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  WCC Overview
Fischer vs FIDE, 1975
Fischer forfeits.

After defeating Spassky in 1972, Bobby Fischer stopped playing serious chess, turning down several lucrative offers to play in public.

Fischer, circa 1971 In 1974, Fischer's challenger was decided: he was an emerging Russian chess superstar, Anatoly Karpov, who had defeated Korchnoi in the candidate's final to earn him the right to challenge Fischer.

In September, 1973, Fred Cramer, Vice President (Zone 5) of FIDE, proposed that the world championship match be decided on 10 wins, draws not counting. He also proposed that the champion retains his title if it were a 9-9 tie. This became known as the Cramer proposal. Fischer telegrammed FIDE informing them that they should adopt the Cramer proposal.[1]

Opponents of the proposal argued that the unlimited format is impractical, and that the 9-9 rule affords the champion too great of an advantage. Proponents claimed that the proposal would encourage exciting chess (because draws do not count) and that it more accurately determined the better player. Fischer argued the merits of the proposal in a 1974 letter to FIDE:

The first player to win ten games, draws not counting, with unlimited number of games wins the match. If the score is nine wins to nine wins, draws not counting, the champion retains title and the match is declared drawn with the money split equally. Versus the old system of the best of 24 games wins the match (12.5 points) and if 12-12 the match is drawn with the champion retaining the title and prize fund is split equally. Draws do count in this system.

The unlimited match favors the better player. This is the most important point, because in the limited game system the match outcome can turn on a very low number of wins, giving the weaker player a chance to "luck out." Also, in the limited game system the player who takes a game or two lead has an advantage out of all proportion. This creates an added element of chance. The player who wins the match should be the player who plays best over the long run, not the player who jumps off to an early lead.[2]

In June, 1974, the FIDE Congress in Nice approved the 10-win regulation and the elimination of draws from the scoring, but imposed a 36-game limit and rejected the 9-9 proposal. On June 27, 1974, Fischer sent a telegram from Pasadena, California to the FIDE Congress:
As I made clear in my telegram to the FIDE delegates, the match conditions I proposed were non-negotiable ... FIDE has decided against my participation in the 1975 World Chess Championship. I therefore resign my FIDE World Championship title.

In March, 1975, an extraordinary FIDE Congress was held in Bergen, Netherlands, and it was agreed to have an unlimited number of world championship games, but still refused the 9-9 rule (32 votes for it, and 35 votes against it). [3] Fischer, unwilling to budge, refused to defend his title.

In Karpov's memoirs he recounts how he was disappointed to not have a chance to become champion in the traditional manner:

I don't know how Fischer feels about it, but I consider it a huge loss that he and I never played our match. I felt like the child who has been promised a wonderful toy and has it offered to him but then, at the last moment, it's taken away.[4]

On April 3rd, 1975, Karpov was declared the 12th World Champion.


  1. Robert James Fischer, by Bill Wall
    2 Bobby Fischer letter to FIDE, 1974
    3 Robert James Fischer, by Bill Wall
    4 Karpov on Karpov: Memoirs of a Chess World Champion, by Anatoly Karpov, Athenuem Press, 1992.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-19-16  thegoodanarchist: <todicav23: Sorry, I should have been more specific. It's the only fact we know regarding why Fischer decided to stop playing. >

No it isn't. We have the testimony of a woman who had Fischer as a house guest in her own home in 1974 or '75 (I forget which). Her name is Betty Roberts, and she wrote of this experience in her book on chess.

One of the things she recounted Fischer saying was something like "hopefully someone will put pressure on the Russians to be reasonable". I used quotes here, but I am trying to recall from memory since I don't have the book with me at this time.

I think this demonstrates that a) Fischer believed his position to be the reasonable one; b) Fischer believed Russia was either controlling FIDE or at least successfully influencing FIDE; and c) at least outwardly RJF was still expressing a desire to have the match.

If Fischer believed his position to be reasonable, then we can conclude that he viewed FIDE's rejection of any of his demands as "unreasonable". And Fischer believed FIDE was corrupted by the Russians, so these two ideas seem to me to be facts regarding why Fischer decided to stop playing, even though he did not write these views of his in the resignation letter.

Oct-20-16  WorstPlayerEver: Lol the FIDE is still corrupted by Russians FYI
Oct-20-16  Petrosianic: I've read that story, but Fischer's idea of being reasonable was for him to have absolutely everything he wanted, without exception, and his opponent to have nothing. No champion in history ever got that. Even in the Imperial days, the challengers always got SOME concessions.

Furthermore, we know in hindsight that Fischer was not entirely honest with himself, and was unwilling to play even when he did get everything. In 1975 it was possible to believe that Fischer wasn't through with chess, just with FIDE. With 40 years of hindsight, we see that's not true.

Oct-22-16  thegoodanarchist: <but Fischer's idea of being reasonable was for him to have absolutely everything he wanted, without exception, and his opponent to have nothing. >


Thank you for the reply, but I am not sure what it has to do with the topic we were discussing, i.e., facts we know regarding why Fischer stopped playing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Fischer justifies himself to some lady why he is not playing. This does not tell us at all that he was serious about playing. It is the same situation as with jailbirds being all innocent. Everybody has a justification.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: I love Fischer's games and annotations, but the man just did not want to play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  DrNyet: <thegoodanarchist>'s comment about Betty Roberts' book prompted me to look it up. FWIW the account begins on page 74 of the first edition (1991; I don't know if there were any others) of "How to Get Better at Chess: Chess Masters on Their Art", by Larry Evans, Jeremy Silman, and Betty Roberts (in the chapter "Anecdotes").

It's a book that may be of interest to those who like to read personal accounts and opinions of players.

Oct-23-16  Everett: All, save psychopaths, feel fear, especially in competition/confrontation.

In my opinion, the very greatest move through and channel those feelings of fear.

And because of its ubiquitous nature, feeling fear should not be considered shameful. It's a part of life.

Oct-24-16  WorstPlayerEver: Yep, the Fischer drone chickened out.
Oct-24-16  WorstPlayerEver: First of all: a 'psychopath' becomes then a psychopath at the police station; no single influence of a psychiatrist here or it must be failure: the police caught the 'psychopath' more than once.

Second, if a psychopath would have no fear they would be caught immediately. No fear does mean: no care.

They facts are: the average psychopath fears and cares more than an average person, ironically enough; otherwise they can't become a psychopath. They have to care for their ego an awful lot.

The whole point is: all you 'know' about psychopaths is that you don't know about them. Happy now? ;)

Oct-24-16  Everett: Sociopath is perhaps better:
"A sociopath can be defined as a person who has Antisocial Personality Disorder. This disorder is characterized by a disregard for the feelings of others, a lack of remorse or shame, manipulative behavior, unchecked egocentricity, and the ability to lie in order to achieve one's goals."

And further from WebMD:
"It’s not easy to spot a <psychopath.> They can be intelligent, charming, and good at mimicking emotions. They may pretend to be interested in you, but in reality, they probably don’t care.

“They’re skilled actors whose sole mission is to manipulate people for personal gain,” Tompkins says.

<Sociopaths> are less able to play along. They make it plain that they’re not interested in anyone but themselves. They often blame others and have excuses for their behavior."

Both lack normal empathy. It's likely easier to be cool-headed and calculated without empathy.

besides people with these characteristics, specifically a lack of empathy, it's safe to say that anxiety, fear and the rest are felt by everyone to varying degrees, and healthfully managed per the individual's ability to do so. The best manage it the best.

Where Fischer falls in all of this is for others to figure out. I make no claim, though it seems others think I am.

Oct-24-16  Everett: <They facts are: the average psychopath fears and cares more than an average person>

Not quite. They care and fear about <themselves> an awful lot, yet nothing for anyone else. The issue of <more> in absolute terms is likely unknowable. The percentage of how much they care for themselves vs others is the difference between socio-/psychopathology and normal individuals.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: I would like to add to what <Everett> says that these disorders are neurological and physically detectable.
Oct-24-16  Petrosianic: <thegoodanarchist>: <Thank you for the reply, but I am not sure what it has to do with the topic we were discussing, i.e., facts we know regarding why Fischer stopped playing.>

It demonstrates rather conclusively that Fischer didn't stop playing because of a failure to get the conditions he wanted.

Oct-25-16  WorstPlayerEver: Fischer was a non conformist. I think that's the whole point; when he became the champ, he wanted to dictate the conditions of the WCC.

And, in hindsight, he probably was right.

Now we have a champ who is still acting like a schoolboy, has no outstanding personality, plays 12 games to *defend* his title, in an organization which is probably as corrupted as when Fischer took the stage.

Fischer dressed himself, which was a part of his personality, while Magno gets dressed by funny companies. Notice the difference.

Oct-27-16  Everett: <maxi: I would like to add to what <Everett> says that these disorders are neurological and physically detectable.>

I'm interested in how that is determined. I don't doubt it, just curious.

I have heard that schizophrenics have a particular eye-movement pattern that "outs" them. Here's an example article:

Oct-27-16  WorstPlayerEver: The Russians have held my title for ten years and they're going to be in for it when I win the Championship. They're going to have to wait and play under my conditions. -- Bobby Fischer
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <Everett> I am not an expert, perhaps one can comment here, but I understand both electroencephalograms and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain are diagnostically valuable in subjects that show antisocial personality disorders associated with the psychopath description.
Oct-27-16  WorstPlayerEver: I'll give it a try ;)

"Reshevsky and I are the only ones in America who try (to earn a living from chess). We don't make much. The other masters have outside jobs. Like Rossolimo, he drives a cab. Evans, he works for the movies. The Russians, they get money from the government. We have to depend on tournament prizes. And they're lousy. Maybe a couple hundred bucks. Millionaires back this game, but they're all cheap. Look what they do for golf: thirty thousand dollars for a tournament is nothing. But for chess they give a thousand or two and they think it's a big deal. The tournament has to be named after them, everybody has to bow down to them, play when they want, everything for a couple thousand dollars which is nothing to them anyhow. They take it off their income tax. These people are cheap. It's ridiculous." -- Bobby Fischer

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: How right you were, Bobby.
Oct-27-16  WorstPlayerEver: Lol, you know what's so funny? Some people have no clue about other people and they have made up studies for this little inconvenience.

So, eventually, it brings them -the students, so to speak- to an *insight* of: "When a person moves like this, it's probably related to what WE have observed as th@t#.." You don't say..

How does this relate to chess as an analogy?

Well, if a person plays this move, we know everything. Well.. almost everything =)

O tempora, oh irony!

Nov-01-16  Mr 1100:
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <Reshevsky and I are the only ones in America who try (to earn a living from chess). >

They, and the hustler Asa Hoffman?

Nov-01-16  WorstPlayerEver: Hopeless attention seeker Ponterotto and his "post-mortem" psychoanalysis of Fischer. His call to *fame*. What on earth is a post-mortem psychoanalysis?

Masturbating on a corpse. That is what it is.

Jan-04-17  The Boomerang: "Fischer was a non conformist. I think that's the whole point; when he became the champ, he wanted to dictate the conditions of the WCC."

Narcissistic more like it...

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