Bobby Fischer, American World Chess Champion, Died at 64

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Dead, Robert James “Bobby” Fischer on January 17, 2008 at the age 64, he was an American World Chess Champion. Many consider him the greatest player of all time.

Bobby Fischer was born at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois on March 9, 1943. His birth certificate listed his father as Hans-Gerhardt Fischer, also known as Gerardo Liebscher, a German biophysicist.

His mother, Regina Wender Fischer, was a U.S. citizen; Regina was born in Switzerland, to Jewish parents from Poland and Russia.

She enrolled at I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, where she met Hans-Gerhardt, whom she married in November 1933.

In 1938, Hans and Regina had a daughter, Joan Fischer. The reemergence of anti-Semitism under Joseph Stalin prompted Regina to go with Joan to Paris, France, where Regina became an English teacher.

The threat of a German invasion led her and Joan to go to the United States in 1939. Hans-Gerhardt attempted to follow the pair but his German citizenship barred him from entering the United States.

Regina and Hans-Gerhardt had separated in Moscow although they did not officially divorce until 1945. As a result, on November 14, 1950, Regina sent a postcard to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, seeking to place an ad inquiring whether other children of Bobby’s age might be interested in playing chess with him.

The paper rejected her ad because no one could figure out how to classify it, but forwarded her inquiry to Hermann Helms, the “Dean of American Chess”, who told her that Master Max Pavey would be giving a simultaneous exhibition on January 17, 1951. Fischer played in the exhibition.

Although he held on for 15 minutes, even drawing a crowd of onlookers, he eventually lost to the chess master.

Fischer was invited by the Soviet Union to Moscow, where International Master Lev Abramov would serve as a guide to Bobby and his sister, Joan.

Upon arrival, Fischer immediately demanded that he be taken to the Moscow Central Chess Club, where he played speed chess with “two young Soviet masters”, Evgeni Vasiukov and Alexander Nikitin, winning every game.

Chess author V. I. Linder writes about the impression Fischer gave grand master Vladimir Alatortsev when he played blitz against the Soviet masters: “Back in 1958, in the Central Chess Club, Vladimir Alatortsev saw a tall, angular 15-year-old youth, who in blitz games, crushed almost everyone who crossed his path… Alatortsev was no exception, losing all three games.

Having a limited circle of relationships while holding a sizable estate due to the Yugoslavian match, Bobby Fischer died of kidney failure on January 17, 2008, in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Miyoko Watai, of the Japanese Chess Federation, was declared his widow, with another woman stating that she’d had a daughter with Fischer.

Pawn Sacrifice, a film that focuses on Fischer’s chess matches along with his troubled mental state, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2014 and was released in U.S. theaters a year later.

 

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