Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time
by David Edmonds and John Eidinow
The Biggest Game
A review by Adrienne Miller
Bobby Fischer's 1972 chess match in Reykjavik, Iceland against world champion Boris Spassky is as iconic and intrigue-filled as Ali's fight in Zaire. It's also the game that, for better or worse, turned chess (unaccountably) into somewhat of a fad of its era. David Edmonds and John Eidinow, the authors of the gripping Wittgenstein's Poker, a book about the brief and much-contested argument between the philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper (the "poker" in question wasn't the game, but an actual fire poker) clearly relish the deliciously nasty, deceit- and manipulation-filled story. Fischer was an impossible case, and very famously so: "In the media," the authors write, "Fischer was routinely described with a range of derogatory adjectives. He was insolent, arrogant, rude, uncouth, spoiled, self-centered, abusive, offensive, vain, greedy, vulgar, disrespectful, boastful, cocky, bigoted, fanatical, cruel, paranoid, obsessive …." (You get the idea.) Spassky, however, has been analyzed much less. The War Against Bobby Fischer presents a richer Soviet perspective than has been offered before, and it's a page-turner for grandmasters and neophytes alike.
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