He Learned Directly from God, Part 5

  • GM Julio_Becerra
  • | Sep 14, 2011

The 1969 U.S. Championship was also a zonal qualifier, with the top three finishers advancing to the Interzonal. Fischer however, did not play, 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. Bobby won the event with 18.5 of 23, three and a half points more than the second place finisher. His dramatic march toward the title made him a household name, and he made chess, in front-page news for a time. In December 1970 his FIDE rating was 2740, and he won the chess Oscar for 1970, then again for 1971, and 1972.

In June 1971, Bobby Fischer defeated Mark Taimanov 6-0 in the Candidates quarterfinals, in Vancouver, Canada. Fischer wanted Larry Evans to be his second, but Evans refused when Fischer demanded that Evans abstain from any journalism and leave his wife back home.


Less than two months later, he astounded the chess world by beating Larsen in their match by the same score. Just a year before, Larsen had played first board for the Rest of the World team ahead of Fischer. Garry Kasparov later wrote that no World Champion had ever shown superiority over his rivals comparable to Fischer's "incredible" 12–0 score in these two matches. In August 1971, Fischer won a strong lightning event at the Manhattan Chess Club with a score of 21.5 of 22.


Only former World Champion Petrosian, Fischer's final opponent in the Candidates matches, was able to offer resistance in their match, played in Buenos Aires. Petrosian played a strong theoretical novelty in the first game, gaining the advantage, but Fischer played resourcefully and eventually won the game after Petrosian faltered. This gave Fischer an extraordinary run of 20 consecutive wins against the world's top players (in the Interzonal and Candidates matches). Petrosian won decisively in the second game, finally snapping Fischer's streak. After three consecutive draws, Fischer swept the next four games to win the match 6.5–2.5.


(this full game is analyzed here)

The final match victory allowed Fischer to challenge World Champion Boris Spassky, whom he had never beaten (+0 −3 =2). Soon after the Petrosian match Fischer appeared on the cover of Life. Fischer's amazing results gave him a far higher rating than any player in history up until that time. On the July 1972 FIDE rating list, his Elo rating of 2785 was 125 points ahead of Spassky, the second-highest rated player with 2660.

Before and during the match with Spassky in Reykjavik, for the World Championship, Fischer paid special attention to his physical training, which was a relatively novel approach for top chess players at that time. He had developed his tennis skills to a good level, and played frequently during off-days in Reykjavik. He also had arranged for exclusive use of his hotel's swimming pool during specified hours, and swam for extended periods, usually late at night.

Fischer lost the first two games, 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. 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. After that game, the match was moved back to the stage and proceeded without further serious incident. Fischer won seven of the next 19 games, losing only one, and drawing eleven, to win the match 12.5–8.5 and become the 11th World Chess Champion. Fischer received $160,000 for his efforts and another $40,000 in royalties. President Nixon sent him a telegram congratulating him for his fine efforts. Fischer donated $61,200 of his winnings to the Worldwide Church of God. His FIDE rating was 2780. This would be his last FIDE rating.

The Cold War trappings made the match a media sensation. It was called "The Match of the Century," and received front-page media coverage in the United States and around the world. 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. Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman calls Fischer's victory "the story of a lonely hero who overcomes an entire empire."

Fischer appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with American Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz.

On April 3, 1975 Bobby Fischer forfeited his title as world Chess Champion to Anatoly Karpov, After the World Championship in 1972, Fischer virtually retired from chess: he did not play a competitive game in public for nearly 20 years.

In 1992 the Department of the Treasury ordered Bobby Fischer to stop his activities in the planning of a chess match in Yugoslavia. On September 1, 1992, Bobby Fischer came out of his 20 year retirement and gave a press conference in Yugoslavia. He pulled out an order from the U.S. Treasury Department warning him that he would be violating U.N. sanctions if he played chess in Yugoslavia. He spit on the order and now faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he returns to the U.S. In addition, he must forfeit his $3.65 million to the U.S. Treasury and forfeit 10% of any match royalties earned. On September 30, Bobby Fischer began his re-match with Boris Spassky (ranked 99th in the world now) in Sveti Stefan (Montenegro), Yugoslavia. The match was organized by banker Jedzimir Vasiljevic. On November 11, Fischer won the match with 10 wins, 5 losses, and 15 draws. He received $3.65 million for his winnings and Spassky received $1.5 million. The match used the new Bobby Fischer chess clock.


On January 17, 2008, Bobby Fischer died from kidney failure in a Reykjavik hospital. He was 64.

As soon as he achieves a minimum advantage, he begins to play like a machine. 


Fischer was always looking for the truth on the board. 


Fischer is a true fighter who always plays to win.









  • 5 years ago


    He learned from God?  Did he also get a crippling mental illness from God? God plays chess with pieces and people?  Did I learn from God too?  I'm confused about God and chess.  OMG, I feel the building shaking, good thing my pieces are properly weighted.

  • 5 years ago


    great chessplayer.... i'll leave it at that....ty for article,games

  • 5 years ago


    If he lived in the computer age, he'd be unstoppable, almost half-Capablanca-ish.   If he alone defeated "the Russians" with minimal "weak"-GM assistance on this side of the ocean (take your pick), imagine how good he'd be if he had access to engine analysis and databases, as if he had his own team of super-GM's helping him.  Too bad he was a frosted flake.

  • 5 years ago

    FM VPA

    RIP eternallyKiss

  • 5 years ago


    I agree ppita.

  • 5 years ago


    Love him or hate him, there is no denying he was a legend in his own time.

  • 5 years ago


    Fisher inspires a lot of people to play chess including me.

  • 5 years ago


    Fisher games never go old. But im still a Spassky fan.

  • 5 years ago


    said thing happens...whenever main stream books and films are being published, "costumers" like ramanjudge,ppita,luigi72 and the others bite everything in there.

    Nobody who ever knew Fischer claims that the man was insane. So, dear ramanjudge,ppita,luigi72 and the others, put fingers in your own head, instead to only repeat what anonimous people broadcast. lets be human, not  parrots/costumers.

    Bobby, rest in peace !

  • 5 years ago


    The article title simply says he learned for himself...

  • 5 years ago


    fischers loss is one that  can only be contemplated by the further contributions he would have produced.. remember this is a person that would have grown with computers... can u imagine the different variations? i think fischer would have produced countless lines, and the openings would be much grander.. as he would introduce novelties..  but alas he went whacko so we cant even think of how long he would have held the title for.....btw i doubt either karpov or kasparov would have even come close to beating fischer.... we would have seen easily a 40 year reign at the  top from fischer.... it would be like tiger woods for golf... jordan for basketball.. babe ruth baseball.. Fischer..Chess

  • 5 years ago


    I think Ppita is right when he said Fischer only cared for himself, not chess !

  • 5 years ago


    very difficultYell

  • 5 years ago


    Guys, as far as I know, none of the chess grandmasters in history scored a full 120 ELO points ahead of the "en-titre" world champion, like Fischer did back in 1972 against Spassky. By any standards this was an amazing performance.

    Also, keep in mind that back in the '70s, there were no chess engines to help players analyze. All the theoretical novelties Fischer produced, he produced at the chess table.

    Compared to the present situation (2011) when the highest ranked player (Magnus Carlsen) has 2823 ELO points, imagine somebody ranking 2943 ELO points. That would be Fischer compared to his contemporaries. 

  • 5 years ago


    Nice article and Fischer was a very high rate player, maybe the biggest one i saw but is genius wasnt supported by a clean mind..unfortunately..

  • 5 years ago


     my Fritz11 and my Houdini play more - listen - God normaly give up, and my home Intel computer wins!!! - without noise - the machine wins - God is only a ilusion

  • 5 years ago


    I was staring at the 5th puzzle and wondering: Did Spassky really played 23...Be6 in that 1992 match? I'm not sure if he have resigned earlier, but after 23.Ra3 even I would have...

  • 5 years ago



    I'm sorry to desagree but i don't think for instance that in terms of briliancy we can compare Fischer with Mikhail Tal, who played a long time suferring painfull hillness, and stood in the elite for years and years. I agrre with Petrosian when he said that an absolute genius was Tal! And he became ex word champion very young and still after that continue playing, and not behaving like a mad primadona.

    Fischer nevertheless was a great player, bur i don't think we can compare him to players like Botvinnik, Najdorf, Larssen, Tal, Petrosian, Smyslov, Bronstein, Karpov or Kasparov. These were players that played for a long time, wining and loosing. Chess is about wining and loosing, not about ego and stupid things. Fischer love himself, not chess. If he've loved chess he stood playing. Fischer importance in devolement of chess is none comparing to these names, and i don't think that we lost too much by is passed way. If for exemple the  great David Bronstein passed way that was a important chapter in chess history, comparing to who Fischer is very litle. Sorry is my opinion.

  • 5 years ago



    Fischer quit playing after '72 but the rest of the world didn't. If the man had been sane he would have continued playing and keeping abreast of theory and his brilliance would have continued.

    Unfortunately there is a fine line between genius and insanity and we all know what happened.

    His passing is a tragic loss on so many levels. 

  • 5 years ago


    Lets face it, he was mad that thats why he was good, and mad people don't have longevity.....they r genious only in short run. REAL CHAMPION IS ONE WITH LONGEVITY, Like Kapsapov, Anand, Karpov, Capablanca etc. 

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