BOBBY FISCHER

Wherever you go in the world you'll find chess players and wherever you find chess players you'll find people who know of Bobby Fischer, the greatest chess player in the history of America, and without doubt one of the greatest chess players of all-time. Fischer’s adventures, on and off the board, have been chronicled in many chess books and articles.

Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was born March 9, 1943 in Chicago Illinois, moving to at an early age. Bobby was fascinated with the game of chess even when he was just six years old. In fact he didn’t even want new friends unless they played chess. Fischer quickly made an impression on the local chess community. In the 1954 club championship, he tied for third to fifth-place even though most of his competition was several times his age. It didn't take long for Bobby Fischer to leap into the national tournament scene. In 1955 he participated in the U.S. junior a quite respectable even score considering he was only twelve years old. 

In 1956 he won the U.S. junior championship in Philadelphia won eight games drawn one end dropping just one. That same year he came to the attention of the entire chess world winning a brilliant game against Donald Byrne at the Rosenwald Memorial in New York City. A year later he not only won the U.S. Junior Championships with eight wins and just one draw, but also won the U.S. Open winning eight games and drawing four. Then  he won the United States championship, held in New York City. 

Name

Robert J. "Bobby" Fischer

Country

USA

Born

March 9, 1943

Death

January 17, 2008

Title

Grandmaster

Peak Rating

2785

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In 1958 it was time for major international competition and Bobby Fischer was invited to a qualifying stage for the world championship. The tournament, known as an Interzonal, was held in Yugoslavia. He managed a very impressive tie for fifth and sixth place. Then he came back to New York and won the U.S. championship again, something which is going to be quite routine for him. He did it again in 1959 and in 1960 and1962. Bobby won the Interzonal tournament in Stockholm qualifying him to move on to a tournament of world championship candidates in Curacao .He finished fourth in that event, and then went off to win the U.S. championship yet again.

In 1963 Bobby Fischer achieved a result never matched in the history of American chess. He not only won the United States championship again, he won all 11 games, no draws, no defeats! To win a 12 player tournament with a perfect score is an almost impossible achievement, especially when all of the opponents are qualified chess masters.

It was time to make a serious bid for the world championship. In 1966 he took on many of the world's top players in the famous Piatigorski Cup in Santa Monica , California .He finished second there, then dominated the chess Olympiad in Havana  scoring 14 wins, two draws and only single loss. Then it was off to win yet another United States championship in New York so the stage was sacked for him to participate in a qualifying stage is for the 1969 world championship. That started with the Interzonal tournament in Sousse , Tunisia .Things were going quite well but after winning seven games and drawing three Bobby withdrew from the event.

Fortunately, in 1970 he was able to participate in the Interzonal tournament in, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He tore through the field winning 15 games, drawing seven and losing only won two to take first-place. Now he had to defeat three of the world's strong chess players in individual matches before he could challenge World Champion Boris Spassky.. Bobby Fischer not only achieved the goal, but he did so in a way that has never been duplicated an almost certainly never will. He smashed Mark Taimanov, a top Russian player, 6-0 with no draws. That remarkable achievement was followed by shutting out Bent Larson, the highly talented Danish player, by the same score. Against Tigran Petrosian, the world champion who held the title until Spassky took it away, he did lose one game, but won five and drew three to easily take the match. The stage was set for the dramatic confrontation between the famous Russian Boris Spassky world champion from Communist Soviet Union and Bobby Fischer the brash, unpredictable American.

When Bobby defeated Spassky by winning seven drawing 11 and losing three, he drew attention from the entire world. The Communist side in the Cold War considered themselves invulnerable at the chess board. A single American smashed all that and although Russia has continued to more or less dominate the world chess scene, the domination could never again be complete. Of the first ten world champions, the Soviet Union had produced five in a row. The defeat was a major psychological blow to the Soviet government. Bobby Fischer had clobbered the Soviet “army”.

In a dispute over regulations for his title defense, Bobby Fischer had the title taken away from him by the World Chess Federation. He did not show up to defend his title and so it went to the winner of the Candidates’ match between two Russian players, with Anatoly Karpov becoming the twelfth world champion. Unfortunately Karpov never played Fischer. Bobby went into self-imposed exile from the game, not to play chess for 20 years. When he was an active player he stuck to a fairly narrow set of chess openings, being an advocate of the Ruy Lopez as White and Najdorf Sicilian as Black.

In 1992, Bobby did play a match against his old nemesis Boris Spassky and defeated him handily. He didn’t play another serious game, and died in exile in Iceland, site of his greatest triumph, in 2008.

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