and the story goes that he found a Bovaryan lady prepared for a small sum to surround Fischer with her charms. This approach proved successful for Evans, as Fischer finished thirteenth in the tournament—the only real debacle he ever suffered." Donner 2006, p. 228.
  103. Benko & Silman, pp. 426-27 (interview with Benko).
  104. Wade & O'Connell 1972, pp. 196-197.
  105. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 198.
  106. Brady 1973, p. 42.
  107. Brady 1973, pp. 43-46.
  108. Brady 1973, p. 46.
  109. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 199.
  110. Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 369.
  111. Brady 1973, p. 51.
  112. Brady 1973, pp. 53-54.
  113. Obituary, Bobby Fischer. Leonard Barden, The Guardian, January 19, 2008.
  114. Kažić 1974, pp. 188-89.
  115. Benko & Silman, p. 155.
  116. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, pp. 29-30, 37, 40, 83.
  117. "Victim of His Own Success: The Tragedy of Bobby Fischer", Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2008, p. D8.
  118. 118.0 118.1 Wade & O'Connell 1972, pp. 331-46.
  119. "Victim of His Own Success: The Tragedy of Bobby Fischer", Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2008, p.D8
  120. Wade & O'Connell 1972, pp. 207-08.
  121. Bisguier in Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 49.
  122. Ginzburg 1962, p. 54.
  123. 123.0 123.1 123.2 "Portrait of a Genius As a Young Chess Master". Ralph Ginzburg's January 1962 interview, Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 21 January 2008. 
  124. "In Bed With Garner Ted". Ambassador Report. 1977. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  125. "Bobby Fischer Speaks Out!". Ambassador Report. 1978. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  126. 126.0 126.1 Arthur Bisguier, in Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 49.
  127. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 49, 149-51.
  128. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 49, 152-53.
  129. Brady 1973, p. 70.
  130. 130.0 130.1 Levy 1975, p. 91.
  131. Brady 1973, p. 75.
  132. Brady 1973, pp. 80-81.
  133. Donaldson 2005, pp. 7, 11.
  134. Donaldson 2005, p. 11.
  135. Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 285.
  136. Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 209.
  137. Brady 1973, pp. 86-89.
  138. Bisguier & Soltis 1974, p. 213.
  139. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 160, 209.
  140. 140.0 140.1 Pachman 1975, p. 215.
  141. Brady 1973, pp. 88-89.
  142. Brady 1973, pp. 86-88.
  143. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 209.
  144. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 82-86.
  145. Brady 1973, pp. 92-94.
  146. Kashdan 1977, p. v.
  147. Kasparov 2004, p. 322.
  148. Müller 2009, pp. 284-85.
  149. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 87-91.
  150. Müller 2009, pp. 291, 296-97.
  151. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 236-47.
  152. Wade & O'Connell 1972, pp. 450-53.
  153. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 248-59.
  154. 154.0 154.1 Müller 2009, p. 321.
  155. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 154-55.
  156. Sonas, J. (2005). "The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part IV". Chessbase. 
  157. 157.0 157.1 Hooper & Whyld 1992, p. 137.
  158. Benko & Silman, p. 426.
  159. Leonard Barden, in Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 342.
  160. "USSR vs Rest of the World: Belgrade 1970". Wojciech Bartelski & Co.. 2003-2008. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  161. Crowther, Mark (2008). "Robert James Fischer 1943-2008". Mark Crowther. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  162. 162.0 162.1 Chess Digest 1971, p. 83.
  163. 163.0 163.1 Denker & Parr 1995, p. 105.
  164. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, p. 188-89.
  165. Chess Digest 1971, pp. 83-92.
  166. 166.0 166.1 Kasparov 2004, p. 343.
  167. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, p. 183.
  168. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 263-70.
  169. Kasparov 2004, p. 342.
  170. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 271-78.
  171. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 279.
  172. Kasparov 2004, pp. 342-44.
  173. Weeks, Mark (1997-2008). "World Chess Championship 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal Tournament". Mark Weeks.$iix.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  174. Kažić 1974, pp. 171-72.
  175. Panno refused to play in protest of the organizers' rescheduling of the game to accommodate Fischer's desire not to play on his religion's Sabbath. Panno was not present when the game was to begin. Fischer waited ten minutes before playing his first move (1.c4) and went to get Panno to convince him to play. Fifty-two minutes had elapsed on Panno's clock before he came to the board and resigned. Brady 1973, p. 179; Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 344, 410.
  176. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 412-16.
  177. Leonard Barden, From Portorož to Petrosian, in Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 345.
  178. Before the match, former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik had told a Soviet television audience:

    It is hard to say how their match will end, but it is clear that such an easy victory as in Vancouver [against Taimanov] will not be given to Fischer. I think Larsen has unpleasant surprises in store for him, all the more since having dealt with Taimanov thus, Fischer will want to do just the same to Larsen and this is impossible.

    Cafferty 1972, p. 102.
  179. Robert Byrne writes "it is out of the question for me to explain how Bobby, how anyone, could win six games in a row from such a genius of the game as Bent Larsen". Byrne & Nei 1974, p. 19.
  180. "If the chess world had been surprised by Fischer's running roughshod over Taimanov, it was positively sent reeling by Bobby's crushing 6-0 defeat of Larsen." Müller 2009, p. 360.
  181. Kasparov 2004, pp. 405-06.
  182. Sonas, Jeff (April 28, 2005). "The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part II". Chessmetrics. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  183. Kasparov 2004, pp. 408-17.
  184. Jan Timman, The Art of Chess Analysis, R.H.M. Press, 1980, pp. 36-42. ISBN 0-89058-048-0.
  185. Soltis 2003, pp. 259-62.
  186. Soltis, Andy (2002). Chess Lists Second Edition. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland and Company. ISBN 0786412968. 
  187. Mednis 1997, pp. 266-70.
  188. Reuben Fine, The Final Candidates Match Buenos Aires, 1971: Fischer vs Petrosian, Hostel Chess Association, 1971, pp. 13-32.
  189. Kasparov 2004, p. 429.
  190. Life, November 12, 1971, "The Deadly Gamesman".
  191. Alexander 1972, p. 74.
  192. 192.0 192.1 Chess Informant, Volume 14, Šahovski Informator, 1973, pp. 302-07.
  193. 193.0 193.1 193.2 All Time Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-06-21.
  194. Gligoric 1972, pp. 10-11.
  195. Gligoric 1972, pp. 11-12.
  196. 196.0 196.1 Gligoric 1972, p. 13.
  197. 197.0 197.1 Alexander 1972, p. 141.
  198. Alexander 1972, pp. 84-87.
  199. Gligoric 1972, p. 37.
  200. Alexander 1972, p. 87.
  201. Edmonds & Eidinow 2004, pp. 271-73.
  202. Perhaps the best-selling book on the match was subtitled "The New York Times Report on the Chess Match of the Century". Roberts, Schonberg, Horowitz & Reshevsky 1972. Gligorić's book on the match was also subtitled "The Chess Match of the Century". Gligorić 1972.
  203. "Even before a move has been made, this breathtaking, blood-curdling and heartrending encounter is justly being labelled as 'the Match of the Century'." Donner 2006, p. 136 (originally published in De Tijd, June 28, 1972).
  204. Byrne & Nei 1974, p. vii.
  205. Roberts, Schonberg, Horowitz & Reshevsky 1972, pp. 195-96.
  206. Müller 2009, p. 370. The match made the covers of Time and Newsweek. Id. at 19.
  207. Kasparov remarked, "Fischer fits ideologically into the context of the Cold War era: a lone American genius challenges the Soviet chess machine and defeats it". Kasparov 2004, p. 206.
  208. Müller 2009, p. 15.
  209. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, p. 89.
  210. Similarly, Fischer's sister observed, "Bobby did all this in a country almost totally without a chess culture. It was as if an Eskimo had cleared a tennis court in the snow and gone on to win the world championship." Müller 2009, p. 13.
  211. Saidy & Lessing 1974, pp. 224–25.
  212. Larry Evans, in Müller 2009, p. 13.
  213. Sports Illustrated, August 14, 1972, "BOBBY'S CHESSBOARD MASTERY".
  214. "Bob Hope's Comedy Collection 1972". Createspace. 2000-2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  215. "About the USCF". United States Chess Federation. 2007-2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  216. Karpov beat Lev Polugaevsky in a Candidates quarter-final match in January-February 1974 (+3=5-0). Byrne 1976, p. 19. In the semi-finals, held in April-May 1974, he beat Spassky (+4=6-1). Id., p. 79. In the finals, held in September-November 1974, he held on to beat Viktor Korchnoi (+3=19-2). Id., p. 113.
  217. Kasparov 2004, p. 471.
  218. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, pp. 412-13.
  219. Kasparov 2004, p. 472.
  220. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, pp. 413-14.
  221. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, p. 414.
  222. Grandmaster Hans Ree remarked of Fischer's demand that the champion keep his title in the event of a 9-9 tie, "They [FIDE] thought that this demand was too severe. It was rejected, understandably." Böhm & Jongkind 2003, p. 46.
  223. Botvinnik called the 9-9 clause "unsporting". Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, pp. 417-18. However, Korchnoi, David Bronstein, and Lev Alburt considered the 9-9 clause reasonable, and Korchnoi and Alburt observed that Karpov, in later securing the right to a rematch if he lost the world championship, was given a greater advantage by FIDE than Fischer had asked for. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, pp. 418-19.
  224. Donaldson & Tangborn 1999, p. 159.
  225. Denker & Parr 1995, pp. 110-11.
  226. Mednis 1997, p. 282.
  227. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, p. 414-16.
  228. Kasparov 2004, p. 473.
  229. Karpov, Anatoly. Karpov on Karpov: Memoirs of a Chess World Champion. Atheneum 1991.
  230. Seirawan & Stefanovic 1992, p. 22.
  231. Ayoub, Chuck (2003 - 2008). "Bobby Fischer Biography". Chuck Ayoub. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  232. Fischer 1982, p. 1.
  233. Fischer 1982, p. 2.
  234. Fischer 1982, pp. 3-14.
  235. Fischer 1982, pp. 10-12.
  236. Fischer 1982, p. 14.
  237. "I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!". Bobby Fischer. 1982. 
  238. 238.0 238.1 Chun, Rene. Bobby Fischer’s Pathetic Endgame. The Atlantic. December 2002.
  239. 239.0 239.1 Chun, Rene. Bobby Fischer's Pathetic Endgame. (backup copy)
  240. Weeks, Mark (1997-2008). "1992 Fischer - Spassky Rematch Highlights". Mark Weeks.$$.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  241. Seirawan & Stefanovic 1992, p. 8.
  242. Müller 2009, p. 382.
  243. Waitzkin 1993, p. 298.
  244. Template:Chessgames player
  245. The tenth press conference was not transcribed. Seirawan & Stefanovic 1992, p. 272. The content of the other nine press conferences can be found, in full, in id. at pp. 13, 15-21, 53-57, 86-90, 114-18, 149-54, 170-75, 208-14, 227-31, 256-60.
  246. Seirawan & Stefanovic 1992, p. 291.
  247. Winter 1993.
  248. Seirawan & Stefanovic, pp. 85, 96, 303.
  249. George Bush: Executive Order 12810 - Blocking Property of and Prohibiting Transactions With the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). June 5, 1992.
  250. Threatening Letter to Bobby Fischer.
  251. Bobby Fischer's Pathetic Endgame
  252. Fischer's 19-Year-Old Companion Shares Chess Limelight
  253. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, pp. 65, 106-09.
  254. Sofia Polgar discussing Bobby Fischer
  255. 255.0 255.1 Cabreza, Vincent (2008-01-19). "Fischer has a Pinoy heir born in Baguio -- friends". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  256. Marilyn Young's name was written behind a photograph dated December 14, 2000 sent to her by Fischer. The photograph is displayed on the ChessBase website. See also the following reference: "Fischer's daughter Jinky files claim to his estate". November 11, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  257. 257.0 257.1 Ochoa, Francis (February 7, 2008). "Fischer's Filipino heirs going after estate". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  258. "Bobby Fischer's Pinay heir may get settlement". February 26, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  259. "Fischer's Pinay love child in Iceland to claim inheritance". Manila Bulletin. December 4, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  260. "Fischer's daughter Jinky files claim to his estate". November 11, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  261. 261.0 261.1 "4 gera kröfu í dánarbú Fischers (Four parties make claims)". RÚV. April 22, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  262. Nicholas, Peter, and Clea Benson. Life is not a Board Game. The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 8, 2003
  263. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, pp. 30, 44.
  264. Mike Klein, Searching for Fischer's Legacy, United States Chess Federation. January 19, 2008
  265. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, pp. 41, 45, 61, 66, 90, 92, 95, 101, 107, 117-20.
  266. Parr, Larry: "Is Bobby Fischer Anti-Semitic?", Chess News, May 2001.
  267. "Open letter to Encyclopedia Judaica". 
  268. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, p. 123.
  269. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, p. 41, 65-66, 118-19, 121.
  270. Fischer on Icelandic Radio April 11, 2006
  271. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, p. 118.
  272. DeLucia 2009, pp. 160-62, 166. Chess historian Edward Winter, in his review of this book, calls it "[o]ne of the most extraordinary of all chess books". Winter 2009.
  273. Fischer wrote of Nature's Eternal Religion in a 1979 letter to Benko, "The book shows that Christianity itself is just a Jewish hoax and one more Jewish tool for their conquest of the world. ... Unfortunately the author is an extreme racist and this somewhat spoils the book." DeLucia 2007, p. 280.
  274. DeLucia 2009, pp. 290, 292.
  275. 275.0 275.1 275.2 275.3 Bamber, David; Chris Hastings (2001-12-02). "Bobby Fischer speaks out to applaud Trade Centre attacks". Sunday Telegraph (London). p. 17. 
  276. 276.0 276.1 276.2 276.3 "The Bin Laden defense; Diatribe; Bobby Fischer speaks out in favor of 9/11 attacks; Brief Article; Transcript". Harper's Magazine 304 (1822): 27. March 1, 2002. 0017-789X. 
  277. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, p. 122.
  278. "US Chess Federation decision" (PDF). 
  279. DeLucia 2009, p. 301. The letter is in draft form, and the book does not reflect whether Fischer ever finalized or sent it.
  280. Winter 2009.
  281. As It Happens Daily. Carol Off. CBC. 2008-01-18. 9:43–10:33 minutes in. Transcript.
  282. Böhm & Jongkind 2003, pp. 66-67.
  283. Official Site
  284. 284.0 284.1 284.2 "Fischer er jákvæður og skýr í hugsun". (Icelandic-language).
  285. [1]
  288. Profile: Bobby Fischer: Endgame on the darker side of genius. Retrieved on 2009-07-18.
  291. Bobby Fischer: ich bin ein Icelander!. March 21, 2005.
  292. Smith-Spark, Laura (March 23, 2005). "Fischer 'put Iceland on the map'". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  293. Fischer Watch Index of Fischer news stories - 2005
  294. Chess legend still intrigues people May 9, 2005
  295. Bobby Fischer dies in Iceland
  296. Bobby Fischer and the missed combination. December 17, 2006.
  297. 297.0 297.1 297.2 Bobby Fischer's final manoeuvre, The Sunday Times, April 20, 2008
  298. Dánarorsök Fischers var nýrnabilun,, 2008-01-20
  299. Death:
  300. Weber, Bruce (January 19, 2008), "Bobby Fischer, Chess Master, Dies at 64", The New York Times,, retrieved 2008-01-20 
  301. Síðustu orð Fischers, Ví, 2008-01-20
  302. - Bobby Fischer – his final weeks
  303. Burial:
  304. Case still pending
  305. Andrew Soltis, Fi$cher Family Feud, New York Post, November 15, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-11-16.
  306. Bisguier & Soltis 1974, p. 208.
  307. Plisetsky & Voronkov 2005, p. 322 (quoting March 20, 1972 letter from Paul Keres to the USSR Chess Federation).
  308. "The Exchange Variation was a feared weapon in the hands of Bobby Fischer". Kasparov & Keene 1989, p. 382.
  309. "The modern version of the Spanish Exchange variation, in which White moves 5.0-0 after the exchange on move 4, should be named after former World Champion Bobby Fischer." Fischer, after finding an improvement on a 1965 game Barengdt-Teschner, which Black won brilliantly, "started to play the Exchange with the move 5.0-0, winning game after game with it, and continued to play it with success even in his 1992 rematch with Boris Spassky, his final formal chess event". Kaufman 2004, pp. 4-5.
  310. Fischer games with Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation. Retrieved on 2009-02-19.
  311. Andrew Soltis, in Müller 2009, pp. 29, 32-33.
  312. L.S. Blackstock, in Wade & O'Connell 1973, p. 36.
  313. Andrew Soltis, in Müller 2009, p. 25.
  314. Hansen 2002, p. 132.
  315. Pliester 1995, p. 272.
  316. Gligoric 1985, p. 65.
  317. Watson observed that 7...Qb6 "is an astonishing move that those raised with classical chess principles would simply reject as a typical beginner's mistake. Black goes running after a pawn when he is undeveloped and already under attack." Watson 2006, p. 199.
  318. "Referring to the Poisoned Pawn Variation ... the brilliant, classically-oriented grandmaster Salo Flohr commented, even as late as 1972: 'In chess, there is an old rule: in the opening, one must make haste to develop the pieces, and must not move the same piece several times, particularly the queen. This ancient law holds good even for Bobby Fischer'." Watson 1998, p. 18.
  319. The Poisoned Pawn Variation "was considered dubious by certain GMs and crazy by Bent Larsen". Polugaevsky, Piket & Guéneau 1995, p. 83.
  320. 320.0 320.1 Andrew Soltis, in Müller 2009, p. 30.
  321. Fischer (Black) Poisoned Pawn games. Retrieved on 03-22-2009.
  322. Georgiev & Kolev 2007, p. 6.
  323. Mednis 1997, pp. 56, 146.
  324. Mednis calls 6.Bc4 against the Najdorf Variation "Fischer's 6 B-QB4". Mednis 1997, pp. 56, 74, 80, 88.
  325. "Boris Spassky vs Robert James Fischer". Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  326. Fischer 1961, p. 4.
  327. Fischer 1961, pp. 4-9.
  328. Korchnoi & Zak 1975, p. 39.
  329. Estrin & Glaskov 1982, p. 115.
  330. Andrew Soltis, in Müller 2009, p. 29.
  331. Wade & O'Connell 1973, pp. 27, 76-77, 253, 256.
  332. Bisguier & Soltis 1974, p. 214.
  333. Silman 2007, pp. 510-23.
  334. Müller & Lamprecht 2001, p. 304.
  335. Mayer 1997, p. 201.
  336. Speaking about Fischer... Nov. 4, 2006
  337. Audio clip of Bobby Fischer
  338. Kasparov 2004, p. 207.
  339. Greatest player ever:
    • Waitzkin 1993, p. 275 (quoting Kasparov).
    • Böhm & Jongkind 2003, pp. 47 (Ree interview), 91 (Timman interview), 113 (Short interview).
    • Müller 2009, p. 23.
    • Hartston 1985, p. 157.
    • Levy 1975, p. 9.
  340. Arguably greatest player ever:
    • Euwe 1979, p. ix.
    • Soltis 2003, p. 9.
    • Mednis 1997, p. xiii.
    • Kasparov 2004, p. 490.
    • Golombek 1977. p. 117.
    • Divinsky 1990. p. 67.
    • Böhm & Jongkind 2003, pp. 133-34.
  341. Obituary of Bobby Fischer, Leonard Barden, The Guardian, 19 January 2008
  342. "Victim of His Own Success: The Tragedy of Bobby Fischer", Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2008, p. D8.
  343. the Bobby Fischer player file.
  344. Saidy & Lessing 1974, p. 226.
  345. Wade & O'Connell 1972, p. 43.
  346. The Chessman, TIME, 26 January 2008
  348. - Chess News - Bobby Fischer dies in Iceland
  349. Müller 2009, p. 23.
  351. William Hartston, Chess: The Making of the Musical, Pavilion Books, 1986, p. 10. ISBN 1-85145-006-8.
  352. Harold C. Schonberg, Does Anyone Make a Bad Move In 'Chess'?, [[The New York Times, May 8, 1998. Retrieved on 2009-11-15.
  353. (Russian) Chess Problems (about chess songs of Vladimir Vysotsky).
  354. Searching for Bobby Fischer review, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, August 11, 1993. Accessed on 2009-11-04.
  355. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993). Retrieved on 2009-11-04.
  356. DeLucia 2009, p. 252.
  357. Brady 1973, p. 78.
  358. Hooper & Whyld 1992, pp. 138-39.
  359. Chess Notes 4707, 4721, Edward Winter, Chess Notes Archive
  360. Bantam Books, May 1972, ISBN 0-553-26315-3.
  361. Soltis writes that Fischer "contributed some ideas, but chiefly his name, to Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess". Soltis 2003, p. 10.
  362. Brady 1973, p. 74.


  • Alexander, C. H. O'D. (1972), Fischer v. Spassky, Vintage, ISBN 0-394-71830-5 
  • Andersen, Christopher (2006), Barbra: The Way She Is, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-06-056256-4 
  • Benko, Pal; Silman, Jeremy (2003), Pal Benko: My Life, Games and Compositions, Siles Press, ISBN 1-890085-08-1 
  • Bisguier, Arthur; Soltis, Andrew (1974), American Chess Masters from Morphy to Fischer, Macmillan, ISBN 0-02-511050-0 
  • Böhm, Hans; Jongkind, Kees (2003), Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-8935-9 
  • Brady, Frank (1965), Profile of a Prodigy (1st ed.), David McKay, OCLC 2574422 
  • Brady, Frank (1973), Profile of a Prodigy (2nd ed.), David McKay, OCLC 724113 
  • Byrne, Robert (1976), Anatoly Karpov: The Road to the World Chess Championship, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-02876-6 
  • Byrne, Robert; Nei, Ivo (1974), Both Sides of the Chessboard, Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Company, ISBN 0-8129-0379-X 
  • Cafferty, Bernard (1972), Candidates Matches 1971, The Chess Player 
  • Chess Digest (1971), Bobby Fischer: His Games and His Openings 1969 through 1971, Chess Digest 
  • Collins, John W. (1974), My Seven Chess Prodigies, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 0-671-21941-3 
  • DeLucia, David (2007), David DeLucia's Chess Library: A Few Old Friends (2nd ed.) 
  • DeLucia, David; DeLucia, Alessandra (2009), Bobby Fischer Uncensored 
  • Denker, Arnold; Parr, Larry (1995), The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories, Hypermodern Press, ISBN 1-886040-18-4 
  • Divinsky, Nathan (1990), The Batsford Chess Encyclopedia, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-6214-0 
  • Donaldson, John (2005), A Legend on the Road: Bobby Fischer's 1964 Simul Tour, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-888690-25-9 
  • Donner, J. H. (2006), The King: Chess Pieces, New in Chess, ISBN 90-5691-171-6 
  • Donaldson, John; Tangborn, Eric (1999), The Unknown Bobby Fischer, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-85-0 
  • Edmonds, David; Eidinow, John (2004), Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-06-051025-1 
  • Estrin, Yakov; Glaskov, I.B. (1982), Play the King's Gambit, Volume 1, Pergamon Press 
  • Euwe, Max (1979), Bobby Fischer-The Greatest?, Sterling Publishing Co., ISBN 978-0806949505 
  • Fischer, Bobby (1959), Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess, Simon and Schuster 
  • Fischer, Bobby (Summer 1961), "A Bust to the King's Gambit", American Chess Quarterly: pp. 3–9 
  • Fischer, Bobby (1961). "A Bust to the King's Gambit" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  • Fischer, Bobby (1982), "I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!" 
  • Forbes, Cathy (1992), The Polgar Sisters: Training or Genius?, Henry Holt, ISBN 0-8050-2426-3 
  • Georgiev, Kiril; Kolev, Atanas (2007), The Sharpest Sicilian: A Black Repertoire with 1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6, Simolini 94 (Sofia, Bulgaria) 
  • Ginzburg, Ralph (January 1962), "Portrait of a Genius as a Young Chess Master", Harper's: pp. 49–55 
  • Gligoric, Svetozar (1972), Fischer vs. Spassky: World Chess Championship Match 1972, Simon and Schuster 
  • Gligoric, Svetozar (1985), Play the Nimzo-Indian Defense, Pergamon Press 
  • Golombek, Harry (1977), Golombek's Encyclopedia of Chess, Crown Publishers, ISBN 0-517-53146-1 
  • Hansen, Carsten (2002), The Nimzo-Indian: 4 e3, Gambit Publications 
  • Harkness, Kenneth (1967), Official Chess Handbook, David McKay 
  • Hartston, William (1985), The Kings of Chess, Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-015358-X 
  • Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992), The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280049-3 
  • Kashdan, Isaac (1977 [1968]), Second Piatigorsky Cup: International Grandmaster Tournament held in Santa Monica, California August, 1966, Dover, ISBN 0-486-23572-6 
  • Kasparov, Gary (2004), My Great Predecessors, Volume IV, Gloucester Publishers, ISBN 1-85744-395-0 
  • Kasparov, Gary (2006), My Great Predecessors, Volume V, Gloucester Publishers, ISBN 1-85744-404-3 
  • Kasparov, Gary; Keene, Raymond (1989), Batsford Chess Openings 2, Collier Books, ISBN 0-02-033991-7 
  • Kaufman, Larry (2004), The Chess Advantage in Black and White, David McKay, ISBN 0-8129-3571-3 
  • Kažić, B.M. (1974), International Championship Chess: A Complete Record of FIDE Events, Pitman, ISBN 0-273-07078-9 
  • Korchnoi, Viktor; Zak, Vladimir (1975), The King's Gambit, Chess Digest 
  • Levy, David (1975), How Fischer Plays Chess, R.H.M. Press, ISBN 0-89058-011-1 
  • Mayer, Steve (1997), Bishop versus Knight: The Verdict, Batsford, ISBN 1-879479-73-7 
  • Mednis, Edmar (1997), How to Beat Bobby Fischer (2nd ed.), Dover, ISBN 0-486-29844-2 
  • Müller, Karsten (2009), Bobby Fischer: The Career and Complete Games of the American World Chess Champion, Russell Enterprises, Inc., ISBN 978-1-888690-68-2 
  • Müller, Karsten; Lamprecht, Frank (2001), Fundamental Chess Endings, Gambit Publications, ISBN 1-901983-53-6 
  • Pachman, Luděk (1975), Pachman's Decisive Games, Pitman, ISBN 0-273-31812-8 
  • Pliester, Leon (1995), Rubinstein Complex of the Nimzo-Indian Defense, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 978-1879479258 
  • Plisetsky, Dmitry; Voronkov, Sergey (2005), Russians versus Fischer (2nd ed.), Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-380-2 
  • Polugevsky, Lev; Piket, Jeroen; Guéneau, Christophe (1995), Sicilian Love: Lev Polugaevsky Chess Tournament, Buenos Aires 1994, New in Chess, ISBN 90-71689-99-9 
  • Roberts, Richard; Schonberg, Harold C.; Horowitz, I. A.; Reshevsky, Samuel (1972), Fischer/Spassky: The New York Times Report on the Chess Match of the Century, Bantam Books 
  • Saidy, Anthony; Lessing, Norman (1974), The World of Chess, Random House, ISBN 0-394-48777-X 
  • Seirawan, Yasser; Stefanovic, George (1992), No Regrets: Fischer-Spassky 1992, International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-09-5 
  • Silman, Jeremy (2007), Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner to Master, Siles Press, ISBN 1-890085-10-3 
  • Soltis, Andy (2002), Chess Lists Second Edition, McFarland and Company, ISBN 0786412968 
  • Soltis, Andrew (2003), Bobby Fischer Rediscovered, Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-8846-8 
  • Sunnucks, Anne (1970), The Encyclopaedia of Chess, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0709146971 
  • Wade, Robert G.; O'Connell, Kevin J. (1972), The Games of Robert J. Fischer (1st ed.), Batsford 
  • Wade, Robert G.; O'Connell, Kevin J. (1973), Bobby Fischer's Chess Games (2nd ed.), Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-08627-X 
  • Waitzkin, Fred (1993), Mortal Games: The Turbulent Genius of Garry Kasparov, G.P. Putnam's Sons, ISBN 0-399-13827-7 
  • Watson, John (1998), Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch, Gambit Publications, ISBN 1-901983-07-2 
  • Watson, John (2006), Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 1, Gambit Publications, ISBN 978-1-904600-60-2 
  • Winter, Edward (1993). "Instant Fischer". Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  • Winter, Edward (2009). "Chess Note 6189. Bobby Fischer Uncensored". Retrieved 2009-06-24. 

Further reading

  • Bobby Fischer: A Study of His Approach to Chess by Elie Agur, Cadogan 1992, ISBN 1-85744-001-3.
  • Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World by Brad Darrach, Stein & Day, 1974, ISBN 0-8128-1618-8 (prizewinning behind-the-scenes account of the Spassky-Fischer match)
  • Bobby Fischer - wie er wirklich ist: Ein Jahr mit dem Schachgenie by Petra Dautov, ISBN 3-9804281-3-3.
  • World Champion Fischer (ChessBase, CD-ROM) - includes all Fischer's games (about half annotated), biographical notes, and an examination by Robert Hübner of Fischer's annotations in My Sixty Memorable Games.
  • World Chess Champions by Edward G. Winter, editor, 1981, ISBN 0-08-024094-1

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Boris Spassky
World Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Anatoly Karpov
Preceded by
Arthur Bisguier
United States Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Larry Evans
Preceded by
Larry Evans
United States Chess Champion
Succeeded by
Larry Evans
Preceded by
World No. 1
July 1, 1971 - December 31, 1975
Succeeded by
Anatoly Karpov

Template:World Chess Championships

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