24 | Chess Players


Robert James Fischer (1943 - 2008) was brilliant at the game of chess, but not so much with the game of life. However, we should remember his genius at the board, and better understand the person. He said many things that upset a lot of people. I too did not like what he said, yet, was he truly ever a threat to anyone? Let alone the world? Bobby, as he is well known, did not have a mass of followers ready to do his bidding, nor was he in charge of any government power where he could unleash war on any one he felt like. No, Bobby was nothing more than a local old man who spoke crazy things in your tiny little town. He harmed no-one, and no-one agreed with him, but he was tolerated just the same.

To better understand things one needs to take time to study, read, and learn. Many are lazy and prefer to pass judgment without effort. The facts are well known, and when taken together paint a scary picture. I will surmise the many facts for simplicity.

He was raised by his mother and older sister primarily in Brooklyn New York, but we also know that he was left to fend for himself around 1960, putting him at about the age of 17. According to varying sources from the book Bobby Fisher Goes to War, his apartment was a mess and he slept in multiple rooms with a chess board along side each. For many years Fisher would accuse the United Sates government for following him for one reason or another. Years later thanks to the Freedom of Information Act documents would surface supporting this claim that the U.S. government indeed tracked Bobby and his mother for years, suspecting they were soviet spies. At the time many people disregarded Bobby’s claims, thus leaving him to anguish alone. To make matters worse he was easily taken advantage of by others financially as he was too young to understand the world of money matters.

One does not need to be an expert psychologist to see that all these events combined can easily lead to any number of psychoses. He did not receive proper guidance growing up. His only education was that of the chess board, and he was jaded by so many at such a young age. I feel that the things he said in later years were nothing more than useless rants from a troubled man with a troubled past, who never received the proper care and support so many of us receive by those who love us every day.

Bobby delved deep into the chess board to try and escape the world that hurt him so much. His greatness here cannot be challenged. He defeated an entire system single handedly, and the more we learn of the past the more we learn he was not up against a single person (Spassky), but rather an entire nation (Soviet Union) who’s only goal was to defeat the American at all costs. He may have won the chess crown, and indeed single handedly struck a blow to the Soviet Union, but in the end he alone could not defeat the demons in his head.