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My point was that his every waking moment was dominated by playing and studying chess for five solid years from age 7 to 12 but he was still losing fairly regularly to non masters, then boom! he becomes 'Bobby Fischer'. I'm past that point in the book now and Brady can't explain it either, other than this is where Jack Collins took him under his wing and became his father figure.
It really is astonishing how much time and effort Fischer put into it, he must have played tens of thousands of games and read dozens of books (in different languages) by the time he hit his teens. He doesn't appear to have kept many notes either, everything was stored in his mind. Its just one way of developing obviously, but a reminder to all of us who think 'study' is automatically going to make us better that you gotta get out there and play to really see any improvement.
I have read a great deal on Fischer and I dont know why anyone who has would have this idea ? I dont think this was true of Fischer until he quit school which was at age 16 I believe , certainly not between the ages of 7-12 . So, he also had school to deal with and he had some interest in other things besides chess such as puzzles and baseball . Its simply not true that his life was chess and nothing but chess from age 7 .
He took baths with a board and pieces set up so he could study while bathing, he had a board set up next to his bed so he could study before he went to sleep and first thing when he woke up. He played up to 100 blitz games a day, either in Washington or Central Park or in the Brooklyn Chess Club. Yes, he did his schoolwork and when he went to summer camp he swam and played tennis or baseball but every available spare second he had otherwise was spent thinking about chess.
This was before his breakthrough year in 1956, Nigel Short had the same regimen when he was a kid and although he's not in FIsher's class he won a grandmaster tournament at 15 so theres a similar progression. Short always claims that he is not gifted or a genius in any way but that any kid of above average intelligence who studies a single subject with the fanaticism that he did could become immensely proficient at an early age.
For whatever reason Fischer goes from being a 2200 player in October 1955 to a 2500 (at least) player in July 1956 without any apparent change to his training routine. Maybe it just takes 6 years minimum for things to 'click' even for the legends?
Fischer possessed extreme mental faculties. Additionally he immersed himself in study, including all the great games he could access; and he expended much effort in acquiring a large and varied spectrum of games to study. He also played and experimented incessantly.
With innate talent, coaching and hard work Fischer understood the language of chess better than anyone in his time. He left us games to prove this point.
It's unfortunate he was distracted from the game so early in his career which has deprived us of a larger catalogue of his games to enjoy and study.
I wouldnt trust too much written about Fischer in the last few decades . Some of the people he "offended" are a vindictive bunch and really arent very likely to be honest nor objective .
As for him not improving very fast ... you are joking right ?! I mean at age 12 he wasnt even playing 2200 level yet but at 13 he was the US junior champ and at 14 the US Champ and at age 15 the youngest GM in the history of the game at the time . What more do you want ?!
I would have wanted 16 the youngest World Champion but I guess there were other good chessplayers in the way for Bobby. Yes some guidance and working hard creates a Bobby Fischer lol. The same formula creates a Roger Federer in tennis also.
Oh but I do care.
"You HAVE to be something special to be as good at it as he is."
Here is just as valid an argument:
"You DON'T HAVE to be something special to be as good at it as he is."
If we are just assuming things, anything goes.
Why don't you just get a good coach, and get as good as Fischer, so you can prove your stance?
I was thinking of answering but let me stop here: Even if I did become another Fischer or Carlsen, you'll just say it was because of talent that suddenly appeared because it was mysteriously trapped somewhere for ten years.
"He took baths with a board and pieces set up so he could study while bathing, he had a board set up next to his bed so he could study before he went to sleep and first thing when he woke up. He played up to 100 blitz games a day, either in Washington or Central Park or in the Brooklyn Chess Club. Yes, he did his schoolwork and when he went to summer camp he swam and played tennis or baseball but every available spare second he had otherwise was spent thinking about chess."
If this stuff is true, then this is extremely convincing.
If this stuff is true, then this is extremely convincing.
It feels right, theres even a photo in the book taken by his sister of Fischer analysing in the bath. Knowing what he became, it doesn't seem wrong that he essentially sacrificed a 'normal' life for the pursuit of becoming a great chess player but it would be looked on as an unhealthy obsession otherwise.
Another thing is that at this point in his life, according to Brady anyway, Fischer was 'good friends' with several players especially Lombardy and Benko. It doesn't seem like he's a total sociopath and his mother, contrary to other recollections comes across as a caring devoted parent doing the best she can in extremely tough financial circumstances. It was Regina Fischer that taught her son Spanish and Russian so he could read chess media in those languages and she was obviously a brilliant woman in her own right so the genetic argument definitely comes into play.
His whole childhood is so utterly divorced from what can be considered a 'normal' upbringing that I don't think any kind of easy conclusions can be drawn about whether it was the incredible focus and drive that made him great or a 'natural gift'..Fascinating reading though
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