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Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall—From America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness
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Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall—From America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  10,368 ratings  ·  524 reviews
Endgame is acclaimed biographer Frank Brady’s decades-in-the-making tracing of the meteoric ascent—and confounding descent—of enigmatic genius Bobby Fischer.  Only Brady, who met Fischer when the prodigy was only 10 and shared with him some of his most dramatic triumphs, could have written this book, which has much to say about the nature of American celebrity and the dist ...more
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Crown
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Yuriy Yes, this book goes into some detail about Fischer's habits, personality, and the noticeable concern those who played him or knew him would express. T…moreYes, this book goes into some detail about Fischer's habits, personality, and the noticeable concern those who played him or knew him would express. That is one of the aspects of this book I really enjoyed.(less)
Michael Spawn Gripping? Yes. Even on paper, the narrative of Fischer's life never loses that sense of high-drama that keeps John Grisham's cockatiel's fat and happy…moreGripping? Yes. Even on paper, the narrative of Fischer's life never loses that sense of high-drama that keeps John Grisham's cockatiel's fat and happy. The life was gripping and, due to being well-written, the book is as well.

Fun? I find reading an enjoyable book to be a sort of fun, so in that regard I'd have to say 'Yes.' But I don't think that's what you mean. Mostly because of its subject matter, there are few hijinks, no romantic subplots, and the absence of any real comic relief is jarring at first. But I did enjoy reading it. It's just not a 'feel-good' book.(less)

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Start your review of Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall—From America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness

What did Bobby Fischer see?

The philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote a now famous paper in 1974: ‘What Is It Like to Be a Bat?’ His concern was the nature of consciousness. For him “an organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is like to be that organism- something it is like for the organism.” What he concluded is that no amount of description - of the organism itself, of its environment, of its history or upbringing - is sufficient to either derive or explai
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A 3.5 book, but I'm giving it four stars because of the clear writing. It would have been a true four-star book, to the extent such a rating actually exists, had the author been able to interview more primary sources during Fischer's "Wilderness Years" period--the time after 1992 when he replayed Boris Spassky in Montenegro. Fisher defeated Spassky in their rematch, though he was playing a Spassky who had slipped to number 100 in the world and was no longer the formidable champion Fisher challen ...more
Paul Bryant
Jun 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography

The very thing that made him great destroyed him. If that’s not a Greek tragedy I don’t know what is. But if nobility of character is a requirement in our tragedies, then look elsewhere.

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 g6

Young Fischer read chess books all the time and constantly played through the games. His chess set became encrusted with crumbs and bits of food, and was n
Brett C
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I thought this was a very intriguing story. The chess legend had a unique story that kept me enthralled in its entirety. He grew up in a single-parent household with his older sister. He never knew who his real father was either and his mother was a multilinguist and world cultured medical practioner. Growing up a latchkey kid in Brooklyn, he excelled in puzzles, patterns, and games from an early age. At 13 he became the Junior Chess Champion and in 1972 became the World Chess Champion.

After ac
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: prodigy, 2021, chess
B-K4 (Bishop to King Four). That's not a move specific to this book, or one in which Bobby used against Spassky to win the World Championship game. He could have used the move at some point. In fact, he had to have, a thousand times even. That's how often he played the game. How many could be played in the span of a life? A million? If so, Bobby did.

His sister, Joan, bought Bobby his first chess set. Just a plastic, pocketbook dime store model. She did it to keep him busy and because he loved ga
Wayne Barrett
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing


I am basing my rating, not necessarily on the quality of writing in this biography, but by how well it entertained and informed me. This is a clear case where someone like myself who loves the game of chess will be completely engrossed in the segments relating to the game, whereas someone who doesn't like the game, or simply doesn't know how to play, might be completely bored by this story. And when you talk about Bobby Fischer, you will be mostly talking about chess because chess was pretty
Bobby Fischer is arguably the greatest chess player in history. Most people with some knowledge of chess would surely rank Fischer among the three greatest players of all time. A very common question to today's elite players when they are interviewed is, "Fischer or Kasparov?" The two are generally recognised as the strongest players in chess history, and rightly so.

Bobby said of himself that he was just a genius who happened to play chess, and some adults in his early life also said that if he
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chess players, bearded cranks
Young Bobby Fischer

Like go, chess is a game I know how to play but not well. I own books and have half-heartedly studied the game off and on, but I will never be a great or even particularly good player. Still, the beauty and logic of the game attracts me, along with all its storied lore.

Most people know that Bobby Fischer was once the greatest American player in the world, possibly the greatest player in the world period. Certainly he was one of the best players ever. This biography tells his life story by a symp
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a very entertaining book about what some have called the World’s greatest Chess player Bobby Fischer. He was raised, along with his sister, by a very well educated mother named Regina who continued to have bad luck. Regina was studying in a Soviet Union medical school when the Soviets were imposing Anti-Semitic pogroms. She chose, with Bobby and his sister, to immigrate to the United States. Bobby’s father, Gerhardt Fischer, choose to immigrate to France. After a short stay in Chicago Re ...more
Fred Forbes
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It was a cold night in Wisconsin in 1970 when my friend, a relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers suggested we play some chess. I knew the moves and that was about it. He cleaned my clock, time and again. I began to read chess books, got an occasional draw. Joined the local club and began to play in tournaments, got more draws, but never beat him. Still, a life-long love of the game began. I still have a first edition of Fisher's "My 60 Memorable Games" that my father gave to me and I can stil ...more
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mikhail Moisevich Botvinnik, 51, the then World Chess Champion and three time winner played a game of Chess against Bobby Fischer in Varna Bulgaria. When the game adjourned for the day Bobby held a definitely superior position and after a quick review of the days moves went to bed early feeling comfortable. However, Botvinnik, Mikhail Tal, Boris Spassky, Paul Keres, Efim Geller, Semyon Furman and Yuri Averbach worked on the position until five-thirty the next morning. When play resumed Fischer w ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
3 1/4 Stars

I don't play chess; I don't even know how. Before reading this book, I knew even less about Bobby Fischer - except that he was some sort of chess phenom that then became a Garbo-esque recluse. And this little bit I only knew because of that movie from the 90's Searching for Bobby Fischer - which isn't even really about him but about another young chess phenom trying to find balance between the obsessive game of chess and having a normal kid's life. But I knew enough about Fischer to b
Miebara Jato
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well-written book about the brilliant, inherently ungrateful, and paranoid conspiracy theorist, Chess grandmaster Bobby Fisher.
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Endgame is a disappointing read. For a subject as interesting and enigmatic as Bobby Fischer, Brady's portrait is surprisingly pedestrian. While he does a good job of narrating Fischer's life and bringing forward aspects of his so-called "wilderness years" that have never been known (the reason I gave two stars), the book features none of the psychological analysis or interpretation that good biographies of genius/insane characters possess (see my reviews on Einstein and John Nash's respective b ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the better biographies that I have read. In the first half of the book, I felt that the author had created the aura of the developing Bobby Fischer. I would like to have seen more about some of the years in Fischer's life prior to his attaining the championship, and the events involving the championship and post championship. Perhaps my wanting more reflects the excellence of this biography. The second half of the book did an above average job of illustrating the life of the post ...more
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it may just be my perverse interest in random celebrities but I liked this book. Bobby Fischer is fascinating -- vile, admittedly, but fascinating all the same. And Frank Brady's biography managed to be both informative and interesting, doing justice to Fischer's story and multifaceted personality.

Many goodreads reviewers complained that Brady, as a longtime friend of Fischer's, was less than objective and not the best person to write Fischer's biography. While I think it's true that Brady
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intelligence is not always pretty, at least that is what I am told.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who remembers Fischer as a chess prodigy
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: my husband
Success in professional competition requires more than talent. To succeed a competitor needs a unique combination of inhuman stamina and obsessive desire – drives that enable him to revisit the unpleasant experience of every defeat in order to analyze and learn. Bobby Fischer had those qualities from the very beginning. At six, he taught himself to play chess. When his sister and mother tired of playing with him, he played against himself. At age 7 he was invited to join the Brooklyn Chess Club ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: may-june-2011
Chess has given the world many interesting words. One of the best is “zugzwang,” which is the state in which any move will disadvantage a player. Brady may have been in zugzwang when he chose to write this book. On the one hand, his friendship with and access to the famously secretive and difficult Bobby Fischer was the only thing that made the writing of a biography possible. On the other hand, several critics felt that Brady is too sympathetic to Fischer and that he tries to rationalize or exp ...more
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very good biography of the man many consider to be the greatest chess player of all time. When Fischer finally reached the top of the chess world in 1972 after defeating Boris Spassky in a memorable match, it seemed as though it would be the beginning of an era of dominance for Fischer. Instead, Fischer never defended his title and became a recluse until finally returning for one final game in 1992 to ease his financial troubles. Fischer was a genius on the chess board but off it he was childish ...more
Jul 11, 2011 added it
Tells the full story of amazing rise and sad fall. US champion at age 14 in 1956 he set the chess world on its ear and then took chess to the wider world with his victory over Boris Spassky in 1972. From there of course the story descends into what can only be described as a kind of madness. The paranoia, rage against the US government, hateful anti-semitism, picking fights with friends only trying to help him and enormous sense of superiority over all other mortals- yet it's still impossible to ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book in the Duke library. I have been into the Bobby Fischer story for a while now and saw a great documentary on him at the Full Frame Documentary festival last spring. So I had to read this book. It went into even more detail about his childhood, and development as a chess player, and vital life moments, such as the game of the century, the world championship game, and his fight against the united states government in Japan. A few key points here for my book revie ...more
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog, sports

No other chess match or game has captured the world’s attention more than the 1972 World Championship match between challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States and champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. After winning this match, Fischer became a huge celebrity and this extra attention also showed the world the other side of the man. His life both before and after this event is covered in this biography written by Frank Brady.

It illustrates a young man who was raised along with his
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Previous knowledge of chess or its masters isn't necessary to an appreciation of Bobby Fischer's story or this latest work by Frank Brady. The book is an engrossing read - well researched and full of drama. It's the story of a child prodigy, his obsessive love for the game, his foray into chess at the time that the Russians and Eastern Europeans dominated chess, and his impressive

Endgame opens with Fischer's arrest in Japan for traveling on an expired passport. His fear, confusion, and the stra
Gerry Claes
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 bef
William Thomas
There's a strange story about concerning Marlon Brando and the death of Dag Drollet, Cheyenne Brando's boyfriend, at the hands of Marlon Brando's son, Christian. Dag was shot in the Brando home and Christian claimed the shooting to be an accident. Frenzied, Marlon and the family were searching for the shell casing but couldn't find it because the carpeting was thick and deep. So Marlon Brando and all his girth decided to strip naked and roll oround on the carpeting in order to find the casing an ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Apparently,having an IQ over 180 doesn't bring you happiness. Instead, what Frank Brady describes is a life that has elements of a Greek tragedy--without the nobility. In this biography, Bobby Fischer burst on the chess scene becoming a master at 13 and a grand master at age 15. He rose like a rocket to become the American champion several years in a row, and then became world champion in 1972 in Reykjavik, Iceland after beating Russian Grand Master Boris Spassky. But then the darker side of Bob ...more
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I always like to read a biography of a genius and this was also no different.. Bobby Fischer was a promising talent in the world of chess. He started playing chess at a very early age before he had even hit the double figures. There were some initial defeats but he kept on playing and like every genius, he had the right brain for chess and his constant practice and obsession towards chess lead him to the grandest stage.
In 1972, the world's attention was directed towards Reykjavik, where the cha
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Warning: Spoiler alert.

Bobby Fischer (BF) was a boy genius who lost his mind as an adult. Playing--and becoming really good at--board games with his sister was a gateway drug to playing chess. Eventually he played so much chess as a child that he missed out on a lot of things, namely social interactions with peers. He was very bright at school--and skilled at both swimming and baseball--but chess was always a priority for him. In fact, he was absent so frequently from school because he competed
Scott Fabel
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of chess. Moreover, I believe that Bobby Fischer is quite possibly the best player to have ever lived. In this book, Bobby's life is described in near intimate detail. From his early childhood, it's clear that Bobby was a genius. In his final days, it's clear that he descended into his own type of madness--though still a genius.

Although this book is written as non-fiction, it could almost be a fictional story. The events in Bobby's life are so extraordinary that it's hard to beli
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Frank Brandy is the author of numerous critically acclaimed biographies. Internationally recognised as the greatest authority on the life and career of Bobby Fischer, he is also president of New York City's Marshall Chess Club and was the founding editor of Chess Life. ...more

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