Thursday, September 1, 2011
Thirty nine years ago today in 1972, Bobby Fischer defeated the Russian Boris Spassky for the world chess title. Fischer was a certified chess genius, but he also was a certified lunatic, and his later years were made ugly with his paranoia and schizophrenic delusions, including extremely virulent anti-semitism. He died in exile in Iceland in 2008 at the age of 65. But for a time, in the early 1970s, Fischer managed to make chess cool, so cool that know-nothings like me and my friends ended up actually playing a good deal of chess in our early teens.