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Bobby Fischer - The Legend, Psychology And The Man

Updated on November 25, 2014

Fischer considers his next move.


Eccentric, crazy, genius and anti-Semite. Fischer was known as many things, and conjured a variety of emotions in people. To some, he was the eccentric genius who played chess with strokes of divinity. To others, simply a raving lunatic whose thoughts and presence hailed anger and consternation.

You could say just about anything about the man. Only one thing stands uncontested.

He could play one helluva game of chess.

The Opening.

Bobby was born in the United states on the ninth of march 1943. When Bobby was six his sister bought a chess-set from the candy store on the street below their apartment. Fischer became fascinated (perhaps out of boredom) with the instructions that came with the chess-set. For a year he taught himself how to play, aided by a chess book which was given to him by his parents.

At seven he joined the Brooklyn Chess Club, where he was tutored by its president Carmine Nigro. His game progressed at a thunderous rate and soon he joined the Manhattan Chess club where he was tutored by Grandmaster Arnold Denker. Denker also served a friend to Bobby, becoming an early influence in his life. The two would become life-long friends.

In July 1956, at the age of 12, Fischer won the United States Junior Chess Championship. An unprecedented achievement (the record still holds).

At 16 Bobby was already taking shots at world title.

Middle Game.

Bobby Fisher's route to the top of the world lasted nine- tortuous years. A time which was fundamental in forming the controversial psyche he is renowned for having.

  • Bobby began to spar with the Chess stars of his age. At 16 he tied first with Boris Spassky at the important Mar del Plata tournament in Argentina.
  • He subsequently struggled at the Buenos Aires tournament. It would mark the only blemish on his competitive career .
  • At the age of 19, Fischer became the strongest non-Soviet player in the world.
  • 1963-1969 became an important and shaping period in Fischer's life. He sank into semi-retirement, claiming personal problems. He listened to radio ministers in search of answers. However, after this brief respite Fischer began his road to become the World Chess Champion.
  • In 1972 Fischer was set to play the world Championship match against his life-long rival Spassky. Fischer and Spassky had problems agreeing on the terms of the match. Location and prize money. After donations set the prize fund at $250,000 (an unprecedented amount) Fischer finally agreed to play.
  • The match was played from July to September in Iceland. Fischer began to demonstrate some paranoiac tendencies. He insisted that the match be played away from the cameras.
  • Fischer won the match, a victory dwarfed by Cold-War propaganda.
  • "the iconoclastic American almost single-handedly defeating the mighty Soviet chess establishment that had dominated world chess for the past quarter-century" Source.
  • The match was known as the "Match of the century", and given a tremendous amount of media coverage in the United States.


Bobby was often critisized for his seemingly Anti-Jewish slurs and rampant sexism. His egotism and colossal self-worth. He was meticulous in appearance, to the point of it becoming an obsession. The duality of his name caused for much resentment and admiration.

  • Bobby Fischer's current state of mind is indeed a tragedy. One of the world's greatest chess players - the pride and sorrow of American chess. -- Frank Brady
  • Regardless of Bobby's recent hate-filled rantings, which I abhor, he is nonetheless one of the greatest chessplayers of all time. -- Frank Brady

On jews:

  • "America is totally under control of the Jews, you know. I mean, look what they're doing in Yugoslavia."

On his "Ego":

  • "I am the best player in the world and I am here to prove it."

  • "That statement is accurate, but Lisa Lane really wouldn't be in a position to know. They're all weak, all women. They're stupid compared to men. They shouldn't play chess, you know. They're like beginners. They lose every single game against a man. There isn't a woman player in the world I can't give knight-odds to and still beat."

Bobby was also known to complain bitterly over the conditions in which a game would be played. he would argue over the location, prize, cameras, and rules. He was also know to be very aggressive with regards to his adversaries and competition. An attitude which reflected his strategy and approach to chess.

  • "I like the moment when I break a man's ego."

Exile - End Game.

Bobby Fischer continues to inspire and torment even today as he lives in exile in Iceland. Even steadfast Fischer apologists were forced to roll their eyes with a dramatic sigh when Fischer commented on the happenings of September 11th 2001.

'This is all wonderful news,' he announced. 'I applaud the act. The US and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians, just slaughtering them for years. Robbing them and slaughtering them. Nobody gave a shit. Now it's coming back to the US. Fuck the US. I want to see the US wiped out.'

Chess Is Life

Bobby Fischer.

Some say the facts that paint his life speak for themselves. I do not hold this to be true. In order to understand Bobby, we must understand the concept that drives him. The underlying philosophy.

Kasparov once remarked that Fischer is the true hybrid of Chess and man. Stuck between two worlds but belonging to niether. I agree with this sentiment. I believe it is the key in understanding the man, as well as the legend.

"Chess is life" Bobby Fischer.


Submit a Comment
  • Sembj profile image


    10 years ago

    I thought I'd write under separate cover to let you know that I am pretty certain Bobby died in 2008. I expect you to delete rather than post this note. (His death might make a nice update or afterword to the Hub.)



  • Sembj profile image


    10 years ago

    Great Hub. I remember when just about everyone took up chess when Fisher was at his zenith. His ability to really introduce chess to the US and make it popular seemed something of a miracle at the time; this achievement alone must dwarf his flaws and faults that seem partly explained by someone who was obviously suffering from mental illness. Enjoyable synopsis, thanks.

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    10 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Thanks bojanglesk8!

  • bojanglesk8 profile image


    10 years ago

    Great hub!

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    he rocks my socks. :)

  • AuraGem profile image


    13 years ago from Victoria, Australia

    "a true hybrid of chess and man" - amazing words that seem to resonate a little deeper into legend status now that his earthly moments have passed!

    Great hub!

    Smiles and Light

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    13 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Thank you SanFernando!

    I agree completely. He is and always will be a source of inspiration. You may feel inclined to dismiss the man, but none of us knew him personally. One thing that stood out was his excellence, talent and genius. Something nobody can dismiss. His legacy is in the moves, not in psychology, as he so aptly pointed out himself.

  • SanFernando profile image


    13 years ago

    Bobby Fischer was an inspiration to us kids, taking on the Soviet Grand Masters at their own game during the dark days of the 'cold war'. I was rooting for him and boy did he kick Kasparov's butt. He was the Mohamed Ali of the Chess World. He lived his life the way he wanted to. He was dished out a lot of crap over his stands by the establishment in a so called free speech environment. And that was in the days before Fox News. May he rest in peace.....

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    yeah, thoog, that's why I remembered it. I read it a few dayz ago here in your hub and then the news today. a genius has passed away. and personally, I liked his arrogance and his sexism, although I'd pass on his anti-semitic self-hatred.

    I hope he does rest in peace.

  • djtphn1 profile image


    13 years ago from Riverside County, California

    Weird, I thought you actually wrote this hub knowing that he died today.  I heard it on NPR and remember there was a movie about him at one point.....oh, yes, it is up in one of your ads....anyways, it was a good movie, Searching for Bobbie Fisher....saw it a long time ago.....anyways, very well written hub, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and your style of writing.

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    13 years ago from Rome, Italy

    I read that he died today, then remembered I made this hub not long ago, and proceeded to freak out. Maybe I should write a hub on Kim Jon-il!?

    RIP bobby, I'll never forget you playing as white against Spassky :(

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    yeah, I read that he died today and thought of this hub. you might want to add an article to your hub.

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    13 years ago from Rome, Italy

    thank you for the comment Kevin ;)

    That's an interesting point!

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    Had Bobby Fischer just stuck with chess, people would have compared Tiger Woods to him now a days. Chess would be as popular as golf. In that sense he did a disservice to US chess. But considering his genius and influence, let's call it a even.

    RIP Bobby!

  • Peter M. Lopez profile image

    Peter M. Lopez 

    13 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

    Fascinating hub thooghun. Fisher was indeed quite a character.

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    13 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Nope hes been seeking to avoid deportation to the U.S. He's been living in Iceland since March 23, 2005. Although I believe he also was granted political asylum in Germany. He was also arrested in Japan :P

  • Whitney05 profile image


    13 years ago from Georgia

    I've never heard of Bobby Fischer, maybe because I'm not into chess. But, he seems like an interesting man.

  • templar profile image


    13 years ago from Born in Vancouver, Canada...Living in Paris, France

    i thought he was still around san francisco...was iceland a temporary move?

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    13 years ago from Rome, Italy

    I've haven't been playing chess for more than a few years, although it's already enough to appreciate the greatness and skill he had accumulated.

    Marm, thanks so much for commenting, I promise I'll get round to returning the favor! ;)

  • MrMarmalade profile image


    13 years ago from Sydney

    When He was 12 I had only just learn to play chess. Formed a chess Club in the District and had group meetings of about average twenty every week.

    Many years ago I was very sick and in hospital for ten weeks and virtually gave up chess. son three occasionally gives me a game which I appear to loose.

    Have forgotten Bobbie Fischer many years ago, even though he was my chess hero.

    Thank you for the memory.

  • JamesRay profile image


    13 years ago from Philadelphia

    I have always been fascinated by Fischer. While his attitudes towards Jews and women are patently offensive and borderline crazy, he does seem to have been a true genius, a real prodigy. A Mozart with rooks and bishops instead of keys and strings.

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    13 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Yes, I love it too! It's fairly revealing.

  • compu-smart profile image

    Tony Sky 

    13 years ago from London UK

    I love the quote, I don’t believe in psychology. I believe in good moves...

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    13 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Thank you very much libra. His chess inspired me to look a little closer. Strangely, his eccentricity doesn't dissapoint ;)

  • libra profile image


    13 years ago

    Fischer is indeed a legend. Used to be fascinated by him when I used to spend more time on chess. Thanks for your interesting hub on his life.

  • Coeus profile image


    13 years ago from All over the world and then some.

    Love it. One of the great chess legends laid bare.


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