Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bobby Fischer Is Dead At 64

Comments Filter:
  • Regardless where ever he went in his after life, I hope he's forced to play checkers. Or at reincarnated as a marble in a Chinese Checkers game. :D
  • Why such hate? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shivetya (243324) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:12AM (#22093280) Homepage Journal
    On Sept. 11, 2001, he told a radio talk-show host in Baguio, the Philippines, that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were "wonderful news," adding he was wishing for a scenario "where the country will be taken over by the military, they'll close down all the synagogues, arrest all the Jews and secure hundreds of thousands of Jewish ringleaders."



    That and a few other choice comments attributed to him make me want to say, good riddance. It is such a travesty to see such greatness overshadowed by blantant and raving bigotry. I don't care how good at chess he was anymore, the world doesn't need to celebrate assholes like this just because "they were once great"

    It really sounds like he succumbed to hate and had to disappear at times simply because he knew he couldn't exist in the real world

    • by east coast (590680) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:32AM (#22093602)
      It really sounds like he succumbed to hate and had to disappear at times simply because he knew he couldn't exist in the real world

      Actually, the man succumbed to mental illness. Hopefully you're never in a position to pass any meaningful judgement on people who have these kinds of issues.

      Or what would you tell the readers on this site that lay claims to having Asperger's syndrome or a close relative of such? Would you tell them that it serves them right and that they're just a bunch of misfits?

      If anything Fischer's legacy outside of chess should be to show people that extreme talent and insight in a small area gives no one any special insight into anything else. Maybe actors and singers should take note of that.
      • by COMON$ (806135) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:38AM (#22093690) Journal
        Maybe actors and singers should take note of that.
        And PHDs, Pastors, MDs or anyone else highly educated speaking of fields like an expert where they aren't.
      • Re:Why such hate? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by apankrat (314147) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:43AM (#22093772) Homepage
        > Actually, the man succumbed to mental illness.

        Fischer's demise is oddly similar to that of Luzhin from The Defence [wikipedia.org] novel by Nabokov. The main character was also a genius chess player that was drifting between the clear mind and the insanity. What's even more odd is that the novel dates back to early 1930s.
        • by altoz (653655)
          Isn't this common for a lot of geniuses? They achieve greatness early and go crazy later. The line between genius and insanity is very thin, Bobby Fischer being a great example.
      • "Actually, the man succumbed to mental illness."

        Bigotry is a mental illness, wouldn't you say?
      • Fisher really sounds like a paranoid schizophrenic. They think that people are out to get them and stuff--whether it's aliens, the CIA, or a cabal of evil Jews. It seems to fit, but I do not think he's ever been diagnosed as such (or would have let a doctor close enough to do so).
        • by McDutchie (151611)

          Fisher really sounds like a paranoid schizophrenic.

          Yeah, he really does, a cursory glance at his own homepage [att.ne.jp] should be enough to confirm that.

          I mean, holy crap -- this is not your regular hatemonger. Even the Icelandic government, which gave him Icelandic nationality to get him out of detention in Japan, is "filthy dirty CIA-controlled" because the prime minister refused to personally intervene in his personal banking conflict.

          Poor man, he knew not what he did. The pressure clearly got to him. Let's rem

      • by jrifkin (100192)

        If anything Fischer's legacy outside of chess should be to show people that extreme talent and insight in a small area gives no one any special insight into anything else. Maybe actors and singers should take note of that.
        Even more so, politicians should take note of that, judging from recent history.
        • by Gospodin (547743)

          Yes, I long for days of yore, when politicians were experts who had deep insight into their subjects and consistently made good choices.

      • by Simonetta (207550) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:41PM (#22094920)
        Actually, the man succumbed to mental illness. Hopefully you're never in a position to pass any meaningful judgment on people who have these kinds of issues.

            Every four years I vote in the American presidential election.
      • I wonder if the same thing has been happening to Pat Robison. Many Christians I know have noted how drastic and extreme he's been getting over the past decade or so.

        And it seems every year more so...

        My wife, who is a nurse, made a comment about wondering if he might be suffering from mental illness.
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:34AM (#22093642)

      That and a few other choice comments attributed to him make me want to say, good riddance.

      He was certainly a huge dick, and a bigot to boot. But AFAIK all he ever did was rant and talk. Not exactly someone you wish dead. In a word, "Mostly Harmless".

      I have to say, the world is a slightly less interesting place with Bobby Fischer not in it.
      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        AFAIK all he ever did was rant and talk.

        Hitler gassed a lot of Jews personally, did he?

        Oops, I lose.

    • by Deadstick (535032)
      A man does crazy things because, well duh, he's crazy. Some brains are like the engines in fuel dragsters: they can accomplish extraordinary feats, but sometimes they blow up big time. I'm not a player, but I think they have a right to remember what he was before Garner Ted Armstrong saw him coming.

      rj
    • Re:Why such hate? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:48AM (#22093872) Homepage Journal
      Because he was, not to put too fine a point on it, as crazy as a sack full of ferrets. His way of looking at things had all the perspective of a one eyed bureaucrat peering through a broken microscope.

      It makes no sense at all to discuss his pronouncements on current events as if there were any possibility he would express any understanding of their human dimensions. It's not hate, it's indifference. And it's not really very far removed from the kind of indifference that is politically acceptable because its common. The only reason people don't sound so callous when they discuss war or economic policy is because they're tuned to the same wavelength as the others around them. They know what kinds of real things seem real and what kinds of real things seem unreal to the people they're talking to, hardly the kind of nuance you'd expect a mind like Bobby Fischer's to grasp.

      Bobby Fischer had pretty good reason to hate the American government. The indifference to the suffering of others thrown in with that is not particularly shocking, and the fact that he let it show publicly just demonstrates his utter lack of tact, a quality that in all probability he never felt the need for. The antisemitism was just garden variety self-loathing, obviously ugly as well as bat-shit crazy, but not so incomprehensible.
      • by Vellmont (569020)

        The only reason people don't sound so callous when they discuss war or economic policy is because they're tuned to the same wavelength as the others around them. They know what kinds of real things seem real and what kinds of real things seem unreal to the people they're talking to, hardly the kind of nuance you'd expect a mind like Bobby Fischer's to grasp.

        Huh. That's probably the most insightful thing I've read in months.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Serge_Tomiko (1178965)
        The antisemitism was just garden variety self-loathing, obviously ugly as well as bat-shit crazy, but not so incomprehensible.

        I'm just curious, how can you possibly make such a statement? Self-loathing? crazy? You've obviously made many subjective defamatory statements against this dead man, but these particular ones I believe deserve some explanation.

        We have a particular people who have never lived in peace with their neighbors in the entire history of their existence. Are we to believe that everyone wh
    • by jandersen (462034)
      Nobody is ever simply good or bad - this is something that we all need to realize. I used to believe that my heroes were only good and my 'enemies' were only good, but all it ever gave me way isolation from reality. If you can't see something of yourself in your worst enemy and something of him/her in you, then you're missing an important part of reality, and you are cutting yourself off from the possibility of solving the problems and moving forward.

      Didn't Jesus say something to that effect? That ought to
    • by radish (98371)
      What happened to freedom of opinion? Feel free to disagree with someone, but wishing them dead (or celebrating their death) because of things they've said is out of order as far as I'm concerned.
    • by Himring (646324)
      As an insane genius he's in good company. Nietzsche, Nash, Van Gogh, Poe, Plath, Camus, Kafka -- the list goes on.

      Be careful when discrediting others based on their flaws alone. Fischer is the archetype of chess masters, the platonic ideal of such.

      I used to love to say to others, "Deep Blue never played Bobby Fischer."

      Fischer's final years, much like Nietzsche, were fogged by mental illness. Give the man a break, and celebrate his achievements alone without besmirching his name. My god, placing such a n
    • by Himring (646324)
      Fischer said some unfortunate things about the U.S., but if you knew his history and the way he drug into U.S. cold war politics -- against his will -- maybe you'd be a little more understanding. It was none other than the Nixon administration that leveled its weight against him. Fischer strikes you as one who doesn't like to be pushed around. When forced, he forced back. Ironic that he became an unwilling "pawn" in such a way. The aftermath is he left the U.S. never to return. I would like it better
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by siriuskase (679431)
      This is a perfect example of what I hate about the cult of celebrity. If he had never been the great chess champion, we would have never known of his antisemitism or his extreme opinions to being used as a propaganda tool. Yes, greatness in one arena tends to go hand in hand with being nuts, possibly from pressure or possibly from the same personality flaws that made him great at chess. He acted quite nutty during the Spasky match; the public debate at the time was whether it was just an act. But, it di
    • I think the general consensus is that Fischer was nuts. He was a brilliant chess player, but in other respects he was a pretty disturbed individual.
  • God (Score:4, Funny)

    by waterford0069 (580760) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:12AM (#22093288) Homepage
    Checkmate!
  • Truly Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:14AM (#22093302) Journal
    I am by no means an expert or historian on Bobby Fischer's life. I once admired him. Sadly, for Mr. Fischer, I always wished that his past caught up with him and he would forget his new found convictions.

    From an admirable chess player early on, he showed signs of mental instability. But really, who hasn't from time to time? He made absurd demands to move Moscow closer to the ocean or make the sun set sooner for his convenience when he appeared at the famous game. I've read accounts that make him sound borderline autistic. Although he seemed to have much more cognitive powers ... usually.

    I wish I could erase the last half of Bobby Fischer's life from history. I wish he never touched a radio station's microphone. His proclamation that the September 11th attacks were "wonderful news [wikipedia.org]" and calling for the US to be destroyed, his several radio aired remarks against Jewish peoples and other disparaging remarks. Was this for attention? Was this really what he believed? I'm not sure what personally made him feel this way but living in Iceland under political asylum was not the way I wanted to see it end.

    Unfortunate that he died. Even more unfortunate that he never came around to apologize and promote chess in schools and everywhere. We'll miss the young Bobby Fischer and always be a little confused about what happened to make him cross that fine line between ingenuity and insanity. Rest in peace, Bobby Fischer.
    • Re:Truly Unfortunate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Volante3192 (953645) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:28AM (#22093530)
      When I compare Fischer's early life to that of his later, it seems to parallel another brilliant nutcase: Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber). The man had like three degrees, published over ten papers, and then spent his life in a cabin sending out bombs.

      While two cases don't make a solid trend, you wonder how many slip under the radar.
      • Smart people being unstable isn't exactly unheard of. Or maybe an obsessive nature sometimes contributes to success in intellectual fields, and later gets out of hand.
      • by Basehart (633304)
        "While two cases don't make a solid trend, you wonder how many slip under the radar."

        Ask the FBI, I'm sure they have a list somewhere.
    • I've got to say-- after reading some of the anti-Fischer comments here (and I'm not saying that they're wrong, by any means), reading something like this is refreshing.

      Fischer had some problems, but he had an absolutely amazing mind. He had some issues with the US Government. I've always suspected that they put a lot of pressure on him during his match with Spassky-- I can see why that might have made him sour towards the US. His hate of Jews seems to stem from his mother (who was Jewish), but nobody really

    • by Ungulate (146381)
      Was this for attention? Was this really what he believed? I'm not sure what personally made him feel this way

      Acute mental illness. For some reason, many people with paranoid schizophrenia find an outlet in antisemitism, like John Nash of A Beautiful Mind fame. I think the harshness of Fischer's comments should be tempered with consideration of the fact that he just wasn't well in the head. This is not a courtesy I extend to Mel Gibson.
    • by mblase (200735)
      We'll miss the young Bobby Fischer and always be a little confused about what happened to make him cross that fine line between ingenuity and insanity.

      It still surprises me that people don't see a connection between the two. Could anyone become a chess grand master without being at least a little obsessive, autistic, or both? Is it possible to spend so much of one's life being the acknowledged best in the world at something as sophisticated as chess and not become rather self-centered as a result?

      Better to
      • Except that there are a lot of people who play chess obsessively enough to get really, really good at it ... and most of them don't have reputations as raving anti-Semitic whackos. In fact, this is true in a lot of intellectual fields. When some famous scientist or artist turns out to be completely insane, people shrug and say, well, what do you expect, the great ones are always mad -- except it's not true. There are a lot more sane, hard-working people out there doing great things with their minds than
    • We'll miss the young Bobby Fischer and always be a little confused about what happened to make him cross that fine line between ingenuity and insanity.

      Bobby Fisher was somewhat deranged, but he was mostly egotistical and self-centered. There's a huge difference. Both halves of his life are defined by arrogance, egotism, and a belief that the world revolved around him. I think "autism" is trotted out far too often as a free hall-pass for people who just happen to be very good at something, and because

  • by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:15AM (#22093338)
    So as a Go player, he would've lived for 297 more years?
  • by ThisIsForReal (897233) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:16AM (#22093352) Homepage
    He died from complications to his kidneys. He'd been ill for some time.
  • by SaberTaylor (150915) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:18AM (#22093370) Homepage Journal
    http://home.att.ne.jp/moon/fischer/ [att.ne.jp]

    mental illness is sad. 1 beer a day will not cure dementia.
    Fischer was truly epic in his takedown of the Russian "machine". Then the American politicians screwed him for playing the immortal game during a temporal war.
    In chess you don't have to die young to leave a good looking corpse you just have to get out of the spotlight while you're ahead. (Britney Spears take note.)
    Well we have his radio rants happy about 11-9 but at least no bad chess games out of his prime.
    • In chess you don't have to die young to leave a good looking corpse you just have to get out of the spotlight while you're ahead. (Britney Spears take note.)

      I think Britney Spears' chess career isn't over by a long shot. Remember that brilliant opening she made in her first game in last year's USCF championship?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by angus_rg (1063280)
      1 beer may not cure psychological problems, but a 6 pack will make it feel a lot better. Believe me, I would know, and so would I.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wikinerd (809585)

      his real homepage

      Was that really his own homepage, and was he its only webmaster? What is going to happen to his homepage now that its webmaster is dead? Will it just disappear like its webmaster after the server is left unpaid or unmaintained?

      Just as we keep books published by dead poets and other authors, perhaps we (the Internet community) should have a way to preserve webpages of dead people. This is going to be of much more importance as more and more people get creative on the Internet (this is not to say that I

  • Checkmate Indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RailGunSally (946944) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:20AM (#22093404)
    The latter day Fischer was a raving lunatic. His "politics" do not merit rebuttal or even serious consideration. I choose to remember the Fischer of my youth -- which was quite pleasantly misspent in the 70s. No single player has ever so completely dominated chess like Fischer. His play is a model of simplicity, logic, creativity, and elegance. I would say that he will be missed, but, in truth, we in the international chess community have already missed the real Bobby Fisher for many years.

    "Checkmate", from the Persian "shah mat" meaning, "the king is dead".
  • Nintendo? (Score:2, Troll)

    by Bozzio (183974)
    Did anyone else see this under "Games," read "64" and automatically assume it was Nintendo related?

    Yes, I know I'm pissing my Karma away posting this.
    • I got half way through your first sentence and automatically assumed that you automatically assumed that it was Commodore related.

    • by mblase (200735)
      Did anyone else see this under "Games," read "64" and automatically assume it was Nintendo related?

      I think most of us were too busy admiring the fact that 64 equals the number of squares on a chessboard.
  • Bobby Fischer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:29AM (#22093560) Journal
    Fischer's ability to analyze quickly and precisely the complexities of chess in all its applicable levels at any given type made him very special and gave him so much to offer the world. The defunct psychosis that he suffered from rendered him completely useless for the greater good that his abilities offered.

    Bobby Fischer was a great man of nothing.
    • by mblase (200735)
      The defunct psychosis that he suffered from rendered him completely useless for the greater good that his abilities offered.

      Really? I didn't know you had to be a humanitarian to be a great chess player, or to offer that skill to generations that followed you.

      The chess-playing world will still be studying and learning from his games long after his bigotry has been forgotten and glossed over.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:34AM (#22093640)
    He died last Knight and apparently a Bishop gave him last-rites
    He was just a Pawn in the struggle between Kings and Queens

    thomasdz

  • by rasman1978 (1158339) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:36AM (#22093656) Homepage
    Seems appropriate somehow.
  • by Jumphard (1079023) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:50AM (#22093908)
    The machines have turned! Deep Blue murdered him in his sleep! Checkmate.
    • by hey! (33014)
      It's funny you should bring up Deep Blue. One of the defining aspects of Bobby Fischer's chess style was his willingness to do unorthodox things. In fact he gave up playing standard chess because he felt it would become a creative dead end in the near future, with too much emphasis on memorization.

      One of the variants he played (and in fact adapted from an earlier chess variant) was called Chess960, in which the initial placement of the pieces is one of 960 random possibilities that still conserve the poss
  • No cause of death was given.
    Bf1
  • Disturbed Genius (Score:2, Informative)

    by Qrypto (462155)
    This was a man of great genius, and like many of his talent was prone to highly idiosyncratic behavior, if not in some way pathological. It is sad that such a disturbed man was given a forum (esp. radio) to disgrace himself so thoroughly; however, due to his reclusiveness the public could never know the details of any mental issues he may have suffered from toward the end. Regardless this is a man who should be remembered for his talent, and his contributions to the game of chess.

    To those many Americans wh
  • Mental Malfunction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Philotechnia (1131943) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:02PM (#22094126)
    When a mind possessed of analytic capacities such as Fischer's turns those powers on the world, the result is inevitability some kind of psychosis. The world simply requires a more synthetic approach. While the content of Fischer's diatribes is certainly controversial, let's be wise enough to see they likely stem from the fact that he was a man trapped in his mind, unable to escape the analytical powers of his mind and live more holistically in the world. Even if the content of his politics had changed, it wouldn't change the fact that they were based in a mental misappropriation of the world.

    Lets not remember the man for his faults, which boil down to misapplied genius if not true biological mental illness. Instead, let's remember the man for the great intellect that he possessed, and let his later political endeavors serve as reminder to us all of what can happen when we analyze the world from too great a distance instead of simply living inside of it.

    Vivere in pace, Mr. Fischer, wherever your soul now resides.
  • Boy's Life (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:03PM (#22094176)
    I remember Bobby Fischer once provided chess problems to Boy's Life magazine. It was a generous thing for him to do, and was my first exposure to the problem-solving side of chess itself.

    As for Fischerandom Chess, I had a similar idea years ago where each side arranged their first row into their own preferred order, which was then revealed to their opponent at the commencement of play. It was a combining of Chess with Stratego that I called Modern Chess. Of course, my idea never caught on since, unlike Bobby Fischer, I Am Not A Chess Grand Master.

    I'm sorry that his views over the later years became so hard to justify, or even understand in any rational sense, but I'll always remember my first contact with his name.

  • I grew up with stories of his games though I was never into chess myself.
    I wonder what he was like as a person and what his legacy will be.
    Did he write any books or teach anyone or found any institutes or foundations?
    Did he have any children?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by east coast (590680)
      There are a number of books out there by and about Fischer. If you're looking just for a book involving his insights into chess My 60 Memorable Games [amazon.com] is a great work by Fischer.

      We warned, tho, it's not for the casual chess player. I read it at a point when I studied a lot of chess and considered myself (and was considered by others) to be a pretty good chess player. As far as chess books go it's a pretty hard read. Also note that according to one of the Amazon reviewers that there are several editions of t
  • Fischer's greatest legacy was probably his amazing winning streak of 20 consecutive games, during the Interzonal tournament and Candidates matches leading up to the world championship match with Spassky. This may never be equalled at such a high level, especially in a game where draws are so common. Presumably Tom Brady will never wind up in a Japanese prison fighting extradition to the US for consorting with arms dealers in Yugoslavia.
  • by sampson7 (536545) on Friday January 18, 2008 @04:37PM (#22099758)
    There's a wonderful and somewhat tragic tale from Bobby's youth that I think explains so much. (I'm sorry I don't remember which book I read it in, so I can't give credit.)

    Bobby was living in New York City as a teenager and playing chess at an amazingly high level. He was also, clearly, a mentally troubled young man, and many of his chess playing friends noticed the instability as well as the genius. A number of friends convened a meeting and discussed taking up a collection to try to get Bobby some professional psyciatric help, which it was clear he needed even then. The meeting is going along, and most agree to encourage Bobby to get help.

    Towards the end of the meeting, someone asks "What if Bobby gets well and stops playing good chess?" The meeting then breaks up and nothing ever came of it.

    In many ways, Chess is about black versus white. My former chess teacher always prefered that we use the terms "light" and "dark" squares, rather then black and white, and I think it makes a very apt metaphor for Bobby's life. He lived some of his life on the light squares, accomplishing one of the greatest mental-athletic endeavors of all time. For this, he is rightly lionized as one of the great geniuses of the 20th century. He also led many of his years on the dark side of the board as well. Homeless in Los Angeles. Travling around penniless and without recognition for over 20 years. Finally reaping considerable financial rewards in Yogoslovia at the cost of his freedom.

    Finally, people note that Bobby in his later years was an anti-semite and said some truly disturbing things. Yet that's not how I see it. Rather than spiteful, his ramblings should be chalked up to the mental illness that clearly ravaged his brain throughout his later life. Just as the deranged homeless man on street should be pitied, so should Bobby. He lived in the largely Jewish chess community of New York for years, and while he may have had issues, his hatred of Jews only reached full blown proportions as his mental health declined. Clearly, he did not suffer fools. But I see no evidence that his dislike for stupid people was anything other than color/creed blind until later in life. Truly, these were the untreated manifestations of the illness that his chess colleagues recognized all those years ago in New York.

    RIP Bobby, and I hope that you find the peace in the next world (whether that be in the big chess board in the sky or simply as worm food) that eluded you in this one.
  • Game of the Century (Score:4, Interesting)

    by daffmeister (602502) on Friday January 18, 2008 @06:31PM (#22101784) Homepage
    Just to pull this discussion back a little from mental instability and mention his chess, his "game of the century", played at the age of 13 against a former US Open champion, is quite remarkable.

    You can see a version with commentary [bobby-fischer.net] or an interactive chessboard version [chessgames.com].

New crypt. See /usr/news/crypt.

Working...