On Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer, the American chess prodigy and grandmaster, has died in Reykjavik, Iceland. He was sixty-four.

Fischer is perhaps better known today for his… eccentricities. That’s probably the most polite word I can think of. That old Buffalo Springfield lyric comes quickly to mind — “Paranoia strikes deep / Into your life it will creep.”

The human mind can handle some things but not others. For Fischer, it could handle the ordered precision of the chessboard. The intricacies of the wider world, though, clearly escaped his ability to handle.

I knew who Bobby Fischer was — the American grandmaster that dethroned the Soviet domination of the sport in the 1960s — and I read his columns on chess in back issues of Boys Life back in the day.

Fischer was a troubled genius. Hopefully that troubled genius is now at rest.

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