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Bobby Fischer Quotes

Here are a few Bobby Fischer quotes.

After his trip to Havana to play chess, Fischer said, “The Cubans seem to take chess more seriously.  They feel more the way I do about chess.  Chess is like fighting, and I like to win.  So do they.” – New York, 1956

“When  I was eleven, I just got good.” – New York, 1957

Just before the U.S. championship, Fischer said, “Everyone is skeptical about my success, but even so, I will win!” – New York, 1958

After winning the 1957-58 U.S. Championship, a reporter asked Fischer if he was the best player in the United States.  Fischer responded, “No.  One tournament doesn’t mean that much.  Maybe Reshevsky is better.”  - New York, 1958

“Every chess game is like taking a five-hour final exam.” – Yugoslavia, 1958

“I like them [Soviet chess players] a lot.  The way they play just suits me.  It’s sharp, attacking, full of fighting spirit.” – interview with a Russian reporter, New York 1958

“If I win a tournament, I win it by myself.  I do the playing.  Nobody helps me.  I win the tournament myself, with my own talent.” – New York, 1959

“In this tournament, I am the youngest, but also the strongest!  I want to take first place.” – Buenos Aires 1960 (Fischer tied for 13th-16th place)

When asked by a journalist when he would be playing for the world championship, Fischer replied, “Perhaps in 1963.  Why not?  Yes, I believe I will soon be world champion.” – Leipzig, 1960

“I am going to win the World Championship.  [World champion] Tal hasn’t been playing so good and he may not even be World Champion by the time the next match is held.” – from Robert Cantrell interview, 1961.  Fischer accurately predicted that Tal would not be world champion after the next world championship match.

“Give me two years and I will win it [world chess championship].” –said to Newsweek reporter, 1961

“A special chess table was made for me in Zurich for $100, and that is, beside my TV set, the thing I like most.  I am preparing a book which should contain my 50 best games: I’ll publish it after my match for the world title in 1963.  I devote 5 hours a day to the study of chess, more before a tournament.” Interview with Yugoslav journalist, Bled, 1962

 “I want to live the rest of my house in a house built exactly like a rook.” – Ginzburg interview, Harper’s Magazine 1962

“They're all weak, all women. They're stupid compared to men. They shouldn't play chess, you know. They're like beginners. They lose every single game against a man. There isn't a woman player in the world I can't give knight-odds to all and still beat." - Ginzburg interview, Harper’s Magazine 1962

When asked if he was better than Morphy, Steinitz, and Capablanca, Fischer responded, “Well, I don’t like to put things like that in print, it sounds so egotistical.  But to answer your question, Yes.”-  Ginzburg interview, Harper’s Magazine 1962

“The system set up by FIDE insures that there will always be a Russian world champion because only a Russian can win the preliminary tournament that determines the challenger.  The Russians arranged it that way.  I will never again play in one of these tournaments.”  Sports Illustrated, August 20, 1962

While in Curacao, Bobby visited a brothel.  When asked later how he enjoyed it, he said, “Chess is better.” – Curacao, 1962

“I lend stature to any tournament I attend.” – as told to Frank Brady, 1963

“Any player, no matter how strong he is, can overlook quite simple moves in the course of a game.  Published analysis, however, should be free from such errors.  I pride myself on the fact that I have never made a mistake in analysis.” – Chess Life, July-August, 1963

“I’ll never play in one of those rigged tournaments again.  They [the Russians] clobber us easy in team play.  But man to man, I’d take Petrosian on any time.” – Life magazine, 1964

In response to a question by the Prince of Monaco as to how he learned to play chess so well, Fischer responded, “I have read probably a thousand books on chess and have taken all the best from them.” – Monaco, 1967

“I think my subconscious mind is working on it [chess] all the time.  Even when I’m not playing or studying, I sit down at the board and get a lot of new ideas.  Things are coming to me all the time.” -1968

“Around the world I’m more famous than Joe Namath.  In the U.S. I’m nobody.” – 1969

“The reason that I did not play [in the U.S. championship] last year and will not play this year is the same – the tournament is too short.  I feel the tournament should be 22 rounds as it is in the Soviet Union, Hungary, Romania, and other East European countries where chess is taken seriously, rather than 11 rounds that the present U.S. Championship is.” – letter to Ed Edmondson, 1969

“I have decided to play [in the Interzonal], although I disagree with the system of world championship competition.  I thought: what can I lose by playing?  I thought it would be important to qualify for the candidates, but I also thought, naturally, of the possibility of winning the tournament.” – Palma de Mallorca, 1970

“I win my games not with the help of some kind of spells, but much more simply; I arrive, I sit  down at the board and…I win!” – Palma de Mallorca, 1970

During the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal, Mecking thought he could beat Fischer.  Fischer responded, “The gasbag.  I will lose to Mecking only if I’m bitten by a poisonous snake.” - Palma de Mallorca, 1970

“Chess is merely a means of making money and I think we can make much more money working together than we can separately.” – Fischer letter to Walter Browne, 1971

When asked why the Russians dominate chess, Fischer replied, “They are subsidized by the government.  They keep at it.  We have a lot of talented players in this country, but for one reason or another, they just kind of fade out and lose interest.  Not much incentive.” – Dick Cavett interview 1971

“The guys who reach the top are the ones who keep at it and have the character.  They don’t get distracted by other things in life until they’ve got the title. – Dick Cavett interview 1971

When asked what his greatest pleasure in chess was, Fischer responded, “Crushing the other guy’s ego.  I like to see ‘em squirm.” – Dick Cavett interview 1971

Just before his match with Petrosian, Fischer said, “I am the best player in the world, and I am here to prove it.  I have waited 10 years for this moment, but I was hindered by Russian maneuvers.” Buenos Aires, 1971

“The Russians are really going to be in for it when I win the title” – 1971

“I’m not afraid of Spassky.  The world knows I’m the best.  You don’t need a match to prove it.” –Bill Lombardy interview, 1972

“I don’t want anybody to make money out of me!” – New York, 1972

Fischer was asked if he liked to beat another man.  He responded, “Yes I do.  I like the moment when I crush another man’s ego.  When they go home at night, they can’t kid themselves they are so hot… I don’t care two cents for Spassky.  He is just another guy...  He is not much of a champion.  He’s the best they got.  Big deal.” – 60 Minutes interview April, 1972

“People have been calling me arrogant for many years, but lately they haven’t been calling me arrogant. Why?  Because I have been winning all these matches and doing what I have always said I was.” – 60 Minutes interview April, 1972

“I really love the dark of the night.  It helps me concentrate.” – Darrach interview, Life magazine 1972

“I don’t believe in psychology – I believe in good moves.” – Washington Post interview, 1972

“If I wanted personal gain, I wouldn’t be thinking of chess.  I would be in the stock market.” – BBC interview 1972

“If Spassky were not a Russian citizen, we’d probably be friends.” – Reykjavik 1972

“I want to play a lot of chess and I like to play matches.  I want to play a lot of matches, you know; the money is there.  It’s a question of money, not a question of waiting three years.” – Gligoric interview after winning the world championship, Reykjavik 1972

“I want to be world champion.  I have achieved it, now I don’t know what to do.” - 1973

When asked why draws shouldn’t count in a match, Fischer wrote, “The whole idea is to make sure the players draw blood by winning games, and the spectators get their money’s worth.  And the most importantly as an accurate test of who is the world’s best player.” – letter to Larry Evans, 1974, published in Chess Life & Review

“Throughout my career I have always insisted on optimal conditions for my participation in chess competitions.  I will not compromise on this principle for the 1975 world championship match.” – Fischer’s cable to FIDE, Pasadena, 1974

“Someday computers will make us all obsolete.” – said to Larry Evans 1975

“I oppose expulsion from FIDE of any country on political basis on grounds that chess should be above politics.” – Fischer’s cable to FIDE delegates, Pasadena, 1975

“I love chess, and I didn’t invent Fischerandom chess to destroy chess.  I invented Fischerandom to keep chess going.  Because I consider the old chess is dying.  It really is dead.” – radio interview, 1999

“…I’m finished with the old chess because it’s all just a lot of book and memorization you know.” – radio interview, 2002

“In chess so much depends on opening theory, so the champions before the last century did not know as much as I do and other players do about opening theory.” – radio interview, 2006

“Morphy and Capablanca had enormous talent, they are two of my favorites.   Steinitz was very great too. Alekhine was great, but I am not a big fan of his. Maybe it’s just my taste. I’ve studied his games a lot, but I much prefer Capablanca and Morphy. Alekhine had a rather heavy style, Capablanca was much more brilliant and talented, he had a real light touch. Everyone I’ve spoken to who saw Capablanca play still speak of him with awe. If you showed him any position he would instantly tell you the right move. When I used to go to the Manhattan Chess Club back in the fifties, I met a lot of old-timers there who knew Capablanca, because he used to come around to the Manhattan club in the forties — before he died in the early forties. They spoke about Capablanca with awe. I have never seen people speak about any chess player like that, before or since. Capablanca really was fantastic. But even he had his weaknesses, especially when you play over his games with his notes he would make idiotic statements like 'I played the rest of the game perfectly.' But then you play through the moves and it is not true at all. But the thing that was great about Capablanca was that he really spoke his mind, he said what he believed was true, he said what he felt. – radio interview, 2006

 “All I want to do, ever, is just play chess.”

“All that matters on the chessboard is good moves.”

“You can only get good at chess if you love the game.”

“I wanted to become world champion, and in this respect school couldn’t give me anything…  It is better to be one of the strongest chess players in the world, than to be one of many thousands with a diploma.”

“Chess demands total concentration and a love for the game.”

“I give 98 percent of my mental energy to chess.  Others give only 2 percent.”

“When I first started playing chess, for me, the Russians were heroes.”

“I was always serious about chess.”

“I object to being called a chess genius, because I consider myself to be an all around genius who happens to play chess.”

Fischer about Max Euwe.  "That man is too normal.  There must be something wrong with him!"

 

Comments


  • 2 years ago

    chessContact

    Bill, do you maybe know what Fischer "quoted" when he recieved the official note not to play his return match in Yugoslavia (under sanctions) back in 1992? That changed his entire life as he became an outcast...

    @chessContact iPlayooChess.wordpress.com

  • 2 years ago

    novzki41

    thank you for this.. how about quotes from other champions? fischer i think is the best.. 

    http://amisapremier.blogspot.com/

  • 2 years ago

    AGirlFromArmenia

    I feel the same as Fisher did Wink

      “All I want to do, ever, is just play chess.”

  • 2 years ago

    buddzme

    thanks for collecting those quotes

  • 2 years ago

    Twobit

    billwall: I think your list of qoutes paints a more realistic picture of him and a fair depiction of a complex individual. A homage if you will. (His legacy is still tainted by the unfortunate re-match with Spassky, many comments he made after that, his attempted arrest as a fugitive and his desperate plea to find a new home country. He was labeled mentally ill, yet heavily criticized and ridiculed for his statements at the same time. History will be more forgiving to him than his contemporaries;  a not uncommon occurrence)

  • 2 years ago

    sryiwannadraw

    Fischerandom <--- i lol'd

  • 2 years ago

    billwall

    "I think his true accomplishment and uniqueness was unfortunately overshadowed by the emphasis on his negative comments."

    I tried to be as fair and balanced as possible, with no pre-conceived views of positive or negative quotes.  I put them in chronological order and confined his quotes to chess only.  I grabbed the quotes from Brady's works, published articles, newspaper and journalist interviews, public sources, etc.  I may not have had the original source of a quote often attributed to him, but if I could find it, I added it at the end of his quote and the year he said or wrote it.  I am sure there are hundreds of other Fischer quotes out there, but this is what I gathered in a short amount of time upon request after my blog on Capablanca quotes.

  • 2 years ago

    Twobit

    Great article. These quotes help to form a better picture of him. I think his true accomplishment and uniqueness was unfortunately overshadowed by the emphasis on his negative comments.

  • 2 years ago

    alirezashabani

    weak

  • 2 years ago

    Jeffmon

    Billwall wrote another great article, http://www.chess.com/article/view/who-was-fischers-father

    Fischer is quoted as saying “Children who miss a parent become wolves.”

  • 2 years ago

    Jeffmon

    [In 1993] "He ended up being befriended by Susan and Judit Polgar, two young Hungarian Jews who were at the time the Venus and Serena Williams of the chess world. "I first met Bobby with my family," Susan recalls. "I told him rather than spending the rest of his life hiding ... he should move to Budapest, where there are a lot of chess players."

    Fischer did, and was welcomed as a guest in the Polgar household. He appears to have behaved himself. "I remember happy times in the kitchen cutting mushrooms," Susan says. "He's very normal in that sense, very pleasant." Although Fischer refused to play classic chess, he graciously helped the Polgar sisters with their games. When he wasn't sharing his expert analysis with them, he was playing FRC [Fischer Random Chess] games against them. He was astounded at how accomplished the sisters were. Seeing that he was impressed by the Polgars' play, a friend of Fischer's suggested a publicized match to promote FRC. Fischer agreed.

    Fischer was well aware that a high-stakes match pitting the game's strongest male player (in his own mind, anyway) against Judit Polgar, the game's strongest female player (now ranked in the top ten in the world), would interest the media. But the battle-of-the-sexes extravaganza was not to be. "The Jewish-nonsense stuff caused a problem between Bobby and the girls' father," says a Fischer confidant. "One day Bobby just changed his mind. He said, 'No, they're Jewish!' He just couldn't handle it and walked away." "

    -Rene Chun

    The Atlantic Monthly; December 2002; Bobby Fischer's Pathetic Endgame

  • 2 years ago

    jjeffrey

    Here's the 1972 interview if you haven't seen it.....fascinating!

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7398966n

  • 2 years ago

    2pacinchess

    “They're all weak, all women. They're stupid compared to men. They shouldn't play chess, you know. They're like beginners. They lose every single game against a man. There isn't a woman player in the world I can't give knight-odds to all and still beat."

    "America is totally under control of the Jews, you know. I mean, look what they're doing in Yugoslavia... The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense are dirty Jews." Radio Interview, May 24 1999

    I thought I was the only one who knew this..

  • 2 years ago

    Darthstapler8

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 years ago

    kvlc

    “They're all weak, all women. They're stupid compared to men. They shouldn't play chess, you know. They're like beginners. They lose every single game against a man. There isn't a woman player in the world I can't give knight-odds to all and still beat."

    Classy.

  • 2 years ago

    Czechman

    RIP Bobby. We miss you.

  • 2 years ago

    n00less_cluebie

    Don't forget the other wonderful quotes from this mentally ill, complicated genius:

     

    "America is totally under control of the Jews, you know. I mean, look what they're doing in Yugoslavia... The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense are dirty Jews." Radio Interview, May 24 1999

    "The United States is supposed to be a government of laws, not people. But that's a lot of shit. The United States is totally controlled by dirty Jews. And these are ruthless, lawless, criminal people. They've been mutilating their kids for thousands of years, cutting off a piece of their penis. That's illegal too, but that never stopped the dirty Jews." Radio Interview, June 27 1999

     

    I think Dick Cavett got it best:

    "Towering genius, riches, international fame and a far from normal childhood might be too heady a mix for anyone to handle. For him they proved fatal. I’m still sad about his death."

  • 2 years ago

    Jeffmon

    Larry Evans on the 1961 Fischer-Petrosian game in Bled:

    "Move by move, they seem to be drifting toward a draw. Petrosian offers one at move 27, but Fischer declines. Perhaps out of irritation, Petrosian immediately commits his first and only error. And Fischer, reverting to his normal style of play, takes full advantage of it." This was Fischer's first win against the future world champion (who disproved Fischer's claim that he would become champ in 1963).

     

    This only 2 years after the infamous "4 queens" game between these two, in which Fischer had winning chances he missed, and Petrosian emerged with a solid advantage after the smoke cleared. At that point Fischer offered a draw and Petrosian accepted.

  • 2 years ago

    NimzoRoy

    Thanks for posting this article.  Bobby & Capa are 2 of my favorite GMs, but you certainly can't accuse either one of false modesty!

  • 3 years ago

    gokart24

    nice i like his style in chess and he has every right to talk the way he talks

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