Archive for the ‘History’ category

How Did Bobby Fischer do it?

October 30th, 2015

What was the greatest chess accomplishment of Robert J. Fischer? Not winning the World Chess Championship in 1972, according to some authorities, becoming the first American to hold that title. It was in sweeping two matches in a row against two of the top grandmasters in the world, in 1971:

  • 6-0 against Mark Taimanov
  • 6-0 against Bent Larsen

That’s twelve wins, no loses, no draws. Never before or since has a grandmaster attained such a one-sided victory against two top-level grandmasters. Indeed, Taimanov and Larsen were playing Fischer in those two matches because they had qualified for the challenging contests leading to the world championship match. Few grandmasters reach that level of achievement, to play in those matches. But what other chess player accomplished what Bobby Fischer did: Winning twelve games out of twelve against such strong grandmasters?

How can the non-chess player understand the magnitude of Fischer’s accomplishment in those two matches? It’s like a major league pitcher playing two complete games in a World Series, both games pitched perfectly: no hits, no runs, no walks.

World Chess Champion Robert James Fischer

Chess Book Written by Fischer

My 60 Memorable Games was written by Robert J. Fischer, in contrast to the book Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, which was not. The 2009 edition of My 60 Memorable Games was ranked #20 in chess books sold on Amazon (October 30, 2015). Although the life of this World Chess Champion, away from the board, has been controversial, the Amazon customer reviews for his book have given it very high praises, with 93% giving it five or four stars. The combined total of one and two stars comes to only 6%.

Chess Book Written About Him

Searching for Bobby Fischer, by Fred Waitzkin, has also been highly praised, also with 93% of the Amazon reader-reviewers giving it five or four stars. That book was made into a movie of the same title.

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Best Chess Book for a Beginner

“This is a book for the raw beginner” who knows the rules of chess but not much else.

Robert James Fischer

At age 20, Fischer won the 1963–64 U.S. Championship with 11/11, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. . . . In 1972, he captured the World Chess Championship from Boris Spassky of the USSR . . .

Beginner Chess Book

Many chess competitors would find Beat That Kid in Chess too elementary . . . Yet how many persons know the rules of chess but have hardly a clue about how to play well!

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