Bobby Fischer's best friend was schizophrenic


Jack Beers (sometimes Jackie), anyone heard about this guy?  He was a Chess expert in the Manhatten Chess Club around Fischer's time and supposedly schizophrenic.  I can't verify it, but many random sources say he was Bobby Fischer's closest friend.  He was apparently institutionalized for his mental problems and died in the 90's.


Was wondering if anyone here has more information on him beyond Google.


He shows up a lot in Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest  of the World (Darrach).

A hanger on and supplicant. Didn't know about any breakdowns though?

goldendog wrote:

He shows up a lot in Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest  of the World (Darrach).

A hanger on and supplicant. Didn't know about any breakdowns though?

Found this quote in Endgame:

"Since Bobby’s  suite had  two bedrooms, he  liked  to have guests  from
time  to  time.  Jackie  Beers  was  his  most  frequent  visitor.  Bobby  had
known Jackie since childhood and they were an odd pair. Jackie was a
rated  expert,  an  excellent  speed  player,  but  he  was  always  finding
himself  in  trouble  at  chess clubs,  usually  because  of  his  ferocious
temper. Once, a fight at the Manhattan Chess Club resulted in a lawsuit
against  him  that  was  eventually  settled  out  of  court,  and  there  were
stories of his chasing people  in  the  street or  their chasing him because
of  altercations. With  Bobby,  Jackie  acted meekly  and  respectfully. He
often  stayed  overnight  in  the  Fischer  apartment  in Brooklyn  and  later
was Bobby’s houseguest when Fischer lived in California. Jackie was no
sycophant or whipping boy, as he’s been described by other writers. He
recognized that Bobby was the “chief” of their friendship, but he wasn’t
afraid  to  speak  up  and  disagree.  While  Bobby  knew  of  Jackie’s
reputation for truculence and tolerated him nevertheless, he was careful
not  to  include him  in  all  areas of his  life,  knowing  instinctively when
Beers wouldn’t be welcomed by others"


No mention of his schizophrenia, but interesting nonetheless.


You're writing about my Uncle Jack. I think the last time he contacted my parents was about a year ago. He has had mental illness issues and also Leukemia. He was a Grandmaster, so I think calling him a "hanger on and supplicant" is a bit disrespectful.

My dad and Uncle Jack grew up with Bobby. Their mothers took turns watching each others' kids, so I think it's natural they were best friends their entire lives. I don't think there was any "hanger on" status about it.


I would love to hear family stories on Fischer. This is very interesting.


I knew Jack Beers.  I knew he was Bobby's friend.  Jack used to hang out at the Chess House on 72nd Street in NYC.  I was a teenager at the time.  He used to show us his games.  I remember one particular game that made an impression on me was where he had played a Nimzo Indian defense and Instead of taking on c3, he retreated the Bishop back to e7.  At the time, late sixties, he was a pretty good expert as I recall.  The Chess House had an interesting crowd that used to hang out in it.  IM Zuckerman was usually there, Asa Hoffman, I.A. Horowitz. Edward Lasker, John Pameljans, Karl Forster,  Mike Senkiewicz.  There was a Bridge room in the back and upstairs was the NY GO club, which is where Lasker spent most of his time.  I seriously miss all the guys that used to hang out there.  Jack used to tell stories about his clashes with this maniac player named Joseph Tomargo at tournaments.  It seemed to me that Jack was definitely paranoid about the guy and other subjects.  He told us about hanging out with Bobby.  I could see how they would have gotten along.  I got along well with Jack and wouldn't have called him schizophrenic, but maybe that happened later.  He sort of took me under his wing and showed me some openings and we talked about things in general.  Sorry to hear that he isn't with us anymore if that's the case.  If he is still alive, I wouldn't mind talking with him again.  I live in Los Angeles.  So if he's out near here, I'd definitely contact him if anyone has his address or knows of his whereabouts.



Joe Tomargo!  I haven't heard that name in years!  I have friends that have told me stories about him, but man, talk about a blast from the past--thanks.


Jackie Beers stayed at my apartment one night during the New Jersey Open in Plainfield in 1963.  He was going around asking if anyone could put him up for the night, and I said yes.  There was something slightly odd about him, and I had a few anxious moments, but everything turned out okay. This meeting was something of a coincidence because I had met Bobby Fischer a few months earlier at the apartment of Jack and Ethel Collins in Manhattan. On our way out, Bobby accepted my offer to drive him home to Brooklyn.  He lived at 20 Lincoln Place. We were having a nice chat when I asked if he planned to go to college.  Bobby's mood instantly darkened, and he asked "Did Pal Benko tell you to say that?"   Then he said, "College is a bunch of lies."  The next time we met was at the Marshall Chess Club in 1965 when he was playing in a Havana tournament via telex, and I was running the teletype machine.  


Is it possible that the OP may have Jackie Beers's situation switched a bit  with Raymond Weinstein's?

Weinstein has been institutionalized since 1964 after killing a man.  He is still alive, however. 

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia page on Raymond:

"In 1963, he graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in psychology and travelled to Amsterdam, Netherlands, to attend graduate school. By this time, however, he had apparently developed a mental illness, possibly schizophrenia."

I don't know, that is just what came to my mind.


          I just wanna make a general statement. In the early 60's, mental illness wasn't discused the way it is today. People who wearn't diognosed correctly were put in mental hospitals. I'm not sure when, but at some point a federal law changed to allow those people to get out of those hospitals.


This is a cool thread! Lot's of people who actually knew the guys? How cool is that!


         NO; I didn't get my meds at the VA today. Old soldiers don't die; they just fade away.

Addicted-to-Chess97 wrote:

This is a cool thread! Lot's of people who actually knew the guys? How cool is that!

I know, right?


cool thread, agree. sounded like a personality, charles bukowski of the chess world lol


I thought his best friend was schizophreni(a). Followed by paranoia, a close second.


funny but i just searched jack he was in my apartment also

the apartment was at 99 0cean ave brooklyn

there is plenty more                                    

Why are you commenting on this?!

Yes, this is correct. He reported seeing Peter Winston upstate, but it was probably one of his delusions.

EDIT: Source is the New Yorker about Winston


Bobby Fischer could say funny things. Like this one: 'I was in Japan a couple of months ago, I saw a preview for the movie Pearl Harbour. And they showed the Japanese airplanes coming in to bomb Pearl Harbour, and I applauded. Nobody else in the theater applauded'.

He had the courage to say unpleasant things about his country.


The attack on Pearl Harbour is presented to us as one of complete surprise to the US yet Roosevelt had just imposed,on November 26th.,an impossible ultimatum to Japan and the day before this,on the 25th.,Secretary of War Henry Stimson recorded in his personal diary,the topic of meeting with Roosevelt as follows...'The question was how we should maneuver them(Japan) into the position of firing the first shot."

Thus these talks did break down and the Honolulu Advertiser carried the banner headline "Japanese may strike over weekend"