He Learned Directly from God

  • GM Julio_Becerra
  • | Aug 17, 2011

Robert James (Bobby) Fischer was born at 2:39 pm on March 9, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois (Michael Reese hospital) by the banks of Lake Michigan, his mother Regina Wender Fischer Pustan (born in Switzerland of Jewish parents on March 31, 1913 and raised in St. Louis). For the father, the birth certificate said Hans-Gerhardt Fischer (born in Berlin on September 28, 1908). Hans-Gerhardt was a German biophysicist from Berlin (Hans and Regina married on November 4, 1933 in Moscow). 

Regina started out in medical school in Moscow, but did not graduate. She then became a riveter at a Soviet defense plant. She later became a grade school teacher, a registered nurse, a physician (she first entered medical school in Moscow in 1933 but did not complete her medical degree), and completed a PhD in hematology. She went on to do pro bono medical work for the poor in Central America and South America. She could speak English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese fluently.

A 2002 article by Peter Nicholas and Clea Benson of The Philadelphia Inquirer argued that Paul Nemenyi, a Hungarian Jewish physicist, was Fischer's biological father. The article quoted an FBI report which stated that Regina Fischer returned to the United States in 1939, while Hans-Gerhardt Fischer never entered the United States, having been refused admission by U.S. immigration officials because of alleged Communist sympathies. Regina and Nemenyi were reported to have had an affair in 1942, and he made monthly child support payments to her, paying for Fischer's schooling until his own death in 1952. Fischer later told the Hungarian chess player Zita Rajcsanyi that Nemenyi would sometimes show up at the family's Brooklyn apartment and takes him on outings.

However, Regina Fischer told a social worker that she had traveled to Mexico to see Hans-Gerhardt in June 1942, and that Bobby was conceived during that meeting, They divorced in 1945 when Bobby was two years old, and he grew up with his mother and his older sister, Joan Fischer Targ (born in Moscow in 1938 and died on June 2, 1998 in Portal Valley, California of a cerebral hemorrhage). They first lived in an apartment at 1059 Union Street in Brooklyn. Later, they moved to a four room apartment on Lincoln Place (the corner of Lincoln and Franklin), in a four-story brick building. On the first floor was a candy store. 

In May 1949, Bobby and his sister Joan learned how to play the game with a Chess set given to them as a present. Both, six and eleven, learned the moves from the instructions that went with the set. Even as a six-year-old, Bobby became increasingly fascinated with Chess and enjoyed enough success in solving its complexities.  By age seven, he was so thoroughly absorbed that his mother became worried. "Bobby isn't interested in anybody unless they play Chess and there just aren’t many children who like it," she once said.

On November 14, 1950 his mother attempted to place an ad in the Brooklyn Eagle, looking for chess opponents for her son. The ad was never published because the editorial staff could not decide under what category to place it.

On January 17, 1951 Bobby played a game against Master Max Pavey who was giving a simultaneous exhibition and Bobby lost in 15 minutes.  A few weeks later Bobby joined the Brooklyn Chess Club, headed by Mr. Carmine Nigro, and for the next few years he rarely missed a Friday evening.

In 1953, Bobby Fischer played his first Chess tournament at the Brooklyn Chess Club Championship when he was ten: he placed fifth. In 1955, Bobby scored 4.5 of 8 in a Washington Square Park Swiss tournament. He joined the Manhattan Chess club in June, 1955 and soon won the class C championship and the class B Championship.

He often was given the opportunity of playing against the Club's finest masters. Reshevsky gave a simultaneous blindfold exhibition in which Bobby competed and he was ecstatic when he defeated the Grandmaster.  In July he won 2 games, drew 6 games, and lost 2 games at the U.S. Junior Championship in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He took 3rd place in the U.S. Junior Speed Championship. 

In March 1956, Bobby traveled with the Log Cabin Chess Club to Cuba and gave a simultaneous exhibition at the Capablanca Chess Club. His U.S.C.F. rating was published at 1726.  In April he won the class A Championship at the Manhattan Chess Club.  In May he played in the U.S. Amateur Championship in Asbury Park, New Jersey, winning three games, drawing two, and losing one.  At thirteen, he was the youngest player in the event.

Test yourself with some examples of the budding player's tactical abilities:













[part 2]


  • 5 years ago


    For an excellent read on the triumph and tragedy of Fischer, read "Endgame" by Frank Brady.

  • 5 years ago


  • 5 years ago


    Chess is who he was, This is who he is.  Start at the 38 Second Mark.


  • 5 years ago


  • 5 years ago



    in that puzzle you start out with black giving check

  • 5 years ago


    bobby fischer is so great. 

  • 5 years ago


    the style of fischer is so wonderful he is like a tornedo in the board he is the best he always create moves he sacrifie always i enjoy watching his games!!!!!!!!

  • 5 years ago


    For the second last puzzle, why not move Qh7 and checkmate. I don't know may be i am wrong. But considering that any other move seems superfluous.

    Thanks a lot for the Post, its great.

  • 5 years ago


    I think chess ratings and games won are dependant on the amount of stress or lack thereof and blunders or lack thereof.

  • 5 years ago


    fischer is nr 1 forever

  • 5 years ago


    @ melvinbluestone ...but he (bus driver) Ralf Kramden is very IMPORTANT man for chess-who is Fischer without such chess amateurs-he is like lonely King without his brave pawns!

  • 5 years ago


    Fisher was a genius. His troubles are like many other people of genius stature but he did much to spread the interest in chess until his behavior became so bizarre that he was recognized to be more of a liability than an asset. He and Gary Kasparov are the gold standard for the modern game.

  • 5 years ago


    Who is this Fischer guy, and what's the big deal about a rating of 1726. A bus driver from Brooklyn, Ralph Kramden, had a rating of 1758 and nobody's making a fuss about him......

  • 5 years ago


    these are easy

  • 5 years ago


    Who is the best now? i think 2.Anand,3.Carlsen,4 Gelfand,5.Grischuk 6. Karjakin...

  • 5 years ago


    To Bonapartista

    "WHEN KARPOV DEFEATED VICTOR KORCHNOI,A psychic man bothered KORCHNOI.this is real.PARANORMAL was hired by comunist politicians TO HELP KARPOV."

    Oh Come on....This is just western propaganda and you know that!

  • 5 years ago


    Surprisedgreat article....

  • 5 years ago


    @alethos The question (who was the strongest chess player?) is not so complicated,but you need to be very Big Fish (chess-fish)-Bobby Fischer -B.F. As Moby Dick (greatest predator) - i can say-Fischer was really best at 20 century (1. B.F. 2.A.A.A.,3.Ch.R.Ci G 4.E .L. and only 5.....-Mikhail Botvinnik)Others:6. Boris Spassky 7.Efim Geller 8.P. Keres 9.A.Karpov and only now 10.- Garry Kimovich Kasparov 11. Mikhail Tal ( my favorite,but only 11-th !).19 century:1.Paul Morphy-really chess-God 2.W.Stenitz.3.A.A. 4.G.N.P 5.R.R.Charousek ....(this is not a joke)

  • 5 years ago


    thank you for such a brilliant article and the puzzles!! greatly appreciated!!

  • 5 years ago


    fischer was really great. but he is one of the bests. and its not benificial to us if we always argue who the better player is. we just be happy to know that there are players such as fischer, karpov, and kasparov who devoted their time on chess and gave their very best to show us the highest levels on chess. its true that the twin k has learned a lot from fischer. yeah its really true enough but the twin k has develop the more sophisticated techniques that very hard to unsderstand especially the karpovian technique. as for kasparov he is the most universal of all. he can play like fischer and he can play like karpov. he can also play like his mentor botvinikk. and if he is in the mood he can play like tal or alekhine. for me, if you want to know the truth its better to study the games of these masters. to be fair to the moderns, the top 10 gms are stronger than the 3 gms we are talking to.

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