Gerry Claes'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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Apr 27, 12

Read in April, 2012

In 1972 everyone knew the name of the World Chess Champion and in 2012 I am willing to bet that you can't find one person who knows the name of the current World Chess Champion! The difference? Bobby Fischer!

In 1972 the Russians(Soviets) dominated the game of international chess and other nations could only hope that they would compete somewhat respectfully against them. And then along came Bobby Fischer. Fischer was born in poverty to a single mom (Fischer's father disappeared from his life before his birth and was never a factor in his life). His mother was an immigrant of Polish, Russian, Jewish descent. His mother (Regina) may hold the distinction of being the only person who was married in Moscow Russia and divorced in Moscow Idaho.

Fischer was a child prodigy with a reported IQ of 180. He took to chess at an early age and it dominated his life. By the time he was 20 years old he was beating most Americans and by his late 20's he was defeating most international players. At the age of 29 he became the youngest player to win the World Championship in Reykjavik Iceland by defeating the Russian Champion Boris Spassky. Once he did win the Championship Fischer became somewhat of a recluse. He refused to defend his title and in 1975 he lost it.

Fischer did not play competitive for 20 years. In 1995 Fischer did have a rematch with Spassky which Fischer won but by them both men were past their prime. Fischer got into trouble with the US government for failing to pay taxes on his winnings. Fischer then became a man without a country living all over the world. He renounced his US citizenship and in 2005 Iceland granted him a passport and he moved to Reykjavik where he died in 2008.

Fischer's life story is fascinating and some of his antics leave you speechless. If he wasn't bipolar then I don't know who would be. He had such potential and he did more for the game of chess than anyone else in the history of the game. It is a shame that he died in such obscurity and hasn't been given the recognition by the US that he should have received. His body resides in a nondescript grave in Iceland.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you have any interest in this icon of American chess I recommend this book. A historical fact of interest: Bobby Fischer and my wife were both born on the same day, March 9, 1943.

For your information, the current world champion is Viswanathan Anand of India, who won the World Chess Championship 2007 and successfully defended his title against former world champion Vladimir Kramnik in the World Chess Championship 2008, and again against the challenger Veselin Topalov in the World Chess Championship 2010. He will defend his title against challenger Boris Gelfand in the World Chess Championship 2012.
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