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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
BOBBY FISCHER’S CHESS LIBRARY, INCLUDING NOTEBOOKS PREPARED FOR THE 1972 WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP UP FOR AUCTION
FISCHER, ROBERT JAMES “BOBBY.” 1943-2008.
BOBBY FISCHER’S CHESS LIBRARY, INCLUDING NOTEBOOKS PREPARED FOR THE 1972 WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP.
1. Approximately 320 volumes on chess including a few match results, various places and languages (including many Soviet imprints), 1889-1992, mostly 8vo, original bindings. Includes about a dozen presentation copies, inscribed by the authors for Fischer and two typed letters signed laid in. At least three volumes bear Fischer’s ownership signature and at least two with other notation by Fischer.
2. Approximately 400 issues of chess-related periodicals, including runs of The Chess Player, Sahovski Informator, Overboard, Revista SAH, “Waxmatbl”, and “Magyar Sakkelet” among others, mostly 1960s-1980s, various sizes, original wrappers.
3. Nine personal floppy disks (unexamined).
4. Three sets of proofs for Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games (published 1969), with the title in various stages (“My Memorable Games: 52 Tournament Games”, “My Life in Chess”) comprising a typescript with copious technical annotations, mostly printers notes, but also various changes to wording and corrections to the chess notation possibly made by Fischer, with a sketch of the title-page on drafting paper apparently in Fischer’s hand; a set of page proofs (loose, possibly in duplicate); and a partially annotated galley proof stamped June 1966.
5. Four volumes of bound typescript detailing the match history of Boris Spassky from the 1950s to 1971 (two vols as white, two as black), apparently prepared by “RGW” and with some manuscript commentary.
6. Fifteen volumes of ring- or string-bound manuscript notebooks with notation of the games of Mark Taimanov and Tigran Petrossian from the 1950s-1970, various hands.
Condition varies, generally a bit musty and a few volumes water-damaged but otherwise good or better.
Library of books and documents derived from the Pasadena storage unit where Fischer’s belongings were held after 1992. Fischer had defied the U.N. embargo against travel to Yugoslavia for his re-match against Boris Spassky and never again returned to the U.S.
The manuscript material centers on Fischer’s preparation for his historic match with Boris Spassky in 1972, certainly the most exciting moment in the history of American chess. Fischer’s win in “The Match of the Century” ended 24 years of Soviet domination of the World Championship and was viewed with elation in the doldrums of the Cold War. A telling memo appears in one of the bound typescripts: “Spassky seems to adopt defences for Black after prolonged experience with the white pieces against a particular defence. I had a conversation with Korchnoi after Hastings (January) – he had not been informed that I was preparing files for you – in which he made some remark that a possible weakness of yours was the Bc4 lines as White against the Sicilian….” Among the printed volumes there is an annotated German edition of the match record for the 1971 World Championship, many games bear Fischer’s own notes as to how the games could have been won (“31…RF4! Wins easily / 21gF Rg6 wins / 20.QFl! ” etc.)
Other highlights from the library include a copy of ANATOLY KARPOV'S Selected Chess Matches 1966-1977, Moscow, 1978 inscribed and signed by the author for Bobby Fischer, in Russian. Also an issue of Macedonian Checkmake (in Macedonian) which Fischer has signed in initials below a note, "Movies, television, tv, cassetes" from February 1972--Fischer apparently preparing for the world fame he was to attain a few months later.
It is evident that Fischer’s thirst after chess knowledge knew no national boundaries. He possessed works in multiple languages, many published from behind the Iron Curtain. Several of the Soviet and Eastern European periodicals bear Fischer’s name in manuscript on the upper cover, but were first mailed to East Berlin. Present also is a copy of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess with a note laid in seeming to indicate that Fischer planned on suing the publishers. The proofs of Fischer’s chess autobiography are heavily annotated and an interesting reminder of the amazing technical difficulty of publishing a work that can only be proofed by the author himself or a very few specialists.
Every book in the library relates to the game of chess, with the exception of Fischer’s own ”I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!” of 1982. A fascinating look into Fischer’s absolute single-mindedness in becoming the world’s greatest chess player and more specifically in attaining victory over Boris Spassky.
Estimate: $50,000 - 80,000
posted by ChessManiac.com Team Member at
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
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