Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Ideal Challenger...disastrous championKasparov writes about Fischer.  You see, Kasparov is in the midst of creating a six volume series on chess' great champions, which involves re-creating hundreds of each player's matches, move-by-move (Apparently, he has some time on his hands while IBM works on it's next artificial intelligence minion.  If you ask me, and no one has quite yet, I'd get that teddy bear from "A.I." - it was the only quasi-sentinent being in that movie that showed any life or intelligence - yeesh).

As we've heard, Fischer has gone of the deep end (well okay, that was long ago - it's just that he's finally reaching the bottom of the pool), and is currently in custody in Japan; one step removed from being in custody in the U.S.  But Kasparov is more interested in what might have been with young Robert:
Despite his short stay at the top there is little to debate about the chess of Bobby Fischer. He changed the game in a way that hadn't been seen since the late 19th century. The gap between Mr. Fischer and his contemporaries was the largest ever. He singlehandedly revitalized a game that had been stagnating under the control of the Communists of the Soviet sports hierarchy.
For whatever reason, Fischer couldn't hack the limelight, and he began a slow descent into a bizarre pastiche of anti-semitism and paranoia, until he eventually winked out of our consciousness.  But, Kasparov remarks that despite the Salinger-esque retreat from the world, followed by an embarrassing (more of the conspiracies, capped by a tacit approval of 9/11), if decently-played, re-match with Spassky fairly recently, Fischer made chess what it is today. However, Karpov fears that Fischer's re-emergence, albeit unwillingly, into the spotlight may undo some of the good his initial splash made:
An entire generation of top American players learned the game as kids thanks to Mr. Fischer. Today's flourishing scholastic chess movement could be harmed as his woes and beliefs make headlines around the world. People may believe that this is what happens when a genius plays chess--instead of what happens when a fragile mind leaves his life's work behind.
Props to A&L Daily.

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