Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bobby Fischer

I followed the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match closely, although I was far too weak a chess player to fully appreciate what was going on.
Still, it was nice to see a board game capture the attention of the public. The match catapulted chess into the American consciousness and things have never been quite the same for the game. Even people who've never played have an appreciation and respect for the game.
My children's elementary school had a chess club, like many across America. Here in New London there's ChessFest every year. Each is a small legacy of Fischer.
It's a shame that Fischer, himself, was such a troubled and self-centered person that he doesn't seem cared much about the impact he had on others. And there's no denying that he became a distinctly unpleasant person with obnoxious political views.
Fortunately for him, though, the memory of his antics will fade with time. But the brilliance of his game play will endure among students of the game for centuries to come. He won't be the first brilliant chess mind to be revealed as a flawed human being, but like his predecessors that won't matter much.

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