Main
Date: 26 Apr 2005 18:41:50
From: Bugsy
Subject: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
http://www.time.com/time/columnist/krauthammer/article/0,9565,1054411,00.html

Did Chess Make Him Crazy?

If you think video games are dangerous, consider the saga of Bobby Fischer

Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005

Bobby Fischer is back in Iceland, and that is as it should be. Fischer
put Iceland on the map for the first time since the Vikings happened by.
And Iceland put Fischer on the map, providing the venue for his greatest
triumph, the 1972 world chess championship. That was before he fell off
a psychic cliff.

Three decades later, the fugitive ex-champion, sought by U.S.
authorities for violating U.N. sanctions on Yugoslavia (in 1992 he
played a high-profile rematch with Boris Spassky in Belgrade), is
whisked out of a Japanese jail where he was awaiting extradition and
offered shelter in Reykjavík. No one is too upset about this arrangement
because he's clearly a sick man. His insane rants about Jews and
America, his choice of a squalid, furtive life by a man who could have
lived in princely admiration, his paranoia--he had the fillings in his
teeth removed because if "somebody took a filling out and put in an
electronic device, he could influence your thinking"--evoke pity and
puzzlement.

Fischer is the poster boy for the mad chess genius, a species with a
pedigree going back at least to Paul Morphy, who after his triumphal
1858-59 tour of Europe returned to the U.S., abruptly quit the game and
is said to have wandered the streets of New Orleans talking to himself.
Others have verged more on the edge of eccentricity. The great Wilhelm
Steinitz claimed to have played against God, given him an extra pawn and
won. Neither player left a record of the game.

Why such proximity between genius and madness in chess? There are three
possible explanations. One is that chess is a monomania. You study it
intensively day and night from childhood if you are going to rise to the
ranks of the greats, and that kind of singular focus constricts your
reality and makes you more vulnerable to distortions of it. "A chess
genius," wrote George Steiner, "is a human being who focuses vast,
little understood mental gifts and labors on an ultimately trivial human
enterprise. Almost inevitably, this focus produces pathological symptoms
of nervous stress and unreality." Plausible, perhaps, but there are lots
of folks who are monomaniacal in other "trivial" spheres and who come
out psychically intact. Tiger Woods was raised from infancy to be a
great golfer and is not just intact but graceful and charming. The ranks
of great golfers, swimmers and Dominican shortstops are not more
noticeably skewed to the deranged than the general population.

Well, then, this must be monomania of a certain sort. Chess is a
particularly enclosed, self-referential activity. It's not just that it
lacks the fresh air of sport, but that it lacks connections to the real
world outside--a tether to reality enjoyed by the monomaniacal students
of other things, say, volcanic ash or the mating habits of the tsetse
fly. As Stefan Zweig put it in his classic novella The Royal Game, chess
is "thought that leads nowhere, mathematics that add up to nothing, art
without an end product, architecture without substance."

But chess has a third--and unique--characteristic that is particularly
fatal. It is not just monomaniacal and abstract, but its arena is a
playing field on which the other guy really is after you. The essence of
the game is constant struggle against an adversary who, by whatever
means of deception and disguise, is entirely, relentlessly, unfailingly
dedicated to your destruction. It is only a board, but it is a field of
dreams for paranoia.

Now I'm not sure I like this line of reasoning because it means that I,
who have spent countless hours in public parks, chess clubs and my
library at home fighting for my (king's) life, would be stark raving mad
by now. I suspect that I am not. I like to tell myself that I am in
pretty sane company. The game certainly has its pantheon of upstanding
citizens. While ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin preferred to
eschew the Paris opera for chess at the Café de la Régence. (Excellent
choice.) Napoleon played, although to judge by one of his games, a
diagrammed and illustrated copy of which hangs in my office, he was a
far better general. Nabokov was a fine player and renowned composer of
chess problems. And the sanest man I know, Natan Sharansky, is a chess
master who once played Garry Kasparov to a draw and defeats me with
distressing ease.

But then there is Fischer, the fearsome counterexample, now pathetically
sheltered in Iceland, the only place that appreciates his genius enough
to take pity on his madness. So, Mama, should you let your baby grow up
to be a chess champion? Tough question. In his novel The Defense,
Nabokov, who loved the game as much as I do, has the hero, the chess
master Luzhin, go mad when he is struck by the realization of the "full
horror and abysmal depths of chess."

A bit melodramatic, perhaps. It won't happen to your boy playing blitz
in Washington Square Park.

I think.





 
Date: 02 May 2005 11:40:48
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

[email protected] wrote:
> I can't say if Fischer saw it coming or evaluated it
correctly
> over the board. However, his comment on the game was:
>
> "The turning point of the match. Taimanov missed a win with
> 20 Qh3".
>
> I can't swear that I have his quote word for word, but that's
> close. I believe the quote is given as a footnote in Byrne's
> annotations to the game in Chess Life and Review.

Damn, Bill, but you've got a good memory!. The footnote, in very fine
print, reads:

"In New York after the match, Fischer said: 'This was the turning
point of the match. Taimanov missed a win with 20 Q-KR3." Ed." -- CL&R,
8/1971, p. 422. The annotations were indeed by R. Byrne.



 
Date: 02 May 2005 07:29:22
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Chess One wrote:
> Interesting list

Indeed, a very interesting list. IMO, it's purely subjective.
It was done in 1964, I'm sure that when asked again, It'll
probably be a different list.

> Interest report, thanks again for posting it. And how good
> to discuss chess! :))

Thanks! And I would also like to ask Bobby the same questions
as you have, however, like he said in the interview, he needs
to just relax for now...



 
Date: 02 May 2005 07:08:25
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Taylor Kingston wrote:
> The original publication of this article was in the short-lived
> magazine CHESSWORLD, edited by Frank Brady, in 1964.
> The list is highly debatable. Its inclusions of Staunton, Chigorin,
> and Tarrasch, and exclusions of Lasker and Botvinnik, are
> particularly questionable. IIRC, Fischer later admitted he was
> wrong to exclude Lasker.

Here's from GM Larry Evans:
http://www.worldchessnetwork.com/English/chessNews/evans/040322.php

That Bobby considered Staunton, for example, as stronger than either
Lasker or Botvinnik, was curious indeed. He justified his choice:
"Just because a man was champion for many years doesn't mean that he
was a great chessplayer, just as we wouldn't necessarily call a ruler
of a country great just because he was in power for a long time."

Of course, no one -- not even a champion performer -- is obliged to be
a sound critic. It is said that Bill Tilden, the tennis great, could
never pick a winner in any match. Bobby's judgment, or lack of it,
may not affect the quality of his play. But his performances away from
the board are, for the most part, interesting because of what they tell
us about him as a human being; they shed little light on Bobby the
chessmaster.

Still, the master lives in the man -- not the other way around.
Ironically, it was Emanuel Lasker who emphasized that chess involves a
struggle of the total human personality in which the rounded man and
not necessarily the better player eventually is bound to triumph.
Perhaps in a few years we may feel, looking back, that many of his
statements and much of his behavior simply reflected growing pains.
--http://www.worldchessnetwork.com/English/chessNews/evans/040322.php



 
Date: 29 Apr 2005 17:28:18
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

Liam Too wrote:
> Fischer's Top Ten:
>
> Source: Evans on Chess - Dec 1st 1995 from Chess Connection

The original publication of this article was in the short-lived
magazine CHESSWORLD, edited by Frank Brady, in 1964.
The list is highly debatable. Its inclusions of Staunton, Chigorin,
and Tarrasch, and exclusions of Lasker and Botvinnik, are particularly
questionable. IIRC, Fischer later admitted he was wrong to exclude
Lasker.



 
Date: 29 Apr 2005 12:48:31
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Hans J=F8rgen Lassen wrote:
> Ok, maybe I get your point or maybe I dont.
>
> When Fischer was Fischer not even Fischer could beat him, and when
Kasparov
> was Kasparov not even Kasparov could beat him.
>
> Please, dont take this too seriously. I did in fact understand your
point.
>
> HansJ

Now you're talking. Therefore, when Fischer was Fischer nobody can beat
him even the Fischer now nor the best Kasparov, when Kasparov was
Kasparov.

This is serious Hans.

Lance



  
Date: 29 Apr 2005 20:39:35
From: Chess One
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Your point is understood Lance, but is it true, is it testable? Fischer was
on top of the world at one point, unstoppable, but just a fee years earlier,
it was Tal.

Recently it was interesting to watch the Kasparov interview on tv [when he
could get a word in edgewise on Charlie Rose], but he said that after making
it to the #1 spot, the reason he was able to stay there was in response to
all the young tigers in the game, and their challenge to him which resulted
in a renewed effort on his part.

This took all of chess to a deeper level than ever before. These comparisons
are fascinating though. I have just been reviewing a book which reveals the
statistics for World Champion matches, and who scored variously with white
and with black.

Steinitz, Alekhine and Fischer scored over 50% with black in world
Championship matches.

With the white pieces: Steinitz, Alekhine, Fischer and Kasparov scored over
60%.

Kasparov scored highest of all with 68%, though only 42% with black.

I present a fuller synopsis this week of this analysis based on a review and
conversations with Andras Adorjan of Hungary in a review of Black is Still
Okay! at www.chessville.com

Its an interesting, and challenging, basis for supposition and evaluation.

Cordially, Phil Innes

"Liam Too" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
Hans Jørgen Lassen wrote:
> Ok, maybe I get your point or maybe I dont.
>
> When Fischer was Fischer not even Fischer could beat him, and when
Kasparov
> was Kasparov not even Kasparov could beat him.
>
> Please, dont take this too seriously. I did in fact understand your
point.
>
> HansJ

Now you're talking. Therefore, when Fischer was Fischer nobody can beat
him even the Fischer now nor the best Kasparov, when Kasparov was
Kasparov.

This is serious Hans.

Lance




   
Date: 29 Apr 2005 18:13:10
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
"Chess One" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>>Your point is understood Lance, but is it true, is it testable? Fischer was
on top of the world at one point, unstoppable, but just a fee years earlier,
it was Tal.<<

Of course, you are one of the few gifted here in usenet who can decipher the
meanings of words and phrases.

Is is testable? Objectively, I really don't know. However, there were several
polls of various publications that came with Fischer as the one who's on top
of the world.

Lance





    
Date: 29 Apr 2005 23:28:47
From: Chess One
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

"Liam Too" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> "Chess One" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>>>Your point is understood Lance, but is it true, is it testable? Fischer
>>>was
> on top of the world at one point, unstoppable, but just a fee years
> earlier,
> it was Tal.<<
>
> Of course, you are one of the few gifted here in usenet who can decipher
> the
> meanings of words and phrases.
>
> Is is testable? Objectively, I really don't know. However, there were
> several
> polls of various publications that came with Fischer as the one who's on
> top
> of the world.

Yes Lance, Fischer was influential everywhere. I had a student, a Russian,
who said, "when Fischer finished playing, so did we". But this sort of
response comes from the moment - or of a few years time when people took
notice - and just before him was Tal.

Its interesting; when Tal himself was accused of being the supreme player in
the world he said that he was 'for this season', but the real greats were
Alekhine and Capablanca, 'none of us are like them'.

And so we can attempt a perspective over time. I suggest to you that the
attempt is more important than its resolution.

Phil





> Lance
>
>
>




     
Date: 29 Apr 2005 18:46:26
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
"Chess One" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>>Yes Lance, Fischer was influential everywhere. I had a student, a Russian,
who said, "when Fischer finished playing, so did we". But this sort of
response comes from the moment - or of a few years time when people took
notice - and just before him was Tal.

Its interesting; when Tal himself was accused of being the supreme player in
the world he said that he was 'for this season', but the real greats were
Alekhine and Capablanca, 'none of us are like them'.

And so we can attempt a perspective over time. I suggest to you that the
attempt is more important than its resolution.

Phil<<

Inccidentally Phil, Tal, Alekhine, and Capablanca are in Fischer's top ten.
I agree, 'none of us are like them'.

Lance
Fischer's Top Ten:
Many people consider Bobby Fischer the greatest player ever. Not only did he
slay a Soviet chess empire, he did it alone over the board without political
chicanery.

Fischer, 52, lives in Hungary. In 1964, eight years before he won the crown, a
magazine asked him to name history's top ten players. Here is a sumy of his
list, which curiously left out both Emanuel Lasker and Mikhail Botvinnik:

1. PAUL MORPHY. Perhaps the most accurate player who ever lived, he would beat
anybody today in a set-match. He had complete sight of the board and seldom
blundered even though he moved quite rapidly. I've played over hundreds of his
games and am continually surprised and entertained by his ingenuity.

2. HOWARD STAUNTON. His games are completely modern, but very few of them show
brilliancies. He understood all the positional concepts we now hold so dear.

3. WILHELM STEINITZ. He always sought completely original lines and didn't mind
getting into cramped quarters if he thought that his position was essentially
sound.

4. SIEGBERT TARRASCH. Razor-sharp, he always followed his own rules. In spite of
devotion to his own supposedly scientific method, his play was often witty and
bright.

5. MIKHAIL TCHIGORIN. The first great Russian player and one of the last of the
Romantic School. At times he would continue playing a bad line even after it was
refuted.

6. ALEXANDER ALEKHINE. Never a hero of mine. His style worked for him, but it
could scarcely work for anybody else. His conceptions were gigantic, full of
outrageous and unprecedented ideas. It's hard to find mistakes in his games, but
in a sense his whole method was a mistake.

7. JOSE CAPABLANCA. He had the totally undeserved reputation of being the
greatest living endgame player. His trick was to keep his openings simple and
then play with such brilliance that it was decided in the middle game before
reaching the ending -- even though his opponent didn't always know it. His
almost complete lack of book knowledge forced him to push harder to squeeze the
utmost out of every position.

8. BORIS SPASSKY. He can blunder away a piece, and you are never sure whether
it's a blunder or a fantastically deep sacrifice. He sits at the board with the
same dead expression whether he's mating or being mated.

9. MIKHAIL TAL. Even after losing four games in a row to him I still consider
his play unsound. He is always on the lookout for some spectacular sacrifice,
that one shot, that dramatic breakthrough to give him the win.

10. SAMUEL RESHEVSKY. From 1946 to 1956 probably the best in the world, though
his opening knowledge was less than any other leading player. Like a machine
calculating every variation, he found moves over the board by a process of
elimination and often got into fantastic time pressure.

Source: Evans on Chess - Dec 1st 1995 from Chess Connection




      
Date: 30 Apr 2005 11:48:18
From: Chess One
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Interesting list

"Liam Too" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> "Chess One" <[email protected]> wrote in message

> Fischer's Top Ten:
> Many people consider Bobby Fischer the greatest player ever. Not only did
> he
> slay a Soviet chess empire, he did it alone over the board without
> political
> chicanery.

Tal did the same but /against/ political chicanery. It was hard for the
Soviets to promote the non-Russian Latvian Mihais Tahls [his non-Russified
name], but [who said it? Evans or Fischer?] in Mexico 1968 he was
unbeatable. This is quite extraordinary really, considering we are on the
very edge of the Fischer boom.

> Fischer, 52, lives in Hungary. In 1964, eight years before he won the
> crown, a
> magazine asked him to name history's top ten players. Here is a sumy of
> his
> list, which curiously left out both Emanuel Lasker and Mikhail Botvinnik:
>
> 1. PAUL MORPHY. Perhaps the most accurate player who ever lived, he would
> beat
> anybody today in a set-match. He had complete sight of the board and
> seldom
> blundered even though he moved quite rapidly. I've played over hundreds of
> his
> games and am continually surprised and entertained by his ingenuity.

It is interesting to note Fischer's emphasis in the above "in a set match".
Fischer was accused of being a slow starter, but in match-play being 2
gamesdown, even against Spassky in the World Championship, didn't seem to
phase him. Its interesting to also note that in modern Swiss style
tournaments Fischer may not have done so well as in traditional match play
for the world title.

> 2. HOWARD STAUNTON. His games are completely modern, but very few of them
> show
> brilliancies. He understood all the positional concepts we now hold so
> dear.
>
> 3. WILHELM STEINITZ. He always sought completely original lines and didn't
> mind
> getting into cramped quarters if he thought that his position was
> essentially
> sound.

With black 50% wins, 21.7 draws, 28.3 losses, and
With white 62.9% wins, 17.9% draws, 19.2% loses.

> 4. SIEGBERT TARRASCH. Razor-sharp, he always followed his own rules. In
> spite of
> devotion to his own supposedly scientific method, his play was often witty
> and
> bright.

Odd he omits Lasker to prefer Tarrasch. I wonder why?

> 5. MIKHAIL TCHIGORIN. The first great Russian player and one of the last
> of the
> Romantic School. At times he would continue playing a bad line even after
> it was
> refuted.
>
> 6. ALEXANDER ALEKHINE. Never a hero of mine. His style worked for him, but
> it
> could scarcely work for anybody else. His conceptions were gigantic, full
> of
> outrageous and unprecedented ideas. It's hard to find mistakes in his
> games, but
> in a sense his whole method was a mistake.

But! Another fearsome match player. I add a note below about this 'method'
to your entry on Tal.

> 7. JOSE CAPABLANCA. He had the totally undeserved reputation of being the
> greatest living endgame player. His trick was to keep his openings simple
> and
> then play with such brilliance that it was decided in the middle game
> before
> reaching the ending -- even though his opponent didn't always know it. His
> almost complete lack of book knowledge forced him to push harder to
> squeeze the
> utmost out of every position.

Sounds like me ;) I like to brilliantly lose the middlegame, thus avoiding
boring endgames and time-pressure.

> 8. BORIS SPASSKY. He can blunder away a piece, and you are never sure
> whether
> it's a blunder or a fantastically deep sacrifice. He sits at the board
> with the
> same dead expression whether he's mating or being mated.

Interesting - sounds like Fischer would prefer Garry who 'emotes' - you
know, lets his emotions play on his face, takes of his wristwatch ;)

There is one question I would like to ask Fischer about his games - it comes
from the third game against Taimanov - which no one solved for 25 years, the
perhaps most complex OTB chess puzzle of the C20th. What happens after 20.
Qh3 !!?!!

I would want to ask Fischer if he (a) saw it coming, and (b) solved the
resulting position over the next 75 minutes that both players stared at the
board - a resolution which is fantastically complex, and wins for white. I
have asked some GMs if they know the win and hardly anyone says yes, and
those go wrong demonstrating it.

> 9. MIKHAIL TAL. Even after losing four games in a row to him I still
> consider
> his play unsound. He is always on the lookout for some spectacular
> sacrifice,
> that one shot, that dramatic breakthrough to give him the win.

As with Alekhine above, I think this is imperceptive. Tal himself said his
games were unsound, and the next day week or month very many people were
able to demonstrate their unsoundness conclusively. But over the board, he
said, 'tick tick tick' - who can refute it in real time?

Chess is not a theoretical activity, it is a performance art. I think Tal
understood the 'now-ness' of chess better than did Fischer.

> 10. SAMUEL RESHEVSKY. From 1946 to 1956 probably the best in the world,
> though
> his opening knowledge was less than any other leading player. Like a
> machine
> calculating every variation, he found moves over the board by a process of
> elimination and often got into fantastic time pressure.

Who wrote that Reschevsky would have been world champion "but he was too
lazy?" Perhaps, like Tal, he enjoyed chess for the challenge it provided him
as a performance artist, and this 'laziness' is a comment about his opening
preparation rather than his attention OTB.

Interest report, thanks again for posting it. And how good to discuss chess!
:))

Cordially, Phil Innes

> Source: Evans on Chess - Dec 1st 1995 from Chess Connection
>
>




       
Date: 02 May 2005 13:42:29
From:
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
"Chess One" <[email protected] > writes:


> There is one question I would like to ask Fischer about his games - it comes
> from the third game against Taimanov - which no one solved for 25 years, the
> perhaps most complex OTB chess puzzle of the C20th. What happens after 20.
> Qh3 !!?!!
>
> I would want to ask Fischer if he (a) saw it coming, and (b) solved the
> resulting position over the next 75 minutes that both players stared at the
> board - a resolution which is fantastically complex, and wins for white. I
> have asked some GMs if they know the win and hardly anyone says yes, and
> those go wrong demonstrating it.

I can't say if Fischer saw it coming or evaluated it correctly
over the board. However, his comment on the game was:

"The turning point of the match. Taimanov missed a win with
20 Qh3".

I can't swear that I have his quote word for word, but that's
close. I believe the quote is given as a footnote in Byrne's
annotations to the game in Chess Life and Review.


William Hyde
EOS Department
Duke University


        
Date: 02 May 2005 18:07:58
From: Chess One
Subject: "Is he invulnerable or bewitched?"

<[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]

> I can't say if Fischer saw it coming or evaluated it correctly
> over the board. However, his comment on the game was:
>
> "The turning point of the match. Taimanov missed a win with
> 20 Qh3".
>
> I can't swear that I have his quote word for word, but that's
> close. I believe the quote is given as a footnote in Byrne's
> annotations to the game in Chess Life and Review.
>
>
> William Hyde
> EOS Department
> Duke University

Dear Bill Hyde, of course we have the result of the interview with him, and
MT's notes just on this move. Your citation is repeated by Taimanov below. I
didn't cut any analysis, just reconfigured the text a bit. I am incidentally
trying to get the title placed with an English English-language chess
publisher, which includes the now released secret government documents of
MT's persecution after the match.

Real historians take note!

The full article is at:-
http://www.chessville.com/LessonsLearned/2004.htm

I wonder if Fischer quite saw this?!! For sure, no one else saw if for 20
years, not human nor computer, and it might be called the most difficult
chess problem encountered OTB of the C20th. The story of its solution is
written elsewhere ;)

Cordially, Phil Innes
----------

19...Kh8

Perhaps the only means of defense. In case of 19...hxg5 20.Bc4 Kh8 21.Bxd5
f4 (or 21...g4) 22.Rc3! with the double threat of 23. Rh3+ and 23. Bxa8,
which is impossible to prevent.I do not stint on one more diagram as it not
only reflects both the culmination and turning-point of this game, but the
match as a whole. Fischer himself later recognized it: "It was the turning
point of the match. Taimanov missed a win by 20. Qh3." It additionally
serves as a reference point to all the subsequent and unpredictable dramatic
peripeteias [ed. philosophical self-questioning, Aristotle] which befell me.

I remember that at that moment I felt a veritable ecstasy from the
struggle - I estimated the position as rather advantageous. I trusted in
success, pleased at my good luck employing my opening preparation, and in
the idea of rapid development of the initiative -and the maneuver 20. Qh3,
for example. Was it was possible to anticipate that all this would turn to
ashes?!

Disappointment began from the moment when I, cheerfully having estimated the
position, began to concretely calculate variations. It was obvious that
after 20.Qh3 Black in view of the threat 21. Rxh6+ has only two defenses -
20...Nf6 and 20...Rf6. I began to examine them in the happy belief that any
attempt to cover the gaping approaches to the Black King would be
impossible.

The move 20...Nf6 really did not shake my optimism. Variations found
without any special work are: 20.Qh3 Nf6 21.Bc3 f4 ( other continuations are
worse. For example, 21...Bd7 22.Ne6 Bxe6 23.Rxe6; or 21...Ng4 22.Rg6! Rf6
23.Qh5) 22.Qh4 Bb7 ( 22...Qe8 23.Bf3!) 23.Rd1 Qe7 24.Re6 Qc5+ 25.Kh1 are
obviously developments to White's benefit.

But I couldn't find any decisive continuation on 20...Rf6 in any
continuation. First it seemed to me that good is 21.Qh5, but in testing it
I didn't like 21...Bd7! 22.Rxf6 Qxf6 23.Nf7+ Kh7 24.Nxh6 Bxh6 25.Bxh6 Qg6!.
The idea of 21.Nf7+ Rxf7 22.Bxh6 was entertained, but I found a refutation
at once in 22...Bf6. At last I found the best plan: 21.Bc4! when really, in
view of 21...Rxc6 22.Nf7+, the White rook is impregnable. Now 22.Rxf6 is
simply threatened, and both replies 21...Bd7 22.Bxd5 and 21...Bb7 22.Rxf6
Qxf6 23.Rxf5 are poor.

It would seem that the required decision has held up to scrutiny, but is
complicated by the response 21. f4. To everything that I have here
examined, alas, there was an objection:

On 22.Qh5 possible was 22...Bb7 23.Bxd5 (or 23.Rxf6 Qxf6) 23...Qxd5;
On 22.Qh4 - Bb7 23.Ne6 Qd7;
On 22.Qd3 - 22...hxg5 23.Rxf6 Bxf6;
And finally on 22.Qf3!? - Bb7! 23.Rxf6 (23.Ne6 Qd7! 24.Bxd5 Rxe6!)
23...Nxf6! 24.Nf7+ Kh7 25.Qxb7 (25.Bd3+ Kg8!) 25...Qxd2 26.Qxa8 Qd4+ 27.Kh1
Qxc4.

In all variations Fischer emerges in the clear.

It was amazing! All my understanding of chess, all my experience and flair
convinced me this position should be won, but concrete ways to victory did
not appear. Disappointed in 20. Qh3!, I began to evaluate other ideas - 20.
Rd1, 20. Bc4, but also in vain.

And here I was, I will admit, seized by a helpless state of despair - "What
is this Fischer, like? Is he invulnerable or bewitched?" Again I returned
to the maneuver 20. Qh3, and again sorted through tens of variations, and
again unsuccessfully. And time passed, time-trouble approached. As
measured by the arbiters I had considered this position for 72 minutes!
Perhaps in the entire half-century of my performances I never spent so much
time on one move!

And I was simply psychologically broken. Energy had run low; there was
apathy; nothing made sense, and I made the first move that came into my
head, which, certainly, was losing...

So what is the truth? Is it possible that the critical position is reliable
for Black, and his backwardness in development can be defended? Certainty
is not present! Chess is full of internal logic and when one side has an
indisputable positional advantage, it should bear fruit. In this case I
failed to find the right decision over the board, camouflaged as it was in a
pile of tempting opportunities.

But time passed, passion to resolve it ceased, and objective analysis
yielded the following results. It appears that by looking at the numerous
branches, I probably wanted to achieve too much in the variation 20.Qh3 Rf6
21.Bc4 f4, and having lost objectivity (excessive optimism at times results
in an over-estimation of chances!) overlooked a continuation which, although
would not have brought me to the required forced win, nevertheless
guaranteed an obviously better endgame.

Briefly, after the obligatory variation 20.Qh3 Rf6 21.Bc4 f4 it was
necessary to play 22.Rxf6+ Bxh3 (On 22...Qxf6 decisive is 23.Qd3 Qxg5
24.Qxd5, and if 22...Nxf6 23.Nf7+ the game returns to the main variation.)
23.Nf7+ Kh7 24.Nxd8 Nxf6 (or 24...Bxf6 25.Nc6 Be6 26.Re1; and on 24...Rxd8
it is possible to play 25.Rc6 Bd7 26.Bd3+ Kh8 27.Rc2) 25.Nc6 Bf5 ( if
25...Ne4 26.Bd3 Bf5 27.Bc3!) 26.Nxe5 and here White has every reason to
expect success.I finished this analysis with a sigh of simplification and
belief in the celebration of logic in chess. But young Sergey Klimov once
came to me for training (these days he is an international master) and ...
tried to challenge my final conclusions. He tasked himself with
independently estimating the critical position and after two-weeks of home
research found a completely unexpected resource for Black.

On 20.Qh3 Rf6 21.Bc4 Sergey offered a paradoxical continuation: 21...Rxc6
22.Nf7+ Kh7 23.Nxd8 Rxc4Black has a material deficit but his pieces are
active, and the White Knight on d8 is in danger. And in case of the natural
24.Nf7 Kg6! the impression is created that White should be content with a
draw by way of 25.Nh8+ Kh7 26.Nf7 because after 25. Nxh6 Nf4 26. Bxf4 exf4
the initiative passes to Black...

I admit having no desire to reconcile myself with such a revolution of
events, and it was necessary again to sit down to more formidable analysis.
The hanging arrangement of my opponent's pieces offered a clue to the
decision of the problem.

Truly, from the position of the last diagram, after the forced introductory
moves - 24.Nf7 Kg6 25.Nxh6 Nf4 (I could not find anything better for either
side) the disharmony is evident not only of White's position, (the queen and
the knight under pressure) but also in his partner's camp (the improvident
position of the Black King, rooks on c4 and a8, and undeveloped c8-bishop).
How to capitalize on this? The required chance is provided by the strike
26.Qf3! The attack on the rook wins a tempo for promising tactical
operations. Despite an abundance of replies, it is apparently impossible to
solve Black's problems. For example:

a) 26...Re4 27.Bxf4 exf4 28.Nxf5! Bxf5 29.g4!;
b) 26...Rxa2 27.Bxf4 exf4 (27...Rxf4 28.Qc6+ Kh7 29.Nf7) 28.Qd5 Ba6
29.Qe6+;
c) 26...Ra7 27.Bxf4 exf4 28.Qd5 Rc5 (28...Rd4 29.Qc6+ Rd6 30.Qe8+ Kxh6
31.Qxc8) 29.Qg8 Ba6 30.Qe6+ Kh7 31.Nf7
d) 26...Rb8 27.Bxf4 exf4 28.Qd5 Rc5 29.Qf7+ Kxh6 30.Rxf4

In all cases White gains an advantage. Maybe the position is fraught with
other secrets, but I admit, after seemingly endless analyses, it causes in
me this "idiosyncrasy" or particular way of thinking. And therefore I pass
the analysis to the attention of the inquisitive reader...

The flair didn't deceive me. Many years later I found out, that in the
position of the last diagram White has one more tempting tactical
opportunity: 24.Bxh6! Bxh6 25. Qh5! and in view of the threats 26. Qf7 and
26. Nf7 White achieves real benefits.

But lets return to the critical position arising after nineteen moves.
Alas, I didn't play 20.Qh3! and all these fascinating and complicated
variations of this extremely substantial position remained only as
potentialities, not being found either in printed texts, nor published by
numerous annotators. And the whole game remained as an unsolved rebus of 20
years...

What actually took place, as they say, was:

-------



Full article at www.ruschess.com follow the "Lessons Learned" topic to A
Defeat Which Could Not Be Forgotten.

Players interested in k Taimanov might also read his responses to
"20-Questions" while at chessville.






         
Date: 02 May 2005 18:28:30
From: Chess One
Subject: Re: "Is he invulnerable or bewitched?"

"Chess One" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> Full article at www.ruschess.com follow the "Lessons Learned" topic to A
> Defeat Which Could Not Be Forgotten.

Whoops, that should read www.chessville.com

> Players interested in k Taimanov might also read his responses to
> "20-Questions" while at chessville.

which is:-

http://www.chessville.com/Editorials/Interviews/20Questions/20QuestionsIndex.htm#Taimanov

Phil




 
Date: 29 Apr 2005 09:56:23
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Hans J=F8rgen Lassen wrote:
> Lance, what is the point?
>
> Fischer played a number of brilliant games. So did Kasparov. But it
is
> impossible to compare them. And why should they be compared? If the
idea is
> to gain insight in the development of the game, I can see a point.
But to
> determine their relative strength - no.
>
> HansJ

My point was to disagree with Wlod's degradation of Fischer's ability
to play chess. However, I stand by my statement and I repeat:

"When Fischer was Fischer, even the best Kasparov could not beat him."
--Lance Smith

Lance



  
Date: 29 Apr 2005 21:36:51
From: Hans Jørgen Lassen
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Ok, maybe I get your point or maybe I dont.

When Fischer was Fischer not even Fischer could beat him, and when Kasparov
was Kasparov not even Kasparov could beat him.

Please, dont take this too seriously. I did in fact understand your point.

HansJ




 
Date: 29 Apr 2005 08:15:29
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
I must disagree with Wlod.

When Fischer was Fischer, even the best Kasparov could not beat him.
There, I didn't use muti-syllable words, although I'm not sure why you
want me to stick to one syllable words.

Lance



  
Date: 29 Apr 2005 18:45:03
From: Hans Jørgen Lassen
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Lance, what is the point?

Fischer played a number of brilliant games. So did Kasparov. But it is
impossible to compare them. And why should they be compared? If the idea is
to gain insight in the development of the game, I can see a point. But to
determine their relative strength - no.

HansJ




 
Date: 28 Apr 2005 08:34:12
From: Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (wlod)
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Sam Sloan wrote:
>
> Fischer says that when he was ten years old, he was sitting on the
> stoop in front of the apartment building where he and his mother
lived
> in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, when two FBI Agents came up and started
> asking him questions.
>
> Fischer says that his mother instructed him exactly what to say when
> approached by the FBI. He was to answer all questions by the FBI by
> saying "I have nothing to say to you". He said that his mother had
> made him repeat this 50 times.
>
> As Fischer explained the reason for this is that if Fischer or some
> other person answers, "I do not know anything about this", he can
> later be convicted for lying to the FBI if it can be proven that he
> did know something about this.

Interesting. Sounds like Fischer felt good
about that episode. It was something he had
shared with his mother, could appreciate his
own mother.

Now, Sam, tell me if in your opinion this
kind of isolated episodes in the USA would
cause a healthy youngster to feel depressed, gloomy,
etc. over a longer period of time. And I mean only
the episodes which Fischer has encounter in his
childchood, and not such episodes in general,
in other people's life.

Wlod



 
Date: 28 Apr 2005 04:05:24
From: Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (wlod)
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Lance Smith = Liam Too wrote:

> Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (wlod) wrote:
>
> > It is sad that Fischer was psychologically disturbed
> > since childhood.
>
> That's understandable. To be hounded by the FBI since childhood
> will make anyone disturbed.

Don't use words like "uinderstandable".
Stick to 1-syllable words. That's your last
chance.

Fischer had no idea that FBI was iinterested
in his mother, then in him too, until he was
well past his youth.

> Fischer is perfectly sane when playing a chess game.
> He's very honest, sincere, and funny at times like a very
> normal human being. Well, his demands as a champion
> are demands of a champion.

Actually, he seemed very unsympathetic to me
until 1972. I was rather sorry to see him as the
winner. Then somehow I talked myself into
seeing the ositive aspects of his behavior.
It is true that in general the chessplayers as
a community were ahead thanks to Fischer.
And I used to say, like many others, that Fischer
suppossedly was fair toward other chess players,
that he was bothering only organizers, FIDe etc.
Unfortunately it is false that he behaved fair
toward other chess players during competitions.
Nothing is farther from the truth. For this reason
I see his rating as somewhat faked. It is good for
formal purposes, but it has little value when we discuss
the chess-historical greatness of the players.
Make a reasoble adjusrment of his results, in
particular of the 1970-72 Interzonal and matches,
and the position of Fischer is significantly reduced.
After knowing the facts it is hard to be overly
impressed with his 6:0 against Tajmanov, etc.
It is not even that clear that he would win
against Spassky if he was forced to obey the
limits of fair play. Most likely he would crumble fast.

Wlod



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 10:39:28
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Taylor Kingston wrote:
> No, I was asking sincere questions. My apologies for having disturbed
> you.

No need for apologies, questions and answers seem to be perfect
occurrences in a usenet group.



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 10:26:25
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
REAL JOURNALISTS

>Taylor Kingston, who has spent the past four days attacking me, Larry
Parr, Larry Evans and various other chess personalities, without any
basis that I can find, thinks that he is a "real journalist." Sam Sloan

Also see FBI Files on Fischer by GM Larry Evans at
worldchessnetwork.com (June 23, 2003).

http://www.worldchessnetwork.com/English/chessNews/evans/030623.php

Charles Krauthammer got several facts wrong in his piece on
Fischer, beyond merely the section quoted by Taylor Kingston. Yet Mr.
Krauthammer, wrong facts and rotten views on the Iraq war aside, is a
real journalist. So is Larry Evans Taylor Kingston is not.



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 10:25:58
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
REAL JOURNALISTS

>Taylor Kingston, who has spent the past four days attacking me, Larry
Parr, Larry Evans and various other chess personalities, without any
basis that I can find, thinks that he is a "real journalist." Sam Sloan

Also see FBI Files on Fischer by GM Larry Evans at
worldchessnetwork.com (June 23, 2003).

http://www.worldchessnetwork.com/English/chessNews/evans/030623.php

Charles Krauthammer got several facts wrong in his piece on
Fischer, beyond merely the section quoted by Taylor Kingston. Yet Mr.
Krauthammer, wrong facts and rotten views on the Iraq war aside, is a
real journalist. So is Larry Evans Taylor Kingston is not.



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 10:18:43
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Mike Murray wrote:
> Of course I've heard about them. The Appendix of Edmonds and
> Eidinow's "Bobby Fischer Goes to War" devotes nine pages to them.
And
> in the Acknowledgements, they say, "Taking full advantage of
America's
> justtly famed Freedom of Information Act, we asked the FBI if they
> held a file on Regina Fischer. A year and a half later, two
telephone
> directory-size documents thumped through the letterbox" (pages
> 324-325).
>
> The question is, to what extent was Fischer aware of the FBI
> activities during his formative years, and to what extent did this
> influence his personality. AFAIK, nobody in Fischer's family could
> have known the specifics and extent of FBI surveillance activity
until
> much later.

>From the 1940s to the 1970s, Fischer and his family were being harassed
by the FBI.

In 1953, when Bobby was only 10 years old, 2 FBI agents approached him
and asked him lots of questions. Of course, he never answered them what
they wanted to hear.

In 1957 and 1958 the FBI were hounding the Fischer's really hard,
checking birth records, posed as student journalists, going to
tournaments questioning other chessplayers, read their mail, went
through their canceled checks, interviewed their neighbors, etc.

In 1958, when Bobby was a guest at a TV show, I've Got a Secret, FBI
agents posing as college journalists, were there too questioning
everybody, including the producers.

Fischer went on to play in Moscow in 1958, which made the FBI even more
worried that the Soviets were in contact with him as a Soviet spy.

The rest is history...



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 10:04:50
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

Liam Too wrote:
> Or perhaps you're just being funny?

No, I was asking sincere questions. My apologies for having disturbed
you.



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 09:44:37
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

Sam Sloan wrote:
> Aha. Another lie by Taylor Kingston. Fischer discusses this subject
at
> length in one of his recent broadcasts from jail.

Sam, I would respectfully suggest you get a dictionary. Perhaps it
will help you learn the difference between a lie, a tentative opinion,
and a question -- the latter two being the main sense of my post to
Lance.

> Fischer says that when he was ten years old, he was sitting on the
> stoop in front of the apartment building where he and his mother
lived
> in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, when two FBI Agents came up and started
> asking him questions.

This information is new to me. Thank you for pointing it out. If this
did indeed occur, then the FBI's surveillance was not entirely covert.



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 09:05:43
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Mike Murray wrote:
>
> AFAIK, none of Fischer's writings before 1973 mentioned this as
> something that impacted him significantly. And he wasn't shy about
> mentioning things he didn't like: for example, he told Castro he
> wouldn't play Havana (1964) if the Cubans made it a propaganda item.
>
> Again, someone traveling to Iron Curtain countries in the late 1950s
> would hardly have been surprised by FBI interest.

If you haven't heard of the FBI files on Fischer and his family Mike,
then end of discussion.



  
Date: 27 Apr 2005 09:40:15
From: Mike Murray
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
On 27 Apr 2005 09:05:43 -0700, "Liam Too" <[email protected] >
wrote:

>Mike Murray wrote:

>> AFAIK, none of Fischer's writings before 1973 mentioned this as
>> something that impacted him significantly. And he wasn't shy about
>> mentioning things he didn't like: for example, he told Castro he
>> wouldn't play Havana (1964) if the Cubans made it a propaganda item.

>> Again, someone traveling to Iron Curtain countries in the late 1950s
>> would hardly have been surprised by FBI interest.

>If you haven't heard of the FBI files on Fischer and his family Mike,
>then end of discussion.

Of course I've heard about them. The Appendix of Edmonds and
Eidinow's "Bobby Fischer Goes to War" devotes nine pages to them. And
in the Acknowledgements, they say, "Taking full advantage of America's
justtly famed Freedom of Information Act, we asked the FBI if they
held a file on Regina Fischer. A year and a half later, two telephone
directory-size documents thumped through the letterbox" (pages
324-325).

The question is, to what extent was Fischer aware of the FBI
activities during his formative years, and to what extent did this
influence his personality. AFAIK, nobody in Fischer's family could
have known the specifics and extent of FBI surveillance activity until
much later.




 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 09:02:59
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Taylor Kingston wrote:
> I am sorry if I misconstrued what you meant by "disturbed." Perhaps
> you could clarify?

Clarify the word disturbed? I thought Taylor Kingston is a well known
journalist/writer and should be able to discern the meaning of
"disturbed" in its entirety by himself. Would you like me to write a
long screed on this very word? Rhetorics are not my forte, however, I'm
st enough to easily adjust.

> But I thought we were discussing Fischer as a child, in the 1940s and
> 1950s. The loss of his belongings in Bekins storage happened only a
few
> years ago. I am having a hard time following your train of thought
> here.

I hate rhetorics.

You entered into the discussion without understanding what you're up
to? Wlod and I started the discussion during Fischer's childhood. If
you go back, it's not a long screed and not just 20 years ago, you'll
be able to find out. Then the discussion we went to 1972, 1992, 1998,
1999, etc. They're all there, right now.

Smell the coffee Mr. Kingston!

Or perhaps you're just being funny?

Best regards,

Lance Smith



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 08:26:17
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

Liam Too wrote:
> Who said that Fischer is mentally disturbed? He is mentally
> intelligent, that's what he is.

I am sorry if I misconstrued what you meant by "disturbed." Perhaps
you could clarify?

> He was disturbed literally by the FBI and Fischer is intelligent
enough
> to be aware of it. They hounded/harassed him and his family overtly
> enough to express his anger, which was compounded by the loss of his
> personal belongings, especially his chess memorabilias.

But I thought we were discussing Fischer as a child, in the 1940s and
1950s. The loss of his belongings in Bekins storage happened only a few
years ago. I am having a hard time following your train of thought
here.



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 08:12:53
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Taylor Kingston wrote:
>
> Is it accurate to say the young Fischer was "hounded" by the FBI? It
> is known that the FBI investigated his mother because of her
> pro-communist leanings, and also compiled a file on Bobby. But what I
> have read on the subject indicates that all this was done secretly,
and
> neither Fischer nor his mother were aware of it at the time.
> The verb "hound" means "to pursue relentlessly," and carries
> connotations of overt harassment. The Fischer case sounds more like
> covert surveillance. It was surely a waste of FBI time and taxpayers'
> money, but it seems unlikely that it contributed to Fischer's mental
> disturbances.

Who said that Fischer is mentally disturbed? He is mentally
intelligent, that's what he is.

He was disturbed literally by the FBI and Fischer is intelligent enough
to be aware of it. They hounded/harassed him and his family overtly
enough to express his anger, which was compounded by the loss of his
personal belongings, especially his chess memorabilias.

Lance Smith



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 08:03:18
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Mike Murray wrote:
>
> Are you saying that Fischer, as a child, was aware that the FBI was
> monitoring his mother and that this impacted his development ?

That sounds silly Mike isn't it? We said "childhood" as opposed to
adulthood. Childhood as in teenager who is intelligent enough to
be aware of the FBI, especially when they approached him before he
went to play in Moscow.

> The fact that a fugitive, under indictments, couldn't effectively
> manage from Europe a civil dispute in California doesn't provide a
> sane rationale for cheering 911.

What happened to his personal belongings effectively did.

> All I know of this is from Fischer's website. Has anybody ever
gotten
> a formal statement from Ellsworth?

What Ellsworth did is the truth and a lot of people can attest to it. A
public auction of the chess memorabillia and personal belongings was
held in Pasadena.

Lance



  
Date: 27 Apr 2005 09:00:43
From: Mike Murray
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
On 27 Apr 2005 08:03:18 -0700, "Liam Too" <[email protected] >
wrote:

>> Are you saying that Fischer, as a child, was aware that the FBI was
>> monitoring his mother and that this impacted his development ?

>That sounds silly Mike isn't it? We said "childhood" as opposed to
>adulthood. Childhood as in teenager who is intelligent enough to
>be aware of the FBI, especially when they approached him before he
>went to play in Moscow.

AFAIK, none of Fischer's writings before 1973 mentioned this as
something that impacted him significantly. And he wasn't shy about
mentioning things he didn't like: for example, he told Castro he
wouldn't play Havana (1964) if the Cubans made it a propaganda item.

Again, someone traveling to Iron Curtain countries in the late 1950s
would hardly have been surprised by FBI interest.

>> The fact that a fugitive, under indictments, couldn't effectively
>> manage from Europe a civil dispute in California doesn't provide a
>> sane rationale for cheering 911.

>What happened to his personal belongings effectively did.

I think most people would disagree that the result of this sort of
civil dispute implies a failure of the U.S. government and society in
general. As far as I can tell, there were much more effective ways
than the one Fischer selected to manage the storage locker payment
situation.

>> All I know of this is from Fischer's website. Has anybody ever
>gotten
>> a formal statement from Ellsworth?

>What Ellsworth did is the truth and a lot of people can attest to it. A
>public auction of the chess memorabillia and personal belongings was
>held in Pasadena.

I realize that, but (1) Why did Ellsworth not pay the storage rent?
and (2) did Ellsworth personally profit from this?

>Lance



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 07:56:31
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

Liam Too wrote:
> To be hounded by the FBI since childhood
> will make anyone disturbed.

Is it accurate to say the young Fischer was "hounded" by the FBI? It
is known that the FBI investigated his mother because of her
pro-communist leanings, and also compiled a file on Bobby. But what I
have read on the subject indicates that all this was done secretly, and
neither Fischer nor his mother were aware of it at the time.
The verb "hound" means "to pursue relentlessly," and carries
connotations of overt harassment. The Fischer case sounds more like
covert surveillance. It was surely a waste of FBI time and taxpayers'
money, but it seems unlikely that it contributed to Fischer's mental
disturbances.



  
Date: 27 Apr 2005 15:29:53
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
On 27 Apr 2005 07:56:31 -0700, "Taylor Kingston"
<[email protected] > wrote:

>
>Liam Too wrote:
>> To be hounded by the FBI since childhood
>> will make anyone disturbed.
>
> Is it accurate to say the young Fischer was "hounded" by the FBI? It
>is known that the FBI investigated his mother because of her
>pro-communist leanings, and also compiled a file on Bobby. But what I
>have read on the subject indicates that all this was done secretly, and
>neither Fischer nor his mother were aware of it at the time.
> The verb "hound" means "to pursue relentlessly," and carries
>connotations of overt harassment. The Fischer case sounds more like
>covert surveillance. It was surely a waste of FBI time and taxpayers'
>money, but it seems unlikely that it contributed to Fischer's mental
>disturbances.

Aha. Another lie by Taylor Kingston. Fischer discusses this subject at
length in one of his recent broadcasts from jail.

Fischer says that when he was ten years old, he was sitting on the
stoop in front of the apartment building where he and his mother lived
in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, when two FBI Agents came up and started
asking him questions.

Fischer says that his mother instructed him exactly what to say when
approached by the FBI. He was to answer all questions by the FBI by
saying "I have nothing to say to you". He said that his mother had
made him repeat this 50 times.

As Fischer explained the reason for this is that if Fischer or some
other person answers, "I do not know anything about this", he can
later be convicted for lying to the FBI if it can be proven that he
did know something about this.

Fischer compared this to the case of tha Stewart. She turned out to
be not guilty of the thing they were investigating her for, but they
instead convicted her of lying about the reasons for doing what she
did. That is why a person under investigation should always say, "I
have nothing to say to you" rather than say "I know nothing about
this".

Incidentally, Fischer's discussion of the tha Stewart case may
indicate that he has read my website because my website says the same
things about the tha Stewart Case.

http://www.samsloan.com/stewart.htm

Sam Sloan
http://www.samsloan.com/bobby.htm


 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 06:17:12
From: Liam Too
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (wlod) wrote:
> The little sanity Fischer had can be credited to chess,
> That was the only area withing which he was forced
> to be somewhat objective.

I agree, chess gave him not just little sanity, but enough
to keep him sane and normal like any other genius.

> It is sad that Fischer was psychologically disturbed
> since childhood.

That's understandable. To be hounded by the FBI since childhood
will make anyone disturbed.

> On the other hand,
> at the time of the 1972 match Fischer was not as
> crazy as it looked. He didn't even care that much about
> the money (he was not mature to understand money)
> but his crazy acting undoubtedly did a thing on Spassky's
> head just as it did on his earlier opponents. Fischer
> was perhaps the best at the time but not by as much
> as it would follow from his results and rating.

Fischer is perfectly sane when playing a chess game. He's very
honest, sincere, and funny at times like a very normal human
being. Well, his demands as a champion are demands of a champion.

His rantings towards the USA, which started significantly only
in early 1999, can be explained as well. The EO of 1992 started
it all. The last straw was the inability of the US authorities
to protect his personal belongings in late 1998, as explained
further in his website as follows:

"As you may recall in about late 1998 or early 1999 the U.S.government,
Bob Ellsworth and Bekins Moving and Storage company(Pasadena,
California branch) plundered all of Bobby Fischer's cash valuables and
other belongings (including his gold and silver coin collections) which
Mr. Fischer had kept in storage at the Pasadena, California branch of
Bekins Moving and Storage company for many years.

However, it should be pointed out that Bob Ellsworth was a very wealthy
man even before he entered into the above mentioned conspiracy to rob
all of Fischer's belongings at Bekins!"
--http://home.att.ne.jp/moon/fischer/

Lance Smith



  
Date: 27 Apr 2005 07:29:27
From: Mike Murray
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
On 27 Apr 2005 06:17:12 -0700, "Liam Too" <[email protected] >
wrote:

>> It is sad that Fischer was psychologically disturbed
>> since childhood.

>That's understandable. To be hounded by the FBI since childhood
>will make anyone disturbed.

Are you saying that Fischer, as a child, was aware that the FBI was
monitoring his mother and that this impacted his development ? I
haven't read anything of this. In fact, I've not seen evidence that
the monitoring, which AFAIK was revealed by a Freedom of Information
Act request years later, was a significant factor even in the life of
his mother. Most activists in the fifties and early sixties were
aware that the FBI probably was watching them.

>His rantings towards the USA, which started significantly only
>in early 1999, can be explained as well. The EO of 1992 started
>it all. The last straw was the inability of the US authorities
>to protect his personal belongings in late 1998, as explained
>further in his website as follows:

The fact that a fugitive, under indictments, couldn't effectively
manage from Europe a civil dispute in California doesn't provide a
sane rationale for cheering 911.

>However, it should be pointed out that Bob Ellsworth was a very wealthy
>man even before he entered into the above mentioned conspiracy to rob
>all of Fischer's belongings at Bekins!"

All I know of this is from Fischer's website. Has anybody ever gotten
a formal statement from Ellsworth?

>--http://home.att.ne.jp/moon/fischer/
>
>Lance Smith



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 05:03:38
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
<The third one, his teeth, well, that might be considered paranoic - if
the story is true, that is. > HansJ

Bobby did not have his fillings removed because he feared the
Russkies might implant some device to control his brain, as in the
Manchurian candidate. He did not have his cavities filled for that
reason. -- a subtle but distinct difference.



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 01:24:46
From: Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (wlod)
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Bugsy wrote:

>
http://www.time.com/time/columnist/krauthammer/article/0,9565,1054411,00.html
>
> Did Chess Make Him Crazy?
>

The little sanity Fischer had can be credited to chess,
That was the only area withing which he was forced
to be somewhat objective.

It is sad that Fischer was psychologically disturbed
since childhood.

On the other hand,
at the time of the 1972 match Fischer was not as
crazy as it looked. He didn't even care that much about
the money (he was not mature to understand money)
but his crazy acting undoubtedly did a thing on Spassky's
head just as it did on his earlier opponents. Fischer
was perhaps the best at the time but not by as much
as it would follow from his results and rating.

> Bobby Fischer is back in Iceland, and that is as it should be.
Fischer
> put Iceland on the map for the first time since the Vikings happened
by.
> And Iceland put Fischer on the map, providing the venue for his
greatest
> triumph, the 1972 world chess championship. That was before he fell
off
> a psychic cliff.

How ironic is this today widely proclaimed Fischer-Island
friendship! How short is the humna memory! -- In 1972
Fischer was extremely rude toward Island!!! Nobody ever talked
about Island or behavced toward Island as offensively as Fischer.
Not to mention that he was refusing to play in Island to the last
moment. He finally agreed but under a protest. And neither
did he honor the the agreement. Fischer applied rudeness also
to Islandic GM Fridrik Olafsson. To be fair (:-) Fischer acted
rude also toward the referee, and indirectly but clearly toward
Spassky himself. The attitude of Spassky toward Fischer is
that of the love shown by a victim toward his persecutor.

Wlod



 
Date: 27 Apr 2005 08:43:16
From: Hans Jørgen Lassen
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
"Bugsy" or Krauthammer wrote:

> because he's clearly a sick man. His insane rants about Jews and America,
> his choice of a squalid, furtive life by a man who could have lived in
> princely admiration, his paranoia--he had the fillings in his teeth
> removed because if "somebody took a filling out and put in an electronic
> device, he could influence your thinking"--evoke pity and puzzlement.

Here three reasons are given to substantiate the claim that Fischer is
crazy.

The first one, Fischer's rantings about Jews and America, is debatable. Does
one have to be crazy to have strong negative feelings about America? I
strongly resent the assault on Iraq and in general the world hegemony of the
US. That does not in itself indicate that I am crazy. I strongly resent the
Israeli occupation and colonization of neighbouring land. It is not crazy to
resent that.

Unless, of course, like in the days of Stalin, opponents of the regime
automatically were considered insane and confined to mental asylums. If you
disagree with those in power, be they American or Israeli, then you must be
crazy.

The second is not just debatable, but false, and reveals more of the
author's primitive philosophy of life than of any illness of Fischer's.
Fischer has chosen to live a quiet life, in stead of living in "princely
admiration". Princely admiration would have been the choice of the author,
if he had the possibility, Fischer chose otherwise, so he must be crazy.

So this is how the reasoning goes:
1) Fischer does not like America; I do (and every sane person must do?);
ergo, Fischer is crazy
2) Fischer prefers a quiet life; I would not do that (and every sane person
would not?) ; ergo, Fischer is crazy

This hardly constitutes convincing reasoning.

The third one, his teeth, well, that might be considered paranoic - if the
story is true, that is.

> But then there is Fischer, the fearsome counterexample, now pathetically
> sheltered in Iceland,

Pathetically sheltered??? Whats pathetic about that? It may be pathetic from
the author's point of view that a person who could live in "princely
admiration", does not do so. But how can it be pathetic when Fischer does
not want to live in "princely admiration", but just to be left alone?

HansJ




  
Date: 10 May 2005 02:13:10
From: Adrian MacNair
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
"Hans Jørgen Lassen" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> The first one, Fischer's rantings about Jews and America, is debatable.
Does
> one have to be crazy to have strong negative feelings about America?

No. But his insistence that the Bush family, already famous for being in bed
with Saudi Arabia, are JEWS is laughable in the extreme.

> I strongly resent the assault on Iraq and in general the world hegemony of
the
> US. That does not in itself indicate that I am crazy.

Fischer didn't resent the assult on Iraq. He applauded the efforts of Osama
bin Laden.

> I strongly resent the
> Israeli occupation and colonization of neighbouring land. It is not crazy
to
> resent that.

No it isn't. But then again, Fischer goes beyond this simple statement.

> So this is how the reasoning goes:
> 1) Fischer does not like America; I do (and every sane person must do?);
> ergo, Fischer is crazy

I think the point of the article was that Fischer could have chosen quite
easily to live in comfort and recluse with the chess championship, making
money of endorsement deals with his name but he didn't. That does surprise
people. It doesn't mean he is crazy but some of what he has said since is
objectionable.

> 2) Fischer prefers a quiet life; I would not do that (and every sane
person
> would not?) ; ergo, Fischer is crazy

I don't think the article implies this.

> The third one, his teeth, well, that might be considered paranoic - if the
> story is true, that is.

Paranoia is one of Fischers better documented disorders. But then again,
many things have happened to him which lends credence to such paranoia.

> > But then there is Fischer, the fearsome counterexample, now pathetically
> > sheltered in Iceland,
>
> Pathetically sheltered??? Whats pathetic about that? It may be pathetic
from
> the author's point of view that a person who could live in "princely
> admiration", does not do so. But how can it be pathetic when Fischer does
> not want to live in "princely admiration", but just to be left alone?

Time will tell what Fischer wants. The story won't be over until this
62-year-old lays in the cold earth of "country-yet-to-be-determined".




 
Date: 26 Apr 2005 22:56:00
From: LSD
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
"Bugsy" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> http://www.time.com/time/columnist/krauthammer/article/0,9565,1054411,00.html
>
> Did Chess Make Him Crazy?
>
> If you think video games are dangerous, consider the saga of Bobby Fischer
>
> Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2005
>
> Bobby Fischer is back in Iceland, and that is as it should be. Fischer put
> Iceland on the map for the first time since the Vikings happened by. And
> Iceland put Fischer on the map, providing the venue for his greatest triumph,
> the 1972 world chess championship. That was before he fell off a psychic
> cliff.
>
> Three decades later, the fugitive ex-champion, sought by U.S. authorities for
> violating U.N. sanctions on Yugoslavia (in 1992 he played a high-profile
> rematch with Boris Spassky in Belgrade), is whisked out of a Japanese jail
> where he was awaiting extradition and offered shelter in Reykjavík. No one is
> too upset about this arrangement because he's clearly a sick man. His insane
> rants about Jews and America, his choice of a squalid, furtive life by a man
> who could have lived in princely admiration, his paranoia--he had the fillings
> in his teeth removed because if "somebody took a filling out and put in an
> electronic device, he could influence your thinking"--evoke pity and
> puzzlement.
>
> Fischer is the poster boy for the mad chess genius, a species with a pedigree
> going back at least to Paul Morphy, who after his triumphal 1858-59 tour of
> Europe returned to the U.S., abruptly quit the game and is said to have
> wandered the streets of New Orleans talking to himself. Others have verged
> more on the edge of eccentricity. The great Wilhelm Steinitz claimed to have
> played against God, given him an extra pawn and won. Neither player left a
> record of the game.
>
> Why such proximity between genius and madness in chess? There are three
> possible explanations. One is that chess is a monomania. You study it
> intensively day and night from childhood if you are going to rise to the ranks
> of the greats, and that kind of singular focus constricts your reality and
> makes you more vulnerable to distortions of it. "A chess genius," wrote George
> Steiner, "is a human being who focuses vast, little understood mental gifts
> and labors on an ultimately trivial human enterprise. Almost inevitably, this
> focus produces pathological symptoms of nervous stress and unreality."
> Plausible, perhaps, but there are lots of folks who are monomaniacal in other
> "trivial" spheres and who come out psychically intact. Tiger Woods was raised
> from infancy to be a great golfer and is not just intact but graceful and
> charming. The ranks of great golfers, swimmers and Dominican shortstops are
> not more noticeably skewed to the deranged than the general population.
>
> Well, then, this must be monomania of a certain sort. Chess is a particularly
> enclosed, self-referential activity. It's not just that it lacks the fresh air
> of sport, but that it lacks connections to the real world outside--a tether to
> reality enjoyed by the monomaniacal students of other things, say, volcanic
> ash or the mating habits of the tsetse fly. As Stefan Zweig put it in his
> classic novella The Royal Game, chess is "thought that leads nowhere,
> mathematics that add up to nothing, art without an end product, architecture
> without substance."
>
> But chess has a third--and unique--characteristic that is particularly fatal.
> It is not just monomaniacal and abstract, but its arena is a playing field on
> which the other guy really is after you. The essence of the game is constant
> struggle against an adversary who, by whatever means of deception and
> disguise, is entirely, relentlessly, unfailingly dedicated to your
> destruction. It is only a board, but it is a field of dreams for paranoia.
>
> Now I'm not sure I like this line of reasoning because it means that I, who
> have spent countless hours in public parks, chess clubs and my library at home
> fighting for my (king's) life, would be stark raving mad by now. I suspect
> that I am not. I like to tell myself that I am in pretty sane company. The
> game certainly has its pantheon of upstanding citizens. While ambassador to
> France, Benjamin Franklin preferred to eschew the Paris opera for chess at the
> Café de la Régence. (Excellent choice.) Napoleon played, although to judge by
> one of his games, a diagrammed and illustrated copy of which hangs in my
> office, he was a far better general. Nabokov was a fine player and renowned
> composer of chess problems. And the sanest man I know, Natan Sharansky, is a
> chess master who once played Garry Kasparov to a draw and defeats me with
> distressing ease.
>
> But then there is Fischer, the fearsome counterexample, now pathetically
> sheltered in Iceland, the only place that appreciates his genius enough to
> take pity on his madness. So, Mama, should you let your baby grow up to be a
> chess champion? Tough question. In his novel The Defense, Nabokov, who loved
> the game as much as I do, has the hero, the chess master Luzhin, go mad when
> he is struck by the realization of the "full horror and abysmal depths of
> chess."
>
> A bit melodramatic, perhaps. It won't happen to your boy playing blitz in
> Washington Square Park.
>
> I think.

I enjoyed the article and appreciated the link.

LSD




 
Date: 26 Apr 2005 17:44:32
From: Nick
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Taylor Kingston wrote:
> Bugsy wrote (quoting an article by Charles Krauthammer):
>
http://www.time.com/time/columnist/krauthammer/article/0,9565,1054411,00.html
> > Fischer is the poster boy for the mad chess genius,
> > a species with a pedigree going back at least to Paul
> > Morphy, who after his triumphal 1858-59 tour of Europe
> > returned to the U.S., abruptly quit the game and is
> > said to have wandered the streets of New Orleans talking
> > to himself. Others have verged more on the edge of
> > eccentricity. The great Wilhelm Steinitz claimed to
> > have played against God, given him an extra pawn and
> > won. Neither player left a record of the game.
>
> Good grief, how long do we have to put up with this nonsense?

Is there any reason to believe that such 'nonsense' about
chess players will suddenly stop circulating in the media?

> I would have thought Krauthammer would have had
> more sense than to recycle this junk.

Having read some of his other columns, I already
had a quite low judgement of Krauthammer's 'sense'.

> It's bad enough that we have Parr, Sloan, Khariton
> et al on this group, but now we get a nationally
> syndicated columnist promulgating rubbish about
> Morphy and Steinitz.

Why would a 'nationally syndicated columnist' such as
Charles Krauthammer in the United States be expected
to be a competent 'chess historian' (or even be keen
to consult a competent 'chess historian')?

> You would think a "real" journalist would
> take the trouble to check the facts.

It seems to me that many of the most apparently
'successful' columnists (or 'media personalities')
have become so 'successful' more by appealing to popular
prejudices rather than by carefully checking the facts.

--Nick



 
Date: 26 Apr 2005 16:51:46
From: Dan-the-K
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
Bugsy
Newsgroups: rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.analysis
From: Bugsy <[email protected] >Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 18:41:50 -0400
Local: Tues,Apr 26 2005 3:41 pm
Subject: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

http://www.time.com/time/colum=ADnist/krauthammer/article/0,956=AD5,1054411=
.=2E.



Did Chess Make Him Crazy?





So Bugsy is Charles Krauthammer.

I agree with Taylor Kingston. Why do we get this story twice? A link
to the article and a sumy would have been enough. Its much too long
for a posting to a newsgroup.

On topic: maybe chess kept Bobby Fischer from being more insane.

Just a thought.

Dan



 
Date: 26 Apr 2005 16:15:35
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??

Bugsy wrote:
>
http://www.time.com/time/columnist/krauthammer/article/0,9565,1054411,00.html
> Fischer is the poster boy for the mad chess genius, a species with a
> pedigree going back at least to Paul Morphy, who after his triumphal
> 1858-59 tour of Europe returned to the U.S., abruptly quit the game
and
> is said to have wandered the streets of New Orleans talking to
himself.
> Others have verged more on the edge of eccentricity. The great
Wilhelm
> Steinitz claimed to have played against God, given him an extra pawn
and
> won. Neither player left a record of the game.

Good grief, how long do we have to put up with this nonsense? I would
have thought Krauthammer would have had more sense than to recycle this
junk. It's bad enough that we have Parr, Sloan, Khariton et al on this
group, but now we get a nationally syndicated columnist promulgating
rubbish about Morphy and Steinitz. You would think a "real" journalist
would take the trouble to check the facts.



  
Date: 26 Apr 2005 23:21:16
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: TIME Article - Did Chess Make Fischer Crazy ??
On 26 Apr 2005 16:15:35 -0700, "Taylor Kingston"
<[email protected] > wrote:

> You would think a "real" journalist
>would take the trouble to check the facts.

Taylor Kingston, who has spent the past four days attacking me, Larry
Parr, Larry Evans and various other chess personalities, without any
basis that I can find, thinks that he is a "real journalist".

Sam Sloan