Chess has been one of the most played board games of all time. In competitive chess, one of the names that would stand out would be Bobby Fischer. Now, you might ask, how good is Bobby Fischer? What was Bobby Fischer’s chess rating?
Bobby Fischer’s ELO rating was 2785. This rating reflected the twenty consecutive games that he won. After all, the ELO rating system measures the relative strength of a chess player.
In this article, we’ll know Bobby Fischer and his contributions to chess history. Based on the different chess matches that he’s played, let’s check out how he got his chess rating and what happened to the rest of his chess career.
Who’s Bobby Fischer?
Robert James Fischer, also known as Bobby Fischer, was an American chess grandmaster who was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 9, 1943. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York by her single mother from Switzerland.
How Did He Start With Chess?
He started showing interest in chess when his sister Joanne bought him a chess set. He preferred chess over Monopoly since he felt that there was no luck involved.
It wasn’t long after that he fell in love with the game due to the complex strategy that it requires and the thousand possible moves it offers.
From Amateur Chess to Competitive Chess
He was considered to be the most notorious chess master known to history and the only player in the world to have a perfect score of eleven out of eleven in the United States Championship. A record that stands up even to this day.
At that time, the world number two, Boris Spassky, had an ELO rating of 2660. In chess history, this is the highest gap between the world number one and two.
How Was He Discovered?
Bobby Fischer started joining competitive chess at eight years old. At fourteen, he won the United States Junior Chess Championship and became the youngest player to win the title in 1957.
He garnered international attention when he won a tournament in New York City against Donald Byrne on October 17, 1956.
He was thirteen and Byrne was twenty-six years old during the tournament. This match was dubbed the “Game of the Century”. The game was known for Fischer’s sacrifice of his queen, which led to a checkmate.
How Did He Become an Unstoppable Grandmaster?
Fischer played and won his first American Championships in 1958, which made him the youngest winner in history. At the age of sixteen, he had to stop schooling to pursue and focus on the game of chess. Then, he became an unstoppable grandmaster.
He won the US Championship six more times in the years 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965, respectively.
Fischer is known for his opening move, which is the 1. e4, a common opening move, that allows the center of the board to be immediately claimed and also allows the queen and the king’s bishop movement.
He then would tactically end the game. His commitment was superb to the extent that he would study chess for ten to twelve hours a day.
What Are The International Tournaments He Participated In?
Fischer’s first international tournament was in Yugoslavia. He finished fifth in the Portoroz Interzonal tournament out of twenty players, including numerous grandmasters.
In 1960, he became the youngest player to ever compete in Leipzig, East Germany for the Chess Olympiad, representing the US Team.
The most notable achievement during Fischer’s career was his victory in the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland, against Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. This triumph in 1972 made him the first American to win the world championship.
During this time, chess matches were dominated by the Soviets. Thus, this achievement became a significant event, especially with the ongoing Cold War during that time.
Why Did He Leave His Chess Career?
The tension between Fischer and the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was evident when Fischer refused to play his match against Anatoly Karpov under the rules set by FIDE. This resulted in the former forfeiting his title in 1975.
Despite his remarkable talent, Fischer withdrew from competitive chess for several years due to his disagreements with FIDE.
In 1992, after twenty years of being away from competitive chess, Fischer finally accepted an invitation to play a privately organized rematch.
This rematch was against his former opponent Spassky, in Montenegro, Yugoslavia. He once again defeated Spassky in the said rematch.
What Made Him Controversial?
Fischer lived a reclusive life in Reykjavik until his death due to kidney failure at 64. He faced various personal struggles. One of which was his violations of US sanctions resulting in him being indicted by the US government.
It was during his 1992 rematch in Yugoslavia when the US government tried to warn him not to play in the said country due to political tensions. He didn’t listen and still went on to compete. Because of this, Fischer believed that the US government had been after him since then.
Some sources say that he was thought to have mental issues (although there was no official diagnosis).
He was also known for his controversial statements against women chess players, his previous opponents, and his anti-Semitic views, despite being ethnically Jewish himself.
In addition, there was a documentary where he stated that he hated chess because it has become a game of memorization and pre-arrangements instead of creativity and enjoyment.
Especially now, with present computers and modern technology, chess has become a game of pre-calculated moves and patterns.
Bobby Fischer may not have the highest ELO rating in history; he may not be the best player in the world either, but he was someone who made a mark in the game of chess.
Despite the controversies and inconsistency in his career (due to his walking away from the limelight of chess competitions), Fischer was a legend known for his creative and random opening moves, and his aggressive attacks and counterattacks.
One of his leading opponents even called him an “Achilles without an Achilles heel”.