Shrinking Bobby Fischer

Dec 19, 2010, 8:52 AM |
I started playing tournament chess while Bobby Fischer was on the ascent, heading to heights no American had previously attained. To the vast majority of chessplayers in those days, he was larger than life. It seems that now that he's gone, vermicular types are crawling out of the woodwork to cut him down to size. In the entry, Fischer - compared to John Lennon, on the blog, Celebrate Chess, , Mr Toad writes that  'EndridCold' (in a YouTube commentary) says, "Who knows, something as simple as 100 mgs of Doxepin (for Bobby Fischer) per day might well have been a God's send." It made me think of the famous Rolling Stone article in which some pedant said that because Paul McCartney smoked pot he wrote 'silly little love songs'. He postulated that Paul may have written 'great music' if he had not smoked marijuana. After reading it, Paul sat down and wrote the song Silly Love Songs, which went to #1! The flip-side is that without smoking mother nature's finest, he may not have even been able to write 'silly little love songs'.
Joseph G. Ponterotto,  is a professor of counseling psychology in the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University. He is also a licensed psychologist and maintains a small private practice in New York City. In a Miller-McCune Research Essay A Psychological Autopsy of Bobby Fischer at the website, #,  he writes, "Providing a detailed differential diagnosis of Bobby Fischer would require a much longer treatment of the topic than is possible here. I do provide such an expanded consideration in a book-length project in progress." Cannot wait for that one!
In the essay he does tell us that,

"The goal of a psychological autopsy is to assess the feelings, thoughts, behaviors and relationships of an individual who is dead. Such an evaluation is usually conducted without the benefit of direct observation, but often with more access to historical records and archives than would be available in a standard psychological assessment."

He also writes, "It is inappropriate of me to proffer a formal psychological diagnosis of Fischer, and in writing this assessment, I am guided by the ethical code of the American Psychological Association, which says that practitioners in my position should “document the efforts they made and the result of those efforts, clarify the probable impact of their limited information on the reliability and validity of their opinions, and appropriately limit the nature and extent of their conclusions or recommendations.”

Then he tells us, "With those qualifications and limits well in mind, I have come to believe Bobby had a genetic vulnerability to develop a mental illness, and that this predisposition — in concert with early life trauma and the burden of relentless media pressure — eventually led to serious mental health problems."

Why am I not surprised? It is a long essay and Joe has a great deal to say about why he considers Bobby to have been nuts. According to Joe, if strong sandpaper had been taken to young Bobby, he may have been able to live a healthy and happy life! Just round off those edges in order to fit the square peg into the round hole!

People like this earn their living from 'rounding off the edges' of people on the fringe of life. If left up to them, everyone would be on prescription drugs and walking around like Zombies. They do not understand, and never will, that civilization is advanced by those outside the herd.

A friend invited me over to watch the new movie, Bobby Fischer Live. Mr Toad writes, "

I am not alone in comparing Bobby Fischer's behaviour with that of other celebrities - though John Nash is perhaps more appropriate from a psychological point of view, thus:

"In many ways Fischer's story resembles that of the mentally unstable Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash Jr., the mathematician who inspired the book and Oscar-winning movie A Beautiful Mind, but without the happy ending. Both Fischer and Nash were the best at their chosen professions. Both were widely considered to be geniuses. Both were also supremely arrogant, rebellious, eccentric, and - although respected - not necessarily well liked by colleagues. Fischer left the United States to live in exile. So did Nash. Even eerier, while in the grip of schizophrenia Nash was an anti-Semite and was convinced that Communists (the men at MIT wearing red ties) were observing him." (from Rene Chun's excellent summary of Fischer's life)

A Beatiful Mind was a very good movie. Russell Crowe should have won his second Oscar in a row. Instead the Academy decided to give it to an actor for his poor acting in a bad movie just to shut him up. When the preview for Training Day appears, one sees that the stars are Ethan Hawke and Scott Glenn, not the actor who won the Oscar! What does that tell you? Bobby Fischer Live will not win any awards, nor should it do so. Watching this movie was like having someone take their fingers and scrape them on a blackboard! I took the movie home in order to watch it again to pause it and write my thoughts for a review. It is simply not possible for me to watch it again. I would rather go to the dentist and have teeth pulled without any anti-pain medicine administered! I find it sad that, because our society has become such a visual one, the lasting impression of the Great Bobby Fischer could be what people will see on the screen when they watch this movie. I can only hope few people watch this excrement!