Searching for Bobby Fisher
November 21, 2002 7:03 AM   Subscribe

"Bobby Fisher's Pathetic Endgame." An interesting account of Bobby Fisher's decline from greatness to absolutelycrazyness. I used to really like Searching for Bobby Fisher when I was younger, but for some reason I always thought he had disappeared or something mysterious. The truth makes me sad. (Via
posted by hughbot (12 comments total)
Yeah, very very sad. But, as I said earlier this week about Wacko Jacko, I reserve my true sympathy for those who have done more to deserve it.

One quibble: Chess analysts, a decidedly reserved lot not given to spasms of hyperbole, peppered their dry annotations with exclamation marks ("Be6!").

Isn't this standard chess notation indicating a capture? Shouldn't the Atlantic's copy editors/fact checkers know better? Or am I missing something?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2002

Actually, a capture is notated with an 'x': Bxe6. However, the ! is standard notation, for what I can't remember.
posted by pizzasub at 7:20 AM on November 21, 2002

Chess notation for a capture is an "x." An exclamation point is standard notation for a good move...
posted by eastlakestandard at 7:23 AM on November 21, 2002

Heh, I was actually planning on doing the 'Bobby Fischer' Mefi post at some point, hughbot. Oh well, good post. For a more tangible (and hi-larious) feeling for the madness that this former chess genius has sunk into, listen to these, somewhat recently recorded radio interviews with him with these Mp3 recordings from a Philippine talk show. Listen as wails away on how the nefarious Jewish cabal conspired to bring him down.
posted by dgaicun at 7:28 AM on November 21, 2002

Off track, but, on looking at the uschess website, maybe I was missing something, but do you not write where your piece came from? I always thought it was like "pawn:E4-E5"...In their notation, only way to know where piece came from is looking at previous moves which can get obnoxious.
posted by jmd82 at 7:32 AM on November 21, 2002

Read this yesterday. Very good article. Thought it was interesting how many Russian players that Fischer accused of rigging tournaments in the seventies admitted that they did just that.

Also - if you haven't seen Searching For Bobby Fischer - it is an excellent movie.

Anybody here want to play a game of chess over the net? Shoot me an email.
posted by vito90 at 7:34 AM on November 21, 2002

jmd82: There are different types of chess notation, and some of them do indicate the square where the piece came from. However, algebraic notation is the most common.

Perhaps I don't have perspective because I've been playing for so long, but I don't see how this is obnoxious. If you know the position on the board, you know where the piece came from. (In cases where just the type of piece and the destination square are not enough to uniquely specify the move, then you do indicate the file (or rank, if on the same file) of the starting piece. For example, if you have a knight on g1 and one on d2 and the former moves to f3, this is written as "Ngf3.") If you don't know the position on the board, then the move is meaningless anyway.

This page [PDF] goes into more detail about algebraic notation, explaining some of the specifics which weren't covered on the page linked by eastlakestandard, as well as describing some of the other forms of notation.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:54 AM on November 21, 2002

Bobby seemed pretty wacky even in 1962. It's amusing that his favourite actor at the time was future eccentric Marlon Brando.
posted by teg at 10:20 AM on November 21, 2002

! an excellent move
posted by onegoodmove at 1:37 PM on November 21, 2002

The site that teg's article came from, has an excellent collection of articles, including Fischer's pamphlet "I was tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!"
posted by gyc at 5:05 PM on November 21, 2002

Excuse me posting this again, but could this be Bobby's website?
posted by meech at 4:10 AM on November 22, 2002

Isn't it obvious to everyone after reading the article that Fischer isn't anti-semite, but his ravings are an attack on his mother who didn't give him enough attention as a child?

< /reads too much into things>
posted by timyang at 9:53 AM on November 22, 2002

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