Bobby Fischer
Overview
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was an American chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 Grandmaster
International Grandmaster
The title Grandmaster is awarded to strong chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain....

 and the 11th World Chess Champion
World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Men and women of any age are eligible to contest this title....

. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author. After ending his competitive career, he proposed a new variant of chess and a modified chess timing
Game clock
A game clock consists of two adjacent clocks and buttons to stop one clock while starting the other, such that the two component clocks never run simultaneously. Game clocks are used in two-player games where the players move in turn...

 system: His idea of adding a time increment after each move is now standard, and his variant Chess960
Chess960
Chess960 is a chess variant invented and advocated by former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer, originally announced on June 19, 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It employs the same board and pieces as standard chess, but the starting position of the pieces is randomized along the players' home...

 is gaining in popularity.

Widely considered a "chess legend", at age 13 Fischer won a "brilliancy" that became known as The Game of the Century
The Game of the Century (chess)
The Game of the Century usually refers to a chess game played between Donald Byrne and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City on October 17, 1956. It was nicknamed "The Game of the Century" by Hans Kmoch in Chess Review...

.
Quotations

Best by test.

On 1.e4, My 60 Memorable Games, 1969

I have never opened with the QP - on principle.

On 1.d4, My 60 Memorable Games, 1969

Patzer sees a check, gives a check.

My 60 Memorable Games, 1969

Encyclopedia
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was an American chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 Grandmaster
International Grandmaster
The title Grandmaster is awarded to strong chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain....

 and the 11th World Chess Champion
World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Men and women of any age are eligible to contest this title....

. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author. After ending his competitive career, he proposed a new variant of chess and a modified chess timing
Game clock
A game clock consists of two adjacent clocks and buttons to stop one clock while starting the other, such that the two component clocks never run simultaneously. Game clocks are used in two-player games where the players move in turn...

 system: His idea of adding a time increment after each move is now standard, and his variant Chess960
Chess960
Chess960 is a chess variant invented and advocated by former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer, originally announced on June 19, 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It employs the same board and pieces as standard chess, but the starting position of the pieces is randomized along the players' home...

 is gaining in popularity.

Widely considered a "chess legend", at age 13 Fischer won a "brilliancy" that became known as The Game of the Century
The Game of the Century (chess)
The Game of the Century usually refers to a chess game played between Donald Byrne and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City on October 17, 1956. It was nicknamed "The Game of the Century" by Hans Kmoch in Chess Review...

. Starting at age 14, he played in eight United States Championships, winning each by at least a point. At 15½, he became both the youngest grandmaster and the youngest candidate
Candidates Tournament
The Candidates Tournament is a chess tournament organized by the world chess federation FIDE since 1950, as the final contest to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship...

 for the World Championship up until that time. He won the 1963–64 U.S. Championship 11–0, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. In the early 1970s he became the most dominant player in modern history—winning the 1970 Interzonal
Interzonal
Interzonal chess tournaments were tournaments organized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and were a stage in the triennial World Chess Championship cycle.- Zonal tournaments :...

 by a record 3½-point margin and winning 20 consecutive games, including two unprecedented 6–0 sweeps in the Candidates Matches. According to research by Jeff Sonas
Jeff Sonas
Jeff Sonas is known as a statistical chess analyst who invented the Chessmetrics system for rating chess players, which is intended as an improvement on the Elo rating system. He is the founder and proprietor of the Chessmetrics.com website, which gives Sonas' calculations of the ratings of current...

, in 1971 Fischer had separated himself from the rest of the world by a larger margin of playing skill than any player since the 1870s. He became the first official World Chess Federation (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) (FIDE) number-one rated chess player in July 1971, and his 54 total months at number one is the third longest of all time.

In 1972, he captured the World Championship from Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

 of the USSR in a match held in Reykjavík
Reykjavík
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city in Iceland.Its latitude at 64°08' N makes it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay...

, Iceland, that was widely publicized as a Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 confrontation. The match attracted more worldwide interest than any chess match before or since. In 1975, Fischer declined to defend his title when he could not come to agreement with FIDE over the conditions for the match. He became more reclusive and did not play competitive chess again until 1992, when he won an unofficial rematch against Spassky. The competition was held in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, which was then under a United Nations embargo. This led to a conflict with the U.S. government, which was also seeking income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 from Fischer on his match winnings, and Fischer never returned to his native country.

In his later years, Fischer lived in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Germany, the Philippines, Japan, and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

. During this time he made increasingly anti-American and antisemitic statements, despite his Jewish ancestry. He publicly expressed criticism of the U.S., stating his belief that, "Nobody has single-handedly done more for the U.S. than me. But now I’m not useful anymore, you see. The Cold War is over and now they want to wipe me out, get everything I have, put me into prison." After his U.S. passport
Passport
A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

 was revoked over the Yugoslavia sanctions issue, he was detained by Japanese authorities for nine months in 2004 and 2005 under threat of deportation. In February 2005, Iceland granted him right of residence as a "stateless" alien and issued him a passport. When Japan refused to release him on that basis, Iceland's parliament voted in March 2005 to give him full citizenship. The Japanese authorities then released him to Iceland, where he lived until his death in 2008.

Early years

Bobby Fischer was born at Michael Reese Hospital
Michael Reese Hospital
Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center was an American hospital founded in 1881. In its heyday, it was a major research and teaching hospital and one of the oldest and largest hospitals in Chicago, Illinois. It was located on the near south side of Chicago, next to Lake Shore Drive Michael...

 in Chicago, Illinois on March 9, 1943. His birth certificate listed his father as Hans-Gerhardt Fischer, a German biophysicist
Biophysics
Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that uses the methods of physical science to study biological systems. Studies included under the branches of biophysics span all levels of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems...

. His mother, Regina Wender Fischer, was an American citizen of Polish-Russian Jewish descent, born in Switzerland and raised in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. She later became a teacher, a registered nurse, and a physician. The couple married in 1933 in Moscow, USSR, where Regina was studying medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 at the First Moscow Medical Institute. They divorced in 1945 when Bobby was two years old, and he grew up with his mother and his elder sister, Joan
Joan Targ
Joan Fischer Targ was a pioneer in computer education. She was the older sister of chess champion Bobby Fischer.-Early years:...

. In 1948, the family moved to Mobile, Arizona
Mobile, Arizona
Mobile is a community in Goodyear, Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is situated about 35 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona, and has a population of less than 100. Mobile is also home to a number of solid-waste landfills. Lufthansa operates a private airport to the north of Mobile, used...

, where Regina taught in an elementary school. The following year they moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she worked as an elementary school teacher and nurse.

A 2002 article by Peter Nicholas and Clea Benson of The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer is a morning daily newspaper that serves the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area of the United States. The newspaper was founded by John R. Walker and John Norvell in June 1829 as The Pennsylvania Inquirer and is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the...

 argued that Paul Nemenyi
Paul Nemenyi
Paul Felix Nemenyi was a Jewish Hungarian physicist and mathematician specializing in fluid dynamics...

, a Hungarian Jewish physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

, was Fischer's biological father. The article quoted an FBI report which stated that Regina Fischer returned to the United States in 1939, while Hans-Gerhardt Fischer never entered the United States, having been refused admission by U.S. immigration officials because of alleged Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 sympathies. Regina and Nemenyi were reported to have had an affair in 1942. Additionally, Paul Nemenyi made monthly child support payments to her, and paid for Fischer's schooling until his own death in 1952. Separately, Fischer later told the Hungarian chess player Zita Rajcsanyi that Nemenyi would sometimes show up at the family's Brooklyn apartment and take him on outings. Regina Fischer had told a social worker that she had traveled to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 to see Hans-Gerhardt in June 1942, and that Bobby was conceived during that meeting.

In May 1949, the six-year-old Fischer and his sister learned how to play chess using the instructions from a chess set bought at a candy store below their Brooklyn apartment. When the family vacationed at Patchogue
Patchogue, New York
-Notable citizens:* Franc D'Ambrosio, Broadway Actor, best known for being the longest running Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. Graduated Pat-Med HS 1981* Michael Fagan, professional bowler...

, Long Island that summer, Bobby found a book of old chess games, and studied it intensely. On November 14, 1950, his mother sent a postcard to the Brooklyn Eagle
Brooklyn Eagle
The Brooklyn Daily Bulletin began publishing when the original Eagle folded in 1955. In 1996 it merged with a newly revived Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and now publishes a morning paper five days a week under the Brooklyn Daily Eagle name...

 newspaper, seeking to place an ad inquiring whether other children of Bobby's age might be interested in playing chess with him. The paper rejected her ad because no one could figure out how to classify it, but forwarded her inquiry to Hermann Helms
Hermann Helms
Helms, Hermann was an American chess player, writer, and promoter.- Biography :Helms was born in Brooklyn, but spent much of his childhood in Hamburg, Germany and in Halifax, Canada, where a schoolmate taught him chess. He returned to live in Brooklyn at age 17, and settled in Brooklyn...

, the "Dean of American Chess", who told her that master Max Pavey
Max Pavey
Max Pavey was an American chess master and medical doctor. Pavey was of at least International Master strength.- Biography :...

 would be giving a simultaneous exhibition
Simultaneous exhibition
A simultaneous exhibition or simultaneous display is a board game exhibition in which one player plays multiple games at a time with a number of other players. Such an exhibition is often referred to simply as a "simul".In a regular simul, no chess clocks are used...

 on January 17, 1951. Fischer played in the exhibition, losing in 15 minutes. One of the spectators was Carmine Nigro
Carmine Nigro
Carmine Nigro |Georgia]]) was Bobby Fischer's first chess coach. Fischer later became an internationally recognized chess Grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion.-Biography:...

, president of the Brooklyn Chess Club, who introduced him to the club and began teaching him. Fischer attended the club regularly, intensified his interest, and gained playing strength rapidly. In the summer of 1955, the then 12-year-old Fischer joined the Manhattan Chess Club
Manhattan Chess Club
The Manhattan Chess Club in Manhattan was the second-oldest chess club in the United States . The club was founded in 1877 and started with three dozen players; membership later reached into the hundreds before the club ended its existence in 2002...

, the strongest in the country.
In June 1956, Fischer began attending the "Hawthorne Chess Club", which was actually master John W. Collins
John W. Collins
John William Collins or Jack Collins, was an influential American teacher of chess.Collins was born and raised in Newburgh, New York, but lived most of his life in New York City. He became a chess master in the 1930s...

' home. Collins had earlier coached some of the country's leading players, including Robert Byrne, Donald Byrne
Donald Byrne
Donald Byrne was one of the USA's strongest chess players during the 1950s and 1960s.Born in New York City, he won the U.S. Open Chess Championship in 1953, was awarded the International Master title by FIDE in 1962, and played for or captained five U.S. Chess Olympiad teams between 1962 and 1972...

, and William Lombardy
William Lombardy
William James Lombardy is an American Grandmaster of chess, writer, teacher, and one-time Catholic priest.- Life and career :...

. Fischer played thousands of blitz
Blitz chess
Fast chess, also known as blitz chess, lightning chess, sudden death, speed chess, bullet chess and rapid chess, is a type of chess game in which each side is given less time to make their moves than under the normal tournament time controls of 60 to 180 minutes per player.-Overview:The different...

 and offhand games with Collins and other strong players, began studying the books in Collins' large chess library, and ate almost as many dinners at Collins' home as his own. Future grandmaster Arnold Denker
Arnold Denker
Arnold Sheldon Denker was an American chess player, Grandmaster, and chess author. He was U.S. Chess Champion in 1945 and 1946....

 was also a mentor to young Bobby, often taking him to watch the New York Rangers
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based in the borough of Manhattan in New York, New York, USA. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League . Playing their home games at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers are one of the...

 play hockey
Hockey
Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick.-Etymology:...

 at Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden (1925)
Madison Square Garden was an indoor arena in New York City, the third of that name. It was built in 1925 and closed in 1968, and was located on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan on the site of the city's trolley car barns. It was the first Garden that was not located near...

. Denker wrote that Bobby enjoyed those treats and never forgot them; the two became lifelong friends.

Fischer was also involved with the Log Cabin Chess Club of Orange, New Jersey
Orange, New Jersey
The City of Orange is a city and township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 30,134...

, which in March 1956 took him on a tour to Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, where he gave a 12-board simultaneous exhibition at Havana's Capablanca Chess Club, winning 10 and drawing 2. On this tour the club played a series of matches against other clubs. Fischer played on second board, behind strong master Norman Whitaker. Whitaker and Fischer were the leading scorers for the club, each scoring 5.5 points out of 7 games.

Fischer attended Erasmus Hall High School
Erasmus Hall High School
Erasmus Hall Campus High School is a four-year public high school in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, United States operated by the New York City Department of Education....

 at the same time as Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

 and Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond
Neil Leslie Diamond is an American singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades from the 1960s until the present....

. In 1959, its student council awarded him a gold medal for his chess achievements. The same year, Fischer dropped out of high school when he turned age 16, the earliest he could legally do so. He later explained to Ralph Ginzburg
Ralph Ginzburg
Ralph Ginzburg was an American author, editor, publisher and photo-journalist. He was best known for publishing books and magazines on erotica and art and for his conviction in 1963 for violating federal obscenity laws....

, "You don't learn anything in school. It's just a waste of time."

When Fischer was 16, his mother moved out of their apartment to pursue medical training. Her friend Joan Rodker
Joan Rodker
Joan Rodker was a British political activist and television producer.The daughter of the modernist poet John Rodker and dancer Sonia Cohen, who placed her into care at eighteen months, where she remained until she was aged eleven...

, who had met Regina when the two were "idealistic communists" living in Moscow in the 1930s, believes that Fischer resented his mother for being mostly absent as a mother, a communist activist and an admirer of the Soviet Union, and that this led to his hatred for the Soviet Union. In letters to Rodker, Fischer's mother states her desire to pursue her own "obsession" of training in medicine and writes that her son would have to live in their Brooklyn apartment without her: "It sounds terrible to leave a 16-year-old to his own devices, but he is probably happier that way." The apartment was on the edge of Bedford-Stuyvesant, a neighborhood that had one of the highest homicide and general crime rates in New York City. Despite the alienation from her son, Regina in 1960 staged a five-hour protest in front of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 urging President Dwight Eisenhower to send an American team to that year's chess Olympiad (set for Leipzig, East Germany, behind the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

), and to help support the team financially.

Young champion

Fischer experienced a "meteoric rise" in his playing strength during 1956. On the tenth national rating list of the United States Chess Federation
United States Chess Federation
The United States Chess Federation is a non-profit organization, the governing chess organization within the United States, and one of the federations of the FIDE. The USCF was founded in 1939 from the merger of two regional chess organizations, and grew gradually until 1972, when membership...

 (USCF), published on May 20, 1956, his rating was a modest 1726, over 900 points below top-rated Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

 (2663). Fischer's first real success was winning the United States Junior Chess Championship in July 1956. He scored 8½/10 at Philadelphia to become the youngest-ever Junior Champion at age 13, a record that still stands. In the 1956 U.S. Open Chess Championship
U.S. Open Chess Championship
The U.S. Open Championship is an open national chess championship that has been held in the United States annually since 1900.-History:Through 1938, the tournaments were organized by the Western Chess Association and its successor, the American Chess Federation .The United States Chess Federation ...

 at Oklahoma City, Fischer scored 8½/12 to tie for 4th–8th places, with Arthur Bisguier
Arthur Bisguier
Arthur Bernard Bisguier is an American chess Grandmaster, chess promoter, and writer. Bisguier won two U.S. Junior Championships , three U.S. Open Chess Championship titles , and the 1954 United States Chess Championship title. He played for the United States in five chess Olympiads...

 winning. In the first Canadian Open Chess Championship
Canadian Open Chess Championship
The Canadian Open Chess Championship is Canada's Open chess championship, first held in 1956, and held annually since 1973, usually in mid-summer. It is organized by the Chess Federation of Canada....

 at Montreal 1956, he scored 7/10 to tie for 8–12th places, with Larry Evans
Larry Evans
For the football player of the same name, see Larry Evans .Larry Melvyn Evans was an American chess grandmaster, author, and journalist. He won or shared the U.S. Chess Championship five times and the U.S. Open Chess Championship four times...

 winning.

Fischer accepted an invitation to play in the Third Lessing J. Rosenwald Trophy Tournament at New York City 1956, a premier tournament limited to the 12 players considered the best in the country. Fischer received entry by special consideration, since his rating was certainly not among the top 12 in the country at that stage. In that elite company, the 13-year-old Fischer could only score 4½/11, tying for 8th–9th place. This was his first truly strong round-robin
Round-robin
The term round-robin was originally used to describe a document signed by multiple parties in a circle to make it more difficult to determine the order in which it was signed, thus preventing a ringleader from being identified...

 event, and he achieved a creditable result, certainly above what his rating predicted. He won the first brilliancy prize for his game against Donald Byrne
Donald Byrne
Donald Byrne was one of the USA's strongest chess players during the 1950s and 1960s.Born in New York City, he won the U.S. Open Chess Championship in 1953, was awarded the International Master title by FIDE in 1962, and played for or captained five U.S. Chess Olympiad teams between 1962 and 1972...

. Hans Kmoch
Hans Kmoch
Johann "Hans" Joseph Kmoch was an Austrian-Dutch-American chess International Master , International Arbiter , and a chess journalist and author, for which he is best known....

 christened it "The Game of the Century
The Game of the Century (chess)
The Game of the Century usually refers to a chess game played between Donald Byrne and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City on October 17, 1956. It was nicknamed "The Game of the Century" by Hans Kmoch in Chess Review...

", writing, "The following game, a stunning masterpiece of combination play performed by a boy of 13 against a formidable opponent, matches the finest on record in the history of chess prodigies." This game remains famous worldwide today.

In 1957, Fischer played a two-game match against former World Champion Max Euwe
Max Euwe
Machgielis Euwe was a Dutch chess Grandmaster, mathematician, and author. He was the fifth player to become World Chess Champion . Euwe also served as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, from 1970 to 1978.- Early years :Euwe was born in Watergraafsmeer, near Amsterdam...

 at New York, losing ½–1½. On the United States Chess Federation's eleventh national rating list, published on May 5, 1957, Fischer was rated 2231, a master
Chess master
A chess master is a chess player of such skill that he/she can usually beat chess experts, who themselves typically prevail against most amateurs. Among chess players, the term is often abbreviated to master, the meaning being clear from context....

 – over 500 points higher than his rating a year before. This made him at that time the country's youngest master ever. In July, Fischer successfully defended his U.S. Junior title, scoring 8½/9 at San Francisco. In August, he played in the U.S. Open Chess Championship at Cleveland, scoring 10/12 and winning on tie-breaking points
Tie-breaking in Swiss system tournaments
Tie-break systems are used in chess Swiss system tournaments to break ties between players who have the same total number of points after the last round. If the players are still tied after one tie-break system is used, another system is used, and so on, until the tie is broken...

 over Arthur Bisguier, making Fischer the youngest U.S. Open Champion ever. He next won the New Jersey Open Championship, scoring 6½/7. Fischer then defeated the young Filipino Master Rodolfo Tan Cardoso
Rodolfo Tan Cardoso
Rodolfo Tan Cardoso is a Philippine chess International Master.In 1956, he won Philippine Junior Championship. In 1957, he took 5th in Toronto ; William Lombardy won)...

 6–2 in a match in New York sponsored by Pepsi-Cola.

Wins first U.S. title

Based on Fischer's rating and strong results, the USCF invited him to play in the 1957–58 U.S. Championship
U.S. Chess Championship
The U.S. Chess Championship is an invitational tournament held to determine the national chess champion of the United States. Since 1936, it has been held under the auspices of the U.S. Chess Federation. Until 1999, the event consisted of a round-robin tournament of varying size...

. The tournament included such luminaries as six-time champion Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

, defending champion Bisguier, and William Lombardy
William Lombardy
William James Lombardy is an American Grandmaster of chess, writer, teacher, and one-time Catholic priest.- Life and career :...

, who in August had won the World Junior Championship
World Junior Chess Championship
The World Junior Chess Championship is an under-20 chess tournament organized by the World Chess Federation ....

 with the only perfect score (11–0) in its history. Fischer was expected to score around 50%. Bisguier predicted that Fischer would "finish slightly over the center mark". He scored eight wins and five draws to win the tournament with 10½/13, a point ahead of Reshevsky. Still two months shy of his 15th birthday, he became the youngest U.S. Champion in history—a record that still stands.
Since the championship that year was also the U.S. Zonal Championship, Fischer's victory earned him the International Master title.

U.S. Championships

Fischer played in eight United States Chess Championships, each held in New York City, winning every one. His margin of victory was always at least one point.

His scores were:
  • 1957–58: 10½/13
  • 1958–59: 8½/11
  • 1959–60: 9/11
  • 1960–61: 9/11
  • 1962–63: 8/11
  • 1963–64: 11/11
  • 1965–66: 8½/11
  • 1966–67: 9½/11.


Fischer missed the 1961–62 Championship (he was preparing for the upcoming Interzonal), and there was no 1964–65 event. His total score was 74/90 (61 wins, 26 draws, 3 losses), with the only losses being to Edmar Mednis
Edmar Mednis
Edmar John Mednis was an American International Grandmaster of chess born in Riga, Latvia. He was also a popular and respected chess writer.-Biography:...

, Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

, and Robert Byrne. For his career, he achieved 82.2 percent in the U.S. Championship.

His 11–0 win in the 1963–64 Championship is the only perfect score in the history of the tournament, and one of about ten perfect scores in high-level chess tournaments ever. David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld called it "the most remarkable achievement of this kind."

Olympiads

Fischer refused to play in the 1958 Munich Olympiad
13th Chess Olympiad
The 13th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between September 30 and October 23, 1958, in Munich, West Germany.-References:...

 when his demand that he, as the reigning U.S. Champion, play first board ahead of Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

 was turned down. According to some sources, Fischer, then 15, was unable to arrange leave from attending high school in order to play in Munich. However, he represented the United States on top board with great distinction at four Olympiads
Chess Olympiad
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation.-Birth of the Olympiad:The first Olympiad was unofficial...

:
Olympiad Individual result U.S. team result
Leipzig 1960
14th Chess Olympiad
The 14th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 26 and November 9, 1960, in Leipzig, East Germany.-References:...

13/18 (Bronze) Silver
Varna 1962
15th Chess Olympiad
The 15th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between September 15 and October 10, 1962, in Varna, Bulgaria.-References:* OlimpBase...

11/17 (Eighth) Fourth
Havana 1966
17th Chess Olympiad
The 17th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 23 and November 20, 1966, in Havana, Cuba.-References:* OlimpBase...

15/17 (Silver) Silver
Siegen 1970
19th Chess Olympiad
The 19th Chess Olympiad, comprising an open team tournament and the Annual Congress of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs, took place between September 5 and September 27, 1970, in the small town of Siegen, West Germany.-Tournament report:...

10/13 (Silver) Fourth


Fischer's overall total was +40 −7 =18, for 49/65 or 75.4%. In 1966, he narrowly missed the individual gold medal, scoring 88.23% to World Champion Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian was a Soviet-Armenian grandmaster, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed "Iron Tigran" due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasised safety above all else...

's 88.46%. Fischer played four more games than Petrosian, faced stiffer opposition, and would have won the gold if he had accepted Florin Gheorghiu
Florin Gheorghiu
Florin Gheorghiu is a Romanian chess player and university lecturer in foreign languages.Born in Bucharest, his prodigious talent for the game was evidenced by his many early achievements; he became an International Master in 1963 and Romania's first Grandmaster just two years later...

's draw offer in the penultimate round rather than declining it and suffering his only loss.

Fischer had planned to play for the United States at the 1968 Lugano Olympiad
18th Chess Olympiad
The 18th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 17 and November 7, 1968, in Lugano, Switzerland.-References:* OlimpBase...

, but backed out when he saw the poor playing conditions.

Grandmaster, candidate, author

Fischer's victory in the U.S. Championship qualified him to participate in the 1958 Portorož
Portorož
- External links :**...

 Interzonal
Interzonal
Interzonal chess tournaments were tournaments organized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and were a stage in the triennial World Chess Championship cycle.- Zonal tournaments :...

, the next step toward challenging the World Champion. The top six finishers in the Interzonal would qualify for the Candidates Tournament
Candidates Tournament
The Candidates Tournament is a chess tournament organized by the world chess federation FIDE since 1950, as the final contest to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship...

. Prior to the Interzonal, he played two short training matches in Yugoslavia. He drew both games against Dragoljub Janošević
Dragoljub Janoševic
Dragoljub Janošević was a Yugoslav chess Grandmaster.-Background:Janošević became an International Master in 1964 and earned the Grandmaster title the following year....

. Then he defeated Milan Matulović
Milan Matulovic
Milan Matulović is a chess Grandmaster who was the second or third strongest Yugoslav player for much of the 1960s and 1970s behind Svetozar Gligorić and possibly Borislav Ivkov. He was primarily active before 1977, but has remained an occasional tournament competitor as recently as...

 in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

 by 2½–1½.

Most observers doubted that a 15-year-old with no international experience could finish among the six qualifiers at the Interzonal, but Fischer told journalist Miro Radoicic, "I can draw with the grandmasters, and there are half-a-dozen patzers in the tournament I reckon to beat." Despite some bumps in the road, and a problematic start, Fischer succeeded in his plan: after a strong finish, he ended up with 12/20 (+6 −2 =12) to tie for 5th–6th. The Soviet grandmaster Yuri Averbakh
Yuri Averbakh
Yuri Lvovich Averbakh is a Soviet and Russian chess player and author. He is currently the oldest living chess grandmaster.-Life and career:...

 observed, "In the struggle at the board this youth, almost still a child, showed himself to be a full-fledged fighter, demonstrating amazing composure, precise calculation and devilish resourcefulness." Fischer became the youngest person ever to qualify for the Candidates. He also became the youngest grandmaster in history at 15 years and 6 months. This record stood until 1991 when it was broken by Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest person ever to do so at that time.Polgár was ranked No...

.

Before the Candidates' tournament, Fischer competed in the 1958–59 U.S. Championship (winning with 8½/11) and then in international tournaments at Mar del Plata, Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

, and Zürich. He played unevenly in the two South American tournaments. At the strong Mar del Plata event, he finished tied for third with Borislav Ivkov
Borislav Ivkov
Borislav Ivkov is a Serbian chess Grandmaster. He was the first ever World Junior Champion in 1951. He won the Yugoslav Championship in 1958 , 1963 and 1972. He was a World championship candidate in 1965, and played in four more Interzonal tournaments, in 1967, 1970, 1973, and 1979...

, half a point behind tournament winners Ludek Pachman
Ludek Pachman
Luděk Pachman was a Czechoslovak-German chess grandmaster, chess writer, and political activist. In 1972, after being imprisoned and tortured almost to death by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, he was allowed to emigrate to West Germany...

 and Miguel Najdorf
Miguel Najdorf
Miguel Najdorf was a Polish-born Argentine chess grandmaster of Jewish origin, famous for his Najdorf Variation....

; this confirmed his grandmastership. At Santiago, he tied for fourth through sixth places, behind Ivkov, Pachman, and Herman Pilnik
Herman Pilnik
Herman Pilnik was an Argentine chess Grandmaster.-Career:...

. He did better at the very strong Zurich event, finishing a point behind future World Champion Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal was a Soviet–Latvian chess player, a Grandmaster, and the eighth World Chess Champion.Widely regarded as a creative genius, and the best attacking player of all time, he played a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability....

 and half a point behind Svetozar Gligorić
Svetozar Gligoric
Svetozar Gligorić is a Serbian chess grandmaster. He won the championship of Yugoslavia a record twelve times, and is considered the best player ever from Serbia...

.

Although Fischer had ended his formal education at age 16, he subsequently taught himself several foreign languages, to gain access to foreign chess periodicals.

Until late 1959, Fischer "had dressed atrociously for a champion, appearing at the most august and distinguished national and international events in sweaters and corduroys". A director of the Manhattan Chess Club
Manhattan Chess Club
The Manhattan Chess Club in Manhattan was the second-oldest chess club in the United States . The club was founded in 1877 and started with three dozen players; membership later reached into the hundreds before the club ended its existence in 2002...

 had once banned Fischer for not being "properly accoutered", forcing Denker to intercede to get him reinstated. Likely, lack of money to buy better clothes was at least partially to blame. Now, encouraged by Pal Benko
Pál Benko
Pal Benko is a chess grandmaster, author, and composer of endgame studies and chess problems.- Early life :Benko was born in France but was raised in Hungary. He was Hungarian champion by age 20. He emigrated to the United States in 1958, after defecting following the World Student Team...

 to dress more smartly, Fischer "began buying suits from all over the world, hand-tailored and made to order". He boasted to journalist Ralph Ginzburg
Ralph Ginzburg
Ralph Ginzburg was an American author, editor, publisher and photo-journalist. He was best known for publishing books and magazines on erotica and art and for his conviction in 1963 for violating federal obscenity laws....

 in 1961 that he had 17 suits, all hand-tailored, and that his shirts and shoes were also handmade.

At the age of 16, Fischer finished a creditable equal fifth out of eight, the top non-Soviet player, at the Candidates Tournament held in Bled
Bled
Bled is a municipality in northwestern Slovenia in the region of Upper Carniola. The area, within the Julian Alps, is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

/Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

/Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Yugoslavia in 1959. He scored 12½/28 but was outclassed by tournament winner Tal, who won all four of their individual games.

Fischer published his first book of collected games at age 16, in 1959, entitled Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess, and published by Simon & Schuster.

1960–61

In 1960, Fischer tied for first place with the young Soviet star Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

 at the strong Mar del Plata tournament in Argentina, with the two well ahead of the rest of the field, scoring 13½/15. Fischer lost only to Spassky, and this was the start of their relationship, which began on a friendly basis and stayed that way, in spite of Fischer's troubles against him over-the-board.

Fischer struggled in the later Buenos Aires tournament, finishing with 8½/19 (won by Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi ; pronounced in the original Russian as "karch NOY"; Ви́ктор Льво́вич Корчно́й, born March 23, 1931 is a professional chess player, author and currently the oldest active grandmaster on the tournament circuit...

 and Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

 on 13/19). This was the only real failure of Fischer's competitive career. According to Larry Evans
Larry Evans
For the football player of the same name, see Larry Evans .Larry Melvyn Evans was an American chess grandmaster, author, and journalist. He won or shared the U.S. Chess Championship five times and the U.S. Open Chess Championship four times...

, Fischer's first sexual experience was with a girl to whom Evans introduced him during the tournament. Pal Benko
Pál Benko
Pal Benko is a chess grandmaster, author, and composer of endgame studies and chess problems.- Early life :Benko was born in France but was raised in Hungary. He was Hungarian champion by age 20. He emigrated to the United States in 1958, after defecting following the World Student Team...

 says that Fischer did horribly in the tournament "because he got caught up in women and sex. Afterwards, Fischer said he'd never mix women and chess together, and kept the promise." Fischer concluded 1960 by winning a small tournament in Reykjavik
Reykjavík
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city in Iceland.Its latitude at 64°08' N makes it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay...

 with 4½/5, and defeating Klaus Darga
Klaus Darga
Klaus Viktor Darga is a German Grandmaster chess player.In 1951 Darga became German Junior Champion after winning the national under-20 championship. He also proved his strength as a young chessplayer by sharing first place in the World Junior Championship of 1953, with Oscar Panno of Argentina...

 in an exhibition game in West Berlin.
In 1961, Fischer started a 16-game match with Reshevsky, split between New York and Los Angeles. Despite Fischer's meteoric rise, the veteran Reshevsky, 32 years Fischer's senior, was considered the favorite, since he had far more match experience and had never lost a set match. After 11 games and a tie score (two wins apiece with seven draws), the match ended prematurely due to a scheduling dispute between Fischer and match organizer and sponsor Jacqueline Piatigorsky
Jacqueline Piatigorsky
Jacqueline Rebecca Louise de Rothschild is a French-American chess and tennis champion, author, sculptor and a member of the Rothschild banking family of France. The daughter of the enormously wealthy and influential banker, Édouard Alphonse de Rothschild, and Germaine Alice Halphen, she is the...

. Reshevsky was declared the winner of the match, and received the winner's share of the prize fund.

Fischer was second behind former World Champion Tal at Bled
Bled
Bled is a municipality in northwestern Slovenia in the region of Upper Carniola. The area, within the Julian Alps, is a popular tourist destination.-History:...

 1961, which had a super-class field. He defeated Tal head-to-head for the first time, scored 3½/4 against the Soviet contingent, and finished as the only unbeaten player, with 13½/19.

Dominates Interzonal

In the next World Championship cycle, Fischer won the 1962 Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 Interzonal
Interzonal
Interzonal chess tournaments were tournaments organized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and were a stage in the triennial World Chess Championship cycle.- Zonal tournaments :...

 by 2½ points, scoring an undefeated 17½/22. He was the first non-Soviet player to win an Interzonal since FIDE instituted the tournament in 1948.

Problems at Candidates' Tournament

Fischer's decisive Interzonal victory made him one of the favorites for the Candidates Tournament
Candidates Tournament
The Candidates Tournament is a chess tournament organized by the world chess federation FIDE since 1950, as the final contest to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship...

 in Curaçao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, which began soon afterwards. He finished fourth out of eight with 14/27, the best result by a non-Soviet player, but well behind Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian was a Soviet-Armenian grandmaster, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed "Iron Tigran" due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasised safety above all else...

 (17½/27), Efim Geller
Efim Geller
Efim Petrovich Geller was a Soviet chess player and world-class grandmaster at his peak. He won the Soviet Championship twice and was a Candidate for the World Championship on six occasions...

, and Paul Keres
Paul Keres
Paul Keres , was an Estonian chess grandmaster, and a renowned chess writer. He was among the world's top players from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s....

 (both 17/27). Tal fell very ill during the tournament, and had to withdraw before completion. Fischer, a friend of Tal, was the only contestant who visited him in the hospital.

Accuses Soviets of collusion

Following his failure in the 1962 Candidates (at which five of the eight players were from the Soviet Union), Fischer asserted in an August 1962 article in Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

 magazine, entitled The Russians Have Fixed World Chess, that three of the Soviet players (Tigran Petrosian, Paul Keres, and Efim Geller) had a pre-arranged agreement to quickly draw their games against each other in order to save energy and to concentrate on playing against Fischer, and that a fourth, Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi ; pronounced in the original Russian as "karch NOY"; Ви́ктор Льво́вич Корчно́й, born March 23, 1931 is a professional chess player, author and currently the oldest active grandmaster on the tournament circuit...

, had been forced to deliberately lose games to ensure that a Soviet player won the tournament. It is generally thought that the former accusation is correct, but not the latter. (See World Chess Championship 1963
World Chess Championship 1963
At the World Chess Championship 1963 Tigran Petrosian narrowly qualified to challenge Mikhail Botvinnik for the World Chess Championship, and then won the match to become the ninth World Chess Champion...

 article for further information.) Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov is a Russian chess grandmaster and former World Champion. He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once...

, later World Champion, wrote in his 1991 autobiography that Korchnoi had complained in the Soviet Union, shortly after the 1962 Candidates' event, about not being included in the colluding group of Soviets. Fischer also stated that he would never again participate in a Candidates' tournament, since the format, combined with the alleged collusion
Collusion
Collusion is an agreement between two or more persons, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage...

, made it impossible for a non-Soviet player to win.

Following Fischer's article, FIDE in late 1962 voted a radical reform of the playoff system, replacing the Candidates' tournament with a format of one-on-one knockout matches; this was the format that Fischer would dominate in 1971.

Fischer defeated Bent Larsen
Bent Larsen
Jørgen Bent Larsen was a Danish chess Grandmaster and author. Larsen was known for his imaginative and unorthodox style of play and he was the first western player to pose a serious challenge to the Soviet Union's dominance of chess...

 in a summer 1962 exhibition game in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 for Danish TV. He also defeated Bogdan Śliwa
Bogdan Sliwa
Bogdan Śliwa was a Polish chess master.Śliwa won the championship of Poland six times. In 1946, he won the first Polish Chess Championship after World War II in Sopot . In 1948, he took 3rd in Kraków . He won the Polish championship four consecutive times in 1951–1954...

 in a team match against Poland at Warsaw later that year.

In the 1962–63 U.S. Championship, Fischer had a close call. In the first round he lost to Edmar Mednis
Edmar Mednis
Edmar John Mednis was an American International Grandmaster of chess born in Riga, Latvia. He was also a popular and respected chess writer.-Biography:...

, his first loss ever in a U.S. Championship. Bisguier was in excellent form, and Fischer caught up to him only at the end. Tied at 7–3, the two met in the last round for the championship. Bisguier stood well in the middlegame, but blundered, handing Fischer his fifth consecutive U.S. championship.

Religious transitions

In an interview in the January 1962 issue of Harper's, Fischer was quoted as saying, "I read a book lately by Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

 and he says religion is just to dull the senses of the people. I agree."

Fischer's mother and the man who was most likely his biological father were both Jewish. Fischer however renounced his Jewish roots, and joined the Worldwide Church of God in the mid-1960s. This church prescribed Saturday Sabbath, and forbade work (and competitive chess) on Sabbath. Fischer's religious obligations were respected by chess organizers, concerning scheduling of his games. Fischer contributed significant money over several years to the Worldwide Church of God.

The year 1972 was a disastrous one for the Worldwide Church of God, as prophecies by Herbert W. Armstrong
Herbert W. Armstrong
Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon...

 were unfulfilled, and the church was rocked by revelations of a series of sex scandals involving Garner Ted Armstrong
Garner Ted Armstrong
Garner Ted Armstrong was an American evangelist and the son of Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, at the time a Sabbatarian organization that taught strict observance of seventh-day Sabbath, holy days typically associated with the Jewish faith, and other observances...

. Fischer, who felt betrayed and swindled by the Worldwide Church of God, left the church and publicly denounced it.

Semi-retirement in the mid-1960s

Fischer declined an invitation to play in the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup
Piatigorsky Cup
The Piatigorsky Cup was a triennial series of double round-robin grandmaster chess tournaments held in the United States in the 1960s. Sponsored by the Piatigorsky Foundation, only two events were held, in 1963 and 1966. The Piatigorsky Cups were the strongest U.S. chess tournaments since New...

 tournament in Los Angeles, which had a world-class field. His decision was probably influenced by ill will over the aborted 1961 match against Reshevsky, which had been arranged by the same organizer. Instead, he played in the Western Open in Bay City, Michigan
Bay City, Michigan
Bay City is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan located near the base of the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 34,932, and is the principal city of the Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North...

, which he won with 7½/8. In August–September 1963, he won another minor event, the New York State Championship at Poughkeepsie
Poughkeepsie (city), New York
Poughkeepsie is a city in the state of New York, United States, which serves as the county seat of Dutchess County. Poughkeepsie is located in the Hudson River Valley midway between New York City and Albany...

, with 7/7, his first perfect score.

The 1963–64 U.S. Championship was expected to be exciting, particularly since Fischer had only narrowly won it the previous year. It was, but not as expected. "One by one Fischer mowed down the opposition as he cut an 11–0 swathe through the field, to demonstrate convincingly to the opposition that he was now in a class by himself." This stunning result brought Fischer heightened fame, including a profile in Life magazine. Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

 diagrammed each of the 11 games in its article, "The Amazing Victory Streak of Bobby Fischer". Such extensive chess coverage was groundbreaking for the top American sports magazine.

Fischer, eligible as U.S. Champion, decided not to participate in the Amsterdam Interzonal in 1964, thus taking himself out of the 1966 World Championship cycle
World Chess Championship 1966
The 1966 World Chess Championship was played between Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky in Moscow from April 9 to June 9, 1966. Petrosian won.-Qualification:-The World Championship match:The match was played as best of 24 games...

. He held to this decision even when FIDE changed the format of the eight-player Candidates Tournament from a round-robin
Round-robin tournament
A round-robin tournament is a competition "in which each contestant meets all other contestants in turn".-Terminology:...

 to a series of knockout
Single-elimination tournament
A single-elimination tournament, also called a knockout, cup or sudden death tournament, is a type of elimination tournament where the loser of each match or bracket is immediately eliminated from winning the championship or first prize in the event...

 matches, which eliminated the possibility of collusion. He instead embarked on a tour of the United States and Canada from February through May, playing a simultaneous exhibition
Simultaneous exhibition
A simultaneous exhibition or simultaneous display is a board game exhibition in which one player plays multiple games at a time with a number of other players. Such an exhibition is often referred to simply as a "simul".In a regular simul, no chess clocks are used...

 and giving a lecture in each of more than 40 cities. His 94% winning percentage over more than 2,000 games is one of the best ever achieved. Fischer also declined an invitation to play for the United States in the 1964 Olympiad
16th Chess Olympiad
The 16th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between November 2 and November 25, 1964, in Tel Aviv, Israel.-References:* OlimpBase...

 in Tel Aviv.

Successful return

Fischer wanted to play in the Capablanca Memorial Tournament
Capablanca Memorial
The Capablanca Memorial is a chess tournament that has been held annually in Cuba since 1962.José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a famous Cuban chess master who was World Champion from 1921 to 1927. The Capablanca Memorial became the best paid tournament in the world...

, Havana 1965, but the State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 refused to endorse his passport as valid for visiting Cuba. Fischer instead proposed, and the tournament officials and players accepted, a unique arrangement: Fischer played his moves from a room at the Marshall Chess Club
Marshall Chess Club
The Marshall Chess Club in New York City is one of the oldest chess clubs in the United States, located in Greenwich Village. The club was formed in 1915 by a group of players led by Frank Marshall. It is a non-profit organization.-History:...

, which were then transmitted by teleprinter
Teleprinter
A teleprinter is a electromechanical typewriter that can be used to communicate typed messages from point to point and point to multipoint over a variety of communication channels that range from a simple electrical connection, such as a pair of wires, to the use of radio and microwave as the...

 to Cuba. Luděk Pachman
Ludek Pachman
Luděk Pachman was a Czechoslovak-German chess grandmaster, chess writer, and political activist. In 1972, after being imprisoned and tortured almost to death by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, he was allowed to emigrate to West Germany...

 observed that Fischer "was handicapped by the longer playing session resulting from the time wasted in transmitting the moves, and that is one reason why he lost to three of his chief rivals". The tournament was an "ordeal" for Fischer, who had to endure eight-hour and sometimes even twelve-hour playing sessions. Despite this handicap, he tied for second through fourth places, with 15/21, behind former World Champion Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, and was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958. He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions . Smyslov was twice equal first at the Soviet Championship , and his total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals won...

, whom he defeated in their individual game. The tournament received extensive media coverage.

Fischer began 1966 by winning the U.S. Championship for the seventh time despite losing to Robert Byrne and Reshevsky in the eighth and ninth rounds. He also reconciled with Mrs. Piatigorsky, accepting an invitation to the very strong second Piatigorsky Cup
Piatigorsky Cup
The Piatigorsky Cup was a triennial series of double round-robin grandmaster chess tournaments held in the United States in the 1960s. Sponsored by the Piatigorsky Foundation, only two events were held, in 1963 and 1966. The Piatigorsky Cups were the strongest U.S. chess tournaments since New...

 tournament in Santa Monica
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, US. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los Angeles — Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles on the northeast, Mar Vista on the east, and...

. Fischer began disastrously and after eight rounds was tied for last with 3/8. He then staged "the most sensational comeback in the history of grandmaster chess", scoring 7/8 in the next eight rounds. At the end, World Championship finalist Boris Spassky edged him out by a half point, scoring 11½/18 to Fischer's 11. Now aged 23, Fischer would win every match or tournament he completed for the rest of his life.

In 1967, Fischer won the U.S. Championship for the eighth and final time, ceding only three draws. In March–April and August–September, he won strong tournaments at Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco....

 (7/9) and Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 (13½/17). In the Philippines he played a series of nine exhibition games against master opponents, winning eight and drawing one.

Withdraws while leading Interzonal

In the next World Championship cycle, at the 1967 Sousse
Sousse
Sousse is a city in Tunisia. Located 140 km south of the capital Tunis, the city has 173,047 inhabitants . Sousse is in the central-east of the country, on the Gulf of Hammamet, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The name may be of Berber origin: similar names are found in Libya and in...

 Interzonal, Fischer scored a phenomenal 8½ points in the first 10 games, to lead the field. His observance of the Worldwide Church of God's seventh-day Sabbath was honored by the organizers, but deprived Fischer of several rest days, which led to a scheduling dispute. Fischer forfeited two games in protest and later withdrew, eliminating himself from the 1969 World Championship cycle
World Chess Championship 1969
The 1969 World Chess Championship was played between Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky in Moscow from April 14 to June 17, 1969. Spassky won.-Qualification:...

. Because he had completed less than half his scheduled games, all of his results were annulled, meaning players who had played him had those games cancelled.

In 1968, Fischer won tournaments at Netanya
Netanya
Netanya is a city in the Northern Centre District of Israel, and is the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain. It is located north of Tel Aviv, and south of Haifa between the 'Poleg' stream and Wingate Institute in the south and the 'Avichail' stream in the north.Its of beaches have made the...

 (11½/13) and Vinkovci
Vinkovci
Vinkovci is a city in Croatia, in the Vukovar-Syrmia County. In the 2011 census, the total population of the city was 35,375, making it the largest town of the county...

 (11/13) by large margins. He stopped playing for the next 18 months, except for a win against Anthony Saidy
Anthony Saidy
Anthony Saidy is an International Master of chess. He has played many times in the U.S. Chess Championship. He won the 1960 Canadian Open Chess Championship. He is the author of several chess books, including The Battle of Chess Ideas, and The World of Chess...

 in a 1969 New York Metropolitan League team match.

In 1969, Fischer published his second games collection, entitled My 60 Memorable Games
My 60 Memorable Games
My 60 Memorable Games is a chess book by Bobby Fischer, first published in 1969. It is a collection of his games dating from the 1957 New Jersey Open to the 1967 Sousse Interzonal. Unlike many players' anthologies, which are often titled My Best Games and include only victories, My 60 Memorable...

, which was also published by Simon & Schuster. He was assisted by his friend, GM Larry Evans
Larry Evans
For the football player of the same name, see Larry Evans .Larry Melvyn Evans was an American chess grandmaster, author, and journalist. He won or shared the U.S. Chess Championship five times and the U.S. Open Chess Championship four times...

. The book of deeply annotated games immediately became a best-seller, and has remained continuously popular worldwide to the present day.

World Champion

In 1970, Fischer began a new effort to become World Champion. His dramatic march toward the title made him a household name and made chess front-page news for a time. Chess statistician Jeff Sonas
Jeff Sonas
Jeff Sonas is known as a statistical chess analyst who invented the Chessmetrics system for rating chess players, which is intended as an improvement on the Elo rating system. He is the founder and proprietor of the Chessmetrics.com website, which gives Sonas' calculations of the ratings of current...

 observes that "for about a year, Bobby Fischer dominated his contemporaries to an extent never seen before or since". He won the title in 1972, but forfeited it three years later.

Road to the World Championship

The 1969 U.S. Championship was also a zonal qualifier, with the top three finishers advancing to the Interzonal. Fischer, however, had sat out the U.S. Championship because of disagreements about the tournament's format and prize fund. Benko, one of the three qualifiers, agreed to give up his spot in the Interzonal in order to give Fischer another shot at the World Championship.

Before the Interzonal, in March and April 1970, the world's best players competed in the USSR vs. Rest of the World
Russia (USSR) vs Rest of the World
There have been two chess matches featuring USSR vs. Rest of the World and 1 match Russia vs. Rest of the World. The first two matches were between a team from the USSR and a team of players from the "rest of the world"...

 match in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Yugoslavia, often referred to as "the Match of the Century". Fischer allowed Bent Larsen
Bent Larsen
Jørgen Bent Larsen was a Danish chess Grandmaster and author. Larsen was known for his imaginative and unorthodox style of play and he was the first western player to pose a serious challenge to the Soviet Union's dominance of chess...

 of Denmark to play first board for the Rest of the World team in light of Larsen's recent outstanding tournament results, even though Fischer had the higher Elo rating. The USSR team eked out a 20½–19½ victory, but on second board Fischer beat Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian was a Soviet-Armenian grandmaster, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed "Iron Tigran" due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasised safety above all else...

, whom Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

 had dethroned as World Champion the previous year, 3–1, winning the first two games and drawing the last two.

After the USSR versus the Rest of the World Match, the unofficial World Championship of Lightning Chess (5-minute games) was held at Herceg Novi
Herceg Novi
Herceg Novi is a coastal town in Montenegro located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor and at the foot of Mount Orjen. It is the administrative center of the Herceg Novi Municipality with around 33,000 inhabitants...

. Petrosian and Tal were considered the favorites, but Fischer overwhelmed the super-class field with 19/22 (+17 −1 =4), far ahead of Tal (14½), Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi ; pronounced in the original Russian as "karch NOY"; Ви́ктор Льво́вич Корчно́й, born March 23, 1931 is a professional chess player, author and currently the oldest active grandmaster on the tournament circuit...

 (14), Petrosian (13½), Bronstein
David Bronstein
David Ionovich Bronstein was a Soviet chess grandmaster, who narrowly missed becoming World Chess Champion in 1951. Bronstein was described by his peers as a creative genius and master of tactics...

 (13), etc. Fischer lost only one game, to Korchnoi, who was also the only player to achieve an even score against him in the double round robin tournament. Fischer "crushed such blitz kings as Tal, Petrosian and Smyslov
Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, and was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958. He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions . Smyslov was twice equal first at the Soviet Championship , and his total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals won...

 by a clean score". Tal marveled that, "During the entire tournament he didn't leave a single pawn en prise!", while the other players "blundered knights and bishops galore".

In April–May 1970, Fischer won easily at Rovinj
Rovinj
Rovinj is a city in Croatia situated on the north Adriatic Sea with a population of 13,562 . It is located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and is a popular tourist resort and an active fishing port...

/Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 with 13/17 (+10 −1 =6), finishing two points ahead of a field that included such leading players as Gligorić
Svetozar Gligoric
Svetozar Gligorić is a Serbian chess grandmaster. He won the championship of Yugoslavia a record twelve times, and is considered the best player ever from Serbia...

, Hort
Vlastimil Hort
Vlastimil Hort is a chess Grandmaster of Czech nationality. During the 1960s and 1970s he was one of the world's strongest players and reached the Candidates stage of competition for the world chess championship, but was never able to compete for the actual title.Hort was born in Kladno,...

, Korchnoi, Smyslov, and Petrosian. In July–August, he crushed the mostly grandmaster field at Buenos Aires, scoring 15/17 (+13 −0 =4) and winning by 3½ points. In Siegen
Siegen
Siegen is a city in Germany, in the south Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia.It is located in the district of Siegen-Wittgenstein in the Arnsberg region...

 right after the Olympiad, he defeated Ulf Andersson
Ulf Andersson
Ulf Andersson is a leading Swedish chess player. FIDE awarded him the International Master title in 1970 and the Grandmaster title in 1972 .-Career:...

 in an exhibition game for the Swedish newspaper Expressen. Fischer had taken his game to a new level.

The Interzonal was held in Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca
Palma is the major city and port on the island of Majorca and capital city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. The names Ciutat de Mallorca and Ciutat were used before the War of the Spanish Succession and are still used by people in Majorca. However, the official name...

 in November and December 1970. Fischer won it with a remarkable 18½–4½ score (+15 −1 =7), far ahead of Larsen, Efim Geller
Efim Geller
Efim Petrovich Geller was a Soviet chess player and world-class grandmaster at his peak. He won the Soviet Championship twice and was a Candidate for the World Championship on six occasions...

, and Robert Hübner
Robert Hübner
Robert Hübner is a respected German chess Grandmaster, chess writer, and papyrologist . At eighteen, he was joint winner of the West German Chess Championship...

, who tied for second at 15–8. Fischer's 3½-point margin set a new record for an Interzonal, beating Alexander Kotov
Alexander Kotov
Alexander Alexandrovich Kotov was a Soviet chess grandmaster and author. He was a Soviet champion, a two-time world title Candidate, and a prolific chess author. Kotov served in high posts in the Soviet Chess Federation and most of his books were written during the period of Cold War between the...

's 3-point margin at Saltsjöbaden
Saltsjöbaden
Saltsjöbaden is a locality situated in Nacka Municipality, Stockholm County, Sweden with 8,937 inhabitants in 2005. It is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea.- History :...

 1952. Fischer finished the tournament with seven consecutive wins (including a final-round walkover
Walkover
In British English, a walkover or W.O. is the awarding of a victory to a contestant because there are no other contestants, or because the other contestants have been disqualified or have forfeited. The term can apply in sport, but can also apply to elections...

 against Oscar Panno
Oscar Panno
Oscar R. Panno is an Argentine chess Grandmaster.Panno won the World Junior Chess Championship in 1953, and also won the championship of Argentina the same year....

). Setting aside the Sousse Interzonal (which Fischer withdrew from while leading), Fischer's victory gave him a string of eight consecutive first prizes in tournaments.

Fischer continued his domination in the 1971 Candidates matches. First, he beat Mark Taimanov
Mark Taimanov
Mark Evgenievich Taimanov is a leading Soviet and Russian chess player and concert pianist.-Chess:He was awarded the International Grandmaster title in 1952 and played in the Candidates Tournament in Zurich in 1953, where he tied for eighth place. From 1946 to 1956, he was among the world's top...

 of the USSR at Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 by 6–0. "The record books showed that the only comparable achievement to the 6–0 score against Taimanov was Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian and then American chess player and the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. From the 1870s onwards, commentators have debated whether Steinitz was effectively the champion earlier...

's 7–0 win against Joseph Henry Blackburne
Joseph Henry Blackburne
Joseph Henry Blackburne , nicknamed "The Black Death", dominated British chess during the latter part of the 19th century. He learned the game at the relatively late age of 18 but quickly became a strong player and went on to develop a professional chess career that spanned over 50 years...

 in 1876 in an era of more primitive defensive technique."

Less than two months later, he astounded the chess world by beating Larsen in their Denver match by the same score. Just a year before, Larsen had played first board for the Rest of the World team ahead of Fischer, and had handed Fischer his only loss at the Interzonal. Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 later wrote that no World Champion had ever shown a superiority over his rivals comparable to Fischer's "incredible" 12–0 score in the two matches. Chess statistician Sonas concludes that the victory over Larsen gave Fischer the "highest single-match performance rating ever".

In August 1971, Fischer won a strong lightning event at the Manhattan Chess Club
Manhattan Chess Club
The Manhattan Chess Club in Manhattan was the second-oldest chess club in the United States . The club was founded in 1877 and started with three dozen players; membership later reached into the hundreds before the club ended its existence in 2002...

 with a score of 21½/22.

Only former World Champion Petrosian, Fischer's final opponent in the Candidates matches, was able to offer resistance in their match, played at Buenos Aires. Petrosian played a strong theoretical novelty in the first game, gaining the advantage, but Fischer played resourcefully and eventually won the game after Petrosian faltered. This gave Fischer an extraordinary run of 20 consecutive wins against the world's top players (in the Interzonal and Candidates matches), a winning streak
Winning streak (sports)
In sports, a winning streak refers to a consecutive number of games won. A winning streak can be held by a team, as in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, or by an individual, as in tennis...

 topped only by Steinitz's 25 straight wins in 1873–82. Petrosian won decisively in the second game, finally snapping Fischer's streak. After three consecutive draws, Fischer swept the next four games to win the match 6½–2½ (+5 −1 =3). The final match victory allowed Fischer to challenge World Champion Boris Spassky, whom he had never beaten (+0 −3 =2). Soon after the Petrosian match Fischer appeared on the cover of Life.

Fischer's amazing results gave him a far higher rating than any player in history up until that time. On the July 1972 FIDE rating list, his Elo rating of 2785 was 125 points ahead of Spassky, the second-highest rated player (2660).

World Championship match

Fischer's career-long stubbornness about match and tournament conditions was again seen in the run-up to his match with Spassky. Of the possible sites, Fischer's first choice was Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, while Spassky's was Reykjavik
Reykjavík
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city in Iceland.Its latitude at 64°08' N makes it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay...

, Iceland. For a time it appeared that the dispute would be resolved by splitting the match between the two locations, but that arrangement fell through. After that issue was resolved, Fischer refused to appear in Iceland until the prize fund was increased. London financier Jim Slater donated an additional US$125,000 to the prize fund, bringing it to an unprecedented $250,000 ($1,267,825.63 in 2009), and Fischer finally agreed to play.

Before and during the match, Fischer paid special attention to his physical training and fitness, which was a relatively novel approach for top chess players at that time. He had developed his tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 skills to a good level, and played frequently during off-days in Reykjavik. He also had arranged for exclusive use of his hotel's swimming pool during specified hours, and swam for extended periods, usually late at night.

The match took place in Reykjavík from July through September 1972. Fischer lost the first two games in strange fashion: the first when he played a risky pawn-grab in a drawn endgame, the second by forfeit when he refused to play the game in a dispute over playing conditions. Fischer would likely have forfeited the entire match, but Spassky, not wanting to win by default, yielded to Fischer's demands to move the next game to a back room, away from the cameras whose presence had upset Fischer. After that game, the match was moved back to the stage and proceeded without further serious incident. Fischer won seven of the next 19 games, losing only one and drawing eleven, to win the match 12½–8½ and become the 11th World Chess Champion.

The Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 trappings made the match a media sensation. It was called "The Match of the Century", and received front-page media coverage in the United States and around the world. Fischer's win was an American victory in a field that Soviet players had dominated for the past quarter-century — players closely identified with, and subsidized by, the Soviet state. Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman
Jan Timman
Jan Timman is a Dutch chess Grandmaster who was one of the world's leading players from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. At the peak of his career he was considered to be the best non-Soviet player and was known as "The Best of the West"...

 calls Fischer's victory "the story of a lonely hero who overcomes an entire empire".

Fischer became an instant celebrity. Upon his return to New York, a Bobby Fischer Day was held, and he was cheered by thousands of fans, a unique display in American chess. He was offered numerous product endorsement offers worth "at least $5 million" (all of which he declined) and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

. With American Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz
Mark Spitz
Mark Andrew Spitz is a retired American swimmer. He won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, an achievement only surpassed by Michael Phelps who won eight golds at the 2008 Olympics....

, he also appeared on a Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

 TV special. Membership in the United States Chess Federation doubled in 1972 and peaked in 1974; in American chess, these years are commonly referred to as the "Fischer Boom." Fischer also won the 'Chess Oscar
Chess Oscar
Chess Oscar is an international award given to the best chess player every year. The winner is selected by a poll of chess experts across the world, including Grandmasters...

' award for 1970, 1971, and 1972. This award, started in 1967, is determined through votes from chess media and leading players.

Forfeiture of title

Fischer was scheduled to defend his title in 1975. Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov is a Russian chess grandmaster and former World Champion. He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once...

 eventually emerged as his challenger, having defeated Spassky in an earlier Candidates match. Fischer, who had played no competitive games since his World Championship match with Spassky, laid out a proposal for the match in September 1973, in consultation with a FIDE official, Fred Cramer. He made three principal demands:
  1. The match should continue until one player wins 10 games, without counting the draws.
  2. There is no limit to the total number of games played.
  3. In case of a 9–9 score, champion (Fischer) retains his title and the prize fund is split equally.


A FIDE Congress was held in 1974 during the Nice Olympiad
Chess Olympiad
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation.-Birth of the Olympiad:The first Olympiad was unofficial...

. The delegates voted in favor of Fischer's 10-win proposal, but rejected his other two proposals, and limited the number of games in the match to 36. In response to FIDE's ruling, Fischer sent a cable to Euwe on June 27, 1974:
As I made clear in my telegram to the FIDE delegates, the match conditions I proposed were non-negotiable. Mr. Cramer informs me that the rules of the winner being the first player to win ten games, draws not counting, unlimited number of games and if nine wins to nine match is drawn with champion regaining title and prize fund split equally were rejected by the FIDE delegates. By so doing FIDE has decided against my participating in the 1975 world chess championship. I therefore resign my FIDE world chess champion title. Sincerely, Bobby Fischer.


The delegates responded by reaffirming their prior decisions, but did not accept Fischer's resignation and requested that he reconsider. Many observers considered Fischer's requested 9–9 clause unfair because it would require the challenger to win by at least two games (10–8).

In a letter to Larry Evans
Larry Evans
For the football player of the same name, see Larry Evans .Larry Melvyn Evans was an American chess grandmaster, author, and journalist. He won or shared the U.S. Chess Championship five times and the U.S. Open Chess Championship four times...

, published in Chess Life
Chess Life
Chess Life is a monthly chess magazine published in the United States. The official publication of the United States Chess Federation , it reaches more than a quarter of a million readers every month. A subscription to Chess Life is one of the benefits of Full Adult, Youth, or Life membership in...

 in November 1974, Fischer claimed the usual system (24 games with the first player to get 12½ points winning, or the champion retaining his title in the event of a 12–12 tie) encouraged the player in the lead to draw games, which he regarded as bad for chess. Not counting draws would be "an accurate test of who is the world's best player." Former U.S. Champion Arnold Denker
Arnold Denker
Arnold Sheldon Denker was an American chess player, Grandmaster, and chess author. He was U.S. Chess Champion in 1945 and 1946....

, who was in contact with Fischer during the negotiations with FIDE, claimed that Fischer wanted a long match to be able to play himself into shape after a three-year layoff.

Due to the continued efforts of U.S. Chess Association officials, a special FIDE Congress was held in March 1975 in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands in which it was accepted that the match should be of unlimited duration, but the 9–9 clause was once again rejected, by a narrow margin of 35 votes to 32. FIDE set a deadline of April 1, 1975, for Fischer and Karpov to confirm their participation in the match. No reply was received from Fischer by April 3 and Karpov officially became World Champion by default. In his 1991 autobiography, Karpov expressed profound regret that the match did not take place, and claimed that the lost opportunity to challenge Fischer held back his own chess development. Karpov met with Fischer several times after 1975, in friendly but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to arrange a match.

Sudden obscurity

After the World Championship in 1972, Fischer virtually retired from chess: he did not play a competitive game in public for nearly 20 years. In 1977, he played three games in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

 against the MIT Greenblatt
Richard Greenblatt (programmer)
Richard D. Greenblatt is an American computer programmer. Along with Bill Gosper, he may be considered to have founded the hacker community, and holds a place of distinction in the Lisp and the MIT AI Lab communities.-Childhood:...

 computer program, winning all of them.

On May 26, 1981, a police patrolman arrested Fischer while he was walking in Pasadena, saying that he matched the description of a man who had just committed a bank robbery in that area. Fischer stated that he was slightly injured during the arrest. He was then held for two days and—according to Fischer—was subjected to assault and various other types of serious mistreatment during that time. He was then released on $1000 bail. After being released, Fischer published a 14-page pamphlet detailing his alleged experiences and saying that his arrest had been "a frame up and set up."

In the early 1980s, Fischer stayed for extended periods in the San Francisco-area home of a friend, the Canadian grandmaster Peter Biyiasas
Peter Biyiasas
Peter Biyiasas is a Canadian chess grandmaster. He was Canadian champion in 1972 and 1975, represented Canada with fine success on four Olympiad teams, played in two Interzonals. He moved to the United States in 1979, settling in California. He has been retired from competitive play since the...

. In 1981, the two played 17 five-minute games. Despite his layoff from competitive play, Fischer won all of them, according to Biyiasas, who lamented that he was never even able to reach an endgame.

1992 Spassky rematch

After twenty years, Fischer emerged from isolation to play Spassky (then tied for 96th–102nd on the FIDE rating list) to a "Revenge Match of the 20th century" in 1992. This match took place in Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan
Sveti Stefan, , now Aman Sveti Stefan including the Villa Miločer is a small islet and hotel and resort in Montenegro, approximately southeast of Budva. The resort includes the islet of Sveti Stefan and part of the mainland, where the Villa Miločer part of the resort is located...

 and Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Yugoslavia, in spite of a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 that included sanctions on sporting events. Fischer demanded that the organizers bill the match as "The World Chess Championship", although Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 was the recognized FIDE World Champion. Fischer insisted he was still the true World Champion, and that for all the games in the FIDE-sanctioned World Championship matches, involving Karpov, Korchnoi, and Kasparov, the outcomes had been pre-arranged. The purse for Fischer's re-match with Spassky was US$5,000,000, with $3.35 million of that to go to the winner.

Fischer won the match, 10 wins to 5 losses, with 15 draws. Kasparov reportedly said, "Bobby is playing OK, nothing more. Maybe his strength is 2600 or 2650. It wouldn't be close between us." Fischer never played any competitive games afterwards.

Fischer and Spassky gave a total of ten press conferences during the match. Yasser Seirawan wrote, "After September 23 [1992], I threw most of what I'd ever read about Bobby out of my head. Sheer garbage. Bobby is the most misunderstood, misquoted celebrity walking the face of the earth." Seirawan wrote that Fischer is not camera shy, "smiles and laughs easily", and "is a wholly enjoyable conversationalist. A fine wit, he is a very funny man".

The U.S. Department of the Treasury
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

 had warned Fischer beforehand that his participation was illegal as it violated President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

's Executive Order 12810 that implemented United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 sanctions against engaging in economic activities in Yugoslavia. In response, Fischer called a conference and, in front of the international press, literally spat on the U.S. order forbidding him to play, announcing "This is my reply". Following the match, the Department obtained an arrest warrant
Arrest warrant
An arrest warrant is a warrant issued by and on behalf of the state, which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual.-Canada:Arrest warrants are issued by a judge or justice of the peace under the Criminal Code of Canada....

 against him. Fischer remained wanted by the United States government for the rest of his life and never returned to America.

Life as an émigré

After the match with Spassky in 1992, Fischer again slid into relative obscurity. Now a fugitive from the American legal system, he intensified his vitriolic rhetoric against the U.S. For some of these years Fischer lived in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

, Hungary, allegedly having a relationship with young Hungarian chess master Zita Rajcsányi. He claimed to find standard chess stale and he played chess variant
Chess variant
A chess variant is a game related to, derived from or inspired by chess. The difference from chess might include one or more of the following:...

s such as Chess960
Chess960
Chess960 is a chess variant invented and advocated by former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer, originally announced on June 19, 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It employs the same board and pieces as standard chess, but the starting position of the pieces is randomized along the players' home...

 blitz games. He visited with the Polgár family in Budapest and analyzed many games with Judit
Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest person ever to do so at that time.Polgár was ranked No...

, Zsuzsa
Susan Polgar
Susan Polgar is a Hungarian-American chess Grandmaster...

, and Zsófia Polgár
Zsófia Polgár
Sofia Polgar Sofia Polgar Sofia Polgar (born November 2, 1974 as Polgár Zsófia is a Hungarian-born International Master of chess and former chess prodigy. She is an International Master and Woman Grandmaster, and is the middle sister of Grandmasters Susan and Judit Polgár. Since 2006, she has...

.

From 2000 to 2002, Fischer lived in Baguio City
Baguio City
The City of Baguio is a highly urbanized city in northern Luzon in the Philippines. Baguio City was established by Americans in 1900 at the site of an Ibaloi village known as Kafagway...

 in the Philippines. He resided in the same compound as the Filipino grandmaster Eugenio Torre
Eugenio Torre
Eugenio Torre is a chess Grandmaster . He is considered the strongest chess player the Philippines has ever produced during the 1980s and 1990s period, following the heels of Fischer-era Filipino chess champions National Master Ramon Lontoc, International Master Renato Naranja, IM Rodolfo Tan...

, a close friend who acted as his second during his matches with Spassky. Torre introduced Fischer to a 22-year-old woman named Marilyn Young. On May 21, 2001 Marilyn Young gave birth to a daughter named Jinky Young. Her mother claimed that Jinky was Fischer's daughter, citing as evidence Jinky's birth and baptismal certificates, photographs, a transaction record dated December 4, 2007 of a bank remittance by Fischer to Jinky, and Jinky's DNA through her blood samples. On the other hand, Magnús Skúlason, a friend of Fischer's, said that he was certain that Fischer was not the girl's father.

On August 17, 2010 it was reported that a DNA test revealed that Jinky Young is not the daughter of Bobby Fischer.

Antisemitic statements

Fischer, whose mother was Jewish, made numerous anti-Jewish statements and professed a general hatred for Jews since at least the early 1960s. In 1961, he "made his first public statements despising Jews," according to FM Mike Klein. Jan Hein Donner
Jan Hein Donner
Johannes Hendrikus Donner was a Dutch chess grandmaster and writer. Donner was born in The Hague and won the Dutch Championship in 1954, 1957, and 1958. FIDE, the World Chess Federation, awarded him the GM title in 1959. He played 11 times for the Netherlands in the Chess Olympiads...

 wrote that at the time of Bled 1961, "He idolized Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and read everything about him that he could lay his hands on. He also championed a brand of antisemitism that could only be thought up by a mind completely cut off from reality." Donner writes that he took Fischer to a war museum, which "left a great impression, since he is not an evil person, and afterwards he was more restrained in his remarks—to me, at least."

From the 1980s and thereafter, however, Fischer's comments about Jews were a major theme in his public and private remarks. He openly denied the Holocaust
Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in World War II, usually referred to as the Holocaust. The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas...

 and announced his desire to make "expos[ing] the Jews for the criminals they are [...] the murderers they are" his lifework, and argued that the United States is "a farce controlled by dirty, hook-nosed, circumcised
Circumcision
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

 Jew bastards."

In 1984, Fischer denied being a Jew in a letter to the Encyclopedia Judaica, insisting that they remove his name and accusing them of "fraudulently misrepresenting me to be a Jew [...] to promote your religion." Although it was reported that Fischer as a teenager acknowledged that his mother was Jewish, Fischer was later reported to have denied his Jewish ancestry.

In the last years of his life, Fischer's primary means of communicating with the public was via sometimes-outrageous radio interviews. He participated in at least 34 such broadcasts between 1999 and 2006, mostly with radio stations in the Philippines, but also in Hungary, Iceland, Colombia, and Russia. In 1999, he gave a radio call-in interview to a station in Budapest, Hungary, during which he described himself as the "victim of an international Jewish conspiracy". In another radio interview, Fischer said that it became clear to him in 1977, after reading The Secret World Government by Count Cherep-Spiridovich
Arthur Cherep-Spiridovich
Not to be confused with Alexander Spiridovich.Arthur Cherep-Spiridovich was a Russian Count who moved to the United States following the Bolshevik Revolution. He was a Tsarist general and white Russian loyalist. He was involved in Pan-Slavism and White Russian activism, including various chivalric...

, that Jewish agencies were targeting him. Fischer's sudden reemergence was apparently triggered when some of his belongings, which had been stored in a Pasadena, California
Pasadena, California
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...

 storage unit, were sold by the landlord who claimed it was in response to nonpayment of rent. In 2005, some of Fischer's belongings were auctioned on eBay
EBay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

. In 2006, Fischer claimed that his belongings in the storage unit were worth millions.

Fischer's library contained anti-Semitic and white supremacist literature such as Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fraudulent, antisemitic text purporting to describe a Jewish plan for achieving global domination. It was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part of the twentieth century...

, and The White Man's Bible and Nature's Eternal Religion by Ben Klassen
Ben Klassen
Bernhardt "Ben" Klassen was an American religious leader who founded the Church of the Creator with the publication of his book Nature's Eternal Religion in 1973...

, founder of the Church of the Creator. A notebook written by Fischer is filled with sentiments such as "8/24/99 Death to the Jews. Just kill the Motherfuckers!" and "12/13/99 It's time to
start randomly killing Jews."

Anti-American and anti-Israel statements

A little after midnight on September 12, Philippines local time (four hours after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S.), Fischer was interviewed live by Pablo Mercado on the Baguio City station of the Bombo Radyo
Bombo Radyo Philippines
Bombo Radyo Philippines is one of the largest radio networks in the Philippines spanning across 20 major provinces. It is a conglomeration of three smaller radio networks: Newsounds Broadcasting Network, Inc. , Mindanao licensee; Consolidated Broadcasting System , Visayas licensee; and People's...

 network. Fischer stated that he was happy that the airliner attacks had happened, while expressing his view on U.S. and Israeli foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

, saying "I applaud the act. Look, nobody gets...no one...that the U.S. and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians for years". He also said "All the crimes the U.S. is committing all over the world ... This just shows, what goes around, that comes around even to the United States." Fischer also recalled the movie Seven Days in May
Seven Days in May
Seven Days in May is an American political thriller novel written by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II and published in 1962. It was made into a motion picture and released in February 1964, with a screenplay by Rod Serling, directed by John Frankenheimer, and starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk...

 and said he hoped for a military coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 in the U.S., "[I hope] the country will be taken over by the military, they'll close down all the synagogues, arrest all the Jews and secure hundreds of thousands of Jewish ringleaders."

In response, on October 28, 2001, Fischer's right to membership in the United States Chess Federation
United States Chess Federation
The United States Chess Federation is a non-profit organization, the governing chess organization within the United States, and one of the federations of the FIDE. The USCF was founded in 1939 from the merger of two regional chess organizations, and grew gradually until 1972, when membership...

 was permanently revoked by a unanimous 7–0 vote of the USCF's Policy Board.

Fischer drafted a letter to Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

, which began:
Dear Mr. Osama bin Laden allow me to introduce myself. I am Bobby Fischer, the World Chess Champion. First of all you should know that I share your hatred of the murderous bandit state of "Israel" and its chief backer the Jew-controlled U.S.A. also know [sic] as the "Jewnited States" or "Israel West." We also have something else in common: We are both fugitives from the U.S. "justice" system.


After Fischer's death, chess columnist Shelby Lyman, who in 1972 had hosted the PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 broadcast of that year's championship, said that "the anti-American stuff is explained by the fact that ... he spent the rest of his life [after the match in Yugoslavia] fleeing the U.S., because he was afraid of being extradited
Extradition
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

." In Bobby Fischer: The Wandering King, authors IM Hans Böhm and Kees Jongkind write that Fischer's radio broadcasts show that he was "out of his mind ... a victim of his own mental illness".

Detention in Japan

Fischer lived for a time in Japan. On July 13, 2004, acting in response to a letter from U.S. officials, he was arrested by Japanese immigration authorities at Narita International Airport
Narita International Airport
is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located east of Tokyo Station and east-southeast of Narita Station in the city of Narita, and the adjacent town of Shibayama....

 near Tokyo for allegedly using a revoked U.S. passport
Passport
A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

 while trying to board a Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines
is an airline headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. It is the flag carrier of Japan and its main hubs are Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Tokyo International Airport , as well as Nagoya's Chūbu Centrair International Airport and Osaka's Kansai International Airport...

 flight to Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Ninoy Aquino International Airport
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA , also known as Manila International Airport , is the airport serving the general area of Manila and its surrounding metropolitan area...

 in Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. Fischer resisted arrest, claiming to have sustained bruises, cuts and a broken tooth in the process. At the time, Fischer had a passport, originally issued in 1997 and updated in 2003 to add more pages, that according to U.S. officials had been revoked in November 2003 (due to his outstanding arrest warrant for Yugoslavia sanctions violation). Despite the outstanding arrest warrant in the U.S., Fischer said that he believed the passport was still valid. The authorities held Fischer at a custody center for 16 days before transferring him to another facility. Fischer claimed that his cell was windowless and he had not seen the light of day during that period, and that the staff had ignored his complaints about constant tobacco smoke in his cell.

Tokyo-based Canadian journalist and consultant John Bosnitch
John Bosnitch
John Bosnitch is a Canadian journalist, consultant and political activist of Serbian descent...

 set up the "Committee to Free Bobby Fischer" after meeting Fischer at Narita Airport and offering to assist him. It was reported that Fischer and Miyoko Watai
Miyoko Watai
is a Japanese women's chess champion, and the general secretary of the Japan Chess Association. She is a Woman International Master. She lives in the old Kamata ward, which is now part of Ōta, Tokyo....

, the President of the Japanese Chess Association, with whom he had reportedly been living since 2000, wanted to become legally married. (However, he was also reported to have been living in the Philippines with Marilyn Young during the same period.) Fischer also applied for German citizenship on the grounds that his father was German. Fischer stated that he wanted to renounce his U.S. citizenship
Renunciation of citizenship
Renunciation is a voluntary act of relinquishing one's citizenship . It is the opposite of naturalization whereby a person voluntarily acquires a citizenship, and related to denaturalization where the loss of citizenship is not voluntary, but forced by a state.-Historic practices:The old common law...

, and appealed to United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

 to help him do so. Japan's Justice Minister rejected Fischer's request for asylum and ordered him deported.

Asylum in Iceland

Seeking ways to evade deportation to the United States, Fischer wrote a letter to the government of Iceland in early January 2005 and asked for Icelandic citizenship. Sympathetic to Fischer's plight, but reluctant to grant him the full benefits of citizenship, Icelandic authorities granted him an alien's passport. When this proved insufficient for the Japanese authorities, the Althing
Althing
The Alþingi, anglicised variously as Althing or Althingi, is the national parliament of Iceland. The Althingi is the oldest parliamentary institution in the world still extant...

 agreed unanimously to grant Fischer full citizenship in late March for humanitarian reasons, as they felt he was being unjustly treated by the U.S. and Japanese governments, and also in recognition of his 1972 match, which had "put Iceland on the map".

Shortly before his departure to Iceland, on March 23, 2005, Fischer and Bosnitch appeared briefly on the BBC World Service
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

, via a telephone link to the Tokyo airport. Bosnitch stated that Fischer would never play traditional chess again. Fischer denounced President Bush as a criminal and Japan as a puppet
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

 of the United States.

Upon his arrival in Reykjavík
Reykjavík
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city in Iceland.Its latitude at 64°08' N makes it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay...

, Fischer was welcomed by a crowd and gave a news conference. He lived a reclusive life in Iceland, avoiding entrepreneurs and others who approached him with various proposals.

On December 10, 2006, Fischer telephoned an Icelandic television station and pointed out a winning combination
Combination (chess)
In chess, a combination is a sequence of moves, often initiated by a sacrifice, which leaves the opponent few options and results in tangible gain. At most points in a chess game, each player has several reasonable options from which to choose, which makes it difficult to plan ahead except in...

, missed by the players and commentators, in a chess game that had been televised live in Iceland.

Fischer moved into an apartment in the same building as his closest friend and spokesman, Garðar Sverrisson, whose wife Kristín Þórarinsdóttir, a nurse, later looked after him as a terminally ill patient. Garðar's two children, especially his son, were very close to Fischer.
Fischer also developed a friendship with Magnús Skúlason, a psychiatrist and chess player who later recalled long discussions with Fischer about a wide variety of subjects.

Death, estate dispute, and exhumation

On January 17, 2008, Fischer died from degenerative renal failure
Renal failure
Renal failure or kidney failure describes a medical condition in which the kidneys fail to adequately filter toxins and waste products from the blood...

 at the Reykjavik hospital. He originally had a urinary tract blockage but refused surgery or medications. Magnús Skúlason reported Fischer's last words as "Nothing is as healing as the human touch." On January 21, he was buried in the small Christian cemetery of Laugardælir church, outside the town of Selfoss
Selfoss (town)
Selfoss is a town in southern Iceland on the banks of Ölfusá river.It is part, and seat, of the municipality Árborg. The Ring Road runs through the town on its way between Hveragerði and Hella...

, 60 km southeast of Reykjavík, after a Catholic funeral presided over by Fr. Jakob Rolland of the diocese of Reykjavik. In accordance with Fischer's wishes, no one else was present except Miyoko Watai
Miyoko Watai
is a Japanese women's chess champion, and the general secretary of the Japan Chess Association. She is a Woman International Master. She lives in the old Kamata ward, which is now part of Ōta, Tokyo....

, Garðar Sverrisson, and Garðar's family.

Fischer's estate was estimated at 140 million ISK
Icelandic króna
The króna is the currency of Iceland. The króna is technically subdivided into 100 aurar , but in practice this subdivision is no longer used....

 (about 1 million GBP
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 or US$2 million) and it quickly became the object of a legal battle involving claims from four parties with Miyoko Watai ultimately inheriting what remained of his estate after government claims. The four parties were Fischer's apparent Japanese wife Miyoko Watai, his alleged Philippine daughter Jinky Young and her mother Marilyn Young, his two American nephews Alexander and Nicholas Targ and their father Russell Targ
Russell Targ
Russell Targ is an American physicist and author, an ESP researcher, and pioneer in the earliest development of the laser....

, and the U.S. government (claiming unpaid taxes). According to a press release issued by Samuel Estimo, an attorney representing Jinky Young, the Supreme Court of Iceland ruled in December 2009 that Watai's claim of marriage to Fischer was invalidated because of her failure to present the original copy of their alleged marriage certificate. On June 16, 2010, the Court ruled in favor of a petition on behalf of Jinky Young to have Bobby Fischer's remains exhumed. This was performed on July 5, 2010 in the presence of a doctor, a priest, and other officials. A DNA sample was taken and Fischer's body was then reburied. On August 17, 2010, the Court announced that from the DNA sample it was determined that Fischer was not the father of Jinky Young. On March 3, 2011, a district court in Iceland ruled that Miyoko Watai, as Fischer's widow and heir, was therefore entitled to inherit his estate.

Contributions to chess

This section uses algebraic chess notation
Algebraic chess notation
Algebraic notation is a method for recording and describing the moves in a game of chess. It is now standard among all chess organizations and most books, magazines, and newspapers...

 to describe chess moves.

Opening theory

Fischer was renowned for his deep opening
Chess opening
A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a chess game. Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as openings as initiated by White or defenses, as created in reply by Black. There are many dozens of different openings, and hundreds of named variants. The Oxford Companion to...

 preparation and made numerous contributions to chess opening theory. He was one of the foremost experts on the Ruy Lopez
Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez, also called the Spanish Opening or Spanish Game, is a chess opening characterised by the moves:-History:The opening is named after the 16th century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura, who made a systematic study of this and other openings in the 150-page book on chess Libro del...

. A line of the Exchange Variation (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0) is sometimes called the "Fischer Variation" after he successfully resurrected it at the 1966 Havana Olympiad
17th Chess Olympiad
The 17th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between October 23 and November 20, 1966, in Havana, Cuba.-References:* OlimpBase...

. Fischer's lifetime score with the move 5.0-0 in tournament and match games was six wins, three draws, and no losses (83.3%).

He was a recognized expert in the Black side of the Najdorf Sicilian
Sicilian Defence, Najdorf Variation
The Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defence is one of the most respected and deeply studied of all chess openings. Modern Chess Openings calls it the Cadillac or Rolls Royce of chess openings. The opening is named after the Polish-Argentinian Grandmaster Miguel Najdorf...

 and the King's Indian Defense. He used the Grünfeld Defence
Grünfeld Defence
The Grünfeld Defence is a chess opening characterised by the moves:-History:The first instance of this opening is in an 1855 game by Moheschunder Bannerjee, an Indian player who had transitioned from Indian chess rules, playing black against John Cochrane in Calcutta, in May 1855: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4...

 and Neo-Grünfeld Defence to win his celebrated games against Donald and Robert Byrne, and played a theoretical novelty in the Grünfeld against reigning World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik
Mikhail Botvinnik
Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, Ph.D. was a Soviet and Russian International Grandmaster and three-time World Chess Champion. Working as an electrical engineer and computer scientist at the same time, he was one of the very few famous chess players who achieved distinction in another career while...

, refuting Botvinnik's prepared analysis over-the-board. In the Nimzo-Indian Defense, the line beginning with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 Ba6 was named for him.

Fischer established the viability of the so-called Poisoned Pawn Variation
Poisoned Pawn Variation
The Poisoned Pawn Variation is any of several chess opening variations where a pawn is said to be "poisoned" because its capture can result in positional problems or material loss for the captor. The best known of these, called the Poisoned Pawn Variation, is a line of the Sicilian Defense, Najdorf...

 of the Najdorf Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6). This bold queen sortie, to snatch a pawn at the expense of development, had been considered dubious, but Fischer succeeded in proving its soundness. Out of ten tournament and match games as Black in the Poisoned Pawn, Fischer won five, drew four, and lost only one, the 11th game of his 1972 match against Spassky. Following Fischer's use, the Poisoned Pawn became a respected line played by many of the world's leading players.

On the white side of the Sicilian
Sicilian Defence
The Sicilian Defence is a chess opening that begins with the moves:The Sicilian is the most popular and best-scoring response to White's first move 1.e4...

, Fischer made advances to the theory of the line beginning 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 (or e6) 6.Bc4, which has sometimes been named for him. In 1961, prompted by a loss the year before to Spassky, Fischer wrote an article entitled "A Bust to the King's Gambit
King's Gambit
The King's Gambit is a chess opening that begins with the moves:White offers a pawn to divert the Black e-pawn so as to build a strong centre with d2–d4...

" for the first issue of the American Chess Quarterly
American Chess Quarterly
The American Chess Quarterly was a chess magazine that was published in the United States from 1961 to 1965 by Nature Food Centres. Sixteen issues were published, in four volumes of four issues each, from Summer 1961 through April-May-June 1965...

, in which he stated, "In my opinion, the King's Gambit is busted. It loses by force." Fischer recommended 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6, which has since become known as the Fischer Defense
Fischer Defense
The Fischer Defense to the King's Gambit is a chess opening variation that begins with the moves:-History:After Bobby Fischer lost a 1960 game at Mar del Plata to Boris Spassky, in which Spassky played the Kieseritzky Gambit, Fischer left in tears and promptly went to work at devising a new defense...

 to the King's Gambit. Surprisingly, Fischer later played the King's Gambit as White in three tournament games (preferring 3.Bc4 to 3.Nf3), winning them all.

Endgame

Fischer had an excellent endgame technique. International Master Jeremy Silman
Jeremy Silman
Jeremy Silman is an American International Master of chess. He has won the US Open, the American Open, and the National Open, and was the coach of the US junior national chess team...

 listed him as one of the five best endgame players, along with Emanuel Lasker
Emanuel Lasker
Emanuel Lasker was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years...

, Akiba Rubinstein
Akiba Rubinstein
Akiba Kiwelowicz Rubinstein was a famous Polish chess Grandmaster at the beginning of the 20th century. He was scheduled to play a match with Emanuel Lasker for the world championship in 1914, but it was cancelled because of the outbreak of World War I...

, José Capablanca, and Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, and was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958. He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions . Smyslov was twice equal first at the Soviet Championship , and his total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals won...

. Silman called him a "master of bishop endings".

The endgame of a rook
Rook (chess)
A rook is a piece in the strategy board game of chess. Formerly the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes...

, bishop
Bishop (chess)
A bishop is a piece in the board game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king's knight and the king, the other between the queen's knight and the queen...

, and pawns
Pawn (chess)
The pawn is the most numerous and weakest piece in the game of chess, historically representing infantry, or more particularly armed peasants or pikemen. Each player begins the game with eight pawns, one on each square of the rank immediately in front of the other pieces...

 against a rook, knight
Knight (chess)
The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight . It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner...

, and pawns has sometimes been called the "Fischer Endgame" because of three instructive wins by Fischer (with the bishop) in 1970 and 1971 over Mark Taimanov
Mark Taimanov
Mark Evgenievich Taimanov is a leading Soviet and Russian chess player and concert pianist.-Chess:He was awarded the International Grandmaster title in 1952 and played in the Candidates Tournament in Zurich in 1953, where he tied for eighth place. From 1946 to 1956, he was among the world's top...

. One of the games was in the 1970 Interzonal
Interzonal
Interzonal chess tournaments were tournaments organized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and were a stage in the triennial World Chess Championship cycle.- Zonal tournaments :...

 and the other two were in their 1971 quarter-final candidates match
Candidates Tournament
The Candidates Tournament is a chess tournament organized by the world chess federation FIDE since 1950, as the final contest to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship...

.

Fischer clock

In 1988, Fischer filed for for a new type of digital chess clock
Game clock
A game clock consists of two adjacent clocks and buttons to stop one clock while starting the other, such that the two component clocks never run simultaneously. Game clocks are used in two-player games where the players move in turn...

. Fischer's clock gave each player a fixed period of time at the start of the game and then added a small increment after each completed move. The "Fischer clock" soon became standard in most major chess tournaments. The patent expired in November 2001 because of overdue maintenance fees.

Fischer Random Chess

On June 19, 1996, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fischer announced and advocated a variant of chess named Fischerandom Chess (later known as Fischer Random Chess or Chess960
Chess960
Chess960 is a chess variant invented and advocated by former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer, originally announced on June 19, 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It employs the same board and pieces as standard chess, but the starting position of the pieces is randomized along the players' home...

) intended to ensure that a game between players is a contest between their understandings of chess, rather than their abilities to memorize opening lines or prepare opening strategies.

Fischer Random was designed to remove any advantage from the memorization of opening variations by rendering it impracticable. Fischer complained in a 2006 phoned-in call with a radio interviewer that because of the progress in openings and the memorization of opening books, the best players from history, if brought back from the dead to play today, would no longer be competitive. "Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get an opening advantage against Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play...

", he said, merely because of opening-book memorization, which Fischer disdained. "Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorization and prearrangement. It's a terrible game now. Very uncreative." Fischer heavily disparaged chess as it was currently being played at the highest levels.

Legacy

Kasparov calls Fischer "perhaps the most mythologically shrouded figure in chess". Some leading players and some of his biographers have ranked him as the greatest player who ever lived. Other writers have said that he was arguably the greatest player ever, without reaching a definitive conclusion. Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden
Leonard William Barden is an English chess master, columnist, author, and promoter. The son of a dustman, he was educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He learned to play chess at age 13 while in a school shelter during a German air...

 wrote, "Most experts place him the second or third best ever, behind Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 but probably ahead of Karpov
Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov is a Russian chess grandmaster and former World Champion. He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once...

." Brian Carney opined in The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

 that Fischer's victory over Spassky in 1972 left him nothing to prove, except that perhaps someone could someday beat him, and he was not interested in the risk of losing. Fischer's refusal to recognize peers also allowed his paranoia to flower: "The world championship he won ... validated his view of himself as a chess player, but it also insulated him from the humanizing influences of the world around him. He descended into what can only be considered a kind of madness."

Fischer was a charter inductee into the United States Chess Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. in 1985. After routing Taimanov, Larsen, and Petrosian in 1971, Fischer achieved a then-record Elo rating of 2785. After beating Spassky by the score 12½–8½ in their 1972 match, his rating dropped to 2780.

Although international ratings were just introduced in 1970, Chessmetrics.com has used modern algorithms to rank performances retrospectively and uniformly throughout chess history. According to the Chessmetrics calculation, Fischer's peak rating was 2895 in October 1971. His one-year peak average was 2881, in 1971, the highest of all time. His three-year peak average was 2867, from January 1971 to December 1973—the second highest ever, just behind Garry Kasparov. Chessmetrics ranked Fischer as the number one player in the world for a total of 109 different months, running (not consecutively) from February 1964 until July 1974.

Fischer's great rival Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal was a Soviet–Latvian chess player, a Grandmaster, and the eighth World Chess Champion.Widely regarded as a creative genius, and the best attacking player of all time, he played a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability....

 praised him as "the greatest genius to have descended from the chess heavens." American grandmaster Arthur Bisguier
Arthur Bisguier
Arthur Bernard Bisguier is an American chess Grandmaster, chess promoter, and writer. Bisguier won two U.S. Junior Championships , three U.S. Open Chess Championship titles , and the 1954 United States Chess Championship title. He played for the United States in five chess Olympiads...

, who won his first tournament game against Fischer, drew his second, and lost the remaining 13, wrote "Robert James Fischer is one of the few people in any sphere of endeavour who has been accorded the accolade of being called a legend in his own time."

Kasparov wrote that Fischer "became the detonator of an avalanche of new chess ideas, a revolutionary whose revolution is still in progress." In January 2009, reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand
V. Anand or Anand Viswanathan, usually referred as Viswanathan Anand, is an Indian chess Grandmaster, the current World Chess Champion, and currently second highest rated player in the world....

 described him as "the greatest chess player who ever lived. He was a very special person, and I was fortunate to meet him two years ago." Serbian grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojević
Ljubomir Ljubojevic
Ljubomir Ljubojević is a Grandmaster of chess. He was born on November 2, 1950, in Titovo Užice, Yugoslavia . Ljubojević was awarded the International Master title in 1970 and the GM title in 1971. He was Yugoslav champion in 1977 and 1982. He won the 1974 Canadian Open Chess Championship...

 called Fischer, "A man without frontiers. He didn't divide the East and the West, he brought them together in their admiration of him."

German grandmaster Karsten Müller
Karsten Müller
Dr. Karsten Müller was born November 23, 1970 in Hamburg, West Germany. He is a German chess Grandmaster. He earned the Grandmaster title in 1998 and a PhD in mathematics in 2002 at the University of Hamburg. He placed third in the 1996 German championship and second in the 1997 German...

 wrote:
Fischer, who had taken the highest crown almost singlehandedly from the mighty, almost invincible Soviet chess empire, shook the whole world, not only the chess world, to its core. He started a chess boom not only in the United States and in the Western hemisphere, but worldwide. Teaching chess or playing chess as a career had truly become a respectable profession. After Bobby, the game was simply not the same.


St. Louis philanthropist Rex A. Sinquefield offered a $64,000 Fischer Memorial Prize for any player who could win all nine of their games at the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship
U.S. Chess Championship
The U.S. Chess Championship is an invitational tournament held to determine the national chess champion of the United States. Since 1936, it has been held under the auspices of the U.S. Chess Federation. Until 1999, the event consisted of a round-robin tournament of varying size...

. By the fifth day of the championship, all 24 participants became ineligible for the prize, having drawn or lost at least one game.

In popular culture

  • The musical Chess
    Chess (musical)
    Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other;...

    , with lyrics by Tim Rice
    Tim Rice
    Sir Timothy Miles Bindon "Tim" Rice is an British lyricist and author.An Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning lyricist, Rice is best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom he wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus...

     and music by Björn Ulvaeus
    Björn Ulvaeus
    Björn Kristian Ulvaeus is a Swedish songwriter, composer, musician, writer, producer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

     and Benny Andersson
    Benny Andersson
    Göran Bror "Benny" Andersson is a Swedish musician, composer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

    , tells the story of two chess champions, referred to only as "The American" and "The Russian". The musical is loosely based on the 1972 World Championship match between Fischer and Spassky. In later versions of the show, "The American" is named "Freddie Trumper" and "The Russian" is "Anatoly Sergieveski".
  • During the 1972 Fischer–Spassky match, the Soviet bard
    Bard (Soviet Union)
    The term bard came to be used in the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, and continues to be used in Russia today, to refer to singer-songwriters who wrote songs outside the Soviet establishment, similarly to beatnik folk singers of the United States...

     Vladimir Vysotsky
    Vladimir Vysotsky
    Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky was a Soviet singer, songwriter, poet, and actor whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Russian culture. He became widely known for his unique singing style and for his lyrics, which featured social and political commentary in often humorous street...

     wrote an ironic two-song cycle "Honor of the Chess Crown". The first song is about a rank-and-file Soviet worker's preparation for the match with Fischer; the second is about the game. Many expressions from the songs have become catchphrases in Russian culture.
  • The 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer
    Searching for Bobby Fischer
    Searching for Bobby Fischer is a 1993 film based on the life of prodigy chess player Joshua Waitzkin, played by Max Pomeranc. Adapted from the book of the same name by Joshua's father Fred, the film was written and directed by Steven Zaillian...

     uses Fischer's name in the title even though it is actually about the life of Joshua Waitzkin
    Joshua Waitzkin
    Joshua Waitzkin is an American chess player, martial arts competitor, and author. As a child, he was recognized as a prodigy, and won the U.S. Junior Chess championship in 1993 and 1994. He is the only person to have won the National Primary, Elementary, Junior High School, High School, U.S....

    . Outside of the United States, it was released as Innocent Moves. The title refers to the search for Fischer's successor after his disappearance from competitive chess, and for a talent like Fischer's in the author's chess-playing son. In the book on which the film is based, the narrator/author actually looks for Fischer for a brief period and imagines what he would say to him if found. In an unpublished 1997 manuscript, Fischer complained that he had not "received one thin dime for the totally exploitative Paramount Pictures 'rip-off' full-length feature film".
  • Bobby Fischer is mentioned in Milan Kundera
    Milan Kundera
    Milan Kundera , born 1 April 1929, is a writer of Czech origin who has lived in exile in France since 1975, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1981. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and The Joke. Kundera has written in...

    's novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
    The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
    The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is a novel by Milan Kundera, published in 1979. It is composed of seven separate narratives united by some common themes. The book considers the nature of forgetting as it occurs in history, politics and life in general...

    .
  • A 2005 episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent
    Law & Order: Criminal Intent
    Law & Order: Criminal Intent is an American police procedural television drama series set in New York City, where it was also primarily produced. Created and produced by Dick Wolf and René Balcer, the series premiered on September 30, 2001, as the second spin-off of Wolf's successful crime drama...

    , "Gone" is based on Bobby Fischer.
  • An episode of the Nickelodeon
    Nickelodeon (TV channel)
    Nickelodeon, often simply called Nick and originally named Pinwheel, is an American children's channel owned by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International. The channel is primarily aimed at children ages 7–17, with the exception of their weekday morning program block aimed at preschoolers...

     program Hey Arnold!
    Hey Arnold!
    Hey Arnold! is an American animated television series created by Craig Bartlett for Nickelodeon. The show's premise focuses on a fourth grader named Arnold who lives with his grandparents. Episodes center on his experiences navigating big city life while dealing with the problems he and his friends...

     featured a character called Robbie Fisher, a skilled Chinese checkers
    Chinese checkers
    Chinese checkers is a board game that can be played by two, three, four, or six people, playing individually or with partners...

     player and obvious parody of Bobby Fischer.
  • Bobby Fischer is mentioned in a Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

     skit on January 20, 1996. Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri, acting as Spartan cheerleaders, repeat the line "Bobby Fischer, where is he? I don't know!? I don't know!?" in one of their cheers.
  • In an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    The Mary Tyler Moore Show
    The Mary Tyler Moore Show is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977...

     called "The Good-Time News" aired on September 16, 1972, Mary tries to develop a new format for the news, saying that most modern newscasts have two anchormen and all they have to do is "find someone who is warm and endearing enough to balance Ted." Lou replies, "I don't think Bobby Fischer wants to do television."
  • The Prefab Sprout
    Prefab Sprout
    Prefab Sprout are an alternative English pop rock band from Witton Gilbert, County Durham, England who rose to fame during the 1980s. Eight of their albums have reached the Top 40 in the UK Albums Chart, and one of their singles, "The King of Rock 'n' Roll", peaked at number seven in the UK...

     song "Cue Fanfare", from the album Swoon
    Swoon
    Swoon may refer to:*Fainting*"Swoon" , a 2009 song by Imogen Heap from the album Ellipse*"Swoon" , a 2010 single by The Chemical Brothers*Swoon , the second album by Silversun Pickups...

    , includes the lyric: "When Bobby Fischer's plane touches the ground/He'll take those Russian boys and play them out of town/Playing for blood as grandmasters should."
  • Progressive metal band OSI
    OSI (band)
    OSI is an American progressive rock band, originally formed by Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos in 2002. Chroma Key keyboardist and vocalist Kevin Moore is the only other full-time member of the band...

     recorded the song "OSIdea 9" featuring audio clips of Fischer's rambling interview with a radio station after his arrest in Japan. In the interview Fischer asserts that the U.S. government will torture and murder him as soon as he is extradited back to the country.
  • Post-rock band iLiKETRAiNS
    ILiKETRAiNS
    I Like Trains are an alternative/post-rock band from Leeds, England. The group play brooding songs featuring sparse piano and guitar, baritone vocals, uplifting choral passages and reverberant orchestral crescendos...

    ' song "A Rook House For Bobby" is about Fischer's absconding from the American legal system
  • In the Arli$$ episode "End Game", which aired on August 18, 2002, Arliss and Stanley try to persuade a reclusive former chess champion called Bobby Salmon (an obvious reference to Bobby Fischer) to get back into the game.
  • An HBO original documentary entitled Bobby Fischer Against the World
    Bobby Fischer Against the World
    Bobby Fischer Against the World is the first documentary feature to explore the life of the late chess Grandmaster and 11th World Champion Bobby Fischer from USA. It incorporates interviews with chess players Anthony Saidy, Larry Evans, Sam Sloan, Susan Polgar, Garry Kasparov, Asa Hoffmann,...

    , directed by Liz Garbus premiered on June 6, 2011. The ninety-minute documentary explores the complex life of the troubled genius.
  • An episode of the Canadian series Endgame shows the main hero (genius chess player Arkady Balagan) replaying "The Game of the Century" with himself and trying to defeat "Bobby Fischer". When he changes a tactic of Donald Byrne, he concludes that even if he (Donald) had changed his tactic he would have lost, and admires the talent of 13-year-old Bobby.

Writings

  • Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1959). ISBN 0-923891-46-3. An early collection of 34 lightly annotated games including the famous "Game of the Century" against Donald Byrne.
  • "A Bust to the King's Gambit" (American Chess Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Summer 1961), pp. 3–9).
  • "The Russians Have Fixed World Chess" (Sports Illustrated
    Sports Illustrated
    Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

     magazine, August 1962). This is the controversial article in which Fischer asserted that several of the Soviet players in the 1962 Curaçao Candidates' tournament had colluded with one another.
  • "'The Ten Greatest Masters in History" (Chessworld, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January–February 1964), pp. 56–61). A famous article, in which Fischer named Paul Morphy
    Paul Morphy
    Paul Charles Morphy was an American chess player. He is considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion. He was a chess prodigy...

    , Howard Staunton
    Howard Staunton
    Howard Staunton was an English chess master who is generally regarded as having been the world's strongest player from 1843 to 1851, largely as a result of his 1843 victory over Saint-Amant. He promoted a chess set of clearly distinguishable pieces of standardised shape—the Staunton pattern—that...

    , Wilhelm Steinitz
    Wilhelm Steinitz
    Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian and then American chess player and the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. From the 1870s onwards, commentators have debated whether Steinitz was effectively the champion earlier...

    , Siegbert Tarrasch
    Siegbert Tarrasch
    Siegbert Tarrasch was one of the strongest chess players and most influential chess teachers of the late 19th century and early 20th century....

    , Mikhail Chigorin
    Mikhail Chigorin
    Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin also was a leading Russian chess player...

    , Alexander Alekhine
    Alexander Alekhine
    Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine was the fourth World Chess Champion. He is often considered one of the greatest chess players ever.By the age of twenty-two, he was already among the strongest chess players in the world. During the 1920s, he won most of the tournaments in which he played...

    , José Raúl Capablanca
    José Raúl Capablanca
    José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play...

    , Boris Spassky
    Boris Spassky
    Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

    , Mikhail Tal
    Mikhail Tal
    Mikhail Tal was a Soviet–Latvian chess player, a Grandmaster, and the eighth World Chess Champion.Widely regarded as a creative genius, and the best attacking player of all time, he played a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability....

    , and Samuel Reshevsky
    Samuel Reshevsky
    Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

     as the best players of all time. He modestly omitted himself, and controversially did not include World Champions Emanuel Lasker
    Emanuel Lasker
    Emanuel Lasker was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years...

     and Mikhail Botvinnik
    Mikhail Botvinnik
    Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, Ph.D. was a Soviet and Russian International Grandmaster and three-time World Chess Champion. Working as an electrical engineer and computer scientist at the same time, he was one of the very few famous chess players who achieved distinction in another career while...

    .
  • "Checkmate" column from 1966 to 1969 in Boys' Life
    Boys' Life
    Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

    .
  • My 60 Memorable Games
    My 60 Memorable Games
    My 60 Memorable Games is a chess book by Bobby Fischer, first published in 1969. It is a collection of his games dating from the 1957 New Jersey Open to the 1967 Sousse Interzonal. Unlike many players' anthologies, which are often titled My Best Games and include only victories, My 60 Memorable...

     (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1969, and Faber and Faber, London, 1969; Batsford 2008 (algebraic notation)). "A classic of painstaking and objective analysis that modestly includes three of his losses".
  • I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse! (1982) pamphlet.

Under Fischer's name

There have been numerous books, in many languages, that list Fischer as the author or as endorsing the book. One of these is the 1972 book Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess with Donn Mosenfelder and Stuart Margulies. The book uses programmed learning
Programmed learning
Programmed Learning or Programmed Instruction is a learning methodology or technique first proposed by the behaviorist B. F. Skinner in 1958. According to Skinner, the purpose of programmed learning is to "manage human learning under controlled conditions"...

 to help beginners learn how to see elementary chess combinations. Although Fischer allowed his name to be used, he had little involvement with the writing of the book.

Tournaments

Tournament record
YearTournamentLocationWinsDrawsLossesRanking
1955 U.S. Junior Championship Lincoln 2 6 2 10–20
1956 U.S. Amateur Championship New Jersey 3 2 1 21
1956 U.S. Junior Championship Philadelphia 8 1 1 1
1956 U.S. Open Oklahoma City 5 7 0 4–8
1956 Canadian Open Montreal 6 2 2 8–12
1956 Rosenwald Trophy New York 2 5 4 8–10
1956 Eastern States Open Washington, D.C. 4 2 0 2–4
1956 Manhattan Club Championship, semifinals New York 2 1 2 4
1957 Log Cabin Open West Orange 4 0 2 6
1957 Log Cabin 50–50 West Orange 3 2 2 unknown
1957 New Western Open Milwaukee 5 2 1 6–12
1957 U.S. Junior Open Championship San Francisco 8 1 0 1
1957 U.S. Open Cleveland 8 4 0 1
1957 New Jersey State Open East Orange 6 1 0 1
1957 North Central Open Milwaukee 4 2 1 5–11
1957 U.S. Championship New York 8 5 0 1
1958 Interzonal Portorož 6 12 2 5–6
1958 U.S. Championship New York 6 5 0 1
1959 Mar del Plata 8 4 1 3–4
1959 Santiago 7 1 4 4–7
1959 Zurich 8 5 2 3–4
1959 Candidates Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade 8 9 11 5–6
1959 U.S. Championship New York 7 4 0 1
1960 Mar del Plata 13 1 1 1–2
1960 Buenos Aires 3 11 5 13–16
1960 Reykjavík 3 1 0 1
1960 U.S. Championship New York 7 4 0 1
1961 Bled 8 11 0 2
1962 Interzonal Stockholm 13 9 0 1
1962 Candidates Curaçao 8 12 7 4
1962 U.S. Championship New York 6 4 1 1
1963 Western Open Bay City 7 1 0 1
1963 New York State Open Poughkeepsie 7 0 0 1
1963 U.S. Championship New York 11 0 0 1
1965 Capablanca Memorial Havana 12 6 3 2–4
1965 U.S. Championship New York 8 1 2 1
1966 Piatigorsky Cup Santa Monica 7 8 3 2
1966 U.S. Championship New York 8 3 0 1
1967 Monaco 6 2 1 1
1967 Skopje 11 3 2 1
1967 Interzonal Sousse 7 3 0 withdrew
1968 Netanya 10 3 0 1
1968 Vinkovci 9 4 0 1
1970 Rovinj/Zagreb 10 6 1 1
1970 Buenos Aires 13 4 0 1
1970 Interzonal Palma de Mallorca 15 7 1 1

Matches

Match record
YearOpponentLocationTournamentWinsDrawsLossesresult
1957 Max Euwe
Max Euwe
Machgielis Euwe was a Dutch chess Grandmaster, mathematician, and author. He was the fifth player to become World Chess Champion . Euwe also served as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, from 1970 to 1978.- Early years :Euwe was born in Watergraafsmeer, near Amsterdam...

New York match 0 1 1 lost
1957 Rodolfo Tan Cardoso
Rodolfo Tan Cardoso
Rodolfo Tan Cardoso is a Philippine chess International Master.In 1956, he won Philippine Junior Championship. In 1957, he took 5th in Toronto ; William Lombardy won)...

New York match 5 2 1 won
1958 Dragoljub Janošević
Dragoljub Janoševic
Dragoljub Janošević was a Yugoslav chess Grandmaster.-Background:Janošević became an International Master in 1964 and earned the Grandmaster title the following year....

Belgrade training match 0 2 0 tied
1958 Milan Matulović
Milan Matulovic
Milan Matulović is a chess Grandmaster who was the second or third strongest Yugoslav player for much of the 1960s and 1970s behind Svetozar Gligorić and possibly Borislav Ivkov. He was primarily active before 1977, but has remained an occasional tournament competitor as recently as...

Belgrade match 2 1 1 won
1961 Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

New York & Los Angeles match 2 7 2 unfinished
1971 Mark Taimanov
Mark Taimanov
Mark Evgenievich Taimanov is a leading Soviet and Russian chess player and concert pianist.-Chess:He was awarded the International Grandmaster title in 1952 and played in the Candidates Tournament in Zurich in 1953, where he tied for eighth place. From 1946 to 1956, he was among the world's top...

Vancouver Candidates 6 0 0 won
1971 Bent Larsen
Bent Larsen
Jørgen Bent Larsen was a Danish chess Grandmaster and author. Larsen was known for his imaginative and unorthodox style of play and he was the first western player to pose a serious challenge to the Soviet Union's dominance of chess...

Denver Candidates 6 0 0 won
1971 Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian was a Soviet-Armenian grandmaster, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed "Iron Tigran" due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasised safety above all else...

Buenos Aires Candidates 5 3 1 won
1972 Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

Reykjavík World Championship 7 11 3 won
1992 Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

Sveti Stefan & Belgrade match 10 15 5 won

Team events

Team events
YearEventLocationWinsDrawsLossesOpponentBoardIndividual rankingteam ranking
1960 14th Olympiad Leipzig 10 6 2 various 1 3 2
1962 15th Olympiad Varna 8 6 3 various 1 8 4
1966 17th Olympiad Havana 14 2 1 various 1 2 2
1970 USSR vs World Belgrade 2 2 0 Tigran Petrosian 2 won individual match team lost
1970 19th Olympiad Siegen 8 4 1 various 1 2 4

Notable games


See also

  • List of chess games
  • List of people who have beaten Bobby Fischer in chess
  • Chess
    Chess (musical)
    Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other;...

     the musical

Further reading

  • Bobby Fischer: A Study of His Approach to Chess by Elie Agur, Cadogan 1992, ISBN 1-85744-001-3.
  • Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World by Brad Darrach
    Brad Darrach
    Brad Darrach was a journalist and film critic. A 1942 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he joined Time Inc. in 1945 after working for the Baltimore Sun and the Providence Journal. He wrote for Time Inc. magazines including Time, Life, People and Sports Illustrated...

    , Stein & Day, 1974, ISBN 0-8128-1618-8 (prizewinning behind-the-scenes account of the Spassky-Fischer match)
  • Bobby Fischer – wie er wirklich ist: Ein Jahr mit dem Schachgenie by Petra Dautov, ISBN 3-9804281-3-3.
  • World Champion Fischer (ChessBase
    ChessBase
    ChessBase GmbH is a German company that markets chess software, maintains a chess news site, and operates a server for online chess. Set up in 1998, it maintains and sells massive databases, containing most historic games, that permit analysis that had not been possible prior to computing...

    , CD-ROM) – includes all Fischer's games (about half annotated), biographical notes, and an examination by Robert Hübner
    Robert Hübner
    Robert Hübner is a respected German chess Grandmaster, chess writer, and papyrologist . At eighteen, he was joint winner of the West German Chess Championship...

     of Fischer's annotations in My Sixty Memorable Games.
  • World Chess Champions by Edward G. Winter, editor, 1981, ISBN 0-08-024094-1
  • Bobby Fischer for Beginners, by Renzo Verwer, 2010, New in Chess
    New In Chess
    New In Chess is a chess magazine that appears eight times a year with chief editors International Grandmaster Jan Timman and Dirk Jan Ten Geuzendam. It contains notes by top players and chess prodigies on their own games...

    , ISBN 978-90-5691-315-1

}}
  • Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness, by Frank Brady, 2011, Crown, ISBN 978-0-307-46390-6

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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