RookFile: This is a one of this minority cases
where a book is more useful than a chess database. So, I'm using
Robert Wade and Kevin O'Connell's classic book on Fischer's games.
To put this is perspective:
In January, 1957, Fischer was playing in the semi final round of the Manhattan chess club championship and got eliminated from the finals, losing to the same Max Pavey who beat him in a simultaneaous exhibition to start his career.
In February, 1957, Fischer played
in a Log Cabin tournament, a different one than the one in this Sherwin game. The Log Cabin tournament was more like 'action' chess than real chess, the requirement was 50 moves in 50 minutes. In February, Fischer could
do no better than 6th place, finishing behind Fuerstein, Santasiere, Green, Fuster, and Wanetick, all minor masters at best.
In March, Bobby is back, playing in
the Log Cabin again, where the above
Sherwin game was played. Again, he
did not distinguish himself. The
very round before this game he drew
to a later punching bag like Saidy,
who on move 43, presumably in time trouble, misses 43.... Rh6, winning
the queen, and the game, against Fischer:
Fischer vs Saidy, 1957
By the way, the Wade and O'Connell
book shows that www.chessgames.com is
in error by listing the Fischer -
Saidy game as West Orange rather than
Log Cabin 50 -50.... the very next
round is the Sherwin game listed here.
In the spring, Bobby plays in the
New York Metropolitan league, and
loses a short match to Dr. Max Euwe,
1.5 to 0.5.
As late as July, Bobby plays in the
New Western Open. He does better
this time, he's still in 6th place,
but he wins a good game against the
solid master Erich Marchand. Then
he plays a bunch of kids in July
in the US Junior championship, winning
it, of course.
Were you to stop the story here,
there is nothing, nothing unusual or
amazing about Bobby Fischer. Certainly he's a pretty good player,
a low rated master, for example, but
not as good as Reshevsky, for example,
was at the same age.
It was at this point that something
happenned, and the most dramatic upsurge in strength and talent the
chess world has ever seen, occurred.
The record shows that after finishing
6th in the New Western Open, Bobby
would finish first, every time, in
every tournament he played in on US
soil, for the rest of his career. In
1957, this included the hat trick:
the US Junior Championship, the US Open, and the US Championship.
So, at the start of 1957, Bobby was
perhaps an expert in chess strenth.
By the end of 1957, Fischer was a
legitmate, 2500+ strength player.
I don't believe the chess world has
ever again seen such a dramatic
upswing in strength in a single year.