March 9, 1943 marked the birth of an incredible young talent. Bobby Fischer became the first American-born world chess champion after defeating his arch rival Boris Spassky. He was also the world’s youngest international grandmaster at the age of fifteen.
Bobby was only a six-year-old, when he learnt how to play chess along with his sister by reading the instructions found in a chess set. His sister Joan had picked up the chess board from a candy store below their apartment.
This marked the beginning of Bobby’s tryst with the world of chess. For over a year, Bobby both played and studied all by himself. All his efforts bore fruit when he was identified by Carmine Nigro - head of the Brooklyn Chess Club at the time. This accelerated his journey in the world of chess.
Some of his notable achievements include:-
Winning a brilliancy known as “The Game of the Century” at the age of 13
Attaining the title of the US Chess Champion at 14
At the age of 15, Bobby became the youngest grandmaster up to that time and was also the youngest candidate for the World Championship.
Fischer is famous for winning the 1963-64 Chess Championship with 11 wins in 11 games.
He also won the 1970 International tournament and won 20 consecutive games.
A notable contribution by Fischer includes his book ‘My 60 Memorable Games.' Published in 1969, it is to this day regarded as a classic work of chess literature.
Touted as perhaps the most mythologically shrouded figure in chess, Fischer went on to revolutionize the game of chess in his own way. He was notorious amongst his rivals for being unpredictable in his opening play and for being a difficult opponent to prepare for.
Fischer was also known to have an excellent endgame technique and is lovingly called “Master of Bishop endings."
He even filed a patent for a new clock – the Fischer Clock which soon became a standard in most chess tournaments.
Fischer who had all by himself dethroned the Soviet Chess empire- which at the time was the only force dominating the chess world. He attained international attention and with it brought attention to the game not only nationally but all over the world. He is said to have started a chess boom that wasn’t restricted to the Western Hemisphere.
The life and times of Bobby Fischer are available to us in the form of multiple books and movies, which all attempt to decode the mind of the remarkable individual.
An inspiration to the legends of the game, gaining information about Bobby Fischer is a perfect start to a student’s chess journey. Chess is a perfect game to pick up as an after school activity. It engages the mind and improves the ability of the mind to think differently and quickly. It has also proved to increase the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.
All of these qualities are beneficial to the young mind of a student and the sheer exhilaration of understanding this game ensures that students stay interested and involved in the game.