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Fischer Fear

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That's what they used to call the way so many of Bobby Fischer's opponents collapsed against him. Now it can refer to how chess fans feel when they see the first of what will no doubt be a long list of mainstream media works about the legendary American world champion. Fischer died last January and it didn't take long for several film projects to be announced. ChessBase has a piece up on two of the first to to make it to the screen, at least the festival screen. The first is one of Damian Chapa's one-man projects. He plays Fischer and you can get a sense of the quality project just by the fact that Chapa's other recent biopic he also plays Roman Polanski. Let's just hope nobody sees it and that one day Fischer gets something worthy of him. "Walk the Line" was good...

The other is an Icelandic doc on Fischer's final years and his friendship with Sæmi Pálsson. Or "friendship" considering the bizarre circumlocutions of Fischer's life.

Of more interest there's a YouTube clip of an old and familiar Fischer interview recently posted by the CBC.


Check out 2:07 on the youtube link of "Bobby Fischer Live"- not only is the opening absurd but the king and queen are wrong way round, as are the white bishop and knight on what is supposed to be the queenside.

Comments disabled - gee, I wonder why.

"Bobby Fischer Live" is a work of genius that will finally earn chess the recognition it deserves in these here United States.

The only technical flaw I could spot in the YouTube clip was, in the Reykjavik scenes, some continuity issues involving Spassky's sideburns.

Hmm, yes, if the film is a big hit we might indeed see a renewed interest in chess. How do y'all estimate the chances of that? Perhaps a film in which Osama bin Laden gets crushed in a chess match(cave setting, goats bleating outside, clutching machine gun, etc.) by a guy wearing an Uncle Sam outfit might recreate the atmosphere in modern terms.
Also, maybe those sideburns were a key cause of Spassky's defeat, that is worth exploring.

I am partly replying to comments in the "Weekend Time Waster" thread, but this should be the right place ... .
About the Fischer movies: We shouldn't forget that they aren't made for the 'elite' of chess players (here elite means ANY rating, not 2700+) but for a general public. Hence many things are exaggerated - the objective is to make (sort of) a documentary, but also to earn money. Similarly, a scientist (I happen to be one) will find flaws [or rather exaggerations] in "The Day after tomorrow" ... - "Jurassic Park"is yet another story.

@Kevin Bonham: I doubt it, but the wrong position of the pieces could even be a humorous tribute to Bobby Fischer, didn't he invent Fischer random chess?

About Fischer on women: Even if this was the prevailing men's opinion at the time, one would expect better from a chess champion - if chess has anything to do with intelligence.

To Daaim Shabazz and follow-up comments:
1) Fischer made derogatory comments on _all_ women [and apparently was serious about it]
2) More recently, Aronian made somewhat similar comments on women [probably he was only fooling around]
3) Topalov accused _one_ opponent of cheating [still unclear if he really believes it]
4) Mamedyarov accused one opponent of cheating.
In all cases, Chessbase reported and quoted or linked to the original source. Should we blame the messenger?

"Bobby Fischer Live" is a work of genius that will finally earn chess the recognition it deserves in these here United States.

Nah, even if it is a work of genius (which it's kind of silly to say about a movie you haven't seen just because you like the subject matter) there's no way you could get any kind of meaningful recognition for chess through a Cult of Personality based on a star of the past. All you've got there is a cult. Granted, some Cults can be fun, but they're not mainstream (except for Star Wars). Forget Fischer, kids today barely know what the Cold War was. Chess can only be big by emphasizing how much fun it is NOW, not how good one guy was at it 40 years ago. That's not to say a movie might not be interesting, or well done, or make a profit, but it won't spark a chess boom any more than "Searching for Bobby Fischer" did. And the problem with using Fischer as subject matter is that the facts have to be heavily whitewashed to avoid having a *negative* effect. Scholastic chess is vital to the game's popularity, and you don't want parents' attention called too heavily to the fact that the US's greatest player was a misogynist neo-Nazi. Players with lesser playing skills, but greater organizational skills, like Polgar and Ashley are more useful here.

Ouch. Ugh. The Chapa film looks reeeeal bad.

Fischer reminds me of Hitler sometimes , both had jewish mothers and an absent father , both were very sensitive about media manipulation.
When i heard his phrase about 9/11 " what goes around , comes around " , i couldnt help to make the link to the " eye for an eye " from the Exodus , he was using a jewish rule after all.
I wonder if he was conscious of that.

Hitler did not have a Jewish mother. You should research a little more.

Hitler's mother was not Jewish. Sheesh, you should do your research before posting such a statement.

...and for what it's worth, the "eye for an eye" is hardly a Jewish rule - it exists in the code of Hammurabi, which predates Exodus by around 500 years, and who knows, maybe even older?

I shouldnt stated as a fact , sorry for that , but there are many diferent theorys about Hitler's lineage , 5 years ago i edited a movie called "6 Holocaust" in which that theory is partly supported.

Manu, Robert White re lineage of Adolph Hitler;
Paradoxically you both may be correct! There is confusion over the Schicklgruber to Huttler to Hitler transformation of his father.

The excellent Nizkor site:

...Nizkor is Hebrew for "We will remember"... has a link to:
with some background to Hitler's origins.

One quote of the author on the latter site that caught my eye:

"It is rare to find any author who can report Hitler without a panicky effort to tell the reader what a dreadful monster beyond any human comprehension is the subject or, alternatively, attempt to justify the fellow in pursuit of some new moronreich. Not withstanding this, I must declare that, following Churchill, I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire."

Won't get into engaging with the troll, but for the curious: both "Hitler was part Jewish" and "Jewish law meant 'an eye for an eye' not metaphorically but literally," are well-known and authoritatively refuted anti-Semitic slanders, repeated primarily by the same fringe types who promote The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as an authentic document...

Now back to chess. Here are some corrections to a different post in this thread:

1. "...but it won't spark a chess boom any more than "Searching for Bobby Fischer" did." WRONG.

In fact, "Searching for Bobby Fischer" DID spark a chess boom (in the United States, at least). I know of at least two teachers whose business was revitalized as a direct result of that film. One told me the hourly rates he could command soared as high as $250, which he credits to the film. And he cited another teacher, even better positioned than him, whose business benefited still more. We're not talking elite GMs here, or even titled players. Both individuals were around my strength, at their respective peaks...and are probably much weaker now, though I doubt their business has suffered from it. To this day, both fully (and lucratively) support themselves wholly from teaching and lecturing on chess.

2. "Scholastic chess is vital to the game's popularity, and you don't want parents' attention called too heavily to the fact that the US's greatest player was a misogynist neo-Nazi."

Unfortunately, both within and especially beyond chess circles, parents' (and non-parent adults') attention (again, in the U.S. at least) is firmly and unshakeably riveted to the fact that the U.S.'s greatest player was a misogynist neo-Nazi.

It's a commonplace among American chess aficionadoes that for the typical American (whether he or she plays chess or not), the first and often only association with the word "chess" is the name, "Bobby Fischer."

In fact, I recall reading just 4 or 5 years ago that some respected polling organization, Gallup perhaps, asked a large sample of Americans, "Who is the current World Chess Champion?" The overwhelming answer: "Bobby Fischer."

Further, most Americans, whether tied to chess or not, seem well aware of Fischer's political views and rantings. Ever since 1992 (the Spassky "re-match" in Yugoslavia where Fischer publicly spit on the U.S. State Department order, called Kasparov AND Karpov "Jewish dogs," and whatever else he said), at least 99% of U.S. mainstream media stories about Fischer, and probably at least 80% of all U.S. mainstream media stories about non-scholastic chess in general, adopted such statements of Fischers' as their headline.

In U.S. chess circles, the above facts are taken as a given by just about everyone....and are widely assumed to be a major reason, indeed probably the single biggest reason, that chess can't get any respect or corporate funding. (I'm not saying they're necessarily right about the reason chess can't get funded...just, that is the prevailing perception.)

True or not i shouldn t have state them as a fact , again sorry for that , i was focused on the idea of a person resenting his own roots (which is the flavor i got from working on that movie).
During the editing of the movie i worked with the full catalog of material from the Holocaust (a privilege but something i wouldn't recommend much), besides that there were several interviews with survivors from the camps and experts on the subject , one thing that was clear is that the monster was very worried about erasing information about his own lineage.
Interesting links , thx.

Jon , my wife is jew , i suggest you to watch it before trowing any anti semitic accusations at me .
You can persist on calling me troll instead , if it makes you feel better.

Re the info on Hitler's lineage, I relied solely on one reference - a very well-known, comprehensive and I believe authoritative one, but decades old, so it's possible some may have criticized or improved on it since publication. It was Lucy Davidowicz's lengthy and exhaustively documented book, The War Against the Jews.

Davidowicz reported that the rumors about Hitler having "Jewish blood" were widely circulated enough that Hitler himself was well aware of them, and ordered an investigation of his own ancestry. From what I recall reading, Hitler ordered that the investigation shy away from nothing, and that the results be reported directly to him and no one else. I don't recall what documents the book's account relied on, but judging from my impression of the rest of that book, there would have been original sources backing Davidowicz's account.

The investigator did his work and reported back to Hitler that he found the rumors were wholly untrue.

I will now admit harboring one doubt, even taking for granted that Davidowicz's account was accurate in all particulars. If Hitler truly did want to know the absolute unvarnished truth about himself, as Davidowicz' account implies, and so ordered his investigator ... would that investigator feel safe telling him the truth if the conclusion had been that he did have Jewish blood?

It doesn't take a high IQ to see that Hitler could have only 2 possible motives for wanting to know: 1) If ultimately informed that he was part Jewish, he would let the truth come out and commit suicide, not necessarily in that order; or, 2) He would quietly execute everyone involved in the investigation, including all witnesses his investigator had talked with, in order to keep it covered up.

If you'd been Hitler's investigator, which motive would you rather bet your life on?

I mention all this mostly because I am curious to see if any of our scholars here might cite some more recent (peer-reviewed, from legitimate academic sources - not "revisionist historians" aka Holocaust deniers) work that goes beyond or contradicts Davidowicz's account.

It is also said that after the annexation of Austria, Hitler ordered an Austrian village to be evacuated of all occupants and used for "target practice."
The artillery turned the village to rubble, including the cemetery containing the graves of Hitler's father and grandmother.
The source for this is Norman Davies' "Europe: A History".

I dont know what kind of historian Davies is , but if this is true i understand why there is such a strong controversy on Hitler's figure.
I m quoting this just to show that delicate subjects like this often offer a full range of conspiracys theorys and crazy versions of what could have happened , of course some of them make more sense than others.

Hi Jon,
Are you saying the Nizkor site link and the related link I mentioned are run by Holocaust deniers?....truly bizarre, if not slanderous if that is what you claim...or have you not checked them?...I hope the latter!


No, I said nothing of the sort.

Looking at both links now, neither seem to be scholarly sites, although both give plenty of citations to various scholarly (and non-scholarly) work.

The Davidovicz book and other older accounts may need some modification to account for newer research.
For example see:

An excerpt from this page for those without the time to check:

"In the story Europa Europa, Shlomo Perel tells an extraordinary tale of how he survived the Nazi Holocaust. After escaping the German occupation of Poland by fleeing to the Russian side, he was later captured by the Germans as they advanced into Russia. Once captured, he pretended to be German and was recruited as a German soldier. The commander of his unit liked him so much that he was sent to a prestigious Hitler Youth program, keeping his identity secret until the end of the war. It is a tale of survival at the cost of disowning one’s own heritage and of helping those who ultimately persecute your relatives. My question is, was this a single case? Did other Jews join the ranks of the army or deny their heritage in order to survive? In his book Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers, Bryan Rigg looks at the particular case of the Mischlinge (the half-Jews and quarter-Jews), and how they lived and were treated during the Nazi Regime. His book gives new insight into how this large ethnic population was viewed during the Holocaust, and how they viewed themselves. In focusing on the Mischlinge who served in the Nazi army, we come to a realization of how deep personal beliefs in one's heritage will go, as well as what others will do in order to survive.

Many people assume that there were no Jews in the Wehrmacht . Rigg adequately proves that this is far from the truth. "Although the exact number of Mischlinge who fought for Germany during World War II cannot be determined, they probably numbered more than 150,000." (Rigg, Mark. Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers, University Press of Kansas, 2002) Rigg came to this number by searching through hundreds of German documents which listed names of men in the army with ‘half-Jewish’ ancestry, as well as lists of exemptions for these Mischlinge. If this number is correct, the question arises as to why these Mischlinge would help to fight for a regime that openly persecuted them? Rigg tries to answer that question by answering other questions and issues such as, who is a Jew? Who is a Mischling? Jewish assimilation in Germany, a history of German and Austrian Jews who served in their countries’ armed forces, the regulations for Jews and Mischling in the Wehrmacht, and official exemptions from racial persecution offered by Hitler himself."

Another quote:
"Many Mischlinge, however, followed the same path as Shlomo Peril, that is, hiding by disowning their religious affiliation.
Field Marshal and State Secretay of Aviation Erhard Alfred Richard Oskar Milch’s "Aryanization" was the most famous case of a Mischling falsifying a father. In 1933, Frau Clara Milch went to her son-in-law, Fritz Heinrich Hermann, police president of Hagen and later SS general, and gave him an affidavit stating that her deceased uncle, Carl Brauer, rather than her Jewish husband, Anton Milch, had fathered her six children.… In 1935, Hitler accepted the mother’s testimony… (Rigg, 29)

This testimony of incest was accepted as a means to save her son’s life, thus making him pure Aryan and able to serve the Luftwaffe. Ironically, Brigg later says that there was suspicion that Milch’s mother was also Jewish, making the Field Marshal and Secretary of Aviation a full blooded Jew. It is also interesting to note that incest was seen as more socially acceptable then being a Jew. Through his mother’s own testimony Milch was able to hide his ancestry, and thus survive the war as a top commander."

All the above shows is that there was a strong assimilationist tendency amongst German and Austrian Jews. For example Karl Popper in Vienna
encouraged fellow Jews to fully assimilate.

I recommend a recent biography of Sir Karl Popper by an Israeli/US historian:
Karl Popper - The Formative Years, 1902–1945
Politics and Philosophy in Interwar Vienna
Malachi Haim Hacohen
Duke University, North Carolina

How is all this related to chess?... Popper's ideas on falsifiability are likely to be second nature to any GM.

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I dont apperceive what affectionate of historian Davies is , but if this is accurate i accept why there is such a able altercation on Hitler's figure.

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