I had just settled down in my swell new hotshot apartment on the East Side of New York City with my luscious raven-haired beauty wife; the year was 1972, and suddenly on PBS I saw a message that they were going to cover the World's Championship Chess Match between Boris Spassky, the Soviet chess master, and America's own and Brooklyn's own nutjob genius the Great Almighty Bobby Fischer (he was born in Chicago; his mother was a Russian-German Jew and his father was said to be one man but time reveals Bobby might have been the bastard son of a famous German biophysicist) being held in September of that year in Reykjavik, Iceland, a place I'd always wanted to visit since as a kid in high school having met one of the most beautiful girls ever in my life, a blonde Venus who was Icelandic.
I had heard of Bobby Fischer years before when I was a dopey kid who worked in a magazine shop and started reading Chess magazine off the shelf out of curiosity. I had a great chess set my brother had given me, handcarved wood jobs from Italy, plus a laminated chess board; yet, I knew not a damn thing about chess except I knew how to play, make the right moves with the various pieces, learning that simply from reading the rules, just like little Robert Fischer had done when his sister gave him his first chess set when he was six. I knew how to play chess, but, I mean, I couldn't command the concentration that was needed to get pro at it, like thinking moves ahead; that was very difficult for me. One day I read an article in Chess about this amazing young kid from Brooklyn who was wiping out old masters in the New York City chess clubs, amazing in that he'd been playing serious chess since he was 7, and then he was a teenager and couldn't be beat and then he became a phenom and I got terribly interested in him, at the same time reading Emanuel Lasker's (won his first World Championship in New York City from Walter Steinitz) chess book, reading it not really understanding the meanings of the various openings and middle games and closings Lasker was writing about; I learned to open with the Ruy Piano opening just because I liked the name. Then I read where Little Robert Fischer played the same opening all the time much to the frustration of his learned opponents.
Little Robert Fischer, the little bastard.
So in 1972 I watched Bobby in action; they showed the place where they were playing in Iceland, the table--and I got into it, watching the moves posted on this cardboard chess board they had at the PBS studios--moved by various chess masters from the Manhattan Chess Club led by a dude named Shelby Lyman. I mean Bobby didn't show up for the first match; forfeited. Then, the son of a bitch didn't show up for the second match. He forfeited again. So Bobby was 2 down to Spassky from day one. And it rattled Spassky; oh how Bobby's antics rattled that poor bastard. And Bobby went on to win the championship. Then several years later in Sarajevo he signed a multimillion-dollar deal to play Gary Kasparov for the championship but ended up refusing to play and thus losing the championship by default.
NOTE: from the smartass thedailygrowlerhousepianist who's also a pretty good chess player:
[I hate to do this] but I must nevertheless correct an editor:We stand corrected. Like Bobby, we love to be reprimanded!
*lost* the first game against Spassky in
'72, not forfeit.
Also, he did play, and won, the rematch in the 90s.
Then Bobby turned paranoid and got political and said some politically incorrect things like anti-America statements--the IRS got after Bobby's ass and the World Chess Federation claimed he owed back the millions they'd paid him to play Kasparov and Bobby said Fuck You and then he made some anti-semitic remarks--come on, Bobby's mother was part Jewish and he grew up in the Jewish part of Brooklyn and went to Erasmus High, but anyway, the world came down hard on Bobby and he spent the rest of his life dodging the US Feds, getting arrested a few years ago with his Japanese wife in Japan but Bobby pulled a fly job on the Japanese cops and ended up being welcomed in Iceland where he became an Iceland citizen and that's where good ole Bobby Fischer died. Checkmated at last. The boy put chess on the map--hell yes they owed him big time for that. Where's the interest in chess today?
And here's how Old Bobby looked recently.
Goodbye, Bobby Fischer. You were quite a different kind of splash on the scene. Bobby's an official The Daily Growler Hall of Famer, our kind of individualist in this totally now corporatism/fascist world, the world Bobby Fischer hated.
for The Daily Growler