Remember When Fischer Went Postal?


In August of 1958, fifteen and a half year old Bobby Fischer became the youngest chess player to have earned the title of Grandmaster.  But Fischer wasn't always the unbeatable demon he would eventually become. Just 3 short years before - 1955 to be exact - Fischer was a somewhat better-than-average club player. His July USCF rating was 1625.  Two months before that he had signed up for the Golden Knights Correspondence Chess Tournament, apparently sponsored by Chess Review.  He was given the provisional rating of 1200. When this game was played, Fischer was rated 1198; Conger 1274; in March 1956 his rating had dropped to 1082 were it remained (because he apparently quit playing correspondence chess). In this tournament he was to play 6 games in the first round. Only one score survived, his game against Wayne Conger of the King of Prussia Chess Club in Pennsylvania. He lost this game to a high quality combination published in the Spring 1976 issue of the journal of the King of Prussia Chess Club, Zugzwang.



It's also mentioned that: "Donald Reithel recalls that he played Fischer in a correspondence game in 1955. Fischer wrote to Reithel that he was a Brooklyn Dodger fan. Fischer did not finish the correspondence game with Reithel because he was starting to play in over-the-board tournaments."



The Kibitzer by Tim Harding

Chess Archaeology by Nick Pope (via John Donaldson, via Neil Brennen)

Bobby Fischer by Bill Wall