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Kasparov on Fischer

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UPDATE: We have posted Kasparov's full article at ChessBase.com.

Garry Kasparov has been working on the Bobby Fischer section of his Great Predecessors book series. It will cover an amazing 55 Fischer games and 250 pages! Even if he hadn't been up to his eyeballs in Fischerania for the past year everyone would want to know the world #1's thoughts on his legendary predecessor, especially with him back in the news.

Kasparov long ago tired of fielding Fischer questions and he had to answer them all again when Fischer briefly resurfaced in 1992. "I can't play a ghost," was the answer he gave during an Argentine television interview I interpreted in 1998.

Today the Wall Street Journal has an exclusive editorial by Kasparov on Fischer. (On Friday the Journal's European edition ran a piece by Kasparov on Iraq, so it's a back-to-back.) It's a must-read and you have plenty of time to run out to your local newsstand. (Also available at WSJ.com, a pay service.) In the piece Kasparov praises Fischer's OTB achievements and their importance:

"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."

He laments the opportunity lost when the international star left the game in 1972. He also worries that Fischer hitting the headlines may damage the reputation of the game. Toward the conclusion comes this:

"Despite the ugliness of his decline, Bobby Fischer deserves to be remembered for the great things he did for chess and for his immortal games. I would prefer to focus on not letting his personal tragedy become a tragedy for chess."

Can I get an amen?



Bobby Fischer gave beautiful chess to the world.

His career was cut short, and the majority of the blame must fall on the chess world, and the old "good" FIDE which was under the disproportional influence of the Soviet Chess Federation.

I cherish "My 60 Memorable Games" by Bobby. I look forward to Kasparov's book on the Fischer era.

I think Kasparov has merely eloquently stated the obvious. Fischer was the dominant player of his era. He is now, by almost all accounts, seriously mentally disturbed. This is a sad turn of events.

I don't know much about Kasparov's recent policitical activities or historical revisionism. But maybe the lesson he can take from Fischer is that being a great chess player doesn't necessarily equate to success in other areas of private or public life.

You're right! Bobby Fischer is definitely my favorite crazy anti-Semite!

As the saying goes, it's obvious if you agree with it. While most chess players would prefer to separate Fischer the man of 2004 from Fischer the chess player of 1972, that is hardly possible for those who do not play chess. Non-chessplayers such as politicians, parents, and television producers have an effect on the chess community.

The readers of the Wall Street Journal know more about Fischer's anti-Semitism than about his Sicilian Defense. That's why I'm glad Kasparov finishes with:

"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."


Can you post Kasparovīs article?

I have received permission to post it from the WSJ and will do so tonight, probably at ChessBase.com.

Thanks Mig.

I totally agree with Kasparov's thoughts; the Bobby Fischer of old will always be my hero and inspiration in chess as well as life. FREE FISCHER

Leave Fischer alone. An unorthodox mind, a chess genius!! All we hear is his disturbed state of mind. How conveniently we dismiss the non conformists of the chess world. Most players are sheep compared to Fischer the Wolf, predator of lesser players and anti establishment hero.

It's available on the Wall St Journal free site today. It may require a free registration to view.


Magnanimous words by Kasparov. Fischer is a fllen hero who deserves our sympathy. His madness is a sad thing to realize. At the same time, I wouldn't be so quick to say that these ignominous events will threaten the popularity of chess in any way. Fischer can harm his own legend as he plays out the role of raving lunatic, but I don't see how any of this can have any lasting deleterious effect on the game and its supporters.

That is a sad endgame for a chess genius. I totally agree with Mr. Kasparov when he writes that Fischer's accomplishments in chess are far greater than his personal life's failure. It is good to know that Bobby Fischer has had recently some kind of reality check - he is supposed to have played a series of blitz against Nigel Short and others, according to a post in chessbase. Fischer is dead, long live Fischer!

The article must be interpreted from the perspective of Kasparov's thinking:

"What is best for my position"

"I am jealous of Fischer"

"I am tired of living in Fischer's shadow"

That's fascinating Sean, except that nothing in the article reflects any of those things. Kasparov says complimentary things about Fischer's achievements and fears the impact his current status may have on chess. If indeed you have the ability to read Kasparov's mind and divine his true feelings, he did a remarkable job of covering them up in this article.

Ronald, all of the many "Fischer is playing chess anonymously on the internet!" stories have been debunked. Not least of all by Fischer himself.

Mig everyone knows your in Kasparov's pocket.

Kasparov hates Fischer

Fischer hates Kasparov

The venom in the article is clear. No further explanation is required.


For a further explanation to be required you first have to have an explanation. You have none. If you can glean "Kasparov hates Fischer" from that article you are working far too hard.

For future reference, insulting me or other posters will only get you banned and your posts deleted, so try to stick to the facts at least while you are here.

I agree, Kasparovīs article is quite moderate. He could have used this opportunity to, as one says "kick the fallen guy while he is down", had he wished to do so, but he did not.

On the other hand, Fischer has called Kasparov a "crook", in one of the radio interviews.


i like kasparov's article. very respectable and balance. while kasparov is still the strongest player to date, i think fischer's games are immortal. his accomplishments at the time will be hardly ever matched by anyone. nobody has played chess the way he did. whether his personal situations brought him to his present "inconvenience", it is not for us to judge. we can only appreciate what he did for the game. enjoy the games of the genius.

I find it rather amusing (yet simulatneously quite sad) that so many of you fail to notice kasparov's jealous, bitter and hateful stance towards Fischer simply because he does not use those exact words. Does anyone here know the definition of subtext?

Kasparov is an intelligent man, and obviously a fairly accomplished writer... so you must forgive him if he doesnt come out and slap you in the face with his true honest opinions, and instead manages to firmly place them in your sheep-like minds using the masterful methods of a puppeteer.

Fischer was the best, ever, there is little doubt... the best kasparov and his ilk could offer fischer for many years were dodged games and personal insults.

Still waiting for even a hint of proof for such silly statements. You say you know Kasparov's "honest opinions" better than he does. You admit he doesn't say anything negative about Fischer. Must be nice to be a mind reader. I'm sure you have a good explanation for Kasparov's many other complimentary statements about Fischer's career and his chess. Rev up your ESP for the Fischer section of Kasparov's 'Predecessors' books coming at the end of the year. We'll need you around to decode what Kasparov REALLY means when he calls Fischer "brilliant."

Didn't Kasparov recently (I forget where) come out and say that Fischer revolutionized chess more than any other player. And that like many ex Soviets he always had a secret but profound admiration for him ?? maybe I made all this up, but I think if you compare Kasparov's playing style to any of the previous champions he takes the most from Fischer and Alekhine (perhaps the two most obtuse champions?)

Fischer and Kasparov might yet play each other! See http://www.gothicchess.com/news.html for this interesting article.

Fischer and Kasparov might yet play each other! See http://www.gothicchess.com/news.html for this interesting article.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on July 19, 2004 1:00 AM.

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