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Bobby Fischer goes to War


Keenomanjaro
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This is a detailed account of the 1972 World Chess Championship match between America's Bobby Fischer and the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky. Despite the misleading title, the book tries to give equal amounts of attention to both players, but as the story progresses and Fischer's antics become more and more outrageous, it is the American in all his mad glory who becomes the main reason for persevering.

 

Chess is a pretty dry subject and in order to sustain interest throughout the book, the authors sensibly focus on the action away from the board, with references to brilliant moves being kept to a minimum. The championship was played during the Cold War, lending political overtones to every move made by the two opponents and as such, the book also explores the entourage of people who brought mind games and dirty tactics into the sporting arena.

 

After several interesting chapters giving background on each player and describing the run up to the championship, things slow down quite a bit during the actual match itself, with Fischer threatening to call the whole thing off on numerous occasions and endless lists of unreasonable demands being made. But that aside, it's a well researched account into the most famous chess match of all time; a match that neither player ever recovered from.

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Thanks for this post. It really interests me. I read a biography of Fischer and have just finished reading The Luzhin Defence by Nabokov.

 

A few years ago I played in simultaneous chess in Paris. There were two series of chairs. I chose one. If I'd chosen the other one then I would have played against Spassky. DAMN !

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Wow, you must play to a high standard if you came so close to facing a former world champion.

 

I used to play regularly as a kid and was selected at county level before it all took a backseat during my teenage years. I always think I should start again, especially as it's so easy to find opponents via the internet nowadays. The book actually touches on claims that Fischer himself used to play anonymously on various chess sites in his final years.

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