Return of Bobby Fischer

ACJ 1 Contents

PDF File of Complete Issue

Christopher Chabris, Timothy Hanke, Patrick Wolff

On the Scene | Anand Upsets Ivanchuk in Linares Match: Inside the Winner's Training Camp
Patrick Wolff

But the big eighth game was finally upon us. Anand and I had talked at length about opening strategy and psychology, and we had prepared as well as possible. Now it was up to him. At 3:45 PM, the moment that we parted company before the game, I looked at him and said, "Anand, I want you to do so much damage to this guy that they'll have to use dental records to identify him." He smiled and said, "Okay, Pat." As he walked off, I told him, "Remember, dental records!"

Patrick Wolff's narrative of his experience as Anand's second combines an account of the daily grind of his day-to-day training work with an in-depth analysis of the match games. This match was one of the most significant in recent years, pitting two of the top young players in the world. It gave Anand valuable experience for his successful journey through the PCA candidates matches in 1994-95. The first game--one of the most remarkable games of the 1990s--is a stunning example of Anand's depth of chess understanding; Wolff describes how Anand's moves baffled the grandmaster observers. Wolff's style in this piece, as in his book Kasparov versus Anand: The Inside Story, is always engaging and humorous, and he shares his personal views with the reader. This is a rare opportunity for readers to glimpse the highest level of chess preparation, as well as the human side of top-notch chess.

On the Scene | Finding Bobby Fischer
Timothy Hanke

Fischer has more than once been called a "monk," and the religious metaphor is not inappropriate. He has always treated chess with the solemnity of a sacred rite, proving himself a faithful devotee by his many wars waged against infidel Russians, chess organizers, and others who have fallen away from the Truth as he sees it, as well as by enduring the self-flagellation of his long retirement ... Dr. Peter Popper, a psychologist, said, "I believe that Fischer is convinced that if there were a chess God, then Fischer would be His prophet."

Timothy Hanke's article is an epic journey into mysterious, surreal, and almost morbidly fascinating mind of Robert James Fischer -- his petulance, his anti-Semitic views, his statements about world conspiracies against him, and his outrageous demands. With both drama and humor, Hanke discusses the 1992 Fischer-Spassky rematch in all of its rich historical context, including Fischer's stormy personal life and previous career. Using a wide variety of sources, he artfully disentangles the real Fischer from the mythology that has grown up around him. Hanke justifies the chess world's fascination and admiration for Fischer's genius, while providing an insightful and well-articulated criticism of his tragic flaws. The author traveled to Yugoslavia for the 1992 match; this article benefits greatly from local color, including interviews and unique photographs. As an added bonus, the article includes some outstanding cartoons that are extremely amusing and no less pointed than the text. Although the Fischer literature is substantial, this article is a valuable contribution.

Analysis | Fischer-Keres, Bled 1961
Jonathan Yedidia

History | New York 1927: Documentary Evidence Answers Lingering Questions
Hanon W. Russell

"Alekhine, although he is an exceptionally successful master, has never had results even approaching my result in Moscow in 1925 ... As far as Nimzovich is concerned, you know as well as I do that he, notwithstanding his fairly good results, is hardly a real grandmaster, so that I am really surprised that people make such a ridiculous fuss over him of late ... You understand me. I shall be one of the participants who risks most in this tournament ... and I shall play for nothing and give the others a cheap opportunity to come ahead of me. No, I am not as altruistic as all that." (Bogolyubov to Capablanca, explaining his refusal of the invitation to the tournament.) This was considered by some ... to be insulting in tone.

Hanon W. Russell delves into some interesting historical questions about the legendary New York 1927 international tournmament, the most important international tournament held in the United States until the first Piatigorsky Cup of 1963. New York 1927, decisively won by Capablanca with an undefeated score of +8=12, is famous both for its absentees (Bogolyubov, one of the world's strongest at the time, and Lasker, the previous world champion and the winner of the 1924 New York tournament) and for the strength of those present (Capablanca, Alekhine, Nimzovich, Vidmar, Spielmann, Marshall). Russell explains the positions of the absentees, discusses the ethical question of Capablanca's draws in the last few rounds, and shows why this was not a "candidates" event, in an impartial presentation full of intriguing and sometimes troubling facts. Russell is the right man to address these topics, since he is the owner of the famous Russell Collection, the largest private collection of historical chess documentation in the world. The text is interspersed with illustrations of scoresheets and other historical items.

Movies | Silence of the Pawns: A Review of Knight Moves
Jamie Hamilton

Books | Alekhine Renaissance: A Review of Five New Books
Edward Winter

Edward Winter reviews five new books on the fourth world champion just in time for the 50th anniversary of his death. Winter is frank in his appraisals, judging them on the basis of how well they are proofread, how valuable they are from a scholarly or historical point of view, and the correctness and insightfulness of their chess analysis.

Books | Always Room for Improvement: A Review of the Oxford Companion to Chess, Second Edition
Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson extols the work of David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld for its outstanding factual accuracy and for the sheer size of their contribution, but takes exception with some of their biases and omissions. Wilson, owner of a fine chess bookstore in New York City, is a reliable authority on chess literature. In a later reply (see ACJ 3, pp. 11-12), Whyld defended his editorial judgment but called Wilson's article "a model for all reviewers."

Books | Ruy Lopez Roundup: A Review of Three New Books
Bruce Leverett

Bruce Leverett compares the merits of three books on the Ruy Lopez in three different formats: a "for the tournament player" book by Gary Lane, a complete monograph by Suetin, and a repertoire book on the Exchange Variation by Andrew Soltis.

Books | The Polgar Sisters: Facts or Rumors?
Christopher Chabris

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