Brendan's Reviews > Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness

Endgame by Frank Brady
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's review
Dec 11, 2010

really liked it

A really compelling story that makes for a nearly unputdownable biography. I really enjoyed this and recommend it highly to anyone even slightly interested in either Fischer or competitive chess.

I do have a couple of quibbles:

1.) I would have really liked to see some of the big games included as an appendix. I mean, yes, you can look them up, but when Brady writes about a turning point in a game, it's frustrating not to be able to just flip to the end and see exactly what he means. I can see not wanting to include lots of games in the text for fear of scaring away the casual reader, but it's unlikely that anybody picking this up is completely unfamiliar with chess, and I think the games would have added a lot to the text.

2.) Brady seems very protective of Fischer. He seems strangely eager to defend him from charges of mental illness, which seems odd, since we can feel pity for Fischer in spite of his awful behavior if he was ill, but if not, he was just an asshole. So I felt like some of Fischer's outrageous behavior was soft-pedaled a little bit, but at the same time, I didn't get a sense of why anybody liked this guy. It's clear that many people, including the author, did, but why remains a mystery to me.

Still, as I said, these are quibbles with what is otherwise a really compelling and excellent book.
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