B. Fischer, deportation, chess in Yugoslavia under sanctions

Incidentally, RickJay, keep in mind that Fischer did not know what was in the letter. From his perspective, he received an envelope with the return address of an organization that had abandoned him when he — their shining star — needed them most. For all he knew, it was a belated bill from some sourpusses for expenses incurred in Reykjavik or something. His request for $10,000 to open it was eminently reasonable. I am convinced that, given sufficient grovelling by the USCF along with the promises made in the letter, he would have returned.

I bet he made the $10,000 demand after opening the letter!

Maybe. But it was just more USCF weeniness. Doyle should have delivered the letter personally, and stayed in a nearby hotel to make himself available to satisfy instantly whatever requests Fischer might have had.

Sadly, folks the man is now a nutcase, and probably was so from fairly on. He lost it after he won the championship against Spassky and thereafter refused to defend his title.

If you hear him now, he is just ugly. He spouts the very worst anti-Semitic drivel. Just so we get this straight: he is now a raving lunatic. You can find some of his more recent interviews on the Net, and you will be shocked if you listen.

I idolized him as a teen. I learned to play chess very well because of him and his book on the subject.

I followed his story with interest over the years. It is sad. Seeing his behavior on video clips, and reading his written statements, I have no doubt he is seriously mentally ill, and probably had the symptoms of said illness manifesting for a long, long time. It’s a personal tragedy for him, and a loss to the chess community.

But there have been many, many others lost to mental illness in the past whose absence is far more profound and impactful: Scientists, physicians, social workers, parents, siblings. Bobby will have to face the consequences of his own behavior.

The things he said about 9/11 were particularly incredible…made, no less, on the very day of the attack.

Liberal, I would have made the same decision as Doyle. And I, too, think Fischer probably had already opened the letter when he made the request for $10K. If it’s any consolation, I don’t think he ever would have agreed to your federation’s proposal. It took millions, at a time when he was much worse off financially, to finally pry him out of isolation.

Like going to Fisher’s place on his knees clothed with a frieze sack, and giving him a feet massage after the required five prostrations? :rolleyes:

Although science is upheld today, absurdly, as the sole valid epistemology, and its champions, ironically, pitch it with religious fervor, there is something to be said for art’s place in human affairs. Humans are not Vulcans. We are not even driven by epistemic concerns. It is aesthetics and ethics that drive mankind to greatness. Science has taught him how to feed the multitudes, but his hard heart keeps him from it. Fischer was driven to madness by petty men with limited vision, and by men who held his art in contempt.

I would have got on my knees. I would have massaged his tired feet and cleansed them with my tears. I would have fallen prostrate before him and offered my life as his slave if he would have returned. Why should anything less be expected from the very leader of the organization that ostensibly represented him? I don’t think you quite appreciate the level of this man’s art. He had the tactical eye of Morphy, the fearlessness of Tal, the aggressiveness of Alekhine, the patience of Petrosian, the daring of Lasker, the strategic genius of Capablanca, the balls of Bogoljubov, and the originality of Botvinnik — all blended together in one vast and marvelous mind.

I’m a relative novice at chess and haven’t really got around to studying many past games, so I’d never seen this game before. Holy cow! He was only 13 years old?? Unbelievable.

Grandmaster Hans Kmoch, known for his understandment and reserved annotation, surprised everyone by dubbing it “The Game of the Century”. The name stuck. Fischer’s eleventh move has been called the most brilliantly conceived chess move of all time, and he followed that with a Queen sacrifice. Incredible indeed. Stunning.

Oh, please. You honestly think he was driven mad rather than accepting the fact that he is (and probably has been for a very long time or always) mentally ill? If he is not mentally ill, it’s much much worse because then he has no defense for his bigotry and tinfoil-hat ravings.

Well, if he IS mentally ill, then what’s with all the intolerance and sanctimony? The last time I had to defend an artist like this was against rednecks who couldn’t get past Elton John’s homosexuality. I’m not comparing mental illness to homosexuality, but I am comparing one irrelevance to another. It isn’t about mental illness and ill-conceived statements. It’s about the art.

Liberal, I was deeply moved by your posts about Fisher. Thank you for relating your story and your views here.

You have made it well worthwhile.

Lib, you might not be consciously aware of how… well, how silly this sounds. You sound like a teenaged girl gushing over Nick Carter. Why is Fischer entitled to your grovelling and your money? And in any event, there is really no way to satisfy Fischer because the man is clearly a total nutbar.

Is he a brilliant master? Possibly the most brilliant ever. That game you cited is truly magnificent, the sort of game I could only dream of playing. (I still think Byrne erred in move 12. Sure, had he taken the knight he’d have been disadvantaged, but the move he did make was disastrous. I bow to the opinions of grandmasters who say it was an okay move, but the ensuing catastrophe certainly does not suggest it.) He still doesn’t deserve to be worshipped. He’s no better a person than you or I and if he wants money he should earn it, not have it given to him because he feels he’s entitled. I take issue with your claim that anyone who played that game of chess “deserves every ounce of deference the world can muster.” Nobody is owed any such thing. I respect his abilities but owe him nothing.

It’s unseemly for free men to prostrate themselves before royalty, whether that royalty claims to be kings and queens or shoves them around a chessboard.

Thing is, a disadvantage in a game with Fischer of even a half-move of initiative is all that is required before the walls come tumbling down. Please consider that Byrne’s 12th move was disastrous only because Fischer could sacrifice his Queen 5 moves later for even more advantage. What sort of human can see such things? No matter what Byrne had played on move 12, by move 20 his game would have been in tatters. Notice that Byrne did not resign as you would expect a grandmaster to do; rather, he chose to play out the forced mate. Even he, the victim of Fischer’s genius, could not bear to truncate it. It would have been a desecration.

Well, Fischer is human and he saw it coming - or, more correctly, saw the positional advantage that would allow him to make the Queen sacrifice. I just don’t see how Byrne’s position after move 13 bxc3 is preferable in any way to any position that would have resulted from taking the knight at move 12. Just look ONE move ahead; nxc3 is the move that starts the bricks tumbling down.

I wish I had a board at work to work this out - is Byrne instead plays nxa4 to take the knight, it’s likely Fischer still plays nxe4 since the king’s pawn is still exposed, and that was his plan. That still forces Byrne’s queen to abandon c5 in move 14, which means the board after that move will look much the same as it did… except that Byrne will have a live knight at a4. Assuming he still attacks with the bishop 14 - bxe7, Fischer’s counter of Qb6 on move 14 isn’t possible, because Byrne will just kill it nxb6, right? The sacrifice of the Queen here doesn’t help Black positionally like it did in move 17.

I mean, I would assume that Fischer also had a plan of attack if Byrne did go nxa4 in move 12, but it looks to me like he played right into Fischer’s hands. The loss of that knight weakens the entire left side and Fischer went into it like college kids into a phone booth.
That makes Fischer’s sixteenth move

The problem for White has nothing to do with weaknesses on the sides, but in the center. His King is not castled, and is exposed to deadly tactics if Fischer is allowed to break open the center with 12. Nxa4, Nxe4. The positional wreck that Byrne would have faced with a centralized and exposed King was pretty much the same as that to which he eventually succombed — except that Fischer would have an active Queen! I gave you a link to some of the most detailed analysis ever published that analyzes practically every possible line. What specifically did you see there that you question?

I haven’t seen anything pit worthy in this thread. What remarks do you want to make?