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Did Bobby Fischer Use Psychics To Win?

Updated on December 6, 2017

Bobby Fischer

Years ago when I was an avid chess fan I developed a great fondness for Bobby Fischer and have often, arguably, viewed him as the best chess player in history. Fischer, after turning 23, refused to lose a tournament or match for the rest of his career.

With the computer age and modern chess it's almost impossible to imagine such domination in the game. Currently Magnus Carlsen is the world champion and the most comparable player in terms of strength over the rest of the player base, but even Magnus has a bad day every now and again.

In physical sports when a player performs well above the standard, rumors sometimes circulate about substance abuse, cheating, etc. Chess has seen its share of accusations over the years to include the deployment of psychics.

Is it possible there is some merit to these claims?



In May of 1972 Fischer faced Spassky in the world chess championship. It was an exciting time for chess. By the 8th game Spassky began to state that Fischer was hypnotizing him and by the 14th game Spassky felt there was an attempt to control his mind during the match. This put the KGB on alert which then prompted a search of the premises to include even x-rays. The common person would simply assume Spassky was a sore loser. Without any other variables applied it would be easy to assume that.

A few years later a similar complaint appeared in a chess match between Karpov and Korchnoi. One of the attending members of Karpov's party was Vladimir Zukhar who was described as a parapsychologist. Zukhar sat in the front row staring at Korchnoi until he complained of being hypnotized. Eventually Zukhar was moved further back into the seating. Korchnoi was being completely destroyed in the match 4 to 1, but was eventually able to tie it to 5-5 after bringing in his own psychics to counter Zukhar. Once again is this the sign of a sore loser or something more?


The Russell Targ Connection

Russell Targ is the component that brings many of the variables together. Targ is well known for working with US Intelligence Agencies in remote viewing among other things. Remote viewing is the ability to look at location anywhere, but from the comfort of your current location. There are numerous books on this topic and if you have the time it's a fun rabbit hole to go down. The reason I focus on Targ is because in the late 50s Russell married Fischer's sister Joan which provides a very convenient connection for Bobby.

Remote viewing research bleeds into remote influencing or the ability to project your thoughts and ideas into someone else. If you don't believe in this sort of thing then there may be no current evidence to change your mind, but if there was an inkling of truth to these things then one could expect it would have very well happened during the Fischer vs Spassky match in the 70s and possibly through most of Fischer's career.



It will always be difficult to know the numerous variables that change and manipulate our lives, but the once constant is that people have always looked for ways to control other people. With numerous studies and financial investments by governments it's certainly interesting to speculate on just what powers the mind actually does have. Accusations of cheating in chess still pop up every year but are often blamed on computer use. Perhaps technology now overshadows remote influencing or players have just found a new accuse for losing.


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