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The Championship Season: Bobby Fischer in 1972.  
Robert James Fischer
Number of games in database: 993
Years covered: 1953 to 1992
Last FIDE rating: 2780
Highest rating achieved in database: 2785
Overall record: +420 -86 =247 (72.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      240 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (182) 
    B90 B32 B88 B44 B57
 Ruy Lopez (119) 
    C92 C69 C95 C97 C98
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (75) 
    C92 C95 C97 C98 C89
 French Defense (68) 
    C19 C11 C18 C16 C15
 Caro-Kann (52) 
    B10 B11 B18 B14 B17
 French Winawer (40) 
    C19 C18 C16 C15 C17
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (119) 
    B92 B99 B97 B90 B93
 King's Indian (116) 
    E62 E80 E97 E60 E67
 Sicilian Najdorf (77) 
    B92 B99 B97 B90 B93
 Nimzo Indian (23) 
    E45 E46 E40 E43 E21
 Grunfeld (20) 
    D79 D86 D98 D80 D85
 English (18) 
    A16 A15 A10 A19
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956 0-1
   R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963 0-1
   Fischer vs Spassky, 1972 1-0
   Fischer vs Myagmarsuren, 1967 1-0
   Fischer vs Fine, 1963 1-0
   Spassky vs Fischer, 1972 0-1
   Fischer vs Tal, 1961 1-0
   Fischer vs Benko, 1963 1-0
   Letelier vs Fischer, 1960 0-1
   Fischer vs Reshevsky, 1958 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Mar del Plata (1960)
   US Championship 1963/64 (1963)
   Skopje (1967)
   U.S. Championship (1966)
   Stockholm Interzonal (1962)
   Vinkovci (1968)
   Rovinj/Zagreb (1970)
   Netanya (1968)
   Buenos Aires (1970)
   Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970)
   Fischer - Spassky (1992)
   Zurich (1959)
   Havana (1965)
   Curacao Candidates (1962)
   Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Fischer vs The Russians by wanabe2000
   Match Fischer! by amadeus
   Bobby Fischer: Selected Games from 1955-1992 by wanabe2000
   Bjelica_125 by Gottschalk
   Russians versus Fischer by Anatoly21
   Robert Fischer's Best Games by KingG
   Fischer Favorites by atrifix
   Fischer 101 by rea
   Fischer's Finest by morphyvsfischer
   fischer best games by brager
   Bobby Fischer Rediscovered (Andy Soltis) by AdrianP
   Games by Fisher by gothic
   Bobby Fischer's Road to the World Championship by WeakSquare
   fav Capablanca & Fischer games by guoduke

   Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard, 1858
   R Byrne vs Fischer, 1963
   Petrosian vs Pachman, 1961
   Korchnoi vs Fischer, 1970
   Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Robert James Fischer
Search Google for Robert James Fischer

(born Mar-09-1943, died Jan-17-2008, 64 years old) United States of America (citizen of Iceland)

[what is this?]
Robert James ("Bobby") Fischer was born on March 9, 1943 in Chicago. At 13, he won the stunning brilliancy D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956, which Hans Kmoch christened "The Game of the Century." At 14, he won the US Championship, becoming the youngest player ever to do so.

Fischer's victory qualified him for the 1958 Portorož Interzonal. He tied for 5th–6th, which sufficed to advance him to the Candidates Tournament to decide the challenger to World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik. It also made him, at 15, the youngest grandmaster ever - a record that stood until Judit Polgar broke it in 1991. At the Candidates tournament, held in Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Fischer finished fifth out of eight, the top non-Soviet player.

Fischer won the US Championship all eight times he played, in each case by at least a point. In the US Championship 1963/64 (1963) he achieved the only perfect score (11-0) in the history of the tournament.

In 1962, he won the Stockholm Interzonal 2½ points ahead of Efim Geller and Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian. This made him one of the favorites to win the Candidates Tournament at Curaçao, but he only finished fourth, behind Petrosian, Geller, and Paul Keres.

In a famous article in Sports Illustrated, The Russians Have Fixed World Chess, Fischer accused the Soviets of cheating: Petrosian, Geller, and Keres had drawn all 12 of the games among themselves at Curaçao. Because of this, he refused to play in the next Candidates cycle. He did play in the 1967 Sousse Interzonal, but left it while leading, because of a scheduling dispute occasioned by Fischer's refusal to play on Saturday, his Sabbath.

In 1970 he won the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal by a record 3½ points. The following year, he shocked the chess world by sweeping the Fischer-Taimanov Candidates Match (1971) and the Fischer-Larsen Candidates Match (1971) by identical 6-0 scores. He also won the first game of his Candidates final against former World Champion Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, giving him a modern record of 20 consecutive wins at the highest level of competition. He beat Petrosian by 6½-2½ to advance to the World Championship match against reigning champion Boris Spassky. This also gave him a FIDE rating of 2785, making him at that time the highest-rated player in history.

In Reykjavik, he won the Fischer-Spassky World Championship Match (1972) by 12½-8½ to become the 11th World Chess Champion. In 1975, Fischer forfeited his title after FIDE refused to meet his conditions for a World Championship match with Anatoly Karpov. He then vanished from the public eye for nearly 20 years.

After ending his competitive career, he proposed a new variant of chess and a modified chess timing system. His idea of adding a time increment after each move is now standard, and his variant "Fischerandom" (or "Chess960") is gaining in popularity.(2)

Fischer resurfaced in 1992 to play a match against his old rival Spassky in Yugoslavia, which he won 10-5 with 15 draws. This action allegedly violated U.S. Treasury Department regulations that forbade transacting business with Yugoslavia. Fischer evaded authorities for twelve years until July 13, 2004, when he was arrested in Japan. On March 22, 2005, he was granted Icelandic citizenship and finally freed from Japan. He died of renal failure in Iceland on January 17, 2008 at the age of 64.

Fischer's anthology, My 60 Memorable Games, was published in 1969. It has been described as a "classic of objective and painstaking analysis"1, and is regarded as one of the great classics of chess literature.

(1) Hooper & Whyld. The Oxford Companion to Chess. 1992

(2) Wikipedia article: Bobby Fischer

(3) User: jessicafischerqueen 's YouTube documentary of Fischer

 page 1 of 40; games 1-25 of 993  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. D Mayers vs Fischer 1-017 1953 Blitz GameC33 King's Gambit Accepted
2. Fischer vs J Altusky 1-012 1954 Offhand GameE90 King's Indian
3. J Altusky vs Fischer 0-18 1954 Offhand GameC71 Ruy Lopez
4. Fischer vs K Warner 0-128 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrB58 Sicilian
5. J Thomason vs Fischer 0-123 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrE90 King's Indian
6. Fischer vs V Pupols 0-144 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrC40 King's Knight Opening
7. A Humphrey vs Fischer ½-½33 1955 US Amateur ChE61 King's Indian
8. Fischer vs D Ames ½-½28 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrC47 Four Knights
9. A W Conger vs Fischer 1-012 1955 Correspondence GameE70 King's Indian
10. W Whisler vs Fischer ½-½25 1955 Lincoln ch-US jrE76 King's Indian, Four Pawns Attack
11. Feuerstein vs Fischer ½-½31 1956 Third Rosenwald TrophyE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
12. R Sobel vs Fischer 1-027 1956 Montreal CA-openA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
13. Fischer vs H Matthai ½-½108 1956 Montreal CA-openB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
14. C Grossguth vs Fischer 0-129 1956 US Junior Ch.B92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
15. W Whisler vs Fischer 0-128 1956 Candas op 92\\09E87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
16. Fischer vs K Vine ½-½36 1956 New York ManhattanB32 Sicilian
17. Fischer vs C Sharp 1-033 1956 CAN-opC78 Ruy Lopez
18. B Owens vs Fischer ½-½43 1956 57th US OpenE68 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Variation, 8.e4
19. Fischer vs M Fox 0-162 1956 Montreal CA-openA07 King's Indian Attack
20. A Turner vs Fischer 1-053 1956 New York ManhattanE68 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Variation, 8.e4
21. Fischer vs S Popel ½-½38 1956 57th US OpenA07 King's Indian Attack
22. K Blake vs Fischer 0-120 1956 Philadelphia ch-jr (09)B59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
23. K Smith vs Fischer ½-½51 1956 57th US OpenB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
24. Fischer vs P Lapiken 1-019 1956 57th US OpenA04 Reti Opening
25. Fischer vs W Stevens ½-½20 1956 57th US OpenC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
 page 1 of 40; games 1-25 of 993  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Fischer wins | Fischer loses  

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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Lasker was a master in checkers. He also wrote at least one book about backgammon. Probably a fine card player, too. A shame he didn't use his mind to win at cards, where there are so many wealthy pigeons waiting to be plucked. He wouldn't have been broke most of his life.
Nov-28-14  MissScarlett: <Lasker was a master in checkers. He also wrote at least one book about backgammon.>

He was? He did?

Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: <AylerKupp>: <<kamagong24> Are all GM's chess addicts? especially those who became world champs?>

There is a fine line between dedication and obsession, though some would give each the same definition, when it comes to what it takes to be very successful at chess.

I know players well below master level that are obsessed with chess, as it dominates their thinking and sucks up hours and hours of time each day that they can ill afford.

The tragedy is many just don't have the talent or currently the right training techniques, coach, mindset, self study focus or discipline, "chess-positive environment", or tournament schedule, to truly and permanently improve, and don't know it, . . . . . the same is true for lots of amateur golfers, skiers, snowboarders, scrabble and poker players, etc. out there.

I won't advocate a Tyler Durden philosophy of "Self-improvement is masturbation, . . . now self-destruction . . . . ah", but sometimes it takes more than just a little bit of tweaking here and there to improve, which makes obsession start to look like a real option.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Apparently Mr.Fischer consumed mass quantities of milk during games
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: According to this guy:

When it came to food, the Fisch could pack it in.

In other words: he was a glutton.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: That's why I'm thinking his kidney damage was due to type II diabetes. It happens to adults over 40, who are obese.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: This is interesting:

<During a four-month period in 1981, Biyiasas played 17 five-minute games with Bobby Fischer, who was staying in his apartment at the time. Fischer, although he had been absent from competitive play for nine years, won all 17 games. Biyiasas said that he didn't think Fischer had lost anything in form, despite the layoff.>

Nov-28-14  kamagong24: @SteinitzLives talent versus dedication, i seem to recall Botvinnik saying that he has to exert more effort on improving his game because he does not have the talent or innate skills compared with other players, Fischer on the other hand, i think has both talent and dedication or even obsession that made him stand out until now with former world champs

who spends more time playing/studying chess? Botvinnik or Fischer?

Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: About five years ago I had a conversation with Jude Acers while playing against him down in the French Quarter (scored 1.5-2.5), and he held that Fischer was "not a prodigy".

After I picked up my jaw which had dropped to the floor, he made a pretty compelling argument, stating that Fischer had by far the best work ethic of certainly any American player by the time he was 9-10 years old, and any player in the world shortly thereafter.

Unburdened by the need to make a living, focus much on school, or do much of anything else since his mother was working and away very often, Fischer could dedicate just about every waking minute to chess from when he became obsessed with it, which was probably not long after he learned it at age 7.

By age 16 he was living on his own and no longer in school, but I am not sure how much money he needed to make to support himself, but he never seemed in real financial difficulty during that period.

As an aside, how come John (Jack) Collins gets so very little credit for Fischer's growth as a player? He visited Collins for coaching and teaching very frequently during his early formative years.

Jude held that the assumption that Fischer was a prodigy because he won the U.S. Championship at age 14 is flawed. The impression I got was that Fisher's talent grew and flew from his work ethic, which came first, not the other way around.

Per Jude, he worked his butt off every day for 12+ hours a day. I know he did it in a variety of ways: studying on his own with magazines and books, analyzing with colleagues, playing casual chess with a clock, and also speed chess, every day!

Did Botvinnik work harder? I don't know, but I have always believed Botvinnik worked smartest.

Kasparov had the best work ethic of any chess player IMHO, which he tried to pass on to both Carlsen and Nakamura when he coached them, but they wanted no part of that, and separated from him.

Work ethic can cover a multitude of deficiencies elsewhere in one's game, especially if it's focused and part of some sort strategic training plan.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Very interesting post <SteinitzLives>

Thank you !

Nov-28-14  Petrosianic: <About five years ago I had a conversation with Jude Acers while playing against him down in the French Quarter (scored 1.5-2.5), and he held that Fischer was "not a prodigy".>

I understand his point, but in the vernacular, "Prodigy" means any child with unusually strong talents. How he got them is beside the point, and I don't think the dictionary draws that distinction either.

But I would say Fischer WAS a prodigy, and here's why. I once knew a chess player who was a kind of Little League Dad about chess. He was very successful in business, and wanted his kid to be world champion, or a GM at least. He taught him the moves when he was 6 years old (the way he told the story, it was the kid's idea), and pushed him really hard to work at chess, get good at it. Promoted the kid very heavily in the local club. Tried to get the newspapers to run stories on him as a chess prodigy, et cetera. He was really stern on the kid in the typical Little League Dad way, when he lost or didn't do as well as he should have. Some of us were a little uncomfortable with it, wondering if the kid thought dad wouldn't love him if he didn't win.

In the end, this kid became a Master, which is about what you'd expect for all the work he put into it, and quit playing in his 20's. So, was he a prodigy? Maybe by some definitions, but I didn't really see him that way.

Now Fischer on the other hand, also worked his butt off at chess, but he achieved a LOT more than the average person would for the same work. So, in my book, that makes Fischer a prodigy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: prodigy means superior talent, God given, in evidence at an early age for their field.

Stevie Wonder (writing songs for other Motown artists at age 10), Fischer winning the USA ch. at age 14, Mozart doing his best work while still a teenager, Boris Becker at age 16 winning Wimbledon, John Nunn in graduate school or pursuing a Doctorate, while still a teenager--all prodigies.

Nov-28-14  Petrosianic: Well, Fischer had both superior talent, AND a huge work ethic. I simply don't believe that any average schmoe who worked as hard as Fischer did could expect to enjoy the same success.

On the other hand, I DO think that the average person who worked as hard as that kid that I didn't name did could eventually get a rating in the 2200's.

Nov-28-14  kamagong24: @SteinitzLives: yes! very interesting! thank you!

is it chess addiction or love for chess which motivated Fischer to study/learn more chess than any other players at his time? i remember Fischer saying later in his life that he hates chess, i stand to be corrected here

Nov-28-14  Petrosianic: He said late in life that he disliked the OLD chess, because it was all memorization. This was in the mid 90's. At that time, he stopped Not Playing Chess, and started Not Playing Fischerrandom.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Lasker was a bridge master also.

And he invented the board game Laska.

Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: And Lasker Nim. Actually, Lasker wrote a book: "Brettspiele der Völker"

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <As an aside, how come John (Jack) Collins gets so very little credit for Fischer's growth as a player? He visited Collins for coaching and teaching very frequently during his early formative years.>

Nope. Because Fischer was already stronger than Collins when he began going to Collin's house (the Hawthorne Chess Club).

I would say that it was the other masters that came to the Hawthorne that Fischer learned more from: Lombardy, Robert and Donald Byrne, etc.

Fischer even told Collins that he had never taught him anything.

Carmine Nigro was Bobby's teacher before Collins and Bobby got together.

Fischer dedicated his first book to Nigro.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: <The Focus> Looks like your right. Lombardy is quoted as saying Collins never taught Fischer (or himself or the Byrne brothers either) anything. He just gave them a place to play, which I am sure helped develop all of their talents, but a house is not a teacher.

<Petrosianic> I am very often impressed (and occasionally irritated when it seems less relevant) by your attention to the tiniest of details. It's true that the definition of the term prodigy does not at all speak to what causes the prodigy's extreme talent. The implication for any prodigy is that a prodigy has much more natural, born-with-it talent than anything else.

Fischer had to have had that, but it is was his work ethic that truly separated him from the other prodigies. That was the main point I took from Acer's conversation.

At a lecture given by GM Dzinzhi, a couple of years ago, he claimed to have played numerous speed chess games at one sitting with RJF in the early 1980s and he claims to have won about half of them, and that RJF was really angry about it. He also stated that in both 75 and 78 Fischer would have crushed Karpov, but by the 1980's no way. Fischer would have been almost 40 in the early 80s and without high level preparation . . . . lots of what-ifs.

The OLD chess was perhaps something Fischer could not have won in the 80s against Karpov or Kasparov, or perhaps he just did not want to deal with all he would have had to do to get back into it. Perhaps he had lost his work ethic for the OLD chess by then, but I think it was easier to claim it was fixed by "the lowest dogs around".

I know lots of players with high ratings that who have given up chess and chosen not to return to it, due to just how much work is required to get back in and maintain past strength. GM Benjamin once took a year off and he said it took him an entire year to get back to where he felt he was when he had stopped.

I think it was Lasker who said something to the effect that chess knowledge cannot be corked into a bottle like old wine and just poured back out for use whenever wanted later.

Nov-28-14  kamagong24: @ Petrosianic: At that time, he stopped Not Playing Chess, and started Not Playing Fischerrandom

Fischerrandom is still OLD chess without the opening?

@ TheFocus: im rediscovering Fischer with your post here and same w/ SteinitzLives

Nov-28-14  Petrosianic: <I think it was Lasker who said something to the effect that chess knowledge cannot be corked into a bottle like old wine and just poured back out for use whenever wanted later.>

I thought that was Anderssen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <prodigy means superior talent, God given, in evidence at an early age for their field.>

Even "evidence at early age" doesn't mean "superior talent, God given".

After all, even at early age hardwork can be playing a role. Mozart was really pushed - actually, he is often come up with as an example of someone being pushed into some field against his own will from the very young age on. Sometimes the work is done in a playful manner, with the kid not even noticing it, but it is still done.

By the way, Fischer was nothing exceptional until the age of 12, when his chess skills suddenly "exploded", from Class B player into a strong Master, capabe of beating GMs. If Fischer is prodigy by your definition, what was with him at earlier ages?

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Why does a prodigy have to be a child?

What if you learned chess at the age of 20, and then just rushed into master level in a couple of years?

I wonder if that has ever happened?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Ron: I cam across a site, which apparently is an archive of news reporting. This article, from Reuters, is about the tournament held in Cuba which Fischer participated in by teletype:

There are other archived news ietms abut Fischer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <Why does a prodigy have to be a child? >

Exactly, <Magnus> No one before or after Fischer has won the closed USA ch. at age 14, or younger. [Nak won it at age 16.] At age 14, BF was way ahead of the development curve that included other chess players at the same age. Yes he worked hard, but there is a genetic component. too. He was very young, had a huge natural gift, and had superior results. The very definition of "prodigy."

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