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When Bobby Fischer died in January 2008, he left behind a confounding legacy. Everyone knew the basics of his life: he began as a brilliant youngster, then became the pride of American chess, then took a sharp turn, struggling with paranoia and mental illness. But nobody truly understood him. What motivated him from such a young age, and what was the source of his remarkable intellect? How could a man so ambivalent about money and fame be so driven to succeed? What drew this man of Jewish descent to fulminate against Jews, and how was it that a mind so famously disciplined could unravel so completely?
From his meteoric rise, to an utterly dominant prime, to his eventual descent into madness, the book draws upon hundreds of newly discovered documents and recordings, and numerous firsthand interviews conducted with those who knew Fischer best, to paint, for the very first time, a complete picture of one of the most enigmatic icons.
This is the definitive account of a fascinating man and an extraordinary life, one that at last reconciles Fischer's deeply contradictory legacy and answers the question: 'Who was Bobby Fischer?'
The Mozart of the chessboard is inseparable from the monster of paranoid egotism in this fascinating biography. Brady (Citizen Welles), founding publisher of Chess Life magazine and a friend of Fischer, gives a richly detailed account of the impoverished Brooklyn wunderkind's sensational opening he was history's first 15-year-old grandmaster and the 1972 match with Boris Spassky, in which Fischer captivated the world with his brilliant play and towering tantrums. Brady's chronicle of Fischer's graceless endgame is just as engrossing, as the chess superstar sinks into poverty after rejecting million-dollar matches; flirts with cults; and becomes, though himself Jewish, a raving anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist. Brady offers an insightful study of Fischer's obsessively honed gifts his evocative description of the 13-year-old prodigy's legendary "Game of the Century," with its seemingly suicidal queen sacrifice, will stir even nonadepts and a clear-eyed, slightly appalled portrait of his growing paranoia. One senses a connection: the pattern-seeking faculties that could discern distant, obscure checkmates went berserk when trained on the chaos of everyday existence, finding in every reversal not random misfortune but the subtle moves of hidden opponents. Brady gives us a vivid, tragic narrative of a life that became a chess game. Photos.