World Champion Fischer
All world champions take up an important place in history of chess, but hardly any has achieved such popularity outside the chess scene as Robert Fischer. In his heyday he did an incredibly amount for chess. His masterpiece, of course, are the many brilliant games. Dr. Robert Hübner has thoroughly examined Fischer’s biggest and best known publication, “My Sixty Memorable Games”. This ChessBase monography includes reports on Fischer’s most important chess matches, including contemporary material.

Robert Hübner: World Champion Fischer

A new biographical CD by ChessBase

Robert James Fischer was born in Chicago on 9.3.1943 and was taught to play chess by his elder sister. From 1955 on Fischer began to take part in tournaments. In 1957 he won, one after the other, the US junior championship in San Francisco, the open championship of the USA in Cleveland and the championship of the USA in New York. On the side, the young man learned Russian, in order to make use of the rich vein of Soviet chess literature. In 1957 Fischer became an International Master and a year later, thanks to his qualification for the Candidates' tournament, the then youngest Grandmaster in the history of chess.

In 1960 he again notched up impressive results. He won the tournaments of Mar del Plata and Reykjavik, scored 13 out of 18 on first board at the chess Olympiad in Leipzig and won the championship of the USA. After a short creative pause, Fischer was back in 1962 with a victory in the Stockholm Interzonal Tournament, followed by a modest fourth place in the Candidates' tournament in Curacao. In the following years he played little, but subjected the games of his opponents to careful analysis. 1966 saw Fischer's triumphal comeback. He won the championship of the USA, came in second at the Piatigorsky Cup in Santa Monica and shone at the chess Olympiad in Havana with 15 out of 17. In 1967 he was again victorious in the championship of the USA, and then in Monte Carlo and Skopje. The setback came at the Interzonal tournament in Sousse, when he withdrew after several rounds and by doing so missed the World Championship Candidates' cycle.

Gligoric vs Fischer at the Portoroz Interzonals in 1958 (see also The Sicilian Vespers)

In 1970 Fischer was back on the chess stage with a stack of new ideas and fantastic results. At the "Match of the century" he defeated Petrosian 3-1, and then there were victories in Zagreb, Buenos Aires and in the Interzonal tournament in Palma de Mallorca. This made Fischer the obvious contender for the title of World Champion, but before that he still had a few matches to win. In 1971 he defeated both Mark Taimanov in Vancouver and Bent Larsen in Denver with the phenomenal score of 6-0. The last obstacle in the way to the title match was ex World Champion Petrosian, an enormously experienced player with excellent defensive technique. His defeat by Fischer in Buenos Aires in 1971 was so convincing (+5 -1 =3), that Petrosian warned in an interview: "Fischer is an excellent player, who quickly spots problems at the board and solves them correctly. He feels at home with any novelty and it is impossible to surprise him. When he has even the tiniest advantage he plays with the precision of a machine. Fischer is a very special player and the match with Spassky will be hard-fought."

The 1951 letter to the mother of the "chess-playing boy".

In 1972 it came to the big confrontation with Boris Spassky in Reyjavik. Before it, Fischer's insistence on a record prize fund had aroused the interest of the world's media, which depicted the chess match as a confrontation between East and West. Since 1948 the title of World Champion had only been held by players from the former Soviet Union, but this time the challenger was from the United States. The historic match began with a small scandal. Fischer lost the first game and refused to appear for the second. The protest cost him another point, so that he now had to score heavily to catch up with Spassky. The wonderfully prepared Fischer managed a convincing pursuit on the highest level of chess (+7 -3 =11), and the American became the 11th World Champion in the history of chess.

With Tal and Petrosian at the 1959 Candidates in Bled

The dream career of a chess genius in modern times had reached its highest point - and turned into a nightmare. The new US-star stopped playing chess and retreated into one of the numerous spiritual communities in Pasadena. After 1972 Fischer did not play a single official game and lost the title without a fight to Anatoly Karpov in 1975.

Only in 1992 did the much lauded and much mourned hero come back, to play a return match with Boris Spassky in the Yugoslavian town of Sveti Stefan. Naturally the two of them could no longer claim to be among the best players in the world, but the surprise duel was interesting enough. Despite the 20-year pause in his playing career, Fischer won (+10 -5 =15), cashed in his share of the five million dollar prize money and settled in Budapest. Regrettably he has not played since then and the fans who are hoping for a new comeback will have to be very patient.

For many, Robert James Fischer is and remains the best player in the history of chess, who had an extraordinary understanding and who played with the highest level of psychological and physical intensity. His book "My 60 memorable games" is amongst the greatest works of chess literature, and his games still excite the admiration of each new chess generation.

The Fischer CD

The CD contains a database with an introduction by Robert Hübner, as well as Hübner's analysis of Fischer's "My 60 memorable games". The main database contained on the CD has all of Fischer's games, with an introductory text to the most important matches and tournaments. There are exactly 1000 entries, of which 44 are tournament reports, the rest games. About half of the games, 462 in all, are annotated, many very extensively. All the reports are in English and German.

The Fischer CD also contains many pictures and 330 MB of historical film footage. Here are the scenes included in the video section: