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Interesting 50 Facts About Bobby Fischer - The American Chess Grandmaster

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Bobby Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster, who has played in eight United States Championships, winning each by at least a one-point margin, since the age of 14. Here are 50 facts about the Chess Grandmaster:

Chess champion Bobby Fischer
(Photo : Carl Mydans/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images) Chess champion Bobby Fischer
  1. Bobby Fischer was the eleventh World Chess Champion, who was considered as one of the greatest chess player of all time.
  2. He was born on March 09, 1943 at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. He was christened as Robert James Fischer.
  3. As per record Fischer’s father Hans-Gerhardt Fischer was a German biophysicist and his mother Regina Wender Fischer was a teacher, registered nurse and later a Physician.
  4. His mother was a Jewish descent of Poland and Russia. His father and mother met in Moscow, Russia and got married. The political circumstances in Moscow and due to invasion of Germany, his mother fled to United States and his parents were separated.
  5. He and his mother were on FBI boss Edgar Hoover’s list of suspect. Hoover was of the opinion that Soviet agent and the KGB was trying to recruit him.
  6. In 2002, it was made public by ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer,’ that Paul Nemenyi a Hungarian Jewish physicist may be Fischer’s biological father. Paul Nemenyi did make child support payment and took care of his schooling.
    Chess champion Robert J. Fisher playing a match.
    (Photo : Carl Mydans/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images) Chess champion Robert J. Fisher playing a match.
  7. His chess lesson started in March 1949 with $1 plastic chess set. He was six years old and started playing with his sister following the instruction given inside the chess box.
  8. He was engrossed on the game and started analyzing chess moves from an old chess book. He started spending long hours alone which forced his mother to place an ad for chess companion.
  9. On January 17, 1951, he participated in simultaneous chess exhibition with Master Max Pavey, former Scottish Champion. He attracted lot of attention before losing the game.
  10. He was spotted by Brooklyn Chess Club President, Carmine Nigro a chess expert and an instructor. Meeting with Nigro was the turning point in Fischer’s growth as a chess player.
  11. He as 12 years old in 1955 joined Manhattan Chess Club. He was a frequent visitor to Nigro’s house and spent his Sundays playing chess in the Washington Square Park. This routine continued till 1956, when Nigro moved his family to Florida.
  12. He dedicated his first book “Bobby Fischer’s Game of Chess” to Mr. Carmine Nigro and wrote in the forward “Mr. Nigro was possibly not the best player in the world but he was a very good teacher.”
    Bobby Fischer wins the Frank Marshall Tropy at the Marshall Chess Club on January 22 1964 in New York City, New York.
    (Photo : Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images) Bobby Fischer wins the Frank Marshall Tropy at the Marshall Chess Club on January 22 1964 in New York City, New York.
  13. From September 1954, Bill Lombardy started coaching him in private. He taught him the importance of total immersion and eidetic image. He also advised him not to accept draw offers.
  14. In June 1956, he joined Hawthorne Chess Club of John ‘Jack’ W. Collins. He was mentored by Collins playing thousand of games with him. It was his second home.
  15. Arnold Denker, the future Grand Master also mentored him and treated him with a visit to game of hockey at Madison Square Garden.
  16. He became a National Master by the age of 12 and he won the American Junior Champion by the age of 13, scoring 8.5 points out of possible 10. He was the youngest junior champion in history.
  17. His innovation and improvisation at the age of 13 gave the glimpse of his genius. His defeat of 1956 American Chess Champion, Donald Byrne was heralded as “The Game of the Century.” His sacrifice of his queen to unleash unstoppable attack has been talked about for more than fifty years.
  18. In March 1956, Fischer went on a tour to Cuba and held a 12-board simultaneous exhibition at Havana Capablanca Chess Club winning ten and drawing two. He was the part of Log Cabin Chess Club, Orange, New Jersey.
  19. In 1956, he started participating in various tournaments. He scored 8.5 points in the U.S Open Chess Championship in Oklahoma to finish among the top eighth. He also participated in the Eastern States Open Championship in Washington, D.C. He was tied for the second place.
    Chess master Bobby Fischer poses for a portrait in 1971 in New York City, New York.
    (Photo : David Attie/Getty Images) Chess master Bobby Fischer poses for a portrait in 1971 in New York City, New York.
  20. In 1957, he had a rating of 2231 points as per USCF’s eleventh national rating list. He had a rating of 1726 points in May 20, 1956 an increase of more than 500 points. In July, his rating went up further by winning the U.S Junior Title.
  21. He won the U.S Open Chess Championship in Cleveland by scoring 10/12 to become the youngest ever U.S Open champion. He was tied on points with Arthur Bisguier before prevailing on tie-breaking points.
  22. He participated in the 1957-58 U.S Chess Championship and contrary to prediction, he won the title with 10 ½ /13 points. He became the youngest champion at 14 yrs and 10 month.
  23. He by virtue of U.S Championship title became International Master and his rating went up to 2626 points. He became the second highest rated player to qualify for the 1958 Portoroz Interzonal.
  24. His desire of visiting Soviet Union was almost fulfilled, when his mother wrote to Soviet Leader, Nikita Khrushchev. The invitation arrived late for the World Youth and student Festival.
  25. He was invited by Soviet Union after their trip was sponsored by the popular T.V show ‘I’ve Got a Secret.’ He showed his exceptional chess talent by beating all in the Moscow Central Chess Club. Grand Master Vladimir Alatortsev was very impressed by Fischer after losing all three games.

  26. He didn’t take it lightly when his request for playing the reigning World Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik was turned down. Russian was angered by his outburst, when he called them “Russian Pigs.”
  27. He arrived early for the Interzonal to be played at Yugoslavia and played short training matches. He beat Milan Matulovic by 2 ½ to 1 ½ and drew the other games against Dragoljub Janosevic.
  28. Fischer had a plan of drawing against Grand Masters and beating others in order to finish among top six to qualify for the Candidate Tournament. The Soviet Grand Master Yuri Averbakh observed that he is a full-fledged fighter with precise calculation and amazing composure.
  29. In the Interzonal at Portoroz, Yugoslovia, he finished with 12/20 to tie for 5-6th spot, thus qualifying for the Candidate Tournament.
  30. In an International Tournament at Zurich in 1959, he played Hungarian Grand Master Gedeon Barcza for 103 moves draw with only king on the board. The game was adjourned three times even when Fischer did not have any advantage.
    This photo of Bobby Fischer was taken during a chess match in Warsaw, Poland. His opponent representing the host country is B. Sliwa.
    (Photo : Bettmann/Getty Images) This photo of Bobby Fischer was taken during a chess match in Warsaw, Poland. His opponent representing the host country is B. Sliwa.
  31. In the 1959 Candidate Tournament played at Bled, Zagreb, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, he finished fifth among eight competitors scoring 12 ½ out of possible 28 points. He was outclassed by Mikhail Tal, who won the tournament.
  32. He did not complete his school. He dropped out from Erasmus Hall High School at the age of 16. He learned seven foreign languages on his own in order to read chess periodicals.
  33. He was once banned by Manhattan Chess Club for not being properly dressed. Since then he has purchased suits hand made from all over world. His shirts and shoes are also handmade.
  34. He represented United States in Chess Olympiad from 1960 to 1970 winning two silver and one Bronze. In 1958 he refused to play, when his demand for the first board was denied.
  35. His only failure was in the Buenos Aires Tournament in 1960. He finished very poorly with 8 ½ points out of 19. It is believed he got caught between chess and women.
    Closeup of Bobby Fischer in action, 10/5/1971
    (Photo : Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) Closeup of Bobby Fischer in action, 10/5/1971
  36. He was the first non-soviet player to win the Interzonal to qualify for Candidate Tournament. He was undefeated in the 1962 Stockholm meet with 17 ½ / 22 points.
  37. In a 1962 Sports Illustrated Article, he accused the Soviet of fixing the matches among Soviet players. They drew among themselves to conserve their energy for Fischer’s match. Following his article FIDE changed the format to one-on-one knockout tournament.
  38. He disowned his Jewish roots and joined Worldwide Church of God in mid-1960 only to accuse it in 1977 of being Satanic.
  39. He won the 1963-64 U.S Championship with a perfect score of 11-0, for his sixth title. The perfect score is the first in the history of championship. The Sports Illustrated analyzed each of his 11 games and the Life Magazine carried a profile on him.
  40. He, the US Champion declined an invitation to participate in the 1964 Interzonal at Amsterdam even after the FIDE changed the rules. He also did not participate in the Olympiad at Tel Aviv instead toured the United States and Canada for series of matches with 94% winning percentage in 2000 games.

  41. He was refused permission to participate in Capablanca Memorial Tournament, Havana in 1965, when he played from Marshall Chess Club, New York City. The move was transmitted by teleprinter to Cuba. The transmission delay had its effect and he tied for 2-4th place with 15/21 points.
  42. He won the US Championship for the eighth time and participated in the Interzonal at Sousse, Tunisia. His belief in seventh day Sabbath forced him to forfeit his matches and also due to scheduling dispute withdrew from the tournament.
  43. In 1959, Fischer released his first book titled “Bobby Fischer’s Game of Chess.” He published his second book “My 60 Memorable Games” in 1968.
  44. He was the highest scorer with two win and two draw against Petrosian in the Rest of the World against Russia match played at Belgrade in 1970. Russian won the match 20 ½ - 19 ½.
  45. His Elo Rating was 2785 by July 1972, a clear 125 points more than second placed World Champion Boris Spassky.
    Bobby Fischer meets the press at an exhibition match on December 5 1972 in Los Angeles, California.
    (Photo : Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images) Bobby Fischer meets the press at an exhibition match on December 5 1972 in Los Angeles, California.
  46. He met Spassky in the 1972 World Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland. The match took place from July to September 1972, after the dispute over match venue and prize money. He won the match 12 ½ - 8 ½ and became 11th World Chess Champion.
  47. He single handedly took on the Soviet chess machine and defeated it. On his return to New York, “Bobby Fischer Day” was held. He won the “Chess Oscar” for 1970, 71, 72, given to best player based on vote by chess media and leading players.
  48. On May 26, 1981, he was arrested on suspicion of bank robbery. He was released on $1000 bail.
  49. Fischer was warned by the U.S Department of the Treasury against playing a match in Belgrade, Yugoslovia. He played Spassky for a rematch in 1992 in violation of President George H. W. Bush's Executive Order 12810. U.S Federal official initiated a warrant for his arrest.
  50. On January 17, 2008 Fischer died from renal failure at the Landspitali Hospital in Reykjavik.

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