Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall
by Frank Brady
Publisher: Crown, 2011
Pages : 416
The full-length, definitive biography of Bobby Fischer, with lots of previously unknown material. Includes photos, many never before published.
Only Frank Brady, who met Fischer when Bobby was only 10 and shared with him some of his most dramatic triumphs, could have written this book.
Drawing from Fischer family archives, recently released FBI files, and Bobby’s own emails, this account describes the entire odyssey that took Fischer from an impoverished childhood to the covers of Time, Life and Newsweek to recognition as “the most famous man in the world” to notorious recluse.
At first all one noticed was how gifted Bobby was. Possessing a 181 I.Q. and remarkable powers of concentration, he memorized hundreds of chess books in several languages, and he was only 13 when he became the youngest chess master in U.S. history.
But his strange behavior started early. In 1972, at the historic Cold War showdown in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he faced Soviet champion Boris Spassky, Fischer made headlines with hundreds of petty demands that nearly ended the competition.
It was merely a prelude to what was to come.
Arriving back in the United States to a hero’s welcome, Bobby was mobbed wherever he went - a figure as exotic and improbable as any American pop culture had yet produced. Commercial sponsorship offers poured in, but Bobby demurred. Instead, he began tithing his limited money to an apocalyptic religion and devouring anti-Semitic literature.
After years of poverty and a stint living on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, Bobby remerged in 1992 to play Spassky in a multi-million dollar rematch—but the experience only deepened a paranoia that had formed years earlier when he came to believe that the Soviets wanted him dead for taking away “their” title.
When the dust settled, Bobby was a wanted man—transformed into an international fugitive because of his decision to play in Montenegro despite U.S. sanctions. Fearing for his life, Bobby lived the life of a celebrity fugitive – one drawn increasingly to the bizarre.
Mafiosi, Nazis, odd attempts to breed an heir who could perpetuate his chess-genius DNA—all are woven into his late-life tapestry. Despite his incomprehensible behavior, there were many who remained fiercely loyal to him.
Why that was so is at least partly the subject of this book—one that at last answers the question: “Who was Bobby Fischer?"
Frank Brady is the author of numerous critically acclaimed biographies, including 'Citizen Welles', 'Onassis', and 'Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy' (the first edition of which appeared in the mid-1960’s and focuses on the young Bobby).
Al Lawrence, Chess Life:
"No mere updating of his previous book on Fischer, 'Endgame' repeats only a tiny fraction of the older bio (..) Brady has produced what is a rare triumph in the chess world, a page-turner that should fascinate both serious chess players and non-players."
Jeremy Silman, author of 'How to Reassess Your Chess':
“Fischer is America’s greatest antihero. This fascinating biography is filled with hope, Cold War intrigue, the fulfilment of genius, and an explosive fall from grace that is both deeply moving and, ultimately, profoundly sad.”
Janet Maslin, New York Times:
"A rapt, intimate book, greatly helped by Brady’s acquaintance with Fischer (..) he also makes use of unusually good source material (..)fascinating."
David Shenk, author of 'The Genius in All of Us' and 'The Immortal Game':
"Endgame' is rich in detail and insight. It is sympathetic and human, but not at all naive. I consider this book essential reading in the effort to understand Bobby Fischer and his place in our world."
Paul Hoffman, author of 'The Man Who Loved Only Numbers' and 'King's Gambit':
"The definitive portrait of the greatest—and most disturbed—chess genius of all time.”