Friday, October 10, 2008

Anastasia's Mate

Thursday, October 9, 2008

China, Bulgaria share rapid chess gold medals

BEIJING, Oct. 8- 2008 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Bu Xiangzhi was crowned in men's rapid chess event at the World Mind Games here on Wednesday, while the gold in women's competition was clinched by Bulgarian pinup blonde player Stefanova Antoaneta.

In the short two-round final, Bu, whose world ranking was above his rival, beat Korobov Anton from Ukraine in the opening round and forced the latter to ask for a draw in the second. Bu's victory also gifted the Chinese chess team the first gold of the 15-day Games.

"It was really difficult in the second game as I couldn't find any offence chance. But later, things changed and I found a critical opportunity to grasp the momentum tightly," said Bu.

"Anyway, it feels great to win the gold, especially the first one for our team. I hope we can play better in the following team events," added the 23-year-old winner.

In the third-place playoff, Zhang Zhong from Singapore outscored his Brazilian opponent Fier Alexandr 2-1 to wrap up the bronze.

Women's final was between old rivals Chinese Zhao Xue and former world champion Stefanova. Apparently in better form, the 29-year-old Bulgarian started with a tight defense and then gained initiative by abandoning the soldiers to seize Zhao's queen.

Taking the white chessman, Zhao has to win the second round to stage a turnover. But the less experienced Zhao failed to start well in faced with Stefanova intricate routines and lost to the veteran again after her same defeat in the preliminaries.

Zhao's teammate Huang Qian survived a three round seesaw battle to beat Houska Jovanka of Britain for the bronze.

When asked about her title of "chess beauty", the Bulgaria winner smiled shyly.

"Appearance doesn't necessarily contradict with wisdom," said Stefanova.

"Of course I don't mean to say myself," the girl soon added, "in international events there are many pretty girls, and I hope Icould meet more such rivals in the future."

Russian "chess queen" Kosteniuk Alexandra who impressed audiences with her Hapburn-style hat and Chinese 14-year-old hopeful Hou Yifan finished seventh and eighth due to their not-so-good performances in the preliminaries.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chess Funny Video: Chess training

Funny Chess Video - More amazing video clips are a click away

Chess funny video :Small boy playing Chess

Funny Chess - The best home videos are here

Check mate! Chess thrives in Idaho grade schools

The elementary school at the edge of this rural town has a playground that boasts little more than a swing set. That's no problem — the hot new game is inside.

Chess, once used as a way to teach war strategy, is now being taught to second- and third-graders across Idaho once a week as part of a plan to make students better at subjects like math and reading.

"At first I thought, 'You've got to be kidding,'" said Penny Lattimer, a Council Elementary School teacher. "We already have so much stuff to teach."

Lattimer didn't know how to play chess until last year, when she and a dozen other Idaho teachers were trained as part of a pilot program to bring chess into public schools.

The state Department of Education has now invested $120,000 into the project, which was tested in 100 schools last year and expanded this fall to 100 more.

Jerry Nash, scholastic director for the United States Chess Federation, said he has worked with public schools nationwide to develop chess programs, but Idaho is the first state to encourage public schools statewide to use the game as part of their curricula in second- and third-grades.

While the federation estimates 500,000 students nationwide in grades K-12 are being taught some aspect of the game through chess clubs, programs, or in the classroom, chess proponents such as Nash consider Idaho a trailblazer for introducing the game on such a large scale.

"What we're hoping is that it will be a great introduction," Nash said. "The more teachers that we have involved, obviously the greater impact we'll make."

Earlier this week at Council Elementary, third-grader Kristen Kruger, 8, played chess across the room from her brother, Tyler, a 9-year-old in the fourth grade. Kruger said the two often challenge one another.

"He's beat me like a hundred times," she said. "I won him once."

Lattimer points out one of her students who she said struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. "In the classroom, he cannot sit still," Lattimer said, "but he sits still for this."

Council Elementary embraced the chance to become one of the first to try the program last year, when the state paid for it. This year, those same schools had to pay $340 per classroom to keep it.

The cash-strapped elementary school has scaled back on teaching aides just to make ends meet, but Principal Bonnie Thompson said it was able to find enough money to keep the program going.

Council doesn't stray far from tradition, she said, but the game has brought a new dimension to life in this former timber town where its 800 people struggle to survive the economic downturns of the logging industry.

"They just don't have that much exposure to culture here," Thompson said. "They do what they've always done in Council. They play football and they go to the park. I've never heard them talk about chess."

The program being taught in Idaho public schools — called First Move — was developed by the America's Foundation for Chess, and was first tested in Seattle-area schools, said foundation Vice President Wendi Fischer.

First Move is now taught in 26 states, with Idaho public schools Superintendent Tom Luna the first to adopt it on such a large scale.

The game can help students develop critical thinking skills that make them better at math, reading and writing, Fischer said. For example, students who become familiar with the vertical and horizontal lines of a chess board and how they are numbered also learn the fundamentals of how maps, graphs and how X and Y coordinates work.

"That's pre-algebra," Fischer said.

Idaho was second only to Utah in the lowest school district spending per student in 2006, according to a 2008 U.S. Census Bureau report based on the most recent data available. The report says Idaho spent about $6,440 per pupil in 2006, compared to the national average of $9,138 per student.

Luna acknowledges there's little hard evidence students actually benefit from playing chess, and it could take a few years before Idaho can gauge whether students who learn chess are more successful in academics.

"But if we're going to encourage innovation and new ideas," Luna said, "we have to give those new ideas time to produce results."

Lattimer said she has noticed students seem more polite after learning a game that requires opponents to shake hands before and after they play.

"You'll see it on the playground," Lattimer said. "The kids are just more kind."

Kearsley coach Mike Skidmore gets inducted into Chess Hall of Fame

But, it wasn't great valor or even a wicked jump shot that landed Mike Skidmore in the Hall of Fame. Instead, it was instead his cunning strategies and all those checkmates.

Skidmore joined earlier this month an elite group of only 14 others named to the Michigan Chess Hall of Fame since its formation 20 years ago by the Michigan Chess Association.

There will be no multimillion dollar contracts, wax figures or Vince Lombardi trophy. Not even a crown for one of chess' kings.

Skidmore will get just a plaque, lifetime membership to the association, and be featured in an article for the association's magazine.

For Skidmore, the honor itself is worth more than any glamorous prize.

For the past 30 years, he's coached the Kearsley High School Chess Team, leading teams to win several state and national championships over the years.

Just as he's shared his knowledge of the game with his students, he also is sharing his honor.

"It's nice because it means some of the people in Michigan chess are recognizing what we do here," Skidmore said. "It's not about the individual honor. It's about the kids, the team and what they do."

The association exists in name only. There are no headquarters or offices. Instead board members meet four or five times a year at different locations.

The organization produces a bi-monthly magazine and bulletin of events and is responsible for organizing state championship events.

Hall of Fame inductees must have made a significant contribution to the growth, development, and prestige of chess in Michigan and the MCA, the selection requirements state.

Skidmore paid his dues by serving two terms on the MCA board, serving as chair of several sub-groups, editor of the magazine and coordinator of the U.S. Open Denker Invitational Tournament of Champions.

Skid, as he's affectionately called by his players, taught himself to play chess in fourth grade and went on to earn himself both local and state titles.

He started his first job coaching chess at Daly Jr. High School in 1973, the year after chess legend Bobby Fischer became the first American to win the World Chess Match igniting enormous interest in the game.

And, now, his students enjoy it when Skidmore occasionally makes rookie mistakes -- allowing them that rare chance to beat him at his own game.

"It's exciting because I know how experienced he is and how many people he's played and beat," said student Zach McComb, a 17-year-old senior.

Skidmore said he wants his students to learn more than just how to be good chess players.

"The kids are learning life skill through this game," Skidmore said. "I tell them to take those chess decision making skills and apply them to your life."

Flint Journal extras

More about 'Skid'

• Name: Mike Skidmore

• Age: 60

• Job: Chess coach and media specialist for Kearsley High School

• Family: Married with adult children

• Nickname: Skid

• How long have you been playing chess? "Since fourth grade. I taught my sister to play so I could beat her."

• How many games have you won? "Too many to count."

• Have you ever lost to any of your students? "Yes, but only when I'm tired or off my game."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Humpy wins against Yifan, match goes to tie-breaker

NALCHIK: Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy rose to the occasion defeating Yifan Hao of China in the return game and forced the mini-match in to a tie-breaker in the ongoing World Women's Chess Championship here.

Humpy, who lost the first game as black, won the second game of the two-game mini-match and will now have to play the tie-break games on Friday.

The highest rated woman player after Judit Polgar of Hungary played imaginatively to beat Yifan, a 14-year-old sensation, who has been training hard and playing well against high opposition for past couple of years.

Meanwhile, in the other semifinal of the day Russian Alexandra Kosteniuk made sure she did not make mistakes in her quest for a berth in the finals and held Pia Cramling of Sweden to a draw to win the match by a 1.5-0.5 margin. In the first game of this semifinal, Kosteniuk had won with white pieces.

Humpy rose back in style to draw level in the second game. Starting with a knight manoeuvre on the first move, the Andhra girl transposed to a position akin to the Accelerated Sicilian Dragon and Yifan was in troubles early looking out for best ways to counter the opening.

While Yifan spent a lot of time in the opening, Humpy saved it for the crucial middle game stage where she had to find some tricky manoeuvre to avoid an equal position. As a result, both players fell in acute time pressure and the nerves played a crucial role.

Yifan could have defended better but the clock was ticking away and it was on the 32nd move that the Chinese blundered decisively and allowed Humpy to get a crushing attack on her king. The game ended just four moves later giving Humpy a chance to remain in the match and now in the tie-break the Indian will be a big favourite to win the match.

In the tie-breaker the players will first play a 2-game rapid match and if the scores are tied there will be two more games under blitz chess rules. If still tied the match will go in the sudden-death stage where white will get a minute extra on the clock with no increment and will have to win in order to qualify to the next stage.

Kosteniuk did many things right in order to gain a draw against Cramling. Her opening choice of Queen's gambit accepted proved correct, the concentration along the central squares was excellent and when the opportunity arose, the calculation was perfect.

Cramling on her part tried hard but Kosteniuk, despite being lower on rating, was simply the better player in this match. The game was eventual drawn vide perpetual checks. If Cramling had tried to avoid that the scoreline would have read 2-0 instead of 1.5-0.5.

For the records this will be Kosteniuk's second appearance in the final of the World Women's Championship. The last time she went to the finals was in 2000 at Moscow, where Zhu Chen of China had beaten her comprehensively to win the crown.

Results of game 2 semifinal with final score in the end: Koneru Humpy (Ind) beat Yifan Hao (Chn) 1-1 goes to tie-breaker; Pia Cramling (Swe) drew with Alexandra Kosteniuk (Rus) 0.5-1.5, Kosteniuk goes to the finals.

Humpy fights her way back, takes match into tie-breaker

Koneru Humpy came back into contention as her young Chinese opponent Hou Yifan blundered in the crucial stage of the Women’s World chess semi-finals Thursday. Humpy won the second game to get back into the match. Humpy, who had lost the first game with white thus equalised with black to send the match into a tie-breaker. He won in 36 moves after an opening in the English Symmetrical.

In the other semi-final Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) needing only a draw to get onto the final stage of the Women’s World Chess Championship played a solid game with no surprises or novelties to beat Pia Cramling of Sweden. The game was in Queen’s Gambit declined and lasted 40 moves.

Kosteniuk made the final after seven years and she will now play the winner of Humpy-Yifan match in the final.

The 21-year-old Humpy favourite and top seed here came out with a slight advantage from the opening phase but could not find a strong continuation despite the desperation to win. Yifan pushed the pawn to d5 and gave a chance for exchanging the light pieces which could have been a nice way for a possible draw.

Humpy took her chance and avoided the full exchange and took a risky line but after that her position started to gradually loose momentum and deteriorated.

But her luck into came play as Yifan blundered and provided a chance for White to mate. Hou resigned after a few more moves as Humpy saw the line and went for it.

Humpy and Yifan will now clash in a tie break on Friday.

In the first game, Yifan played maturely to score an upset over the top-seed. Humpy played the first part of the game in her usual manner but out of the blue things changed greatly. Having captured a “poisoned pawn” Humpy lost her way and the game.

So upset was she that she kept sitting at the table for five minutes after the match trying to find a reason for her poor play.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Women World Chess CUP Semifinals:Kosteniuk in the final, Koneru-Hou tie break

What a turn around !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KONERY HUMPY WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After winning yesterday against Cramling`s French defense, Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) needed only a draw to get onto the final stage of the Women`s World Chess Championship. In a solid game with no surprises or novelties but with a strong fight, she made it and after seven years, she will play for the title again.

Koneru (India) came out with a slight advantage from the opening phase but could not find a strong continuation although she had to win after the loss of yesterday. Her Chinese opponent pushed the pawn to d5 and gave a chance for exchanging the light pieces which could have been a nice way for a possible draw. Koneru avoided the full exchange and took the risky Bb5 move after which her position started to gradually loose momentum and deteriorated.

In a worse position, Caissa run in to support her: Hou Yifan made a blunder with Na5, thus the position provided the chance for White to mate in 8 moves and Hou resigned after a few more moves. We are looking for a tie break tomorrow between Koneru, Humpy and Hou, Yifan. Please, follow the line on the official site.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

World Women`s Chess Championship Nalchik 2008 : Round 1

The Presidents of the World and Russian Chess Federations were there, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and the Kabardino-Balkaria President. But not the Georgian players, and some international participants, who did not attend due to the Russian-Georgian conflict. They lost their games by default. Otherwise most of the top seeds won their first games comfortably.

The Women's World Championship 2008 is taking place from August 28th to September 18th in Nalchik, in the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia. 64 players were eligible to play in the knock-out event, which has a prize fund of US $450,000. Due to the tensions in the region the Georgian players and a few others decided not to participate.

After the pre-tournament turmoil, in which the Georgian and other players protested and the FIDE President appealed to them and then to the Georgian president ("Do not mix politics and sport") we had to wait until the start of the first round to see who would turn up and who wouldn't. All the Georgians – Chiburdanidze, Gvetadze, Javakhishvili, Khukhashvili, Khurtsidze, Lomineishvili – were absent, as were a few others: Tea Bosboom Lanchava, Karen Zapata, Marie Sebag, Irina Krush and Ekaterina Korbut. They all lost their first game by default.

In the following table we can see that the top seeds generally won their games. The first upset is to be found on board 13, where 13th seed Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine lost to 52nd seed Katherine Rohonyan of the US. The next: 16th seed Elisabeth Paehtz, former Girl's Junior World Champion from Germany, lost to 49th seed Ilaha Kadimova of Azerbaijan. The defaulted players are shown in red.

Bd SNo Player Nat.
Player Nat.


Xu, Yuhua CHN
Solomons, Anzel RSA


Alaa El Din, Yorsa EGY
Koneru, Humpy IND


Hou, Yifan CHN
Khaled, Mona EGY


Zapata, Karen PER
Stefanova, Antoaneta BUL


Cramling, Pia SWE
Sanchez Castillo, Sarai VEN


Gasik, Anna POL
Sebag, Marie FRA


Zhao, Xue CHN
Zuriel, Marisa ARG


Muminova, Nafisa UZB
Kosintseva, Tatjana RUS


Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS
Pourkashiyan, Atousa IRI


Golubenko, Valentina CRO
Cmilyte, Viktorija LTU


Muzychuk, Anna SLO
Velcheva, Maria BUL


Zakurdjaeva, Irina RUS
Ruan, Lufei CHN


Zhukova, Natalia UKR
Rohonyan, Katherine USA


Nguyen, Thi Thanh An VIE
Chiburdanidze, Maya GEO


Hoang Thanh Trang HUN
Arribas Robaina, Maritza CUB


Kadimova, Ilaha AZE
Paehtz, Elisabeth GER


Ushenina, Anna UKR
Le Thanh Tu VIE


Foisor, Sabina-Francesca ROM
Socko, Monika POL


Krush, Irina USA
Sedina, Elena ITA


Zhang Jilin CHN
Gaponenko, Inna UKR


Javakhishvili, Lela GEO
Amura, Claudia ARG


Nebolsina, Vera RUS
Harika, Dronavalli IND


Kosintseva, Nadezhda RUS
Mohota, Nisha IND


Gvetadze, Sopio GEO
- -
Korbut, Ekaterina RUS


Zatonskih, Anna USA
+ -
Bosboom Lanchava, Tea NED


Kachiani-Gersinska, K GER
Shen, Yang CHN


Mkrtchian, Lilit ARM
Moser, Eva AUT


Tan Zongyi CHN
Tania, Sachdev IND


Bojkovic, Natasa SRB
Ju, Wenjun CHN


Mongontuul, Bathuyang MGL
Rajlich, Iweta POL


Lomineishvili, Maia GEO
- -
Khukhashvili, Sopiko GEO


Matveeva, Svetlana RUS
+ -
Khurtsidze, Nino GEO

Schedule :

Thursday 28 August Opening Ceremony/Player's Meeting
Friday 29 August Round 1, game 1
Saturday 30 August Round 1, game 2
Sunday 31 August Tiebreaks
Monday 01 September Round 2, game 1
Tuesday 02 September Round 2, game 2
Wednesday 03 September Tiebreaks
Thursday 04 September Round 3, game 1
Friday 05 September Round 3, game 2
Saturday 06 September Tiebreaks
Sunday 07 September Round 4, game 1
Monday 08 September Round 4, game 2
Tuesday 09 September Tiebreaks
Wednesday 10 September Round 5, game 1
Thursday 11 September Round 5, game 2
Friday 12 September Tiebreaks
Saturday 13 September Free Day
Sunday 14 September Round 6, game 1
Monday 15 September Round 6, game 2
Tuesday 16 September Round 6, game 3
Wednesday 17 September Round 6, game 4
Thursday 18 September Tiebreaks/Closing Ceremony

Courtesy :

Official WebSite :

Wish you Happy birthday to Sabina

The chess player from Romania Sabina-Francesca Foisor celebrated her birthday on the second day of the Championship. The Organizing Committee of the Championship congratulated her on her 19 birthday with champagne and a cake with candles. Aslan Afaunov, the Chairman of the KBR State Committee on Physical Culture and Sport wished her success and happiness and presented her with a bouquet of red roses. In the presence of all those present singing “Happy Birthday” the young Romanian blew out all the candles from the first attempt. While doing it she probably thought of winning the World Championship. The time will show.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chess Videos: Bobby Ficher Life

Chess Videos : Bobby Fischer truth

Chess Video: Bobby Fischer Interview

Chess Profiles : Bobby Fischer

Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was an American-born chess Grandmaster, and the eleventh World Chess Champion.

Fischer became famous as a teenager as a chess prodigy. In 1972, he became the first, and so far the only, American to win the official World Chess Championship,[1] defeating defending champion Boris Spassky, of the Soviet Union, in a match held in Reykjavík, Iceland. The match was widely publicized as a Cold War battle. He is often referred to as one of the greatest chess players of all time. In 2005, Iceland awarded citizenship to Fischer in recognition of his 30-year-old match that put the country "on the map".[2]

In 1975, Fischer failed to defend his title when he could not come to agreement with the international chess federation FIDE over the conditions for the match. He became more reclusive and played no more competitive chess until 1992, when he had a rematch with Spassky. The competition was held in Yugoslavia, which was then under a strict United Nations embargo.[3][4][5] This led to a conflict with the US government, and he never returned to his native country.

In his later years, Fischer lived in Hungary, Germany, the Philippines and Japan. During this time he made increasingly anti-American and anti-Semitic statements. During the 2004–2005 time period, after his US passport was revoked, he was detained by Japanese authorities for nine months under threat of extradition. After Iceland granted him citizenship, the Japanese authorities released him to that country, where he lived until his death in 2008.[6]

* 1 Early years
* 2 Young champion
* 3 US Championships
* 4 Olympiads
* 5 Grandmaster, Candidate
* 6 1962 Candidates setback
* 7 Involvement with the Worldwide Church of God
* 8 Semi-retirement in the mid-1960s
* 9 World Champion
o 9.1 The road to the world championship
o 9.2 World Championship Match
o 9.3 Forfeiture of title to Karpov
* 10 Sudden obscurity
* 11 Spassky rematch
* 12 Life as an émigré
o 12.1 In the Philippines
o 12.2 Anti-Jewish statements
o 12.3 Anti-American statements
o 12.4 Japan
o 12.5 Asylum in Iceland
o 12.6 Death
+ 12.6.1 Estate
* 13 Contributions to chess
o 13.1 Chess theory
o 13.2 Endgame
o 13.3 Fischer clock
o 13.4 Fischer Random Chess
o 13.5 Other talents
o 13.6 Legacy
* 14 In popular culture
* 15 Writings
o 15.1 Under Fischer's name
* 16 Notable games
* 17 See also
* 18 References
* 19 Further reading
* 20 External links

[edit] Early years

Robert James Fischer was born at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois on March 9, 1943. His mother, Regina Wender, was a naturalized American citizen of Polish Jewish descent,[7] born in Switzerland but raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She later became a teacher, a registered nurse, and a physician.[8] Fischer's birth certificate listed Wender's husband, Hans-Gerhardt Fischer, a German biophysicist, as Fischer's father. The couple married in 1933 in Moscow, USSR, where Wender was studying medicine at the First Moscow Medical Institute. They divorced in 1945 when Bobby was two years old, and he grew up with his mother and older sister, Joan. In 1948, the family moved to Mobile, Arizona, where Regina taught in an elementary school. The following year they moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Regina worked as an elementary school teacher and nurse.

A 2002 article by Peter Nicholas and Clea Benson of The Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that Paul Nemenyi, a Hungarian Jewish physicist, may have been Fischer's biological father. The article quotes an FBI report that states that Regina Fischer returned to the United States in 1939, while Hans-Gerhardt Fischer never entered the United States, having been refused admission by US immigration officials because of alleged Communist sympathies.[9][10][11] Regina and Nemenyi had an affair in 1942, and he made monthly child support payments to Regina.[12] Nemenyi died in March, 1952.

In May 1949, the six-year-old Fischer learned how to play chess along with his sister in instructions found in a chess set that was bought[13] at a candy store below their Brooklyn apartment. He saw his first chess book a month later. For over a year he played chess on his own. At age seven, he began to play chess seriously,[14] joining the Brooklyn Chess Club and receiving instruction from its president, Carmine Nigro. He later joined the Manhattan Chess Club, one of the strongest in the world, in June, 1955. Other important early influences were provided by Master and chess journalist Hermann Helms and Grandmaster Arnold Denker. Denker served as a mentor to young Bobby, often taking him to watch professional hockey games at Madison Square Garden, to cheer the New York Rangers. Denker wrote that Bobby enjoyed those treats and never forgot them; the two became lifelong friends.[15] When Fischer was thirteen, his mother asked the Master John W. Collins to be his chess tutor. Collins had coached several top players, including future grandmasters Robert Byrne and William Lombardy. Fischer spent much time at Collins' house, and some have described Collins as a father figure for Fischer. The Hawthorne Chess Club was the name for the group which Collins coached. Fischer also was involved with the Log Cabin Chess Club. Another mentor and friend during those years was the broadcaster and author Dick Schaap, who often took Fischer to basketball games of the New York Knicks.

Bobby Fischer attended Erasmus Hall High School at the same time as Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. The student council of Erasmus Hall awarded him a gold medal for his chess achievements.[16] Fischer dropped out of Erasmus in 1959 at age 16, the minimum age for doing so, saying that school had little more to offer him.[17]

When Fischer was 16, his mother moved out of their apartment to pursue medical training. Her friend Joan Rodker, who had met Regina when the two were "idealistic communists" living in Moscow in the 1930s, believes that Fischer resented his mother for being mostly absent as a mother, a communist activist and an admirer of the Soviet Union, and that this led to his hatred for the Soviet Union. In letters to Rodker, Fischer's mother states her desire to pursue her own "obsession" of training in medicine and writes that her son would have to live in their Brooklyn apartment without her: "It sounds terrible to leave a 16-year-old to his own devices, but he is probably happier that way."[18]

[edit] Young champion
Bobby Fischer (left) and John Collins
Bobby Fischer (left) and John Collins

Fischer's first real triumph was winning the United States Junior Chess Championship in July 1956. He scored 8.5/10 at Philadelphia to become the youngest-ever junior champion at age 13,[19] a record that stands to this day. In the 1956 U.S. Open Chess Championship at Oklahoma City, Fischer scored 8.5/12 to tie for 4-8th places, with Arthur Bisguier winning.[20] He then played in the first Canadian Open Chess Championship at Montreal 1956, scoring 7/10 to tie for 8-12th places, with Larry Evans winning.[21] Fischer's famous game from the 3rd Rosenwald Trophy tournament at New York 1956, against Donald Byrne, who later became an International Master, was called "The Game of the Century" by Hans Kmoch. At the age of 12, he was awarded the US title of National Master, then the youngest ever.[22]

In 1957, Fischer played a two-game match against former World Champion Max Euwe at New York, losing 0.5-1.5.[23] He then successfully defended his US Junior title, scoring 8.5/9 at San Francisco.[24] Next, he won the U.S. Open Chess Championship at Cleveland on tie-breaking points over Arthur Bisguier, scoring 10/12.[25] Fischer defeated the young Filipino Master Rodolfo Tan Cardoso by 6-2 in a match in New York.[26] He next won the New Jersey Open Championship.[27] From these triumphs, Fischer was given entry into the invitational U.S. Chess Championship at New York. He won, with 10.5/13, becoming in January 1958, at age 14, the youngest US champion ever (this record still stands). He earned the title of International Master with this victory, becoming the youngest player ever to achieve this level (a record since broken).[28][29][30]

[edit] US Championships

Fischer eventually played in eight United States Chess Championships, each held in New York City, winning every one.

His scores were:

* 1957-58: 10.5/13
* 1958-59: 8.5/11
* 1959-60: 9/11
* 1960-61: 9/11
* 1962-63: 8/11
* 1963-64: 11/11
* 1965-66: 8.5/11
* 1966-67: 9.5/11.

There was no 1964-65 US Championship. Fischer missed the 1961-62 event and ones after 1966-67. The total is 74/90 (82.2%), with only three losses (to Mednis, Reshevsky, and Robert Byrne).

His 11-0 win in the 1963-64 championship is the only perfect score in the history of the tournament, and one of only a handful of perfect scores in high-level chess tournaments ever, one that has been called "the most remarkable achievement of this kind."[31]

[edit] Olympiads

Fischer had been forced to attend school, and therefore missed the 1958 Olympiad. But he represented the United States on top board with great distinction at four Olympiads:
Olympiad Individual result US team result
Leipzig 1960 13/18 (Silver medal) Silver.
Varna 1962 11/17 Fourth
Havana 1966 15/17 (Silver) Silver
Siegen 1970 10/13 (Silver) Fourth

His overall total was +40, =18, −7, for 49/65 or 75.4%.[32] He had planned to play for the United States at the 1968 Lugano Olympiad, but backed out when he saw the playing hall with its bad lighting.[17]

[edit] Grandmaster, Candidate

Fischer's victory in the US Championship qualified him to participate in the 1958 Portorož Interzonal, the next step toward challenging the World Champion. The top six finishers in the Interzonal would qualify for the Candidates Tournament. Prior to the Interzonal, he played two short training matches in Yugoslavia. He drew both games against Dragoljub Janosevic. Then he defeated Milan Matulovic in Belgrade by 2.5-1.5.[33] At the Interzonal, Fischer again surprised the pundits, tying for 5th and 6th places, with 12/20, after a strong finish.[34] This made Fischer the youngest person ever to qualify for the Candidates, a record which stood until 2005 (it was broken under a different setup by Magnus Carlsen). It also earned him the title of Grandmaster, making him the youngest grandmaster in history at 15 years and 6 months. This was a record that stood until 1991 when it was broken by Judit Polgar. In addition, Fischer remained the youngest grandmaster in the world until Florin Gheorghiu earned the title in 1965.

Before the Candidates' tournament, Fischer competed in the 1958-9 US Championship (winning 8.5/11) and then in international tournaments at Mar del Plata, Santiago, and Zurich. He played unevenly in the two South American tournaments. At Mar del Plata he finished tied for third with Borislav Ivkov, half a point behind tournament winners Ludek Pachman and Miguel Najdorf. At Santiago, he tied for fourth through sixth places, behind Ivkov, Pachman, and Herman Pilnik. He did better at the strong Zurich event, finishing a point behind world-champion-to-be Mikhail Tal and half a point behind Svetozar Gligoric.[35][36]

Fischer had, up to this point, dressed like a normal teenager, in jeans and casual shirts, at chess tournaments, but was influenced by veteran Grandmaster Miguel Najdorf, whom he met at Mar del Plata, to improve his appearance. Najdorf dressed well in fine suits. Fischer's strong performances increased his income, and he soon became known for his elegant dress at major events, built up an extensive wardrobe of custom-made suits, and took considerable pride in his image as a young professional.[37]

At the age of 16, Fischer finished a creditable equal fifth out of eight, the top non-Soviet player, at the Candidates Tournament held in Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1959. He scored 12.5/28 but was outclassed by tournament winner Tal, who won all four of their individual games.[38]

[edit] 1962 Candidates setback

In 1960, Fischer tied for first place with the young Soviet star Boris Spassky at the strong Mar del Plata tournament in Argentina, with the two well ahead of the rest of the field, scoring 13.5/15.[39] Fischer lost only to Spassky, and this was the start of their relationship, which began on a friendly basis and stayed that way, in spite of Fischer's troubles on the board against him.

Fischer struggled in the subsequent Buenos Aires tournament, finishing with 8.5/19 (won by Viktor Korchnoi and Samuel Reshevsky on 13/19).[40] This was the only real failure of Fischer's competitive career. According to Larry Evans, Fischer's first sexual experience was with a girl to whom Evans introduced him during the tournament.[41] Pal Benko says that Fischer did horribly in the tournament "because he got caught up in women and sex. ... Afterwards, Fischer said he'd never mix women and chess together, and he keep that promise."[42] Fischer concluded 1960 by winning a small tournament at Reykjavik with 4.5/5,[43], and defeating Klaus Darga in an exhibition game in West Berlin.[44]

In 1961, Fischer started a 16-game match with Reshevsky, split between New York and Los Angeles. Despite Fischer's meteoric rise, the veteran Reshevsky (born in 1911, 32 years older than Fischer) was considered the favorite, since he had far more match experience and had never lost a set match. After 11 games and a tie score (two wins apiece with seven draws), the match ended prematurely due to a scheduling dispute between Fischer and match organizer and sponsor Jacqueline Piatigorsky. The hard-fought struggle, with many games being adjourned, had delayed the original match schedule, causing some logistical challenges for site bookings. Reshevsky received the winner's share of the prizes.[16] Fischer later made up with Mrs. Piatigorsky by accepting an invitation to the second Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966, which she helped to sponsor.

Fischer was second behind former World Champion Tal at Bled 1961. He defeated Tal head-to-head for the first time, scored 3.5/4 against the Soviet contingent, and finished as the only unbeaten player, with 13.5/19.[45]

In the next World Championship cycle, Fischer won the 1962 Stockholm Interzonal by 2.5 points, scoring 17.5/22, making him one of the favorites for the Candidates Tournament in Curaçao, which began soon afterwards.[46][47] He finished fourth out of eight with 14/27, the best result by a non-Soviet player but well behind Tigran Petrosian (17.5/27), Efim Geller, and Paul Keres (both 17/27).[48] Tal fell very ill during the tournament, and had to withdraw before completion. Fischer, a friend of Tal's, was the only player who visited him in the hospital.[16].[49]

Following his failure in the 1962 Candidates (at which five of the eight players were from the Soviet Union), Fischer asserted, in an article entitled The Russians Have Fixed World Chess, which was published in Sports Illustrated magazine, August 1962, that three of the Soviet players (Tigran Petrosian, Paul Keres, and Efim Geller) had a pre-arranged agreement to draw their games against each other, in order to save energy and to concentrate on playing against Fischer, and also that a fourth, Victor Korchnoi, had been forced to deliberately lose games to ensure that a Soviet player won the tournament. It is generally thought that the former accusation is correct, but not the latter.[50] (This is discussed further at the World Chess Championship 1963 article). Fischer also stated that he would never again participate in a Candidates' tournament, since the format, combined with the alleged collusion, made it impossible for a non-Soviet player to win. Following Fischer's article, FIDE in late 1962 voted a radical reform of the playoff system, replacing the Candidates' tournament with a format of knockout matches.[51]

Fischer defeated Bent Larsen in a summer 1962 exhibition game in Copenhagen for Danish TV. He also defeated Bogdan Sliwa in a team match against Poland at Warsaw later that year.[52]

[edit] Involvement with the Worldwide Church of God

In an interview in the January, 1962 issue of Harper's Magazine, Fischer was quoted as saying, "I read a book lately by Nietzsche and he says religion is just to dull the senses of the people. I agree."[53][54] Nonetheless, Fischer said in 1962 that he had "personal problems" and began to listen to various radio ministers in a search for answers. This is how he first came to listen to The World Tomorrow radio program with Herbert W. Armstrong and his son Garner Ted Armstrong. The Armstrongs' denomination, The Worldwide Church of God (then under its original name, the Radio Church of God), predicted an imminent apocalypse. In late 1963, Fischer began tithing to the church. According to Fischer, he lived a bifurcated life, with a rational chess component and an enthusiastic religious component.

At the 1967 Sousse Interzonal his religious observances led to problems with the organizers (see below).

Fischer gave the Worldwide Church of God $61,200 of his 1972 world championship prize money. However, 1972 was a disastrous year for the church, as prophecies by Herbert W. Armstrong were unfulfilled, and the church was rocked by revelations of a series of sex scandals involving Garner Ted Armstrong.[55] Fischer, who felt betrayed and swindled by the Worldwide Church of God, left the church and publicly denounced it.[56]

[edit] Semi-retirement in the mid-1960s

Fischer turned down an invitation to play in the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup tournament in Los Angeles, which had a world-class field. Instead, he preferred to play at the same time in the Western Open in Bay City, Michigan, which he won, with 7.5/8. Fischer also won the 1963 New York State Championship at Poughkeepsie, another minor event, in late summer, with a perfect 7/7.[57] He won the 1963-64 US Championship with a perfect 11/11 (see above).

Fischer decided not to participate in the Amsterdam Interzonal in 1964, thus taking himself out of the 1966 World Championship cycle. He held to this decision even when FIDE changed the format of the eight-player Candidates Tournament from a round-robin to a series of knockout matches, which eliminated the possibility of collusion. Fischer instead embarked on a continent-wide tour through the United States and Canada lasting several months, where he played simultaneous exhibitions and gave lectures. He also turned down an invitation to play for the United States in the 1964 Olympiad.[58]

Fischer wanted to play in the Capablanca Memorial Tournament, Havana 1965, but Americans were not allowed to travel to Cuba at that time. Fischer had traveled to Cuba to play as a youth, before Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959. Fischer was able to play by telegraph, staying in New York and playing from the Marshall Chess Club. His games lasted longer because of the transmission delays and receipt of moves logistics. But Fischer tied for second through fourth places, with 15/21, behind former World Champion Vasily Smyslov, and defeated Smyslov in their game. Chess became a news item in the United States with this unusual achievement.[59]

Fischer started 1966 by winning the US Championship for the seventh time. He then finished second at the 1966 Santa Monica supertournament, just behind world finalist Boris Spassky, scoring 11/18. In 1967, he won the US Championship for the eighth and final time before victories over strong fields at Monte Carlo (7/9) and Skopje (13.5/17).[26] Fischer traveled to the Philippines and played a series of nine exhibition games against Master opposition there, winning eight and drawing one.[60]

In the next World Championship cycle, at the 1967 Sousse Interzonal, Fischer scored a phenomenal 8.5 points in the first 10 games. His observance of the Worldwide Church of God's sabbath was honored by the organizers, but deprived Fischer of several rest days, which led to a scheduling dispute. Fischer forfeited two games in protest and later withdrew, eliminating himself from the 1969 World Championship cycle.[51]

Fischer won the tournaments at Netanya 1968 (11.5/13) and Vinkovci 1968 (11/13) by large margins.[26] He stopped playing for the next 18 months, except for a win in a New York Metropolitan League team match over Anthony Saidy.

[edit] World Champion

In 1970, Fischer started a new effort to become World Champion. As he became a viable contender, much positive publicity for chess arose. In 1972, he succeeded in his quest, but forfeited his title a few years later.

[edit] The road to the world championship
Bobby Fischer's score card from his round 3 game against Miguel Najdorf in the 1970 Chess Olympiad in Siegen, Germany. Throughout his career, Fischer used the older descriptive chess notation system when recording his games, never switching to the modern algebraic system.
Bobby Fischer's score card from his round 3 game against Miguel Najdorf in the 1970 Chess Olympiad in Siegen, Germany. Throughout his career, Fischer used the older descriptive chess notation system when recording his games, never switching to the modern algebraic system.

The 1969 US Championship was also a zonal qualifier, with the top three finishers advancing to the Interzonal. Fischer, however, had sat out the US Championship because of disagreements about the tournament's format and prize fund. To enable Fischer to compete for the title, Grandmaster Pal Benko gave up his Interzonal place. This unusual arrangement was the work of Ed Edmondson, then the USCF's Executive Director.[17]

Before the Interzonal, in March and April 1970, the world's best players competed in the USSR vs. Rest of the World match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, often referred to as "the Match of the Century." Fischer agreed to allow Bent Larsen of Denmark to play first board for the Rest of the World team in light of Larsen's recent outstanding tournament results, even though Fischer had the higher Elo rating.[61] The USSR team won the match (20.5-19.5), but on second board, Fischer beat Tigran Petrosian, whom Boris Spassky had dethroned as world champion the previous year, 3-1, winning the first two games and drawing the last two.[62]

Following the Match of the Century, the unofficial World Championship of Lightning Chess (5-minute games) was held at Herceg Novi. Fischer annihilated the super-class field with 19/22(+17=4-1), 4.5 points ahead of Tal. Later in 1970, Fischer won tournaments at Rovinj/Zagreb with 13/17 (+10=6-1), and Buenos Aires, where he crushed the field of mostly Grandmasters with no losses: 15/17 (+13=4). Fischer had taken his game to a new level. He defeated Ulf Andersson in an exhibition game for the Swedish newspaper 'Expressen' at Siegen 1970.[63]

The Interzonal was held in Palma de Mallorca in November and December 1970. Fischer won it with a remarkable 18.5-4.5 score (+15=7-1), 3.5 points ahead of Larsen, Efim Geller, and Robert Hübner, who tied for second at 15-8.[64] Fischer finished the tournament with seven consecutive wins.[65]

Fischer continued his domination in the 1971 Candidates matches. First, he beat Mark Taimanov of the USSR at Vancouver by 6-0. A couple of months later, he repeated the shutout against Larsen at Denver, again by 6-0.[66] Just a year before, Larsen had played first board for the Rest of the World team ahead of Fischer, and had handed Fischer his only loss at the Interzonal. "The record books showed that the only comparable achievement to the 6-0 score against Taimanov was Wilhelm Steinitz's 7-0 win against Joseph Henry Blackburne in 1876 in an era of more primitive defensive technique."[67]

Fischer won a strong lightning event in New York in August 1971 with an overwhelming score of 21.5/22.[68]

Only former World Champion Petrosian, Fischer's final opponent in the Candidates matches, was able to offer resistance in their match played at Buenos Aires. Petrosian played a strong theoretical novelty in the first game and had Fischer on the ropes, but Fischer defended and won the game. This gave Fischer a streak of 20 consecutive wins against the world's top players (in the Interzonal and Candidates matches), the second longest winning streak in chess history after Steinitz's 25-game streak from 1873 to 1882.[69] Petrosian won decisively in the second game, finally snapping Fischer's winning streak. After three consecutive draws, Fischer swept the next four games to win the match 6.5-2.5 (+5=3−1). The final match victory allowed Fischer to challenge World Champion Boris Spassky, whom he had never beaten before (+0=2−3).

[edit] World Championship Match

Main article: World Chess Championship 1972

Fischer's career-long stubbornness about match and tournament conditions was again seen in the run-up to his match with Spassky. Of the possible sites, Fischer preferred Yugoslavia, while Spassky wanted Iceland. For a time it appeared that the dispute would be resolved by splitting the match between the two locations, but that arrangement fell through. After that issue was resolved, Fischer refused to play unless the prize fund, which he considered inadequate, was doubled. London financier Jim Slater responded by donating an additional US$125,000, which brought the prize fund to an unprecedented $250,000. Fischer finally agreed to play.

The match took place in Reykjavík, Iceland, from July through September 1972. Fischer lost the first two games in strange fashion: the first when he played a risky pawn-grab in a drawn endgame, the second by forfeit when he refused to play the game in a dispute over playing conditions. Fischer would likely have forfeited the entire match, but Spassky, not wanting to win by default, yielded to Fischer's demands to move the next game to a back room, away from the cameras whose presence had upset Fischer. The rest of the match proceeded without serious incident. Fischer won seven of the next 19 games, losing only one and drawing eleven, to win the match 12.5-8.5 and become the 11th World Chess Champion.

The Cold War trappings helped serve to make the result somewhat of a media sensation. This was an American victory in a field that Soviet players had dominated for the past quarter-century, players closely identified with, and subsidized by, the Soviet state. The match was called "The Match of the Century", and received front-page media coverage in the United States and around the world. With his victory, Fischer became an instant celebrity. Upon his return to New York, a Bobby Fischer Day was held, and he was cheered by thousands of fans, a unique display in American chess.[70] He received numerous product endorsement offers (all of which he declined) and appeared on the covers of Life and Sports Illustrated. With American Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz, he also appeared on a Bob Hope TV special.[71] Membership in the United States Chess Federation doubled in 1972[72] and peaked in 1974; in American chess, these years are commonly referred to as the "Fischer Boom." Spassky, referring to professional chess, later summarized: "He made chess popular, briefly, and he made us all rich men."[73]

Fischer won the 'Chess Oscar' award for 1970, 1971, and 1972. This award, started in 1967, is determined through votes from chess media and leading players.

[edit] Forfeiture of title to Karpov

Fischer was scheduled to defend his title in 1975. Anatoly Karpov eventually emerged as his challenger, having defeated Spassky in an earlier Candidates match. Fischer, who had played no competitive games since his World Championship match with Spassky, laid out a proposal for the match in September 1973, in consultation with a FIDE official, Fred Cramer. He made the following three principal demands:

1. The match should continue until one player wins 10 games, without counting the draws.
2. There is no limit to the total number of games played.
3. In case of a 9-9 score, champion (Fischer) retains his title and the prize fund is split equally.

A FIDE Congress was held in Nice in June 1974, headed by FIDE president Max Euwe and consisting of both US and USSR representatives. It ruled that the match should continue until six wins, not 10. However, Fischer replied that he would resign his crown and not participate in the match. Instead of accepting Fischer's forfeit, FIDE agreed to allow the match to continue until 10 wins, but ruled it should not last longer than 36 games and rejected the 9-9 clause. Many considered that clause unfair because it would require the challenger to win by at least two games (10-8).[74] In response to FIDE's ruling, Fischer sent a cable to Euwe on June 27, 1974:

As I made clear in my telegram to the FIDE delegates, the match conditions I proposed were non-negotiable. Mr. Cramer informs me that the rules of the winner being the first player to win ten games, draws not counting, unlimited number of games and if nine wins to nine match is drawn with champion regaining title and prize fund split equally were rejected by the FIDE delegates. By so doing FIDE has decided against my participating in the 1975 world chess championship. I therefore resign my FIDE world chess champion title. Sincerely, Bobby Fischer.

In a letter to Larry Evans, published in Chess Life in November 1974, Fischer claimed the usual system (24 games with the first player to get 12.5 points winning, or the champion retaining his title in the event of a 12-12 tie) encouraged the player in the lead to draw games, which he regarded as bad for chess. Not counting draws would be "an accurate test of who is the world's best player."[75] Former US Champion Arnold Denker, who was in contact with Fischer during the negotiations with FIDE, claimed that Fischer wanted a long match to be able to play himself into shape after a three-year layoff.[76]

Due to the continued efforts of US Chess Association officials,[77] a special FIDE Congress was held in March 1975 in Bergen, North Holland in which it was accepted that the match should be of unlimited duration, but the 9:9 clause was once again rejected by a narrow margin of 35 votes to 32.[78] After no reply was received from Fischer, Karpov officially became World Champion by default in April 1975. In his 1991 autobiography, Karpov expressed profound regret that the match did not take place, and claimed that the lost opportunity to challenge Fischer held back his own chess development. Karpov met with Fischer several times after 1975, in friendly but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to arrange a match.[79] Garry Kasparov has argued that Karpov would have had a good chance to defeat Fischer in 1975.[80][81]

[edit] Sudden obscurity

After the World Championship, Fischer did not play another serious game in public for nearly 20 years. He did not defend his title and public perception was reflected in the decline of interest in chess in the West in the following years.

In 1977, Bobby Fischer played three games in Cambridge against the MIT Greenblatt computer program. Fischer won all the games.[82][83]

On May 26, 1981, a police patrolman arrested Fischer on the sidewalk of Lake Street in Pasadena, claiming that he matched the description of a man who had just committed a bank robbery in that area. During the arrest, he was slightly injured. He was held for two days and subjected to further assault and interrogation. He was released on $1000 bail and the matter was later dropped. Two weeks later, he published a 14-page pamphlet detailing these experiences and expressing outrage that the arrest had been pre-arranged.[84][85][86]

In the early 1980s, Fischer stayed for extended periods in the San Francisco-area home of his friend, the Canadian Grandmaster Peter Biyiasas. In 1981, the two played 17 five-minute games. Despite his layoff from competitive play, Fischer won all of them, according to Biyiasas, who lamented that he was never even able to reach an endgame.[85][86]

[edit] Spassky rematch

After twenty years, Fischer emerged from isolation to challenge Spassky (then placed 96-102 on the rating list) to a "Revenge Match of the 20th century" in 1992. This match took place in Sveti Stefan and Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia, in spite of a United Nations embargo that included sanctions on sporting events. Fischer demanded that the organizers bill the match as "The World Chess Championship," although Garry Kasparov was the recognized FIDE World Champion. Fischer had only ever mentioned resigning his "FIDE" title. He insisted he was still the true world chess champion, and that for all the games in the FIDE-sanctioned World Championship matches, involving Karpov, Korchnoi and Kasparov, the outcomes had been pre-arranged. In a 2005 interview he explained his attitude toward Kasparov: "Anyone who prepares matches in advance and, especially, who plays contractual games, is a liar and a dealer. I just call Kasparov a criminal."[87]

The purse for Fischer's re-match with Spassky was reported to be US$5,000,000 with two-thirds to go to the winner.[88] Fischer won the match, 10 wins to 5 losses, with 15 draws. Many grandmasters observing the match said that Fischer was past his prime. In the book Mortal Games, Kasparov is quoted: "Bobby is playing OK, nothing more. Maybe his strength is around 2600 or 2650. It wouldn't be close between us."[89] Fischer never played any competitive games afterwards.[90][91]

During the match, the two contestants gave, in all, nine press conferences between games. The content of these press conferences can be found, in full, in the book No Regrets by Yasser Seirawan and George Stefanovic. On page 291, Seirawan writes, "After 23 September [1992], I threw most of what I’d ever read about Bobby out of my head. Sheer garbage. Bobby is the most misunderstood, misquoted celebrity walking the face of the earth"[92]. We also learn that Fischer is not camera shy (page 85), that "He smiles and laughs easily" (page 96), and that "... Bobby is a wholly enjoyable conversationalist. A fine wit, he is a very funny man" (page 303).

The US Department of the Treasury had warned Fischer beforehand that his participation was illegal as it violated President George H. W. Bush's Executive Order 12810[93] that implemented United Nations sanctions against engaging in economic activities in Yugoslavia.[94] In front of the international press, Fischer was filmed spitting on the US order forbidding him to play. Following the match, the Department obtained an arrest warrant for him. Fischer remained wanted by the United States government for the rest of his life and never returned to the United States.

[edit] Life as an émigré

Fischer again slid into relative obscurity. Now a fugitive from American justice, he intensified his vitriolic rhetoric against the US. For some of these years Fischer lived in Budapest, Hungary allegedly having a relationship with young Hungarian chess master Zita Rajcsanyi.[95][96] He claimed to find standard chess stale and he played varieties such as Chess960 blitz games. He visited with the Polgár family in Budapest and analyzed many games with Judit, Zsuzsa, and Zsófia Polgár.[97][98]

[edit] In the Philippines

From 2000 to 2002, Fischer lived in Baguio City in the Philippines.[99] He resided in the same compound as the Filipino grandmaster Eugenio Torre, a close friend who acted as his second during his matches with Spassky.[99] Fischer played tennis at the Baguio Country Club, where he met a 30-year-old girl friend from Davao in Baguio City.

Torre introduced Fischer to a 22-year-old woman named Justine Ong (or Marilyn Young). Together, they had a daughter named Jinky Ong, born in 2002 (or 2001) at the Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Sacred Heart Hospital.[100][99][101]([102][103])

In 2001, Nigel Short said that he had played almost 50 blitz games online with a person whom he believed to be Fischer, but the person's identity has not been verified, and Fischer denied that he was the person.[104][105][106]

[edit] Anti-Jewish statements

In 1961 Fischer "made his first public statements despising Jews."[107] In 1984 Fischer sent an open letter to Encyclopedia Judaica, in which he vehemently denied being a Jew and denounced Judaism.[108] In recent years, Fischer's primary means of communicating with the public was via sometimes-outrageous radio interviews. Fischer participated in at least 34 such broadcasts between 1999 and 2006, mostly with radio stations in the Philippines, but also with stations in Hungary, Iceland, Colombia, and Russia.

In 1999, he gave a call-in interview to a radio station in Budapest, Hungary, during which he described himself as the "victim of an international Jewish conspiracy." Fischer's sudden re-emergence was apparently triggered when some of his belongings, which had been stored in a Pasadena, California storage unit, were sold by the landlord, who claimed it was in response to nonpayment of rent.[109] Fischer interpreted this as further evidence of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy perpetrated by "the Jew-controlled US Government" to defame and destroy him.[citation needed] In 2005, some of Fischer's belongings were auctioned on eBay. In 2006, Fischer claimed that his belongings in the storage unit were worth millions.[110][111] Fischer, whose mother was Jewish,[54][112] made occasional hostile comments toward Jews from at least the early 1960s.[54][113] From the 1980s and thereafter, however, his hatred for Jews was a major theme of his public and private remarks.[114] He denied the "Holocaust of the Jews," announced his desire to make "expos[ing] the Jews for the criminals they are [...] the murderers they are" his lifework, and argued that the United States is "a farce controlled by dirty, hook-nosed, circumcised Jew bastards."[115] In one of his radio interviews, Fischer said that it became clear to him in 1977, after reading The Secret World Government by Count Cherep-Spiridovich, that the Jews were targeting him.[116]

[edit] Anti-American statements

Fischer also made anti-Zionistic statements in connection with anti-American statements. Hours after the September 11, 2001, attacks Fischer was interviewed live by Pablo Mercado on the Baguio City station of the Bombo Radyo network, shortly after midnight September 12, 2001 Philippines local time (or shortly after noon on September 11, 2001, New York time). Fischer commented on U.S and Israeli foreign policy that "nobody cares ... [that] the US and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians for years".[117][118][119] Informed that "the White House [sic] and Pentagon have been attacked", Bobby Fischer proclaimed "This is all wonderful news."[117][118] Fischer stated "What goes around comes around even for the United States."[117][118] and said that if the US fails to change its foreign policy, it "has to be destroyed." After calling for President Bush's death, Fischer also stated he hoped for a coup d'état in the US, and that the military government would then execute "hundreds of thousands of American Jewish ring-leaders", "arrest all the Jews", and "close all synagogues".[117][118]Subsequent to that interview, Fischer's "right to membership in the United States Chess Federation [was] canceled" by a unanimous 7-0 of the USCF,[120] taken on October 28, 2001.

Chess columnist Shelby Lyman, who in 1972 had hosted the PBS broadcast of that year's Championship, said after Fischer's death that "the anti-American stuff is explained by the fact that ... he spent the rest of his life [after the game in Yugoslavia] fleeing from the US, because he was afraid of being extradited".[121]

[edit] Japan

Fischer lived for a time in Japan.[122]

Fischer was arrested at Narita International Airport in Narita, Japan, near Tokyo for allegedly using a revoked US passport while trying to board a Japan Airlines flight to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines. The passport, issued in 1997, had been said by U.S. officials to be revoked in 2003. Fischer assumed that it was still valid.[123]

Tokyo-based Canadian journalist and consultant John Bosnitch set up the "Committee to Free Bobby Fischer" after meeting Fischer at Narita airport and offering to assist him. Bosnitch was subsequently allowed to participate as a friend of the court by an Immigration Bureau panel handling Fischer's case. He then worked to block the Japanese Immigration Bureau's efforts to deport Fischer to the United States and coordinated the legal and public relations campaign to free Fischer until his eventual release. Fischer renounced his United States citizenship. A month later, it was reported that Fischer was marrying Miyoko Watai, the President of the Japanese Chess Association, with whom he had been living since 2000. Fischer also appealed to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell to help him renounce his citizenship. Japan's Justice Minister rejected Fischer's appeal that he be allowed to remain in the country and ordered him deported.

[edit] Asylum in Iceland

Seeking ways to evade deportation to the United States, Fischer wrote a letter to the government of Iceland in early January 2005 and asked for Icelandic citizenship. Sympathetic to Fischer's plight, but reluctant to grant him the full benefits of citizenship, Icelandic authorities granted him an alien's passport. When this proved insufficient for the Japanese authorities, the Althing agreed unanimously to grant Fischer full citizenship in late March for humanitarian reasons, as they felt he was being unjustly treated by the US and Japanese governments.[124] Fischer unsuccessfully requested German citizenship on the grounds that his late father, Hans Gerhardt Fischer, had been a lifelong German citizen. The US government filed charges of tax evasion against Fischer in an effort to prevent him from traveling to Iceland.

Shortly before his departure to Iceland, on March 23, 2005, Fischer and Bosnitch appeared briefly on the BBC World Service, via a telephone link to the Tokyo airport. Bosnitch stated that Fischer would never play traditional chess again. Fischer denounced President Bush as a criminal and Japan as a puppet of the United States. He also stated that he would appeal his case to the US Supreme Court and said that he would not return to the US while Bush was in power.

Upon his arrival in Reykjavík, Fischer was welcomed by a crowd.[125] He gave a news conference in which he was reminded of a past friend, Dick Schaap, by Schaap's son, and Fischer showed that he was still pointedly resentful over his falling out with Schaap Sr.[126] Fischer had an apartment in Reykjavík as his new home.

Fischer lived a reclusive life in Iceland, avoiding entrepreneurs and other people who approached him with various proposals.[127]

On December 10, 2006, Fischer phoned in to an Icelandic television station and pointed out a winning combination which was missed, by players and commentators alike, in a chess game that was televised live in Iceland.[128]

[edit] Death
Church of Laugardælir, Fischer's resting place.
Church of Laugardælir, Fischer's resting place.

Fischer was suffering from degenerative renal failure.[129] This had been a problem for some years, but became acute in October 2007, when Fischer was admitted to a Reykjavík Landspítali hospital for stationary treatment. He stayed there for about seven weeks, being released in a somewhat improved condition in the middle of November. He returned home gravely ill in December apparently rejecting any further Western medicine.

Fischer stayed in an apartment in the same building as his closest friend and spokesman, Garðar Sverrisson, whose wife Krisín happens to be a nurse and looked after the terminally ill patient. Garðar's two children, especially his son, were very close to Fischer. They were his only close friends and contacts during the last two years of his life.

Fischer did not believe in prolonging life at any cost – such as by the use of large amounts of pain killers or permanent dependence on a dialysis machine. When he was released from hospital his doctors gave him a few months to live. His wife Miyoko Watai flew in from Japan to spend the Christmas season with him. She returned on January 10, 2008, just before Fischer's death, and so had to make another trip almost immediately after.[130]

In the middle of January his condition deteriorated and he was returned to hospital, where elevated levels of serum creatinine were found in his blood. He died on January 17, 2008, at home in his apartment in Reykjavík.[131][132][133][134][135][136][137] Like his great predecessors Howard Staunton and Wilhelm Steinitz,[138] he died at the age of 64. Magnús Skúlason, who stayed with Fischer until he died, said that his last words were, "Nothing soothes pain like the touch of a person."[139]

Fischer had instructed Garðar that he wished to be buried in the small Catholic cemetery of Laugardælir church, outside the town of Selfoss, 60 km south-east of Reykjavik. It was a place Bobby had visited a number of times with Garðar and Krisín, whose parents live there. He said that the Laugardælur countryside would be perfect as his final resting place, should he die in Iceland. He did not wish anyone to be present at the funeral, except Miyoko Watai and Garðar's family, who would arrange it. On January 21st at noon, after a Catholic funeral presided over by Fr. Jakob Rolland of the diocese of Reykjavik, he was buried according to his wishes.[130][140][141][142][143][144]

[edit] Estate

Fischer's estate was estimated at 140 million ISK (about 1 million GBP or US$2,000,000) and quickly became the object of a legal battle between Fischer's Japanese wife Miyoko Watai and a presumed Filipina heir, Marilyn Young.[145] The dispute seems to have been settled amicably in the Icelandic courts.[146]

[edit] Contributions to chess

[edit] Chess theory

Fischer was renowned for his opening preparation, and made numerous contributions to chess opening theory. He was considered the greatest practitioner of the White side of the Ruy Lopez; a line of the Exchange Variation (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0) is sometimes called the "Fischer variation" after he successfully resurrected it at the 1966 Havana Olympiad.

He was a recognized expert in the Black side of the Najdorf Sicilian and the King's Indian Defense. He demonstrated several important improvements in the Grünfeld Defense. In the Nimzo-Indian Defense, the line beginning with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 Ba6 is named for him.[147][148][149]

Fischer established the viability of the so-called "Poisoned Pawn" variation of the Najdorf Sicilian (1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6). Although this bold queen sortie, snatching a pawn at the expense of development, had been considered dubious,[150][151][152] Fischer succeeded in proving its soundness. He won many games with it, losing only to Spassky in the 11th game of their 1972 match. Today, the Poisoned Pawn is a respected line played by many of the world's leading players.[153]

On the White side of the Sicilian, Fischer made advances to the theory of the line beginning 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 (or e6) 6. Bc4, which is now called the Fischer-Sozin Attack. In 1960, prompted by a loss to Spassky,[154] Fischer wrote an article entitled "A Bust to the King's Gambit" for the first issue of Larry Evans' American Chess Quarterly, in which he recommended 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6.[155] This variation has since become known as the Fischer Defense to the King's Gambit.[156][157] After Fischer's article was published, the King's Gambit was seen even less frequently in master-level games, although Fischer took up the White side of it in three games (preferring 3.Bc4 to 3.Nf3), winning them all.[158]

[edit] Endgame

International Master Jeremy Silman listed Fischer as one of the five best endgame players. The others he listed were Emanuel Lasker, Akiba Rubinstein, José Capablanca, and Vasily Smyslov. Silman called him a "master of bishop endings".[159]

The endgame of a rook and bishop versus a rook and knight (both sides with pawns) has sometimes been called the "Fischer Endgame" because of three instructive wins by Fischer (with the bishop) in 1970 and 1971 over Mark Taimanov.[160][161] One of the games was in the 1970 Interzonal and the other two were in their 1971 quarter-final candidates match.

[edit] Fischer clock

In 1988, Fischer filed for U.S. Patent 4,884,255 for a new type of digital chess clock. Fischer's clock gave each player a fixed period of time at the start of the game and then added a small increment after each completed move. The Fischer clock soon became standard in most major chess tournaments. The patent expired in November 2001 because of overdue maintenance fees. See also the Fischer delay game clock.

[edit] Fischer Random Chess

On June 19, 1996, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fischer announced and advocated a variant of chess called Fischer Random Chess, also known as Chess960, that is intended to allow players to contest games based on their understanding of chess rather than their ability to memorize opening variations.

Fischer Random was designed to remove the importance of opening book memorization. Fischer complained in a 2006 phoned-in call with a television interviewer that talented celebrity players from long ago, if brought back from the dead to play today, would no longer be competitive, because of the progress in memorization of opening books. "Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get an opening advantage against Capablanca," he said, merely because of opening-book memorization, which Fischer disdained. "Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorization and prearrangement. It’s a terrible game now. Very uncreative."[162] Fischer described the unsavory side of chess in its current form at the highest levels.[163]

[edit] Other talents

Fischer was an expert at solving the fifteen puzzle, which he completed in under 25 seconds multiple times. Fischer demonstrated this on November 8, 1972 on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

[edit] Legacy

Fischer is considered one of the greatest players of all time. Some leading players and some of Fischer's biographers rank him as the greatest player who ever lived.[164][165][166][167] Many other writers say that he is arguably the greatest player ever, without reaching a definitive conclusion.[168][169][170][171][172][173][174] Leonard Barden wrote, "Most experts place him the second or third best ever, behind Kasparov but probably ahead of Karpov."[175]

Fischer was a charter inductee into the United States Chess Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. in 1985. He was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame in Miami in 2001.[176]

After routing Taimanov, Larsen, and Petrosian in 1971, Fischer achieved a then-record Elo rating of 2785. He was rated so far ahead of Spassky and everyone else that he lost five rating points by beating Spassky 12.5-7.5 in played games, taking him to a 2780 rating.

Although international ratings were only introduced in 1970, uses modern algorithms to rank performances retrospectively and uniformly throughout chess history. According to the Chessmetrics calculation, Fischer's peak rating was 2895 in October 1971. His one-year peak average was 2881, in 1971, and this is the highest of all time. His three-year peak average was 2867, from January 1971 to December 1973 - the second highest ever, just behind Garry Kasparov. Chessmetrics ranks Fischer as the #1 player in the world for a total of 109 different months, running (not consecutively) from February 1964 until July 1974.[177]

Fischer's great rival Mikhail Tal praised him as "the greatest genius to have descended from the chess heavens."[178]

American rival Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier, who won his first tournament game against Fischer, drew his second, and then lost the remaining 13, wrote "Robert James Fischer is one of the few people in any sphere of endeavour who has been accorded the accolade of being called a legend in his own time."[179]

Speaking after Fischer's death, Serbian Grandmaster Ljubomir Ljubojevic said, "A man without frontiers. He didn't divide the East and the West, he brought them together in their admiration of him."[180]

In a sympathetic obituary for Fischer, Kasparov wrote "he became the detonator of an avalanche of new chess ideas, a revolutionary whose revolution is still in progress.

Chess Funny Video : Old Guy playing chess

Friday, August 15, 2008

Play a chess grandmaster at Memorial Union

Chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley will simultaneously play up to 25 of the best chess players at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St., at an event scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15.

Up to a dozen playing places remain available for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, e-mail with your name, phone number, age and address.

Ashley is a world-renowned chess player and the only African American international grandmaster of chess. The Asset Builders of America are sponsoring Ashley's visit to Madison, as part of a weekend-long conference about financial education."

As part of the conference, to be held Saturday, Aug. 16, at Wright Middle School, Ashley will also lecture on chess openings and address the conference about chess as a metaphor for life.

"The mission is to promote financial education and wealth building for low and moderate income families and communities," says Robert Wynn, director of Asset Builders of America. "A lot of financial success is built off of education and education requires analytical thinking. Chess helps to develop cognitive and analytical thinking. We approach our mission from a very big picture perspective."Chess

Friday, August 1, 2008

Anand Interview : "I think, this year it might well be one of the most exciting events of the Chess Classic"

When the Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship will begin as part of the Chess Classic Mainz, World Champion Vishy Anand will try for the eighth time in a row to defend his rapid chess title. All in all he won the main event of the Chess Classic no less than ten times. Harry Schaack talked to the World’s number one about the peculiarities of rapid chess and the opponents he will face this year. (Translation by Johannes Fischer)

Mr. Anand, for more than ten years you have been the world’s best rapid chess player, which is also shown by your impressive series of ten wins at the Chess Classic. What are the most important qualities necessary for successful rapid chess?

Anand talking about the Rapid Chess World Championship in Mainz

Generally, there is no difference whether you play short or long games. If you play well, you usually play well in both disciplines. The difference lies in the way you have to focus. In rapid chess you have to give everything in 30 minutes, whereas you can allow yourself a 10 or 20 minute break in a seven hour game. Another difference is that you have to react very quickly when confronted with an opening novelty. This year Aronian came up with a spectacular novelty against Leko at the tournament in Morelia, and Leko thought one and a half hours about his reply – the amount of time you do have in three rapid games. With 30 minutes on the clock you have to be able to react very quickly. Apart from that, it’s simply important to play a good move (laughs). I like rapid chess because I find it easier to focus only for half an hour. And I think this way of playing chess is also very attractive to the public.

What about psychology? I would guess it’s psychologically particularly demanding, because you need to overcome defeats very quickly?

Yes, playing three games per evening means three periods of enormous emotional pressure. You have to learn to cope with the emotional ups and downs and to forget losses quickly. However, in contrast to a long game in rapid chess you do have the chance to straighten things out immediately by winning the next game.

What do you expect from this year’s Grenkeleasing Rapid World Championship?

I look really forward to play rapid chess in Mainz, because my results have not been particularly good this year.

You were out of shape at the Melody Amber...

Yes, this tournament was simply a disaster. I can’t remember ever having had such a bad result. But in the other tournaments, too, something was amiss. In Leon I had to fight a lot against Paco Vallejo and in the final against Ivanchuk I neither played particularly well. I hope things will run more smoothly in Mainz.

You do want to regain some lost ground at the Chess Classic?

Yes, during the last years I have won Leon three times and I have won the Rapid Chess Tournament at the Melody Amber four times in a row. But this year, things have not been going too well. I do have this in mind and I know that I have to work hard to be successful. All my opponents in Mainz are in excellent shape and have achieved a number of outstanding results in the last months. Both Carlsen and Morozevich have had a convincing and impressive year. And Judit Polgar is always dangerous. She takes to rapid chess like a fish to water. This is an excellent field and I think this year it will be harder than ever to defend my title.

How do you feel about the Chess Classic? Is the familiar atmosphere important for you?

There are tournaments, which I have played so often at a certain time of the year that I cannot remember ever to have done anything different at that time. In August I usually have been in Mainz and in January I am always at the tournament in Wijk aan Zee. In 2002 I did not play in Wijk and asked myself: so, what do you do with your spare time in January now? (laughs). Of course, you get used to these regular tournaments. However, each year you have to think about them anew. It would be fatal to believe things will run on their own. But of course I know exactly what I do in Mainz. Everyday I take a walk along the Rhine, I do have my favorite restaurants and I know what I will do before the game. As far as that is concerned, there are hardly any surprises anymore.

Anand with Chess Classic main organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt

Do you feel pressure because of the success you have been enjoying at the Chess Classic for such a long time now?

I try not to think too much about this. Now I can say that I have been winning eight times in a row. But each year the tournament is a new experience in “surviving” (laughs). Every time I manage to better my own record I am happy. Of course, I hope that my series will still continue for a while.

In October you will defend your title of World Champion against Vladimir Kramnik. Since months you have been preparing for this event. Could you focus on the Chess Classic as well as in the years before?

Last year, I could not prepare particularly thoroughly for Mainz either, because of the World Championship in Mexico. But these four player tournaments are easier to play. If you have to play a match as you had once had to at the Chess Classic you have to work much more to prepare. At a tournament you prepare in a much more general way and you do not have to go to that deep in your analysis. However, in rapid chess it is first of all important to play well. You have to have a clear head at the board and you have to be fresh. In rapid chess your performance depends on your play at the board not on your preparation. This is difficult to control. You have to focus to be able to react quickly and alertly – even more so than in classical chess. That is the most important.

This year you will face the new "Bobby Fischer": the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen. He might even be better than the American at 17. Do you see parallels between the two?

That is difficult to say because I know Carlsen personally and regularly play against him. Though I met Bobby Fischer once, I have never played against him – it is just not the same. He stopped playing 1972. However, you can say that both have a simple way to play, both are “classical” players. They do not strive for complications, but choose moves which later are easy to understand. That’s what I mean with “classical”, a kind of style one can also find in the games of Capablanca. Carlsen and Fischer are both brilliant in simple technical positions. This year, Magnus has often won positions, in which he had only a small or even no advantage at all. Usually you need to be older for such a mature style. Carlsen actually does not yet have the experience to play this way. It is a bit surprising to see that he is already that far with 17 years of age. That is very impressive. You could say that both Fischer and Carlsen had or have the ability to let chess look simple.

People eagerly await the battle between you and Magnus Carlsen in Mainz. You have never lost a long game against him.

That’s true, but I don’t want to talk much about that because I hope this will last for a long time (laughs). Carlsen is developing very quickly. The Magnus from August is no longer the one from January.

What do you think about Carlsen’s skill in rapid chess?

Carlsen belongs to the generation of players who often play blitz on the internet. You don’t have to explain to him why rapid or blitz chess is interesting. For him this is quite natural, he grew up with it. This is something the great players of the past could not do. These young players do have a different perspective on these things. Carlsen, too, belongs to this "computer generation". This is particularly apparent if you remember that the computer program "Fritz" is older than Carlsen. Today, everybody is used to playing rapid chess.

Anand in a simultaneous exhibition in Mainz

Currently Alexander Morozevich is number 2 – behind you – on the official FIDE ranking list.Again and again he achieves excellent results, but in top tournaments he occasionally performs not as good as one would expect. Is this due to his style, which does not work against the top players or is this a psychological problem?

I don’t know. I play at least twice a year against him, at the Melody Amber, and there he is really very dangerous. It is not for nothing that he often won the overall competition – blindfold chess and rapid chess together.

How would you characterize his style?

His way of playing is something special, and of course not as classical as Carlsen’s (laughs). He plays very, very creatively and extremely aggressively. He tries to disturb the balance on the board no matter what it takes. This exerts an enormous pressure on his opponents. This style is very difficult to emulate. In his way to play chess Morozevich is unique.

Does he not also play with enormous risks because he wants to win at all costs?

Maybe, but I believe he does not think that he takes a lot of risks. The positions he reaches are very unusual for us but not unusual for him. In hair-rising complications he feels as much as home as Ulf Andersson in an equal endgame. His way to understand chess is clearly different from most other top players. However, it is obvious that someone who again and again managed to climb to the top of the world’s ranking list is simply a top player – no more and no less. Currently he is one of the outstanding players of the world.

In 2003 you played quite an intense match against Judit Polgar at the Chess Classic. All games were decided. Your games against Judit are marked by remarkable aggressiveness: 70% of the games had a winner, which is rather unusual on your level. Even the draws, such as the one in Wijk aan Zee 2003 are fought with utmost sharpness.

Indeed, to play with Judit is really something special. In a rapid chess match in Parla, in which I won 4:2, we did not have one single draw either. Judit is particularly good in tactical positions. Of course, she also has a good positional understanding, but it is in tactical positions that she is able to display her most marked strengths. She has a very good feeling for these tactical positions. One reason for the few draws between us is certainly the choice of openings. We both like the Sicilian, and thus we often reach this kind of tactical positions. And our overall result is really strange. I think, with no other player from the world’s top I have played such a small number of draws.

So all participants are known for their extremely aggressive style..

Yes, I think, this year it’s going to be very interesting. I think, it might well be one of the most exciting events of the Chess Classic.