Friday, January 18, 2008
Headlines: Bobby Fischer Dead at Age 64
There are 64 squares on a chessboard and, apparently, 64 years in the life of chess grandmaster, Bobby Fisher. Fischer died Thursday of kidney failure after an extended illness. The child prodigy was residing in Iceland.
Fischer was born in the United States (Chicago to be exact) but relocated to Iceland in 2005. In 2004 Fischer was arrested on a warrant for violating international sanctions in 1992, when he traveled to Yugoslavia to play a match against Boris Spassky. He was held for nine months before being released to Iceland where he had been granted citizenship. Iceland is well known for its obsession with chess.
Fischer’s early life was riddled with success. He began playing competitively at age 8 and was the youngest player in history to win the United States Junior Championship, a feat he managed at age 13. Fischer took the first of his eight United States Open Championship wins at age 14. He broke another ‘youngest ever’ record when he became an international grand master at age 15.
Fischer continued his erratic career as a chess super-star, having his most famous match in 1972 against Boris Spassky. The American-Russian match was seen as a foreshadowing of the end of the Cold War as Fischer finished the tournament 12.5 points to Spassky’s 8.5 points over 21 matches. In addition to Fischer’s well-known reputation for gracelessness, rudeness, and unusual demands concerning playing conditions, he is remembered as the American that took down Russia in an allegorical struggle against our greatest nemesis of the day.