Robert James Fischer was an American chess grandmaster. The eleventh World Chess Champion and greatest player of all time. The amazing skill he displayed while playing chess is uncontended – he is the king of them all. Bobby who was born on March 9, 1943, started playing chess at an early age of 13. He was a professional from the onset. He needed no training to prove himself. Imagine emerging as the youngest grandmaster at the age of 15. Barely two years after his debut into the game. Yes! He was that good. Aside from his prowess in chess, there are other interesting details that you may not know about Bobby Fischer. Let’s dig in together.
Interesting Facts You Need To Know About Bobby Fischer
1. He Was Very Controversial
If there was one man who had something to say about everything, his name would be Bobby Fischer. Bobby was extremely opinionated and had strong odd convictions. Regardless of his mother’s practice of the Jewish religion, Bobby never failed to express his hatred for the Jews. He shared anti-Semitic views and even applauded Nazism. He had this weird belief that everything in the world was controlled by the hidden hand of the satanical secret world government. Bobby even defiled the economic action U.S. President George Bush imposed on Yugoslavia. He stubbornly went against the rules by taking on a commercial venture. He went as far as spitting on a letter from U.S Treasury Department during a press conference. Yes! He was a bit of a show-off. He was subsequently indicted by the U.S. government in December 1992. He got the message this time and went to cool off in Europe. He was one hell of a man.
Bobby’s convictions were as numerous as his fears. He feared that the Russian government was out to kill him. He feared that the Soviet agents could transmit damaging rays into his brain through a metal implant in his teeth. Thus, he replaced his dental fillings.
2. He May Have Had Asperger’s Syndrome
First, some background facts. Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental neurological disorder that affects an individual’s perception and interaction with the world. Carriers of this syndrome are downright smart and often tend to be obsessed with a particular topic, skill or activity. They could do it over and over again without getting tired. They also have tendencies of being social misfits. Bobby was thought to have had the disorder. Well, he was too intelligent for his own good and how do you explain the thing with chess?
According to the results of a Stanford–Binet test Bobby took at the age of 15; he has an IQ of over 180 – 187 and that’s way above average. At the time, he was a student at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn. He had a photographic memory. Here is something that may intrigue you. The first time Bobby Fischer travelled to Iceland, he eavesdropped on a phone conversation in pure Icelandic. Interestingly, he had never heard or learned the language before but he understood and even recited all that was said. He was also known to have been eccentric, an extremely odd and unpredictable fellow. He seemed to have been sitting on a fence between genius and insanity. At least, he had chess to bury himself in.
3. Fisher Dropped Out of School
Bobby was not a fan of education. He thought school was a waste of time and he sure didn’t waste his time on it. Bobby dropped out of school at the age of 16. Afterwards, he self-schooled himself. He learned how to speak several foreign languages because of his desire to read foreign publications. That must have been easy with the aid of his high IQ. He even published his own textbook on chess titled, “Bobby Fisher Teaches Chess”. The book had 275 checkmate exercises which the readers could solve themselves. Over 1,000,000 copies of the book sold out within months.
4. Bobby Fisher Had a Run-in with the Law
This should come as a surprise to you. The Chess lord always had some mischief up his sleeves. His FBI file is a long read with over 900 pages. What could he have done to have such a long criminal record? Bobby was arrested for a suspected bank robbery at the age of 38. He was later bailed with $1000. Mostly a fugitive during his 30’s, he went into hiding in California, Pasadena and San Franciso. What had he done this time? He refused to pay taxes from his Chess game winnings to the U.S government. He felt they didn’t deserve to taste a single drop of his money. He was served an arrest warrant. At some point, Bobby Fischer spent 6 months in a Japanese prison for supposedly using an invalid passport.
5. His Kidneys Failed Him
Bobby came down with ill-health in his last days. He was diagnosed with renal failure and was advised to undergo treatment immediately. Stubborn Bobby wouldn’t hear of that. It was more of his stubbornness than the frozen kidneys that cost him his life. Bobby had no faith in doctors and drugs. He grossly distrusted them and as such, refused to get the medical help he direly needed. He died at the age of 64 which is coincidentally the same number of squares on a chess board. Bobby Fischer’s life was a classic telenovela.