“The world’s greatest Chess player”
Robert James Fischer, an American Chess grandmaster and the 11th
world Chess champion was born
in Chicago, Illinois at the Michael Reese Hospital by
the banks of Lake Michigan on March 9th,
1943. His father Gerhardth Fischer was born in Berlin,
Germany in 1909, he was a biophysicist. His mother was
Regina Wender. They separated when Bobby Fischer
was only two years old, and Regina had custody of
Bobby Fischer and his older
sister Joan who was then seven
years old. She
was a qualified registered Nurse and wanted to
take a Master’s Degree at New York University in
Nursing Education. She decided to move to Brooklyn, New York.
It is there that the legend of the world’s greatest
Chess player begins. On May 1949, Bobby
Fischer and his sister Joan learned how to play the game with a Chess set
given to them as a present. Both, six and eleven, learned the
moves from the instructions that went with the set. Even as a
six-year-old, Bobby became increasingly fascinated with Chess
and enjoyed enough success in solving its complexities.
By age seven, he was so thoroughly absorbed with Chess that his mother
became worried. “Bobby isn’t interested in anybody
unless they play Chess and there just aren’t many
children who like it” she once said. She
also attempted to place an ad in the Brooklyn Eagle
inquiring whether there might be other children of
Bobby’s age who would come and play Chess with him. On January 17, 1951 Bobby
Fischer played a game against master Max Pavey who
was giving a simultaneous exhibition and Bobby Fischer lost in fifteen
A few weeks later Bobby joined the
Brooklyn Chess Club, headed by Mr. Carmine Nigro, President of the
Brooklyn Chess Club and for the next few years he rarely missed a Friday
evening. In 1953, Bobby
Fischer played his first Chess tournament at the Brooklyn Chess Club
championship when he was ten, he placed fifth. In 1955,
Bobby score 4 - 3 in a Washington Square Park Swiss
tournament. On May he scored three points in the U.S.
in Lake Mohegan, New York. He joined the Manhattan Chess Club in
June, 1955 and soon won the class C championship and the class B
He often was given the opportunity of playing
against the Club’s finest masters. Reshevsky gave a simultaneous blindfold
exhibition in which Bobby competed and he was ecstatic when he defeated the
grandmaster. On July he won 2 games, drew 6 games, and
lost 2 games at the U.S. Junior championship in Lincoln, Nebraska. He took 3rd place in the U.S.
Junior Speed championship.
On March 1956, Bobby traveled with the Log Cabin Chess
Club to Cuba and gave a simultaneous exhibition at the Capablanca Chess
Club. His U.S.C.F. rating was published at 1726.
On April he won the class A championship
at the Manhattan Chess Club.
May he played in the U.S. amateur championship in Asbury Park, New Jersey winning three games, drawing
two, and losing one. At thirteen, he was the youngest player in the
On July he took first
place at the U.S. Junior championship
in Philadelphia with eight wins, one draw, and one loss. His U.S.C.F. rating in the event was
1830. At 13 years and 4 months, he was the
youngest player to win the U.S. Junior championship.
A few weeks later he played in the 57th U.S. Open in
Oklahoma City, winning 5 games, drawing 7 games and tied for
September he tied for 8th place at the Canadian Open in Montreal.
he took 8th place in the Rosenwald tournament in New York. His win against Donald Byrne
(2530) won the brilliancy prize and has been called the
game of the century.
he tied for 2nd-5th place in the Eastern
States Open in Washington, D.C. On December Bobby won the rapid transit play and took 4th place in the Manhattan Chess Club
1957, Bobby played 2 games against former world champion Max Euwe in New
York, drawing one and losing one. On April he won the New York Metropolitan League. In July he tied for sixth place at the New Western Open in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A few days
later he played in the U.S. Junior championship in San
Francisco and took first place and another typewriter. He
also won the U.S. Junior Speed championship.
On August he
tied for 1st - 2nd at the 58th U.S. Open in Cleveland and won $750. His official USCF rating put him at 2231, making him the youngest player in the U.S. with a master’s rating at
that time, at age 14 years and 5 months.
On September he
won the New Jersey Open championship. On
December, Fischer won the North Central Open in
On January 10,
1958 Bobby Fischer at age 14 years and 9 months won the 1957 / 58
U.S. championship and Zonal with 8 wins, 5 draws and no losses.
USCF rating climbed to 2626. Except for Santa Monica 1966, Bobby
Fischer would win every U.S. tournament he played in. In August he took
5th-6th at the Portoroz Interzonal and gained the Grand-
master title. At the same time he became the
world’s youngest Candidate for the world championship at age 15 years, 6
months. On January 1959, Bobby Fischer again won the U.S. championship with
six wins and five draws.
Bobby later dropped out of school to become
a professional Chess player. Fischer’s academic records
indicated an I.Q. of 180 with an incredibly retentive memory. On
April 1959 he took 3rd-4th at Mar Del Plata, Argentina.
On May he took 3rd-4th at Zurich, Switzerland behind Tal and
Gligoric, with 8 wins, five draws, and two losses. On September he
took 5th-6th at the Bled / Zagrev /
Belgrade Candidates tournament, won by Mikhail Tal.
Fischer’s USCF rating was 2636, behind
Reshevsky’s 2693 rating.
On January 1960 again, Fischer won
the U.S. championship with 7 wins, 4 draws, and no losses.
On April he tied for 1st-2nd with Boris Spassky at Mar Del
Plata, Argentina, then took first place at Reykjavik, Iceland in
On November he played board 1 for the United States at the Chess Olympiad in Leipzig, winning 10 games,
drawing 6, and losing 2. His USCF rating was 2641.
January 1961, Bobby again won the U.S. championship with 7
wins, 4 draws, and no losses. On July he started
a match with Sam Reshevsky and tied it with 2 wins, 7 draws, and 2
“I am going to win the world championship,” he predicted to American journalist Robert Cantwell. On March 1962 he won the Interzonal
in Stockholm with 13 wins, 9 draws, and no losses. This
was the first interzonal that a Soviet player did not take first place.
On May he took fourth place at the
Curacao Candidates tournament, won by Petrosian.
On October he played board
one for the United States at the Chess Olympiad
in Golden Sands near
and scored 8 wins, 6 draws, and 3 losses. His USCF
rating was 2687.
1963, Bobby won the U.S. championship with six wins, four draws, and
one loss (Edmar Mednis). He announced he was boycotting FIDE tournaments until the Russians stopped
fixing Chess. On July he won the Western Open in Bay City, Michigan.
On September he won the New York State Open with a perfect score of
7 wins, no draws, no losses.
On November he was to play
four hundred opponents
at once in an exhibition, but it
was postponed because of President Kennedy’s assassination. His USCF rating
was 2685. On January 1, 1964 Bobby Fischer won
the U.S. championship with a perfect score of 11 wins.
began a nation- wide simultaneous exhibition for the rest of the
The first international rating
list was published by Arpad Elo in 1964. The top
two players were Fischer and Petrosian at 2690. His USCF rating
was 2734. On August 1965, he participated in the 4th Capablanca Memorial in Cuba by playing through a
teletype machine at the Marshall Chess Club in New
York. He tied for 2nd-4th with 12 wins, 6 draws, and 3 losses.
On December he won the U.S. Chess championship with 8
wins, 1 draw, and 2 losses. Fischer’s USCF rating climbed to
1966, Bobby took 2nd place at the Piatigorsky Cup
in Santa Monica, behind Spassky. In November he played Board 1
for the U.S. at the 17th Chess Olympiad in Havana,
scoring 14 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. In December he won the U.S.
championship with 8 wins, 3 draws, and no losses. This was
his 8th U.S. championship title. On April 1967, Bobby took 1st place
at Monaco. In August he won at Skopje, Yugoslavia.
In October he participated in the Sousse
Interzonal, but withdrew after leading the event with 7 wins and 3 draws. His
USCF rating was 2762. On July 1968 he took first place at Netanya, Israel.
In September he took first place at Vinkovci, Yugoslavia. In
1969 Bobby finished his book, “My 60 Memorable
Games.” He played Board 1 in a New York
Metropolitan League and won. On April 1970, he played Board 2 in the USSR
vs. Rest of the world match in Belgrade, beating Petrosian with two
wins and 2 draws.
He then went on to Herceg Novi, Yugoslavia and
won the unofficial world 5 minute championship with 17 wins, 4 draws, and
1 loss. After the tournament he called off from memory all of the moves from his 22
games, involving over 1,000 moves.
In May he took 1st at Rovinj/Zagreb. In August he
took 1st place at Buenos Aires. On September he played Board 1 for
the U.S. at the 19th Olympiad in Siegen, Switzerland.
November, Pal Benko gave up his spot at the Palma de
Mallorca Interzonal so that Fischer could play. Bobby won the event
with 15 wins, seven draws, and 1 loss. Fischer won the Chess Oscar for
1970, 1971, and 1972. On June 1971,
Bobby Fischer defeated Mark Taimanov with 6 wins, no draws, no losses in the Candidates quarterfinals in Vancouver, Canada.
On July he defeated Bent Larsen also with a perfect
6-0 score in the Candidates semi-final in Denver, Colorado. His
performance rating was 3060.
On August Bobby won the Manhattan
Chess Club 5-minute blitz with 21 wins and 1 draw.
On September, Bobby defeated Tigran Petrosian with 5 wins, 3 draws, and 1
loss in Buenos Aires for the Candidates finals. He now became
challenger for the world championship. His USCF rating was at
its peak of 2825. On July 11, 1972
he began his match with Boris Spassky in Reykjavik,
Iceland for the world championship.
On September 1, 1972 Bobby Fischer became
world champion after winning 7 games, drawing eleven games, and
losing three games (1 on forfeit). Fischer received $160,000
for his efforts and another $40,000 in royalties. Bobby Fischer’s
last published USCF rating was 2810. His FIDE rating was
2785. On April 3, 1975 Bobby Fischer forfeited his title
as world Chess champion to Anatoly Karpov without
playing a single Chess game since winning the world championship.
In 1977 Bobby played 3 games against the MIT Greenblatt
computer program. He turned down $250,000 to play one Chess game at
Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and $3 million to play in a tournament
in the Philippines. In 1978 Bobby Fischer filed a
$3.2 million lawsuit against the publishers of a
magazine critical of the Worldwide Church of
God. He claimed the writers taped his conversations without his consent. He then accused the church of
reneging on their promise to finance the lawsuit.
On May 26, 1981, Fischer was arrested in Pasadena under
suspicion of a bank robber. He was stopped by a police
officer who said he fit the description of a bank robber. Fischer
refused to answer some questions as was arrested. In
1982 Fischer published, “I WAS TORTURED IN THE PASADENA
JAILHOUSE.” He used the pseudonym Robert James. In 1987 the
House of Representatives passed House Resolution Bill 545 recognizing Fischer
as the world Chess champion.
Bobby patented the Fischer digital Chess clock which adds three seconds
per move so as to compensate the player for the physical movement of
their arm and to avoid rushing movements that knock over pieces. With a
standard game length of 40 moves, the compensation comes to 120 seconds
or two minutes per game. On September 1, 1992,
Bobby Fischer came out of his 20 year retirement and gave a press
conference in Yugoslavia. He pulled out an order from the U.S.
Department warning him that he would be
violating U.N. sanctions if he played Chess in Yugoslavia. He spit on the
order and now faces ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he
returns to the United States.
In addition, he
must forfeit his $3.65
million to the U.S. Treasury and forfeit 10% of any match
On September 30,
Bobby Fischer began his rematch with Boris Spassky in Sveti Stefan,
Yugoslavia. The match was organized by banker Jedzimir Vasiljevic.
November 11, Fischer won the match with 10 wins, 5 losses, and 15 draws. He received $3.65
million for his winnings and Spassky received $1.5 million. The match used
the new Bobby Fischer Chess clock. In 1996 Bobby traveled to Argentina to
promote his random Chess, where you set up the
pieces in a random manner. This would take away the book knowledge of regular
Chess. The President of FIDE offered
Fischer $100,000 and a piece of land in the
Kalmyk Republic in redress for copyright violations by former Soviet
publishers. Bobby Fischer
was last reported living in Iceland.
Chess champion Bobby Fischer held in Japan. (Friday,
July 16, 2004)
Former world Chess champion Bobby Fischer has told U.S.
authorities he wants to renounce his American
citizenship. (Friday, August 6, 2004)
Former world Chess champion Bobby Fischer has said he
plans to marry a leading Japanese Chess official.
(Monday, August 16, 2004)
The Japanese woman who plans to marry former world Chess
champion Bobby Fischer says their feelings are genuine.
(Tuesday, August 17, 2004)
A Japanese court has dismissed a request to halt
deportation proceedings against fugitive Chess legend
Bobby Fischer, his lawyers say. (Saturday, August 21,
Chess master Bobby Fischer has been offered a new home
in Iceland, but it’s not clear if he’ll be able to make
the move from Japan, where he is being detained. (August
Robert J. Fischer dies of kidney failure in Iceland at
64 - 1/18/2008