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Bobby Fischer Is Dead At 64 377

A number of readers wrote in to make sure we know that former world chess champion Bobby Fischer has died in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he had lived since 2005. No cause of death was given.
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Bobby Fischer Is Dead At 64

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  • 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 []

    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.
  • Re:reason for death (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeeQ ( 1194763 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:27AM (#22093510)

    Fisher died in a Reykjavik hospital on Thursday of kidney failure after a long illness, his spokesman, Gardar Sverrisson, said Friday.
    Story here []
  • Disturbed Genius (Score:2, Informative)

    by Qrypto ( 462155 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:00PM (#22094108)
    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 who will dismiss him for his unfortunate and terrible comments: Give the guy a break - you should be proud of this man's accomplishments on behalf of the US, who inspired your children to learn the game and who's story captured the world.

    RIP Bobby Fisher
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:20PM (#22094538)
    Whatever else he was, he was probably the best chess player ever. I liked how he would come out of obscurity to beat whomever was the current Grandmaster, then disappear again.

    This isn't correct. From 1963-68 for a variety of reasons (some of them relating to his religious beliefs at the time), he rarely played, but he played well when he did play. Then in 1969 he got serious about competing for the World Championship and returned to full time active play. After winning the championship in 1972 he essentially permanently retired from chess by simply refusing to play again, coming out of retirement only in 1992 to beat Spassky (the guy he defeated in 1972 for the championship) again in a rematch. Spassky at this time had long stopped being a top notch player and was probably at best in top 70 or so chess players, possibly even lower than that. So to say that Fischer "would come out of obscurity to beat whoever was the current Grandmaster" is completely inaccurate, but he certainly did disappear again.

    By the way, there are many "Grandmasters" in chess. While compared to average guy on the street they are chess playing geniuses, there are at any time multi-hundreds of grandmasters in chess. I've known of US ones who were quite good on the US scene and absolutely nothing in terms of their international standing.

    While many Americans would love to believe that Fischer was the greatest chess player ever, certainly it was really Garry Kasparov. If some thought that Anatoly Karpov (the man that Fischer lost his title to in 1975 by refusing to play) was better than Fischer, I wouldn't argue it. Karpov was a truly great player. Fischer was truly excellent, but he only played a very limited number of openings with both the white and black pieces. Kasparov and Karpov excelled at all openings with white and black. One of Fischer's favorite defenses with black, the Benoni, has been mostly discredited since his championship title in 1972. The Benoni basically is a losing defense for black if white plays what is called the "Four Pawns Attack" against it. This method of attack by white has never been successfully answered by the black pieces. In fact, this attack is so fearful that most Benoni players will transpose into the Benoni from other openings only after it becomes impossible for white to use this method. No grandmaster is brave enough to start the Benoni from the first move for fear of white adopting the Four Pawns Attack against it. Fischer was a specialist in a very limited repertoire of white and black moves and Karpov and Kasparov could play anything. I'd personally place him 2nd of all time behind Kasparov.
  • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:46PM (#22095030)
    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 [] 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 this book. I have a 1st edition copy so YMMV by which edition you pick up.
  • Re:Why such hate? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:59PM (#22095320)
    Right on. I've know someone's brother who actually has Asperger's. He's not capable of basic social functions, much less a conversation on a computer, and even if they were they wouldn't go around telling people they had Asperger's. Moslty he acts like an alien and without constant support would be dead within a few days. Anyone who claims to have Asperger's is just a nerd making excuses.
  • Re:Why such hate? (Score:5, Informative)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @06:51PM (#22102074) Homepage Journal

    I'm just curious, how can you possibly make such a statement? Self-loathing? crazy?

    Fischer's mother was Jewish, which technically makes him Jewish. It is probable that his biological father was Jewish as well.

    Therefore being an anti-semite is a form of self-loathing for him.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein