Monday, September 21, 2009

Searching for Fischer's Father

A fascinating article by Peter Nicholas for the LA Times.

How was Bobby affected by the secrecy and the contradictions surrounding his father's identity? What was it like for him to learn that the man whose name he bore was not his father -- and to find out only after Nemenyi's death that this mysterious figure with the thick accent was his flesh and blood?

There is no way to know. But these experiences may help explain Fischer's venomous anti-Semitism and his denial of his own Jewish ancestry.

As a teenager, he told a magazine writer he was Jewish only on his mother's side. Years later, he wrote to the Encyclopedia Judaica asking that he not be listed as a Jew.

Read more in Chasing the king of chess.


Anonymous said...

A very interesting article. I have always been fascinated by Fischer both on and off the chessboard. I guess the chess public wants to know why he was so gifted to find out that he was genetically gifted sort of puts closure on the topic of how he became world champion. It would be more of a relif for the chess public to know that he was a product of a generation of gifted people rather than a hard working kid from brooklyn who had
an insatiable appiette for chess. It gives us an excuse for our own failures to know that hard work didnt get him to the top but rather his inherited genius from his fahter got him there.

Anonymous said...

I dont agree with the previous comment. The best genes wont make you the greatest Chess player of all time. Fischer insatiable appiette for work at Chess was the key to his success. Most people including Grandmaster are not insanely working on Chess most waking hours, this was the Key for Fischer and Kasparov.

No one is born with greatness, with lucky we are born on equal footing, and our willness to work insanely hard is what makes Champions

Anonymous said...

Hard work gets you places but not great places. Talent is what makes you a champion. Some people are natuarally are a high level. Others can compete with them temporarily but they can not maintain the same level for too long. People say that a player is inconsistent but can play really good chess when he is on the ball. All that means that this player doesnt have much talent and his hard work is what is winiing him games every now and then, but he can not maintain a high level all the time because he is not naturally at that level. For a natural player a bad tournament is an aberation.

chessx said...

This same line of thought is also on

Poking a dead guy with a stick