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Weekend Time Waster

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Word games, poetry, and a knight's tour all mixed into one. For the bored only. This classic Lewis Carroll trick has nothing to do with chess but is certainly a much better poem.


You all may have heard this one before. I had, but it was given to me again and I figured it out immediately. Give it a shot!


Three men go into a motel. They were told that one room is $30/night. They got together and each pulled out $10.00 to pay for the room in advance.

Later the hotel manager realized the room was $25/night so he told the bellman to give them $5.00.

The bellboy couldn't figure out how to divide the $5.00 evenly, so when he go to the room, he told them there had been a mistake and gave them each $1.00. He kept $2.00 for himself.

Since each man was given back $1.00, they have now paid only $9.00 apiece instead of $10.00, right? However, something doesn't add up. They have paid $27.00 for the room and the bellman kept $2.00.

What happened to the other dollar?

"What happened to the other dollar?"

Nothing happened to it. It still exists. The hotel manager has $25. The bellman has $2. The 3 men in the room have $3.

25 + 2 + 3 = 30.

Of course, but you didn't answer the question. Can you explain why after (1) the guests receiving a dollar back and paying $9.00 apiece and (2) the bellman keeping two dollars there is a dollar missing?

Daaim -

I already told you that there is no missing dollar. I already told you that it still exists.

The hotel manager has $25. The bellman has $2. The 3 men in the room have $3.

25 + 2 + 3 = 30. That's right, 30 dollars.

Now, back to chess, and no more of this foolishness, ok? I'll keep my end of the deal, so it's up to you. End of the dollar story.


The $2 is a loss, not a balance, which is why the total climbs to $29 (creating the lost-dollar illusion) instead of falling to $25.

Luke can't solve chess problems either.


Yep... Luke missed this point and doesn't see it. He won't make it into Mensa, but he may be able to solve a chess problem.(smile)

Regardless of my opinion of his chess commentary, Luke didn't "miss the point" with the puzzle. You just took offence, Daaim, that he didn't fall for the false logic that deliberately tries to confuse the situation. Never mind.

I'm pleasantly surprised that this old joke is still around ;-)

However, i think it works better in the oral version, and preferably after a few drinks. It's difficult to explain then falseness of false logic, and it's bound to look odd in writing.

Not at all, Shemp. Daaim just pointed out that you don't skip steps when solving teasers. You didn't get it either, huh? No shame -- it's an annoying riddle.

Daaim figured it out 'immediately' when he had seen the problem before? Mensa will be impressed.

I had heard a oral variation of it about 20 years ago, but don't remember attempting to solve it before then. It was one of those puzzles you stand around and tell a group of people. Just fun stuff, but apparently only a few people here have heard it before. Bonedenasker is right... it works better in the oral version. :-)

Maybe Daaim already is a member of Mensa. He told me that I won't make it into Mensa, so perhaps he knows something about the qualification requirements.

Daaim - Are you a Mensan?

I think being a mensan is secret, like being a mason.

The whole question is trivial. 3 guys paid $27 total, an employee stole $2, the hotel got the rest. There is no missing money.

"Daaim just pointed out that you don't skip steps when solving teasers".

Actually that's precisely what you usually do with teasers. Here you just needed to skip the misdirection/mystification. There are no steps.

He could have added the reinforcement that 27-2=25, to go along with 25+2+3=30, but his approach was correct.

i would observe that the title of this thread is extremely accurate.

CO :)

"Actually that's precisely what you usually do with teasers. Here you just needed to skip the misdirection/mystification. There are no steps."

You're mistaken on all counts. There are steps, (which you have clumsily labelled "reinforcements") which were missed in the response. Moreover, in keeping with a lot of teasers there are different steps towards the same solution, different points of view and all that.

Again, you had difficulty with it and there's no shame in that. After all, CO's right about the thread.

The real, deep, subversive point of it all is the devaluation of the American dollar.

The sort of people who have a minimal ability to get into Mensa need steps (yes, you, Daaim).

The real brilliant folks such as Luka and Mishanp cut straight to the answer, as though intuitively, without dull steps of pedantry to guide them.

Sure, kid. The sort of people with minimal ability to solve such problems are the sort of people who write "the sort of people who have a minimal ability to get into Mensa need steps," attacking their peers for the sin of posting teasers to entertain.

Luke didn't get it right, he restated the problem from a new angle. There's a reason why math instructors include the proviso "SHOW WORK" with zeroes awarded for intuitive responses. Mensa members don't win membership for their inability to back it up. So lay off Daaim. And if this is too complicated for your intuition, try asking Langan to explain it very slowly to you.


This "teaser" isn't a math test, so a math instructor isn't going to care whether you follow the steps. It is, as stated before, based on misdirection, a twisting of logic. This is a misdirection, I must add, that hinges on a word rather than numbers.

The key phrase is "they have now paid only $9.00 apiece". In truth, as Luke may have intuitively figured out, the friends didn't _pay_ $9 each. They paid $25 together. Got $3 back..etc etc.

Luke figured the problem out. You can't accept that there is more than one way to approach the problem. Any Mensa member would know that this is one attribute of successful intelligence: the ability to approach a problem in different ways in order to arrive at a solution.

That is if you know anything about being in Mensa...

The story weakens the moral fibre of our children and casts a disparaging light on bellboys.

Time waster indeed.

They each paid $9 (total = $27), but the room only cost $25. The bell-boy kept the extra.

DD Eyeroller

You're mistaken. Of course the teaser is in large measure mathematical, but you knew that already. I accept unconditionally that there are several ways to approach a problem -- here you can sweep the ashes of your impromptu strawman. But Luke did not solve it, he jumped to a restatement of its riddle.

And you didn't solve it either. You just decided to put someone down. There are many ways to do that as well, but yours was unsuccessful. Next time show your work.

Well, I know I am too dumb to solve problems, and therefore I am no 'peer' of Daaim and the clever guys; peer implies an equal.

Even so, I don't expect a genius to follow the pedantic demands of a math instructor - "If you don't write out all your working I'm going to deduct marks and you'll never get into Harvard".

And bell'boy' is a highly offensive term for a mature man doing a productive job, even if he is a thief.

He was probably just worried he wasn't going to get tipped.

Gosh, clubfoot, come off it! You just want to get on Luke's back. It's patently obvious that the total outlay after the return of $1 to each party is $9x3=$27, of which the hotel has $25, and the bellboy $2. i.e. there IS no missing dollar.
Lets try and "solve" this. I use the word "outlay" to describe the total paid by the guests.

Initial total outlay =3x$10 = $30
Return = $1x3 (guests) + $2 (bellboy) = $5
Therefore new outlay = 3x($10-$1) = 3x$9 = $27
New outlay = room cost + bellboy's "tip" = $25 + $2 = $27.

ie, there IS no missing dollar. Everything adds up. I'm sure some people can do this in their heads, so I would assume that Luke did too. Incidentally, you would never find rubbish like this in Mensa tests.

Go on, schedule an appointment with your therapist asap and have your dosage adjusted.

Actually, DD, they DID pay $9 each. That's how they pay the room cost plus the "tip". If they each paid $10 initially and got $1 each back, of course they ended up paying $9 each.

I cannot opine on whether or not Luke "solved" the problem. I can say, though, that I didn't understand the nature and solution of the problem until clubfoot chipped in. The explanatory power of Luke's "solution" -- to me -- was weak.

You prpbably didn't understand the nature of the problem because it isn't a problem. Its a trick question, and as such has no solution.

Oh for God's sake. I didn't understand the nature of the "trick" until clubfoot explained it (which is exactly the thing Luke's response did not do). Happy?...

Take it easy theorist. "Problem" in mathematical jargon usually refers to a question that has a legitimate answer and can be solved with logic and application of the relevant tools, such as algebra or calculus or whatever. I was pointing out that tis is not a problem in that sense. Instead it's a trick; it explicitly refers to a missing dollar, when there isnt once. I dont think its Luke's fault if you didn't even understand what was asked.
All the best.

"it" and "one" for "tis" and "once"

A tortoise challenged Achilles to a 100-yard race, demanding only that he be given a one-foot head start. By the time Achilles...nah...forget it.

and "it's" for "its" in the last sentence.

And, d_tal, even assuming your take on exactly what constitutes a mathematical "problem" is correct -- why are we assuming that I must only use the word "problem" with that strictly mathematical sense? We talk informally about problems and solutions all the time. If this common usage perplexes you, perhaps you need to crack open a dictionary sometime, or -- I don't know -- just talk to people.


The sentence below is true.
The sentence above is not true.

Argh! Stop it...


Before I start I want an ironclad promise that this has a legitimate answer and can be solved with logic and the application of the relevant tools and is not just a trick.

Theorist you are really juvenile and seem to have many issues. I don't give a fig how ignorant YOU are. I was pointing out a fact, that this is a trick question and Luke didn't merit Clubfoot coming down so hard on him (this time). You go right ahead and continue to demonstrate your foolishness. And thanks for showing you know the difference between its and it's. Well done.

Theorist you are really juvenile and seem to have many issues. I don't give a fig how ignorant YOU are. I was pointing out a fact, that this is a trick question and Luke didn't merit Clubfoot coming down so hard on him (this time). You go right ahead and continue to demonstrate your foolishness. And thanks for showing you know the difference between its and it's. Well done.

Mig should lock this thread to put all you people out of your misery. With each post, it gets worse and worse for each and every one of you. Kind of a multi-player version of that card that reads "How to keep an idiot happy for hours" on both sides.


Your card should on both sides read "How to keep an idiot happy for hours...SEE OTHER SIDE."

So why did you keep turning the card over if it didn't tell you to? And who said you could take a break from turning the card over to post on this thread?

I started wondering if maybe YOU should be put out of YOUR misery; but you're obviously having more fun than the rest of us put together.

Interesting post, d-tal. Let me recap: Luke's original response may have been correct as an answer to "where is the missing dollar?" (response: "there isn't one"). But the spirit of the game is to point out where the logical flaw is -- the trick, as you say -- and Luke didn't do that (he simply restated what we already know: that 25+2+3=30); Clubfoot, on the other hand, did locate that logical hitch. My contribution -- innocuous enough, I though -- was simply to note that Clubfoot's explanation was more compelling than Luke's. (I don't really care about how hard he came down on anyone; from the tone, I figured they knew each other anyway).

Your contribution, it seems, was to chastise me for "not even understanding what was asked" -- apparently because I used the word "problem" in a way that was not officially sanctioned by the mathematics board (who were not invited to this discussion in the first place).

Your pedantic literal-mindedness in all this suggests a spectacular tin ear for the nuances of the way games (or tricks) such as this are played, and perhaps a larger problem with "reading" situations in terms of their intention or meaning rather than their literal content. Here we are, of course, on the fertile ground of speculation about your own "issues". It's a dilemma for me -- since I think I might be able to offer you genuine help and insight -- but on balance, I think it better not to burden anyone else here with my hypotheses, juicy as they are. I do wish you "all the best", though.

Dr. Theorist,

Nice work, indeed.

A "....spectacular tin ear for the nuances..." is in evidence in many posts.

For example, when Kramnik says, "I AM NOT BOUND to play the winner of the Kasim-Kasparov match" the adults in the room understand that Vlad has not foreclosed playing at all, has not foreclosed playing if, for example, FIDE sets up a credible candidates cycle as it had promised.

But our tin-eared friends hear "I REFUSE to play the winner..."

It is thus easy to understand why the simple(minded) style of folks like Kasparov ("I demand...") and Topalov ("they are cheating, they are lurking everywhere, I was screwed") is so attractive to them. And it is similarly easy to understand why Kramnik, whose conversation is saturated with nuance and ironic understatement, is, to d_tal and like-minded posters, a complete blank.

Oh boy , you really are in pain here, Topalov´s succes is eating you inside out .
Vlad is out of the picture for now , deal with it.


Veselin can win all the tournaments he wants and its fine with me. And I'm sure that Vlad's attention to his wife and newborn is fine with you. But that's not really what we're talking about.

You're welcome to join in the thread, of course, but you might want to read some of the preceding posts to get a feel for the discussion.

I was reading the thread when i bumped into your monolith of hate.
Of course Kramnik´s family is ok to me , but i have no idea why you bring it up every time Vesko is doing great.

It could be worse, Manu. You could have bumped into someone's obelisk of lurve.

If I accede to Parmenides there is nothing left but the One; if I accede to Zeno, not even the One is left.

Pardon my ignorance , what is lurve?

Manu -- about 8m45s for the best account of "lurve" I know.


Remember this ugly one? Think it over and no spoilers...;)

You're travelling to the Florida Death Metal Fest and running a bit late, trying to make it to Day One of the festival in time. Consulting a map printed from the website, you turn onto a myriad of backroads and suddenly there's a fork in the road not marked in the map. Dead stop. You see a local walking by, so you get out of your vehicle to ask directions.

"I don't know which road to the Deathfest," he says, "but one of these two guys will know for sure." He points to the only two houses in sight, located opposite each other at the fork. "But be careful. One guy ALWAYS tells the truth and the other ALWAYS lies. Good luck."

He walks away without revealing which is which. You're short of time: your fave band Malevolent Impalement will take the stage soon. You need to identify the correct road by asking only ONE question. You run to one of the houses and knock on the door. A man answers.

What's the question?

Did you know they are giving away free marijuana at the Florida Death Metal Fest?

Then whether he says yes or no, you wait and follow him down the road.

Glad you approve, Greg... I'm a natural skeptic, so I try not to buy into any rabidly pro- (or anti-) Kramnik, Topalov, or Kasparov position. Nuance is all...

That's an old one, I won't spoil it as I've heard it before. But a colourful new context. Is the answer different if it is a jazz festival?

Oh god theorist, just listen to yourself. When did I "chastise" you? Man, you really are petty. I am adding you to my personal ignore list, currently headed by Koster.

Clubfoot, really good one! Genuine problem this time :-)

"simple(minded) style of folks like Kasparov"

Kramnik and his supporters are good and intelligent, while other players and their supporters are stupid, finally the subtle nuances have become understandable.

Maybe the only difference is that somebody who has been to the Deathfest probably can't hear you ask the question any more.

I suppose the success of this riddle depends on the fact that these two highly believable characters know each other.

Going back to the original problem, and hopefully closing out that discussion, one of the many methods for solving such a conundrum is to use an extreme example.

The flawed logic can be magnified by a small change in the problem. Let's say that the room cost $30, they each paid $10, but the manager realized the room was only $20, so he gave the bellboy the $10 to return. Proving to himself that his career move of bellboy was the right choice, he goes to the room and returns $1 to each of the men, and pockets the remaining $7. So the men each paid $9 (total of $27), and the bellboy got $7, so the total is now $34. Where did the extra $4 come from?

An inconsistency like this proves something is amiss in the calculations.


If you dig a hole 2 feet deep, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet long, how many cubic feet of dirt are in it?


Thanks to Chesshire for not jumping in right away...and Bob's right about both the dependency and the believability. The first version I read depicted the two people as "Injuns in opposite tepees", perhaps reasoning that the reader could skip a step by making a "nameless-savage Other" connection between the two. Teaser evolution was slow going.

I'd accept cbc's solution because he went at it from an inventive angle, but these guys just might not be stoners, so there's a more ironclad question to determine the right road to Deathfest.

And a nice paradox it is too. Just a small hint (since no-one has bitten yet): I wouldn't be so positive with my answer.

Gotta love cbc's original solution! I, too, know the answer, but will refrain from spilling it.


Clubfoot, I just had a revelation: what if the guy who told you about the other two guys ... was lying?

CO :)

Uh-oh...then I'd have to admit there'd probably be no Deathfest for our protagonist this year.

Clubfoot, the question is "If I ask the other guy which road leads to Deathfest, which would he point me to?"

You then look at which road the guy will point to and go the other way.

I'll leave the explanation to you.

Check out the Fischer video on Chessbase. Man, he had charisma, even while uttering bilge. Fischer having to ask what misogyny is quite revealing; clearly he didnt have much time for a formal education, which I honestly believe was one reason for his crazy behaviour.

The Fischer clip is interesting - the movie on the other hand looks diabolical...

That's it, anon gets it, well done. Took a little while, though -- I think Malevolent Impalement have already completed their set. Better to try the jazzfest approach next year.

Almost Zero, unless you shoved dirt into the hole after digging it. Of course some dirt could fall back into the hole during digging.

Well, I think that by definition, a hole, no matter *what* size, has exactly -0- dirt in it.


Here's another one that works best orally:

You are in a marathon footrace. You pass the person who is in 2nd place. What place are you in now?


Any hole on these pages is by definition filled with Dirt.

Good one, CO. That is a true trick. My first response was "First." lol.

I'm reminded of the elementary-school one about "if a plane crashes on the border between X and Y, where do they bury the survivors?"


My take on it is...

... he said nothing that wasn't uttered by most men in those days... as abhorrent as it was. Women were homemakers in those days. I'm not sure why ChessBase presented in that way. Like, "Oh my God!!! Did you hear what he said!!??" That is the way American men thought in those days... and to a great extent, even today.

This Fischer-baiting is tired and old. One wonders what the purpose of showing him ranting about 9/11 is. I'm not sure why they included the video on women when discussing the videos. Tells you a lot about the motives of the writer of the ChessBase article.

Oh guys... those riddles are getting a bit too simple now. Somebody come up with a good one. (smile)

Two US coins add up to 55 cents. However, one is NOT a nickel. What are the 2 coins?


How far can a dog run into the forest?

What color was the bear?

Seems suspiciously easy, a half-dollar and a nickel.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Oh wait...

How many points would Ivanchuk chuck in one tournament, if Chucky could chuck a chucking lot of points? Can someone chuck it out? Chuckle.

Daaim, I don't think I want to paint Chessbase as black as you make them out to be. Where is the Fischer baiting? They present some historical footage which I for one am very grateful to see. Of course what he says has to be condemned at its face value, that kind of language is unacceptable today. Me, I am just enthralled by any kind of footage from that era, Fischer, Tal, etc. I like to think he was saying it with a twinkle in his eye, and was just kidding around. If you are a fly on the wall at some drunken frat party even nowadays you are likely to hear worse. I do think he could have benefited from a formal education though, may have helped him cope with issues later on. I have heard accounts that he himself regretted this.
What magnetic charisma though, and the looks of a film star. No wonder he was such a phenomenon. Now wish Chessbase would post some footage of a young Tal holding forth somewhere...

Fischer's views on women, jews, Russians, etc. were always depressing to listen to. He was 20 years old in that interview, and much less mature than any 12-year-old prodigy today, and didn't sound more mature later, rather the opposite. I wonder if it really has anything to do with education, I know lots of young uneducated people with mature views, and there are many misogynist or racist professors. Fischer was an unsympathetic person, he deserved pity, but to me it's impossible to like him as an individual.

If one shows unadorned interviews etc of Topalov making idiotic statements, that doesn't qualify as "baiting". Same applies to Fischer. In fact your statement shows you attempting the opposite, i.e. you want the less savoury aspects pushed quietly to the side. Splash em in full view I say, and to hell with treating guys any differently cos they play a board game well.
Even if Fischer was genuinely mentally ill, which is the only rational explanation for much of his behaviour.

I think education is not the full story, but it can't hurt. Being exposed to other people's points of view, a general broadening of one's horizon, is always a good idea. Of course it doesn't help some. A fascinating thing to me about Fischer is how his abundance of riches in one sphere of intellectual activity is coupled with extreme poverty in emotional intelligence. Isn't the latter inherited to a lesser degree than the former, and more likely to be improved by a conducive environment? If he had been exposed to the same maturing influences that an ordinary kid and young man is usually exposed to, would he have gone down the same self destructive path? I have no doubt that he cultivated a lack of sympathy for his on the board opponents to develop his Chess, to find that killer blow, to motivate himself.

To me his endgame is one of the saddest stories of many that history's most intellectually gifted human beings seem to feature in.

How can you compare Topa´s statements with Fisher´s ?
I cant get into discussions because i have to finish a comertial right now , but you are reaching the science-fiction level , and also you are being simplistic about Fisher´s illness.
Have a nice day.

Nothing similar about statements, similarities in accusations of bias from Chessbase. Don't think there can be much doubt that the man had some psychological problems.

Mixing Topa with Fisher is not very bright cat , unless the talk is about the chess alone .
Your man with psychological problems (who claimed bias from chessbase) was a friend with Leko , and yet it is not logical to mix Peter with him , at least not in this tone.

Wow, what a fascinating clip from Fischer. And a strange experience watching it: as it progressed, each of my "benefit of the doubt" scenarios was systematically eliminated: well, he's not talking about women in general, just female chess players ... and it's probably objectively true that he really could give them knight odds ... er, he's been sheltered and hasn't met many intellectually capable women; he's just old-fashioned ... wow, they shouldn't even be in the kitchen?... hmm...

I think education has a lot to do with this; the culture of the time, of course; above all, arrogance, it seems to me. He's not crazy here -- but you can see how easy it would be for him to form crazy views...

Manu -

His name was Fischer, not "Fisher". You've done this so frequently, month after month, that I doubt it is just another one of your careless mistakes. It appears to be deliberate.

That kettle sure is black!

Let Manu speak for himself. Are you one of his gang?

I'm clearly just a pot.

You seem innocent enough...except for one thing: the first 3 letters in Topalov, when reversed = pot. And we all know about Manu and Topalov.

I'm starting to boil over.

Well, that could be the end, unless M rushes in to save you.

You are matching wits with an aluminium utensil. There must be a lack in your life.

That's a very feeble and uninventive response. The pressure apparently has made you crack. Now you are nothing but a bore. Goodbye, bore.

Even a pot can see that your analytical skills are as powerful off as on the chessboard. Goodbye, teenager.

Slightly off-topic perhaps but Fischer is a long weekend wasted.
The chess world appears to have learnt a few valuable lessons from the Fischer tragedy and that's helped other chess geniuses like Karpov, Kasparov, Short,Radjabov, Bacrot etc.
1.Even geniuses MUST conform to general rules of social conduct.
2.Prima donnas aren't well served, and the world is even more poorly served, by fawning, uncritical acolytes- like the Icelandic crew.
3.Nurturing delicate geniuses requires all round development including positive personal qualities such as good manners,fairness, consideration for others etc
4.The penalties for transgressions should be fair, and consistent.
5.Fischer would have been helped in his early years, and later, by the occasional reproach from those near him. People such as Larry Evans, Col. Edmondson and Mr Davis (and loads of journos)should not have fuelled his megalomania by giving in to his every whim, however capricious.

"Now you are nothing but a bore. Goodbye, bore."

I figured Luke for a Buddhist monk, fascinated by the unending panorama of mere life.

If there wasn't a chess tournament going on somewhere in the world, if Luke couldn't grace us at short intervals with his observations about which player is spending five minutes on which move, I guessed he'd pick out a wall of drying paint somewhere and update us on that.

But it seems that even Luke can be bored.

The lack of a father had alot to do with it.

Reminds me of GKK's beauty-prize tantrum when instead of trying to stop the tantrum, mom was trying to stop the photogs from taking pictures of the tantrum.

Also reminds me of young Bjorn Borg throwing a tennis racket...and his parents forbidding him from playing tennis for six months.

Borg's a bit of a double-edged example when it comes to integrating life and sport, don't you think, Greg?

I don't think the point was integration of life and sport, more the integration of sportsmanship with the game. After the aforementioned punishment Borg never again showed emotion on the tennis court and treated all opponents with equal respect.

It should also be said that Fischer never "cultivated a lack of sympathy for his on the board opponents to develop his Chess." He would never have been WC without a healthy respect for opponents (witness his openings stickhandling around GMs like Portisch and Polugayevsky). His tardiness appeared to be the only blemish on his sportsmanship. He regularly took part in post-mortems, even after a loss, and his tantrums were directed at tournament and match organizers, never taking the form of cheap shots at his opponents. "Just the moves," he said impatiently in that 1971 interview, and he seems to have meant it.

In fact, when Panno pulled a no-show in the last round at Palma, Fischer didn't sit there doodling and watching the clock tick -- he went looking for Panno to try to talk him into coming back to play the game. That's almost unthinkable today for anyone at or near the top.

When the power failed in Buenos Aires while Fischer was on move, the referee ordered the clocks stopped. Petrosian complained, insisting that Fischer was thinking about the position in the dark. Fischer responded "he's right, leave them on" and they stayed on.

The only thing I can find that indicates rudeness towards an opponent would be when Fischer waited until Spassky was offstage before resigning game 11, signing off and fleeing the theatre. A quick show of bruised ego, but that's it. Unlike Karpov he never circled the table staring while off move, and unlike Kasparov, well...of course there's a lot to choose from.

Thx for the correction , it was not on purpose ,
having that said , im glad you find something better to do with your time .
Greg is right about you .

"Thx for the correction , it was not on purpose.." (Manu)

You're welcome.

Indeed Greg. The lack of a father-figure was important. Fischer himself said 'children who grow up without fathers become wolves'.
Fischer was a complex character with many human flaws. Unfortunately he never learnt that certain things were not acceptable because disapproval, if expressed at all, was tepid and indirect. And far too many people wanted to bask in his aura or, for financial/chess reasons were just indulgent towards him. For example, he should have been cut off after uttering the first expletive on the first of his Phillipine radio rants. Instead we had grinning idiots almost egging him on.
And the assembled throng should not have waited 40+ minutes for him to arrive for the dinner after the WCC match etc.
Methinks we should worship our heroes but slap them down (hard if need be) when they transgress the common rules of social conduct.

Btw, Spassky seemed to have developed into a well rounded human being despite the absence of a father. Maybe Fischer's mother could have had a more positive influence.

All this psycho babbling about the absence of a father figure contributing to Fischer's emotional problems in his later life. Lots of players have lost a parent or two and did not grow up to be disgusting and insane. Kasparov lost his father at an early age.

Why on earth would someone use Luke's name to post a worthwhile thought???
Author author.

Mmm i just read your discussion with your imaginary friend pot , and your delusional innuendos about me having anything to do with that.
Remember that time when i called the elite retarded for not following your predictions?
I changed my mind, your stupidity leaves no room for irony.

I meant lack of sympathy in a competitive spirit. As in "I love the moment I crush a man's ego". Fischer was noted for his courtesy at the board.

Another thought on Fischer. Has anyone ever seen/read him thank anyone for any help or favour ever? Was there ever a word of thanks to all those who helped his career, put money in his pockets, gave him free accommodation, free transport etc? Not even those who got him out of the Tokyo gulag?

HardyBerger's observations about Fischer (more precisely, about what the Fischer phenomenon teaches us about our own behavior and the destructive effects of hero-worship on both the worshippers and the worshipped) are right on the mark, and a valuable contribution to the dialogue.

Contemplating those insights, I'm struck by the contrast with Kasparov. He too had/has megalomaniac tendencies....and at times it feels like some people here wish to demonize him to the point of making him a pariah the way Fischer quite deservedly was.

Yet Hardy's remarks make it crystal clear that, in full context, Kasparov's transgressions (such as they are) are nothing remotely comparable to Fischer's.

Yes, Hardy, Spassky developed into a well-rounded "honorable anti-semite" (his words).

"..in full context, Kasparov's transgressions (such as they are) are nothing remotely comparable to Fischer's."

Agreed, Kasparov's were far worse. But as there's no evidence of anyone's attempt to "make him a pariah", the comment is disingenuous, appearing as it does in praise of another poster's determinist nonsense. There are no pariah WC's, just a group of very different and similar people. For example, Kasparov was a bully and Fischer a gentleman, but they both wore ties and both won the world chess championship and so on.

cbc is right about Spassky, again in response to more nonsense.

It is documented that Fischer was nothing but courteous at the board, and his respect for the game was obvious. He obviously took winning seriously, and very early on realised the role and importance of psychology. This was integrated into his game plan. I'm pretty sure this had a lot to do with his tough schooling in Chess; imagine as a 15 year old playing in an interzonal and being convinced, with justification, that all of your older, more experienced opponents were ganging up on you, and in any one game you were playing not one but multiple opponents.

As for Fischer "thanking" (or not) anybody, how can that shed any light on anything? Using a simplistic metric to analyse and characterise complex interpersonal relationships with no information or insight beyond that one fact is absurd. I know many who seldom overtly "thank" people who they depend on for many things, but usually because there is no need to. A little humility is called for when judging somebody from afar. Things are not always as neatly compartmentalised as you would like them to be.

I think you ought to read my post again. The reference to thanks (or absence of) was a stand-alone observation. Any 'simplistic metric to analyse and characterise...'was your own elaboration, not mine.
I know better than to make judgements about anyone's character from afar but a lot of Fischer's life was in public (or has been written about by those in the know)and clear for all to see.

Spassky might well be a honourable anti-semite but he didn't shout it from rooftops. Lots of people have negative opinions of others but not many are sufficiently disdainful to trumpet such opinions loudly and repeatedly.

I am genuinely sorry if Bobby Fischer was your idea of a gentleman.

I don't think so. Your context was clear, in the light of your previous posts.

I won't claim to be an expert on the subject, but my only recollection of Fischer's gratitude is his thanking Larry Evans in the introduction to My 60 Memorable Games.

That's right Hardly, Fischer was indeed my idea of a gentleman at the board, an idea shared by hundreds of people with whom he played competitive games of chess. Looks like you have to feel sorry for a lot of people, but I bet you'll get over that quickly.

But perhaps you should conserve your crushing sorrow for your just-stated opinion that anti-Semitism, the most destructive and virulent of human prejudices, is just fine if you're not too loud about it. After all, that attitude served the European continent so well in the 20th century, why not bring it back? So to recap: Fischer was BAD because he voiced it and Spassky was GOOD because, although he agreed with Fischer, he talked less about it.

Here you've gone way over the line, too far even for you. Truly you have presented an argument both disgusting and stupid. It isn't the first time but I predict it won't be the last.

Btw Hardly, both d_tal and cbc were correct, but feel free to dig another hole after you finish refilling dirt into the others.

Spassky wasn't THAT quiet about it. Dominic Lawson writes that when Short was preparing for his match with Kasparov he briefly hired Spassky as coach. Apparently the latter openly denigrated a certain "Jewish" style of playing chess.

Another point in Fischer's "favour" is that he usually attributed his misfortunes to various external forces- Russians, CIA, world Jewry. This does not condone it but does point towards paranoia- even though a couple of times he was right!! (games fixing etc)- and thus psychological problems, whereas the fully sane Spassky simply doesn't like Jews.

Clubfoot replied to comment from Jon Jacobs | May 31, 2009 11:57 PM | Reply
For example, Kasparov was a bully and Fischer a gentleman'

Clubfoot | June 1, 2009 3:42 PM | Reply
'That's right Hardly, Fischer was indeed my idea of a gentleman at the board,'

Do you notice the difference?

2. Clubfoot, you prissy porcupine. Your last post was almost laughable and the most disreputable style of argument. Ascribe something horrible to an adversary and then take umbrage at this manufactured opinion. Your recap was just silly and in the same vein.
Pls point to where I said antisemitism is fine if you are quiet about it. Just in case you were confused/drunk/blinded by your self-imposed indignation, I do not think any kind of prejudice is okay. And I should know having been on the receiving end many times myself.

Of course you miss the whole point. To paraphrase Jon Jacobs, The Fischer phenomenon teaches us all a lot about the effects of blind hero worship on the worshipper(s) and the object of worship.

Clubfoot | June 1, 2009 3:42 PM | Reply

That's right Hardly, Fischer was indeed my idea of a gentleman at the board, an idea shared by hundreds of people with whom he played competitive games of chess.
And who have disclosed their opinions, in their hundreds, to the mighty Clubfoot!

"Do you notice the difference?"

Not at all. It was clear I was speaking of the chess careers of WCs in both cases. Not my problem if your obsession is with events occurring after 1972. I express myself just fine, but you either misunderstand or twist.

"Pls point to where I said antisemitism is fine if you are quiet about it."

Are you frightened to look yourself? Your response to cbc -- I couldn't hope to manufacture something like that. It's all there.

"Clubfoot, you prissy porcupine."

Maybe, but seeing as you're trying so hard to drag the quills out of your ass, I figure you must have done the poking in the first place.

As Bobby Fischer once said: "If I get beaten, I take my medicine." So try to check the label before you swallow.

"'..in full context, Kasparov's transgressions (such as they are) are nothing remotely comparable to Fischer's.'

Agreed, Kasparov's were far worse"

When it comes to things they have said in public I don't see any similarities at all. Fischer was older than Carlsen is now when he said (in the 1960s) that "there are too many Jews in chess. They seem to have taken away the class of the game"


Fischer in the 1990s, not quotable and more sad than anything else:


Regardless of when you see Fischer's mental illness as taking over, he always had these types of views to some extent. They seem to have become more extreme later, as his views on Karpov, Kasparov, Korchnoi and so on as "the lowest dogs around".

From the first link above it is interesting that Fischer considered himself to be the greatest player that ever lived already in January 1962. Ginzburg and Horowitz together give a believable description of Fischer in those days:

"It is safe to say that Bobby Fischer has aroused greater admiration for his chess-playing skill than any young player has ever before enjoyed. It is also a painfully well-known fact in the chess world, however, that never before has a young player aroused so much personal antipathy. This ill will seems to stem from what I. A. Horowitz, former U.S. Open Champion, has described as Fischer's "colossal egotism." Horowitz says: "The huge egos of great chess players are legendary. Psychologists have been amazed by their vanity, have studied it, and anecdotes concerning it are abundant. But never before has there been such a prima donna as Bobby. . . . Already he has managed to alienate and offend almost everybody in the chess world. That includes officials, patrons, writers, almost everybody and anybody who might be in a position to help him in his career."

Anonymous, there are many counter opinions as well, from people (for example David Levy in "How Fischer Plays Chess") who think that some Chess organisers in those days behaved pretty abominably, and the difference with Fischer was that he was not willing to put up with sub standard accomodation, poor playing conditions and poorer prize money. I have yet to see any evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that Fischer behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner at the board. I have personally experienced, and also seen many players behave really badly at the board, trying to get some competitive advantage from intimidation, distraction and just plain bad behaviour. Fischer never did that.

I guess some of his fellow players could not put up with the fact that Fischer was so much better than them at age 15. I dont think he could have done what he did, i.e. single-handedly overcome soviet domination in Chess, without a colossal self belief.

Linking to the most widely-read interview with Fischer during his career doesn't change anything about his board conduct during tournaments, which remains exemplary and light-years ahead of Kasparov's obnoxious and bullying temperament throughout his own career.

Moreover, he later apologized for the remarks regarding Jews and played at Netanya 1968. An opponent at that tournament later told Chessbase of Fischer's kindness and outgoing nature during the tournament. The sun didn't go down on his prejudices until long after he walked away from both the game and the WCG.

Was it d_tal who posted the photo of Fischer visiting Tal at the hospital in Curacao? It was written that Fischer was the only tournament participant who took the time to stop in. Maybe no one told him about the Jew thing...;)

Fischer behaved well at the board, but people are judged also for other things. I never found him sympathetic, while others find him much more sympathetic than various other top players, so I suppose it's all a question of taste.

I actually hadn't seen that article in its entirety before. Very interesting, but this statement baffled me: "In an international tournament at Bled, Yugoslavia, last summer, he astonished the chess world by defeating Russia's Mikhail Tal in his only game against this former World Champion."

Maybe he meant only game in that tournament, but Tal owned Bobby before that. Fischer had a lot of regard for Tal btw, a wunderkind himself in his time.

I read that article with an increasing sense of sadness, it seems to me as if Fischer never quite grew up. Most of us had various strange and petty points of view in our childhood, but we usually had it knocked out of us. Fischer's fatherless and isolated childhood with a well meaning but perhaps errant mother coupled with his frightening talent meant he remained isolated and never quite learned I think, what was socially acceptable and what was not. Things he said in naivete as a child, and perhaps to shock, became the reality for him when his paranoia increased without bound and nobody was around to help him.

The three gentleman should have only paid 8.33 a piece because the room was only 25 a night. They should have recieve 1.66 back each. This was a trick question

it was common, even among jewish intellectuals, to talk and obsess about the qualities and peculiarities of the "jewish" mind ...

Sure. But in the case I mentioned, "Jewish" was a synonym for "underhand/cowardly/sneaky".
There is a great fictional book on the Lasker-Schlechter match by Thomas Glavinic. In it the challenger (Haffner-based on Schlechter) mentions the worries the public have that he will play the "Jewish" 1. d4 in the match. Since much of that book seems based on real events, I wonder how common that appellation was.

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