Fischer, Bobby

Fischer, Bobby
orig. Robert James Fischer

born March 9, 1943, Chicago, Ill., U.S.

U.S. chess master.

He became a grandmaster at age 15, then a record. In 1972 Fischer defeated Boris Spassky to become the only American to win the world chess championship. An intense and eccentric personality, he was a devout Christian fundamentalist who frequently condemned the Soviet Union for godlessness; he was deprived of his title in 1975 after refusing to meet his Soviet challenger, Anatoly Karpov. He remained out of the game thereafter except for a victorious private rematch with Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992; the game violated U.S. sanctions against Yugoslavia, and Fischer has remained abroad ever since.

Bobby Fischer, 1971.

AP/Wide World Photos

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▪ 2009
Robert James Fischer 
      American-born chess master

born March 9, 1943, Chicago, Ill.

died Jan. 17, 2008, Reykjavík, Ice.
became the youngest grandmaster in history when he received the title in 1958. His youthful intemperance and brilliant playing drew the attention of the American public to the game of chess, particularly when, in a highly publicized match held in Reykjavík in 1972, he defeated Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union and became the first native-born American to hold the title of world champion. Fischer learned the moves of chess at age 6 and at 16 dropped out of high school to devote himself fully to the game. In 1958 he won the first of his many American championships. In world championship candidate matches during 1970–71, Fischer won 20 consecutive games before losing once and drawing three times to former world champion Tigran Petrosyan of the Soviet Union in a final match won by Fischer. In 1972 when he defeated Spassky, Fischer won the $156,000 victor's share of the $250,000 purse. In 1975 Fischer refused to meet his Soviet challenger, Anatoly Karpov, and the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE; the international chess federation) deprived him of his championship and declared Karpov champion by default. Fischer then withdrew from serious play for almost 20 years, returning to defeat Spassky in a privately organized rematch in Yugoslavia in 1992. After defeating Spassky, Fischer went into seclusion, in part because he had violated U.S. restrictions on participating in events in Yugoslavia. On July 13, 2004, he was detained at Narita Airport in Tokyo after authorities discovered that his U.S. passport had been revoked. Fischer fought deportation to the United States, where he faced criminal charges for violating sanctions against the former Yugoslavia. On March 21, 2005, Fischer was granted Icelandic citizenship, and within days he was flown to Reykjavík.

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▪ American-Icelandic chess player
byname of  Robert James Fischer  
born March 9, 1943, Chicago, Ill., U.S.
died Jan. 17, 2008, Reykjavík, Ice.
 American-born chess master who became the youngest grandmaster in history when he received the title in 1958. His youthful intemperance and brilliant playing drew the attention of the American public to the game of chess, particularly when he won the world championship in 1972.

      Fischer learned the moves of chess at age 6 and at 16 dropped out of high school to devote himself fully to the game. In 1958 he won the first of many American championships. In world championship candidate matches during 1970–71, Fischer won 20 consecutive games before losing once and drawing three times to former world champion Tigran Petrosyan (Petrosyan, Tigran Vartanovich) of the Soviet Union in a final match won by Fischer. In 1972 Fischer became the first native-born American to hold the title of world champion when he defeated Boris Spassky (Spassky, Boris Vasilyevich) of the Soviet Union in a highly publicized match held in Reykjavík, Ice. In doing so, Fischer won the $156,000 victor's share of the $250,000 purse.

      When playing White, Fischer virtually always opened with 1. e4 (see chess notation (chess)). His victories commonly resulted from surprise attacks or counterattacks rather than from the accumulation of small advantages, yet his play remained positionally sound. In 1975 Fischer refused to meet his Soviet challenger, Anatoly Karpov (Karpov, Anatoly Yevgenyevich), and the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE (chess); the international chess federation) deprived him of his championship and declared Karpov champion by default. Fischer then withdrew from serious play for almost 20 years, returning to defeat Spassky in a privately organized rematch in 1992.

      After defeating Spassky, Fischer withdrew into seclusion, in part because he had violated U.S. restrictions on participating in events in Yugoslavia. On July 13, 2004, he was detained at Narita Airport in Tokyo after authorities discovered that his U.S. passport had been revoked. Fischer fought deportation to the United States, where he faced criminal charges for violating sanctions against the former Yugoslavia. On March 21, 2005, Fischer was granted Icelandic citizenship and within days was flown to Reykjavík, the site of his world-famous encounter with Spassky.

Additional Reading
Bobby Fischer, My 60 Memorable Games (1969), ranks among the greatest games collections of all time. Frank Brady, Profile of a Prodigy, rev. ed. (1973; reprinted as Bobby Fischer, 1989), is the standard biography of Fischer. David Edmonds and John Eidinow, Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How a Lone American Star Defeated the Soviet Chess Machine (2004), includes the most in-depth coverage of everything associated with the 1972 world championship match.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Fischer, Bobby — (b. 1943)    American chess master. He won the US chess championship seven times, and in 1972 defeated the Russian Boris Spassky, becoming the world chess champion …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

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  • Bobby Fischer — Infobox chess player playername = Bobby Fischer caption=Bobby Fischer (left) and John Collins. birthname = Robert James Fischer country = United States, Iceland datebirth = birth date|1943|3|9 placebirth = Chicago, Illinois, United States… …   Wikipedia

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