"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bobby Fischer

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.  

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