Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fischer Birthday Remembrances

Several celebrations of Fischer's legacy were held on March 9th to coincide with the former champion's 65th birthday. At the Marshall Chess Club, site of "The Game of the Century," Fischer was remembered by biographer Frank Brady and talk show host Dick Cavett, who has commented on his blog about his regret over not having reached out to Fischer (see "Was It Only a Game?" and "Bobby and You"). Caroline Jackson's article "Cavett and chess buffs replay Bobby Fischer story" (The Villager, March 12-18) describes the memorial and captures many of the basic contradictions in Fischer's life represented there. For example, why did a man so obsessed with making money from chess forego millions of dollars to be had after he won the championship?

The memorial was held on what would have been Fischer’s 65th birthday. Brady recalled when he and Fischer’s friends tried to throw him a party for his 20th birthday but the often-reclusive Fischer was reluctant.

“Finally, he said, ‘I’ll come to my birthday but you’ll have to pay me,’” Brady said. “That’s really, truly what Bobby was about; he knew chess players should be paid for what they do.”

Asa Hoffman, Fischer’s friend and a prominent chess champion himself, said Fischer dreamed big, talking about buying a big house with a spiral staircase in the shape of a rook, but his demanding nature inhibited him.

“He said he wanted the money, but he would turn down these big tournaments,” said Hoffman. “He could have lived the fantasy but he changed his mind.”

At another Fischer memorial service at the 2008 Reykjavik Open, Boris Spassky was among those to visit Fischer's grave. After the service, the former Fischer rival turned friend and supporter was heard to ask, "Do you think the spot next to him is available?"



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fischer had three dreams: Be the greatest player ever, be the best payed chessplayer ever, and be the one to destroy the Soviets. In 1972 he achieved them all.

Unfortunatly he felt he was so invencible that he didn't attempt to beat himself.

Fri Mar 14, 10:54:00 PM EDT  

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