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Sir, I demand a rematch! (and one where your input will by and large be disregarded).
What you do is pick the one tournament Fischer won (when he was at his peak) of the five strongest he played, compare it to a few of the worse events of Karpov in 1972-73, fifteen years before he was at his best, and a couple of Kasparov's less memorable tournaments, and conclude that they were "amateurs" in comparison to Fischer, their results being "measly" and "pathetic".
To begin with I don't think counting the number of wins regardless of level of opposition is particularly meaningful. There were no super tournaments of the Linares sort in Fischer's days and the opposition was much weaker in almost every event, except a few top tournaments like Santa Monica 1966 where Fischer lost three games while Spassky, who won the tournament, was undefeated (and won against Fischer).
Karpov won 9 and drew 4 of his 13 games in the strongest tournament of the year in 1994 (Linares). The lowest ranked player in the field was Topalov, who won first board gold in the Olympiad the same year. Ten of the participants were ranked better than 15th in the world (and this was long after Karpov's peak). Fischer scored 0.5 better than that in Netanya 1968 but none of his opponents were even remotely close to the top 100.
It's easier to find a few weak results by Kasparov and Karpov since they did play for decades after winning the title. Fischer didn't play any matches against stronger players than Spassky, won none outside 1971-72, and won few really strong tournaments in his career, none of them comparable to the 25-30 strongest tournaments Karpov and Kasparov won. Fischer was of course a great player, one of the greatest, but to me not comparable to those with top results against stronger opposition for decades.
The thing that separates Fischer far above Karpov and Kasparov is that Fischer was a fierce competitor demonstrated emphatically by Fischer's 20 straight vicories.
Stop talking about Bobby Fischer! Just stop, you'll be OK! Very few of us aRE Good enough to even have an opinion on your question.
With all due respect, I disagree with this statement. Neither you nor I will probably ever be in the FIDE Top 100, but does that mean that we can't express an opinion on Vishy Anand or Vladimir Kramnik against Hua Ni or Sebastien Feller? Does that mean that because I can't play pro football in the NFL, I can't express an opinion on the 13-1 Green Bay Packers team or the 1-13 Indianapolis Colts team?
I don't believe to answer a question like this you need any technical knowledge of chess ... the question asked is simply "If you consider Bobby overrated, then WHY?" It's not the same as asking if you believe his chess is overrated - then I would agree to your statement. I agree that expressing an opinion on Bobby's chess would require a certain level of chess understanding - at least to provide a good, intelligent response.
I think everyone posting on this thread has enough intelligence to develop their own informed opinion on whether or not Bobby himself was overrated ... simply by comparing him to other players. Chess has objective measurements: win, lose, draw. At a very basic level, we form our opinions on players based on these criteria (obviously, strength of opposition enters the picture, but this boils down to wins, losses, and draws as well).
We simply look at Bobby's accomplishments, and then decide for ourselves whether he merits the attention and the legend given him. Then we try to explain our reasons for our conclusion.
I don't think anyone on this thread should be disqualified from either having an opinion, or explaining it, just because they're "not good enough" chess players.
It can be pretty depressing reading the same old oft repeated ignorant statements about Fischer (and Kasparov et al). After more than 3.5 years in the forums, I definitely understand ep's sentiment.
No one here has the strength and has dedicated the mountain of hours of study to actually claim competence to declare some playing superiority of either great player.
The vast majority of opinioneers couldn't gauge the superiority of a 2000 over an 1800, based on play alone.
So what are their opinions worth? Not much, but I hope some get a kick out of them since they are posted anyway.
On the other hand, we can sift history meaningfully. Some do it well--like fabelhaft-- and others seem to have access to data without the ability to make sense of it--like yeres.
So, there are opinions to be had and worth listening to, just relatively very few.
I never heard of this Bobby Fischer before this morning. But, I tell you what I think, anyway.
He was the best in the world...in his prime...at that time.
Too bad that he didn't defend his title and play after he won the world championship. That is very sad for those of us who would have liked to see him continue.
Now, the world has moved on. Today with computers... Bobby had to study from books. He had chess boards all over the place. On each side of the bed, at the breakfast table, a little peg board in his pocket. This was a much harder way to learn than today.
Can you imagine if he had had the use of computers...engines, databases of all the best games... A much faster way to learn. A much faster way to test new ideas. A much faster and more comprehensive way to develop skills.
Anyway...he was the best in his era. That we can say for certain. Morphy and other greats were the best in their day. Just as we can say Joe Louis was the best in his day but we can only speculate how he would have done against Ali.
So, it is good for conversation to discuss these things but it is impossible to draw exact conclusions.
I am only guessing about this stuff, I could be wrong.
Fischer received extra publicity because he was an American in an era dominated by Soviets. However no one has dominated his era as did Fischer. People complain about too many draws in grandmaster play; Fischer won each Candidates match 6-0. It was and is unheard of. It's like someone winning the Superbowl 127-0. Carlsen is the biggest hero these days and he won't even undergo the Candidates matches.
Fischer is generally considered to be the "best chess player of all time" by some of the same guys presently vying for the World Championship. And yes, "it's just their opinion."
That's what I hear from my @2400 USCF friend, and his Armenian countryman from the last Quarter Finals for the World Championship.
But "Best Player of All Time" has to be relative to his peers.
Fischer never did come out of retirement, except to play a couple late-in-life exhibition matches, which were roundly criticized by current GMs as not being of "World Class" playing level.
So who knows whether after a long lay off he might have beaten Karpov, or even Kasparov? Probably not.
Gennady Nesis, former World Correspondent Champion, in his book "Tactical Chess Exchanges" describes the awe in which the Soviet Chess establishment viewed Fischer, before he become World Champion.
Perhaps that says something about how much Fischer "impressed his peers," to say nothing of his amazing winning streak in the run-up to the World Championship Match.
Too bad Fischer ended up much like Steinitz, and Morphy to a lesser extent.
However no one has dominated his era as did Fischer.
This is said very often but I always wonder what era it refers to. In 1970 Spassky was World Champion and kept winning against Fischer. In 1972 the World Champion took a 2-0 lead in the match and had 3-0 against Fischer before that, so up until then the latter certainly hadn't been dominating like no one else. After that he dominated the match very clearly and definitely proved that he was the best player in the world by eventually beating Spassky 12.5-8.5, but then he stopped playing. So the era he dominated like no one else must have been very short. And Steinitz going 7-0 against #2 in the world, winning 25 games in a row and numerous title matches many years later is somehow not comparable with Fischer's going 12.5-8.5 against #2 and quitting. Still, Fischer was obviously one of the greatest players ever, I just think one has to be quite selective with the facts to make him #1, and avoid using the same criteria for other players when deciding how to measure.
Actually you seem to be one of the more correct, intelligent, logical, well thought out opinions despite not having heard of the man before today. I think you are 100% correct in everything you said....
Clearly, 'best player of all time' can be measured in different ways.
One way would be to measure someone's ELO or performance over a long period of time, and see who had the highest rating. Clearly, Fischer wouldnt be the 'best player of all time' if you measure this way.
Another way would be to ask "who was world champion for the longest amount of time?" Fischer would not be the answer.
Another way would be to ask 'Who had the highest ELO ever, for a minimum one year period' In other words , what is the highest PEAK elo ever reached within one year.
THAT answer , shockingly IS Fischer. I say shockingly because it was set 40 years ago, and even with rating inflation, no one has beat it yet.
Lets compare matches:
Fischer - Spassky - opponent beaten like a chicken and given some free points.
Karpov - Kasparov. The first started almost 5-zero. Can you imagine how strong Karpov was until he faded physically. Other matches were on Kasparov's dominance +/-. These two players played so many matches that others would have quit chess just for that like Fischer did :D
The 1975-2000 was DOMINATED by K+K.
Fischer was only on a wave in the final cycle.
Yes, Fischer created a lot of buzz in all kind of papers (an internet was on To-Do-List) Though Karpov was kissed by Breznev too :D
What you refer to isn't Elo rating (that has only been in use since the 1970s) but Chessmetrics, that is supposed to rate players without being influenced by rating inflation.
Well, The US didn't do anything to arrest him. He was in and out of airports that would extradite him to America and nothing ever happened. It wasnt until his rants on 9-11 that the US felt it could no longer ignore him and put into action a plan that would bring him into custody. And even that was mild---a short time in a japanese prison and then the life of Riley in Iceland.
Perhaps a more fitting punishment would have been to put him in a room full of people who lost loved ones in the twin towers. Turn them loose and let them beat the hell out of him. Beat the living shit out of him until he says -I'm sorry, I will never say those things again.
Yeah, that might have been a more fitting punishment.
The guy was sick. Rather than seek revenge for the disturbing way in which his illness manifested itself, I think it would be better to be thankful that it didn't come out in more physically violent ways (as far as we know).
Fischer is "best of all times" because that's what most GMs believe today.
So take a poll to confirm it. Or watch them squirm.
Eventually someone will be better than he Just not now. Given the current growth of "chess knowledge," that day is probably coming fast.
Oh I see, thank you very much! Looks like Mikhail Botvinink came pretty close to being the best ever too! Makes we want to get an anthology of his games...
You could do worse than picking up Botvinnik's 100 selected games, and he has to be considered one of the greatest ever, for his opening innovations and for the team the soviets gave him to work with.
The thing the Fischer haters will never admit is that Fischer didn't face a bunch of peers, but a system bent on making sure a non-soviet didn't win the championship. They threw games for each other, gamed the system for favorable match-ups for their favorites, and collected data collectively against potential non-soviet rivals. Fischer smashed them and their system. Why did Fischer do so well for a narrow period of time? Read, if you care, his explaination about The Marshall Attack in the Spanish, and how he'd play variations he knew were weaker because he didn't ever want to show his opening preparation except when he needed it. He needed it to defeat the soviets, and when he did he clobbered them. If he didn't approach it that way, he never would've won. Karpov? Please. He's the beneficiary of everything Fischer fought against. Great? yeah. Pampered by his government at the expense of other talents? Yeah. That whole era is stained by that system.
Link for the bold text? I did look but can't find anything from Fischer himself.
Hey William-Wiggans, now I can't find it. As soon as I find it I'll post something. I think it was in a chess life and review article. I think the quote from it is "you have to consider the 'talent' of your opponent" and he put talent in quotes, and that he his choice of openings also reflected the fact that he couldn't just put opening preparation on display except in the games where it mattered. He then he goes on to say that the Steiner Variation can be played if you know it. It was clear that his goal was to beat "the Russians" and to be champion, and he didn't want to give them anything to study.
I believe this was mentioned in the book 'bobby fischer goes to war' also...
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