Game of the Century - part 1, Bobby's Rating
GAME OF THE CENTURY PART 1: Bobby's Rating
In May 1949, six-year-old Bobby learned how to play chess using the instructions from a chess set bought at a candy store below his family's apartment. He soon beat his sister and the neighborhood kids. It was apparent to his mother that his interest in chess would not be satisfied by such easy opponents. So on November 14, 1950, she sent a postcard to the Brooklyn Eagle, asking other children of Bobby's age if they might be interested in playing him. The paper forwarded her inquiry to Hermann Helms, the "Dean of American Chess", who told her that master Max Pavey would be giving a simultaneous exhibition on January 17, 1951. The seven year old played in the exhibition, and cried after losing in just 15 minutes. One of the spectators was Carmine Nigro, president of the Brooklyn Chess Club, who introduced him to the club. He became his coach for the next 4 years, and encouraged him to learn to read Russian chess books.
Bobby later played in his first US Chess Federation tournament during Memorial Day weekend in 1955. He scored 3 points out of 6, in the US Amateur Championship in Lake Mohegan, New York, with a pre-provisional tournament performance of 1826.
He then joined the Manhattan chess club in June, and won the class C and B championships. In July of 1955, Fischer played in the 10th annual US Junior Championship in Lincoln, Nebraska. Fischer won 2 games, drew 6 games, and lost 2 games tied for 11th place out of 25 players. Fischer's USCF rating was 1625 after this event. He then took 3rd place in the US Junior Speed Championship preliminaries, before giving his first simultaneous exhibition in November in which he played 12 members of the Yorktown, Chess Club youth group. He won all 12 games in 2 hours and 20 minutes. At the end of the year, Fischer two USCF ratings, 1826 and 1625, were averaged to 1726.
In Jan 1956, Bobby won the class B prize of the first Greater New York City Open. It was held at the Churchill Chess and Bridge Club in Manhattan. The event was won by Bill Lombardy. Fischer won 5 games and lost 2 games. There were 52 players in this event. Fischer tied for 5th. His USCF rating for the event was 2157, which was just 9 months before he'd give birth to the game of the century! At that time, Bobby also got the chance to revisit his match with Max Pavey. Although the game didn't end in 15 minutes, it also ended as a victory for Pavey: