The Troubled Genius of Bobby Fischer Bobby Fischer might have been the greatest chess player who ever lived, but he was a deeply troubled man who descended into paranoia and hatred. Author Frank Brady, who knew Fischer, charts his rise and fall in a new biography.

The Troubled Genius of Bobby Fischer

The Troubled Genius of Bobby Fischer

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Grandmaster Bobby Fischer, pictured above in 1971 at age 28, is considered to have been the world's most brilliant chess player. In his new Fischer biography, Endgame, Frank Brady writes that the chess prodigy was a man of paradox: "Bobby was secretive, yet candid; generous, yet parsimonious; naive, yet well informed; cruel, yet kind; religious, yet heretical. His games were filled with charm and beauty and significance. His outrageous pronouncements were filled with cruelty and prejudice and hate." AP hide caption

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Endgame
Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness
By Franky Brady
Hardcover, 416 pages
Crown
List Price: $25.99
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Author Frank Brady was a teen when he first met Bobby Fischer at a chess tournament. The two men would go on to play hundreds of chess games and become lifelong friends — though Brady describes it as a "tempestuous relationship." Richard Rex Thomas hide caption

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Richard Rex Thomas

Author Frank Brady was a teen when he first met Bobby Fischer at a chess tournament. The two men would go on to play hundreds of chess games and become lifelong friends — though Brady describes it as a "tempestuous relationship."

Richard Rex Thomas

One night in 1960, author and chess fan Frank Brady sat down for dinner in a Greenwich Village tavern.

Across the table from him was Bobby Fischer, just a teenager but already a grand master of the game. Fischer was never without his pocket chessboard, and as they lingered over dinner, he pulled it out and began to rehearse for an upcoming match. His eyes glazed, his fingers flew over the little board, and he seemed completely unaware of his surroundings as he whispered to himself about possible moves.

Brady found that in the presence of Fischer's chess genius, his eyes were full of tears.

He describes the scene in his new book, Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall — From America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness.

Brady tells Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz that he first became aware of Fischer while both were playing in a New York chess tournament in the mid 1950s.

"I remember some older man kibitzing the game, and Bobby spun around and said, 'Please! This is a chess game!' The man was about 65 years old, and he was silenced by this child."

Brady later became friends with Fischer, and wrote about him often, including a 1965 biography.

But Fischer was a troubled genius. He dropped out of sight after winning the 1972 World Championship against Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. Today, he's better known as a paranoid recluse whose frequent anti-Semitic and anti-American rants drove away friends and angered the U.S. government.

"Paraphrasing Churchill, he was an enigma inside of a conundrum," Brady says. "Think of him as the greatest chess player who ever lived. The Mozart of chess. And then think of him as a failed human being, one who fell, tremendously and quickly and swiftly, fell from grace."

Endgame
Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness
By Frank Brady

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