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Robert James "Bobby" Fischer

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Born: March 9, 1943 in Chicago, USA

Died: January 17, 2008 in Reykjavik, Iceland

Playing Style and Legacy:

Bobby Fischer is usually found near the top of lists of the all-time greatest chess players. For a short period of time (roughly from 1970-1972), he was as dominant as any player has ever been over other world-class competition. His energetic style was designed to put maximum pressure on his opponents; combined with his near flawless technique and his insatiable desire to finding winning chances in each game, this made him a difficult opponent to face psychologically for many players.

Fischer was known for his deep opening preparation, so it comes as no surprise that he made many contributions to opening theory. He also made other innovations, such as Fischer Random Chess (today better known as Chess960) and the Fischer chess clock. His insistence that chess players perform under more professional conditions helped raise the amount of money and prestige for elite chess players as well.

Unfortunately, Fischer's legacy was tarnished by his anti-Semitic views as well as his reclusive nature after winning the World Championship in 1972.

World Championship Matches:

1972: Defeated Boris Spassky 12.5-8.5 (+7 -3 =11, including one forfeit loss) to become World Chess Champion

1975: Forfeited title to Anatoly Karpov by refusing to play match due to disagreements with FIDE over match conditions; Karpov becomes World Chess Champion

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Won each of the eight US Chess Championships he played in, including winning with a perfect 11/11 score in 1963-64 Championship
  • Won 1962 Interzonal Tournament in Stockholm (17.5/22)
  • Won 1970 Interzonal in Palma de Mallorca (18.5/23)
  • Defeated both Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen in 1971 Candidates Matches, each by 6-0 score
  • Won Chess Oscar in 1970, 1971 and 1972

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