Bobby Fischer hated chess?!
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Bobby Fischer hated chess?!

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Okay, you knew it was just a matter of time before Bernie made his way over to you knew it would happen eventually.  You are just smart that way. 

I love a good book on the history of chess and I've enjoyed a few about Bobby Fischer.  When I'm waiting in line somewhere and have time to kill, I often pull up YouTube and look for videos on chess.

One day, when I was doing this, I watched a video interview of Bobby Fischer that was fascinating.  I'm intentionally not posting it here, because it was filmed later in his life when his mental illness (I presume) had taken a firm hold of him, so he often has a tendency to off the rails with hateful, offensive tirades.  If you want to see it, it should be pretty easy to find.

But he did say something interesting in this interview.  He rambled incessantly about how he hated chess and hated what it had become.  He didn't like the contemporary emphasis on memorizing and learning theory.  At least that was his argument.  This is perhaps a large part of the reason he became such an advocate for Fischer Random Chess.  He was hoping that if he removed a lot of the theory, then maybe the more talented Chess player would prevail?

Interestingly, in 1993 Fischer visited László Polgár and his family in Hungary and Fischer played several games of random chess with them.  Sofia even went on to beat him three games in a row. 

Now fast-forward to 2019 and look at the results of the FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship.  First place went to Wesley So.  Second place went to Magnus Carlsen.  So, even in Random Chess, we are seeing the same heavyweights that we see in the world of classical chess.

So I pose a question, good reader:  Do you think that Bobby's frustration with chess was less about the overemphasis on theory and perhaps more about the frustration at his declining ability to cognitively keep up with the study of the game?  That is, was his frustration more with the inevitable, gradual decline in cognitive function that all humans experience?  And, of course, compounded by whatever psychiatric ailment he might have been suffering from?  

I would very much love to hear your thoughts, so please share in the comments below!

I'm a 40-something, long-time lover of chess who has always been in awe of the complexity of this beautiful game.  I use this blog to share the incredible history of chess and offer some commentary on current chess happenings around the world.  Enjoy!