Saturday, February 09, 2008

Remembering a Different Bobby Fischer

It's been more than a couple of weeks after his death and yet plenty are still written about Bobby Fischer in the mainstream papers. In today's NY Times, Dick Cavett reminisces on the chess champion's appearance on his TV show back in 1971.

Getting Fischer on my show that first time, before the big match, was considered a major catch at the time. If anyone in the audience shared my image of what a chess genius probably looked like, Bobby’s entrance erased it.

Here was no Nabakovian homunculus. There appeared, somewhat disconcerted, a tall and handsome lad with football-player shoulders, impeccably suited, a little awkward of carriage and unsure how to negotiate the unfamiliarity of the set, the bright lights, the wearing of make-up, the band music, the hand-shaking and the thundering ovation — all at the same time. I had hoped to avoid the cliché “gangling,” but Bobby gangled. He sort of lurched into his chair.

The accompanying video, too, is not to be missed. From Was It Only a Game?

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