March 09, 1943 - January 17, 2008
Bobby Fischer was an American chess prodigy, grandmaster, and the eleventh World Chess Champion. Many consider him the greatest chess player of all time.
Bobby Fischer - Chess Rebel With a Cause
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was born in Chicago, Illinois, to the family of Gerardo Liebscher, a biophysicist with German-Russian roots, and Regina Fischer (nee Wender), a physician of Jewish-Polish descend.
There were rumors that Paul Nemenyi, a Hungarian Jewish physicist, may have been Fischer's biological father, but this information was disproved by a DNA analysis after the grandmaster's death.
Both of his parents had lived in the Soviet Union all their life, meeting each other in the well known Sechin Medical University in Moscow, but in 1939 decided to emigrate to America.
In the 1950s, the FBI investigated Regina for her alleged communist sympathies, as well as for her previous life in Moscow.
At age 13 Fischer won a game that would become known as The Game of the Century. At age 14, he already played in eight United States Championships, winning each one by a decisive margin. At age 15, Fischer became both the youngest grandmaster of the time and the youngest candidate for the World Championship. And at age 20, Fischer won the 1963–64 U.S. Championship with the only perfect score in the history of the tournament!
In 1972, he tore the World Chess Championship away from the brilliant Boris Spassky of the USSR. That match, held in Reykjavík, Iceland, was publicized as a Cold War confrontation and "put Iceland on the world map".
Three years later, Fischer refused to defend his title when an agreement could not be reached with FIDE over one of the conditions for the match. After the incident, Fischer became a recluse, disappearing from the public until an unofficial rematch against Spassky in Yugoslavia, which was under a United Nations embargo at the time (1992). This caused a conflict with the U.S. government, which sought income tax on Fischer's match winnings, and even issued a warrant for his arrest!
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Fischer lived in a virtual exile in Hungary, Germany, the Philippines, Japan, and Iceland, making anti-American and anti-semitic remarks in public. As a result, his U.S. passport was revoked, and the next time he travelled to Japan in 2005, he was arrested and detained for 8 months, and later deported to Iceland, which granted him full citizenship.
Fischer lived there until his death at the age of 64.
Sonas, Jeff (May 25, 2005). "The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part IV". chessbase.com.
Frederick, Jim (August 23, 2004). "King's Gambit". TIME.
"USSR vs Rest of the World: Belgrade 1970". Wojciech Bartelski & Co. August 2003