Kindred’s Special: Robert Fischer, May You Finally Find Peace

The curtain has finally fallen on the life of Robert (Bobby) Fischer who reached the stormy pinnacle of World Chess Champion in 1972 by defeating Boris Spassky 12.5-8.5.

Born in March 1943, he was destined to reach the top of the chessworld in 1972, to stop playing competitively until 1992, twenty years later, once again battling Boris Spassky where he again triumphed. In a real sense, he was following in the footsteps of the great Emmanuel Lasker who likewise returned after a twenty year layoff to again defeat his peers. I was perhaps one of a few, if any, but did write that he would play again which was quite predictable. Why? Because Fischer had used the same logic of Lasker demands for defending his own title and, being a student of chess history, Fischer would logically follow his menter also in a return to the chessboard.

He has much to be remembered for by a chess public that both adored and hated him with a passion. His antics almost always frustrated organizers, and his super ego to not only win but to make his opponents squirm was legendary. Still, he performed his magic not only on the board demonstrating his skill but had over the years raised the level of chess as a sport worthy of the big time professional status it deserved.

Perhaps Fischer will be remembered for his many US Championships he won, one being an 11-0 crush of the top US talents of the day, success in the Chess Olympiad representing the United States, and his strong desire to advance playing conditions in chess competitions. His spectacular run up to vying for the world title by defeating Taimanov and Larsen with 6-0 match wins and former World Champion Petrosian with 5 wins, l loss and 3 draws to score 6.5-2.5 perhaps will never be matched again by any future challenger.

Fischer was wise enough to patent the idea practiced as a type of variant he coined Fischer-random.

It is a black mark on the historical record of American history that Fischer was condemned for participating in Yugoslavia–a match arranged with Boris Spassky. President Bush’s state department issued a warrant for his arrest for violating the so-called sanctions against Yugoslavia thus making him an outlaw from his own country. Later, he gave up his US citizenship and voiced bitterness toward his homeland and living out his final days never to see his country he fought for in chessic battles that won high praise from a thankful nation. He lived his dream: TO RETURN THE WORLD TITLE TO AMERICAN SOIL.

One might wonder why family and close friends would not have seen the danger signs of Fischer’s deteriorating paranoic behavior, his mental illness that records show a steady progression among all patients. It reminds me that it is so easy to kick someone when he or she is abnormal and to be cold, angry and unforgiving with outbursts that usually are uncontrollable.

How very sad.

Fischer’s life ended on Earth on January 17, 2008 at the age of 64. He left the world of chess a huge wealth of wonderfully exciting and hard fought battles and in a strange way, an almost childlike innocence that questions a parent with one phrase: “Why did you abuse me so?” Shame on America.

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