Rook to Bat-shit 7, or, Death of the Fischer king

When I was a kid we didn’t have a TV in the house. I did a lot of reading (every Spiderman comic book, among other middle-to-low brow stuff) which occasionally included the shiny set of Encyclopedia Americana (we couldn’t afford the Britannica model). One of my favorite items featured Bobby Fischer, wonder kid of the chess set. The entry featured the opening 12 moves of a game in which he pwned some Russky master.

I memorized those moves and used them every game I played as a young teenager. It was one helluva of opening despite the fact it often made absolutely no sense in game context, piercing dagger-like into the heart of my opponent. My middle and end games sadly had no similar style or panache. If I won, it was because of Bobby Fischer and his early-game devastation.

I haven’t played chess in years, and I really don’t have the kind of mind that masters chess, but the other night when he died, I wanted to forget all those creepy sad years, and pay tribute to the fire of his youth, and what he did for all of us on this side of the cold war…yeah, you ‘Red’ bastards might have beat us into space, but we got a kid that’ll whip your mental ass.

Goodbye, you crazy diamond.



Filed under journey

3 responses to “Rook to Bat-shit 7, or, Death of the Fischer king

  1. Paul B

    Right on! Great comments on remembering Bobby for what he accomplished.

  2. Can’t say RIP for the man who was probably to chess what Ty Cobb was to baseball– for a time, the best there was.

    But also a miserable, tortured human being.

    We can’t help who impacts our lives, and when those that did pass on, I guess it’s reasonable to reflect.

    I had a lot of fun that summer of ’72; a lot of Americans did. It opened a new world to many of us, and it loomed large as a bloodless Cold War victory until it was surpassed by the “Miracle On Ice” in 1980.

    I thought the tone of “Searching For Bobby Fischer”, a really nice movie, hit it about right– Fischer after 1972 was so despicable, but so clearly mentally ill, that it was just….sad.

  3. nm

    Oh, that was a lovely movie.

    I’m no chess player, but my high school had the state champion chess team several years running. We used to take pride in that, and I knew one guy who made a living for years as a chess and backgammon hustler.

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