OK, so I will talk about Bobby Fischer.
Edwin Meyer had an eerily timed post, talking about his renewed interest in Bobby Fischer just before he died. (I mean, before Fischer died; Edwin’s still alive.) One of the things he mentioned is Fischer’s personal trainer claimed the chess champion had read 100,000 books. This reminded me instantly of Wilt Chamberlain’s claim that he’s slept with 20,000 women. Which alleged milestone do you think was more likely to have actually occurred?
Reading Mark Weeks’ summary of the Spassky-Fischer championship, I felt a little bad about what Spassky had to go through, although he seemed to be a good sport about it all. All the maneuvering and politics of 1972 made Toiletgate look like a drop in the bucket.
One thing that I never realized about Bobby is how strong he was in relation to his competition–there’s no doubt that he had the skill to successfully defend the championship multiple times. I wonder if some of the same elements of his brain that made him so strongly wired for chess skill were the same thing that caused him to be nuts? (Blunderprone suggested Fischer may have had Asperger’s Syndrome.)
Later in life, Fischer became well-known for his eccentricity, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, as well as praising the Sept. 11 attacks. You can read his post Sept 11 radio interview here. The audio’s here. You should hear what he sounded like; it’s very interesting.
Some Fischer quotes:
“Even as a boy I never had the slightest interest in American history. Never! You know? I knew something was rotten in Denmark, you know?”
“I think the Jews want to drive the elephants to extinction, because the trunk of the elephant reminds them of an uncircumcised penis.”
“I don’t want [Spassky] in my cell. I want a chick. How about that Russian chick, what’s her name, Kosteniuk? This Spassky, he is a very good ‘frenemy’ of mine – a friend and enemy.”
“Bush–he’s told what to say by Cheney, and his father, and the Jews, of course.”