Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Did Success Kill Bobby Fischer?

In his day, he was the best chess player in the world, maybe the best the world had ever seen. For fans of the game, the tragedy is that his day passed all too quickly. And for the last 30-odd years of his life, Bobby Fischer was the chess world's mad uncle, an embarrassment to be apologized for, belittled or ignored. He died last week at the evocative age of 64.


Anonymous said...

What a marvelously evocative post, Michael. I saw Bobby Fischer up close, my guess is sometime around forty to forty-five years ago. My impression, that stays with me, was that he was a person who oriented his entire life to do one thing well: play chess better than anyone had ever done it. I think of him as the Ted Williams of chess, or maybe Williams was the Bobby Fischer of hitting. But I've often wondered if the "mad uncle" phase began when he imagined that his game would not get any better.

Michael Wade said...


I remember when Bobby Fischer was chess, at least for Americans. He's a rather tragic figure. Ted Williams also had that focus but he probably got a lot more out of life.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bobby Fischer WAS chess for us. He was also, at least for a lot of us around my age who grew up in New York, one of the people held up as another example of eccentric genius. The trajectories of lives are amazing. His certainly was.