Who is Bobby Fischer?
Bobby Fischer, at the age of sixteen, was a world chess champion with an IQ of 180 and an astonishing memory! Half-Jewish, half non-Jewish, he is one of the greatest American chess players of all time. He is mysterious and controversial. A genius with extraordinary mental prowess, yet he dropped out of school. He is a Jewish anti-Semite, a misogynist, paranoid man, and a McCarthyite (a communist hater). Some say that he is insane. But he is also an American sports hero and a champion of champions. Let us unravel some of this mystery and discover who is Bobby Fischer.
He was born Robert James Fischer on the 9th March 1943 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. His father was a non-Jewish physicist. His mother was a Jewess, who was a nurse and schoolteacher. When he was two, his parents divorced, and shortly after, his father went abroad, never to see him again. He and his older sister (Mrs. Joan Trag) went to live with his mother in California, Arizona and then in Brooklyn. Fischer’s mother was a woman of great intellect, and strong character. She knew six languages, had a pre-med degree and was a pacifist. She was also known for her firm beliefs and stubborn nature.
At the age of six, Fischer learnt how to play chess and immediately had a passion for the game. In 1957, he became the youngest junior chess champion of the United States, by defeating International Master, Donald Byrne. At the age of fourteen, became the youngest senior American champion, by beating Samuel Reshevsky. When he was sixteen, he quit school, so that he could play chess as a full time career.
You don’t learn anything in school. It’s just a waste of time. You lug around books and all and do homework. They give too much homework. You shouldn’t be doing homework. Nobody's interested in it. The teachers are stupid. They shouldn’t have any women in there. They don’t know how to teach. And they shouldn’t make anyone go to school. I don’t listen to weakies [Bobby’s term for non-chess players or for chess players who are weaker than himself]. My two and half years in Erasmus high I wasted. I didn’t like the whole thing. You have to mix with those stupid kids. The teachers are even stupider than kids. Half of them are crazy. If they’d have let me, I would have quit before I was sixteen.
In 1958, he became the youngest Grand Master and also won the United States Championship. During 1970-1971, he won twenty games, lost one and tied three games with the Soviet world champion Tigran Petrosyan. In 1972, in Reykjavik, Iceland, he became the first American to receive the title: Chess champion of the World, when he defeated Boris Spassky of the former Soviet Union.
In 1975, he refused to challenge Anatoly Karpov in the Federation Internationale des Echecs, because he felt unready for the game, making Karpov the winner. In 1996, he created his own game called Fischerandom Chess. Bobby Fischer has a very awkward personality. After his dispute with the Russians, he disappeared for two decades. Fischer is very anti-social, because he is so into chess. He studies with his chessboard day and night, and his friends were those who he played chess with. Fischer is over six-foot tall, handsome with sharp features. He is asexual; he is not very fond of women in today society or in any other way. He does not like communists, but is very fond of aristocrats. Fischer avoided military services, even though it was against communism.
He is a very difficult person to understand. When he played chess with Anatoly Karpov, he refused to play, and vanished. A few years later, he was discovered in a hotel, playing chess by himself for all those missing years. He is also considered a prima donna. He likes palmistry, and believes it is a science. Fischer is shy, gentle and timid. He is very homophobic, and detests all homosexuals. Paul Kollar said: "He has been labelled: brash, arrogant, selfish, self-centered, boorish, loutish, cruel, unreasonable, difficult, impossible, inconsiderate, ungrateful, petty, petulant, sulking, crass, insensitive, irrational, contentious, argumentative, aggravating, insulting, crazy, wicked and mad. I would tend to agree. Fischer sacrificed virtually everything most of us 'weakies' (to use his term) value, respect, and cherish, for the sake of an artful, often beautiful board game, for the ambivalent privilege of being its greatest master. He even sacrificed his mother, Regina, to become the King of Chess."
Fischer later said:
"Anything is permissible if it wins...sac the queen...the king’s the thing...isn’t it, Father? Wherever you are isn’t it?"
His memory is so good he remembered every move of all his games. One time in his life, he tried to ring Icelandic chess player Olaffson. Unfortunately Olaffson was out, but his Icelandic-speaking daughter spoke. When Fischer later spoke to Olaffson, he was able to recounted what Olaffson's daughter had said, word by word, with an Icelandic accent, even though it was a completely foreign language to him.
Besides being 50% Jewish, Fischer is virulently anti-Semitic. He believes that the Jews are dishonest people and that they are out to get him. He even spoke publicly against Jews on Hungarian and Filipino radio. He is pro-Palestinian, supporting all Arabs.
It’s not clear why Fischer is anti-Semitic, but it seems likely that in his past, he may have not had good relationships with Jewish people, because of his non-Jewish side. Perchance, some Jews may have teased him so much, that this caused his long term of Jew-hating. In 1992, Bobby Fischer was arrested and sent to jail in Pasadena, California. Fischer never sees himself as a Jew. "Part Jewish. My mother is Jewish." Fischer also had Jewish friends like Bernard Zukerman and Boris Spassky.
Bobby Fischer is definitely the master of masters of chess. However, he is also known to have serious character flaws, such as, insulting people and calling people who are not as good as him in chess (which is most people) "weakies." As well as being sexist, homophobic and Jew hating, this could be the result of never knowing his father. He maybe viewed by society as an outcast, and even a degenerate, but he is also a genius who longs for his father and has had quite a lonely miserable life. By Caton Bishop, 2002