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Endgame: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Bobby Fischerby Frank Brady
Synopses & Reviews
Endgame is acclaimed biographer Frank Brady's decades-in-the-making tracing of the meteoric ascent--and confounding descent--of enigmatic geniusBobby Fischer. Only Brady, who met Fischer when the prodigy was only 10 and shared with him some of his most dramatic triumphs, could have written this book, which has much to say about the nature of Americancelebrity and the distorting effects of fame. Drawing from Fischer family archives, recently released FBI files, and Bobby's own emails, this account is unique in that it limns Fischer'sentire life--an odyssey that took the Brooklyn-raised chess champion from an impoverished childhood to the covers of Time, Life and Newsweek to recognitionas the most famous man in the world to notorious recluse.
At first all one noticed was how gifted Fischer was. Possessing a 181 I.Q. and remarkable powers ofconcentration, Bobby 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 behaviorstarted 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 thecompetition.
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 hewent--a figure as exotic and improbable as any American pop culture had yet produced. No player of a mere board game had ever ascended to such heights. Commercialsponsorship offers poured in, ultimately topping $10 million--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 onlydeepened 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 awanted man--transformed into an international fugitive because of his decision to play in Montenegro despite U.S. sanctions. Fearing for his life, traveling with bodyguards, and wearing a long leathercoat to ward off knife attacks, 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-geniusDNA--all are woven into his late-life tapestry.
And yet, as Brady shows, the most notable irony of Bobby Fischer's strange descent - which had reached full plummetby 2005 when he turned down yet another multi-million dollar payday--is that despite his incomprehensible behavior, there were many who remained fiercely loyal to him. Why that was sois at least partly the subject of this book--one that at last answers the question: Who was Bobby Fischer?
From the Hardcover edition.
The author of Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy traces the late chess champion's struggles with fame and mental illness, offering insight into the sources of his rebellion against his faith and other contradictory aspects about his character.
About the Author
Frank Brady is internationally recognized as the person most knowledgeable about the life and career of Bobby Fischer. Brady is the author of numerous critically acclaimed biographies, including Citizen Welles; Onassis: An Extravagant Life; and Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy (the first edition of which appeared in the mid-1960s and focuses on the young Bobby). Until recently, Brady was the chairman of the Communications Department at St. John's University, and he remains a full professor there. He is also the president of the Marshall Chess Club and was the founding editor of Chess Life.
Table of Contents
Loneliness to passion — Childhood obsession — Out of the heasd of Zeus — The American wunderkind — The Cold War gladiator — The new Fischer — Einstein's theory — Legends clash — The candidate — The champion — The wilderness years — Fischer-Spassky redux — Crossing borders — Arrest and rescue — Living and dying in Iceland.
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