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  • Arizona Chess News: January 2005

    Friday, January 28, 2005

    Arizona: Bobby Fischer is a Ferocious Winner


    Angry voices rattled the door to Bobby Fischer's hotel room as I raised my hand to knock. "Goddammit, I'm sick of it!" I heard Bobby shouting. "I'm sick of seeing people! I got to work, I got to rest! Why didn't you ask me before you set up all those appointments? To hell with them!" Then I heard the mild and dignified executive director of the U.S. Chess Federation addressing the man who may well be the greatest chess player in world history in a tone just slightly lower than a yell: "Bobby, ever since we came to Buenos Aires I've done nothing but take care of you, day and night. You ungrateful ---!"

    It was 3 p.m., a bit early for Fischer to be up. Ten minutes later, finding the hall silent, I risked a knock and Fischer cracked the door. "Oh yeah, the guy from LIFE. Come on in." His smile was broad and boyish but his eyes were wary. Tall, wide and flat, with a head too small for his big body, he put me in mind of a pale transhuman sculpture by Henry Moore. I had seen him twice before but never so tired.

    Saturday, January 22, 2005

    Arizona: The Chess of Bobby Fischer

    Fischer's games are so full of ideas, from opening adventures to the themes of composed endings, that they are in themselves the best introduction to the pleasures of the game. In the arduous path to chess mastery, enjoyment is the surest driving force. In the words of Bobby Fischer, "You can get good only if you love the game."

    So much has been written about Fischer as a personality that the general public, including the chess fraternity, has been blinded to his chess. His games have been analyzed over and over in the chess journals. He has published three books himself, with varying degrees of help from other authors. Yet his winning methods, his unique contributions to the larger body of chess knowledge, and his rightful place in the history of the game have been overshadowed by all the publicity.

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Arizona: The Mind of Bobby Fischer

    There is probably no other topic that intrigues chessplayers as much as the inner machinations of the mind of Bobby Fischer. Among world chess champions of the past, there has always been a strong equation between their demonstrable talents in other intellectual areas and their supreme proficiency in chess - despite attempts by the general press to depict them as bizarre, egotistical, single-minded renegades from society. Emanuel Lasker was a noted mathematician, philosopher, and friend of Albert Einstein. Alexander Alekhine paused in the middle of his pursuit of the championship to take a law degree at the Sorbonne and was a prolific writer in several languages. Mikhail Botvinnik has been highly decorated by the Soviet Union for his work as an engineer and has done pioneer work in the field of computer chess. Capablanca was a diplomat - honorary, it is true, but effective nevertheless. Euwe has been a professor of mathematics and is currently the president of FIDE, the world chess organization. And I could go on down the list of other great players.