Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bobby Fischer’s First Great International Success is Where the Hate Started

It was a 2nd place finish in a tournament in Bled, Yugoslavia in 1961.

Mikhail Tal won it with a 14.5 in a twenty player field. Fischer finished 2nd alone with 13.5, even with the victory over Tal. Gligoric, Keres and Petrosian shared 3rd a full point behind Fischer. Bobby was the only player in the field to emerge without a loss!

Grandmaster Larry Evans said at the time, “Fischer has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a contender for the world title. He has single-handedly broken the Russian iron grip on chess supremacy.”

Bobby Fischer hated the Russians when he was eighteen, not the United States. That came later.

Bobby had boasted before the tournament that he would, “beat all four of the Russians in the field (Geller, Tal, Petrosian, and Keres).”

Paul Keres teased, “That is impossible. You beat a Ukrainian, a Latvian and an Armenian. That only leaves me, an Estonian.” Fischer only managed a draw against Keres, who obviously was trying to lighten the mood.

Paul Keres is another in a long list of tragic stories in the world of great chess players. Maybe being a "wood pusher" is not the worst thing in the world to be.

Fischer responded to reporters upon hearing Keres quipped statement, “I don’t care what state you come from, you are all Russians to me.”

Bobby Fischer later turned his rage against the United States for denying him the opportunity to play a re-match against Boris Spassky in 1992.

He defied the United States government, played the match - and never returned to his native country ever again.

Talk about a “lose-lose” negotiation. More like an “everyone loses” negotiation.

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