Not sure if this goes here or politics, but I saw it on ESPN, so....
I was watching Sportscenter late last night and saw Bobby Fischer, the chess giant on there. After some googling, I found that he is hiding out in Iceland because he'd face 10 years in prison if he returned here.
He seemed to be having some sort of press conference where he blasted the Jews and the United States. I also saw him go back and forth with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, with Fischer saying that Jeremy's dad wrote that Fischer never said anything that wasn't crazy or something like that, and Fischer was offended. Jeremy zinged him with, "Well, you haven't really done or said anything here today that would dispute that quote," and he then left the press conference. Poor Jeremy- first Bob Knight, now Fischer.
My question: did anyone else see this and what were your impressions? Has Fischer always been this off-kilter?
I didn't see it, but it doesn't surprise me. Fischer is basically crazy, and pretty much always has been. The only difference is that, when he had a chess career, he had some focus to his life, something to which he could channel his energies, monomania and paranoia. Now all he has to do with his spare time is whine about how wronged he is and how international forces are aligning against him.
If you can ever get a hold of it, there's a really great article by Brad Darrach called "The Day Bobby Blew It." It's a forty-page nightmare about Fischer's numerous handlers trying to get him to the airport. That's it. What becomes increasingly clear throughout it is that Fischer is an insufferable puling child with absolutely zero impulse control or regard for others. It actually seems at times as if Fischer is doing everything he can to prevent anyone from getting him to the airport. And the funny thing is, they're trying to get him on the flight to Reykjavik, for his legend-making match against Spassky.
And that was when he was on top of the world. After that, he spent 20 years in seclusion, not playing chess, essentially stewing in his own paranoid resentment and mammoth sense of entitlement. When he reemerged, he'd basically become a boorish anti-semite, railing against an international "Jew Conspiracy" spearheaded by a "Jew-run" United States. He later applauded the September 11 attacks as an attack on the U.S.-Israel conspiracy axis.
I pretty much consider Jeremy Schaap a pinhead. I can't stand the nepotistic twit. But if he'd just stood up and said, "Bobby, quick question: you're a batshit insane asshole. Your thoughts?" I don't think he'd be the slightest bit in the wrong. And I get the sense that the rest of the press world would make a token gesture of outrage, but inwardly I think most reporters would be nodding and saying, "'bout time someone said it."
I've just started reading "Bobby Fischer Goes to War" and yeah, just from the get-go you can see that he is as crazy as he was brilliant. But without the focus of chess, he's just another insane old guy like the crazy guy who walks around Chicago proclaiming that Communists have infiltrated the government.
This was very strange and just leaves you shaking your head.
Here's an excellent article in from Sunday's NY Daily News written by Wayne Coffey. It deals with Fischer's history and his current "beliefs". Incidentally, Coffey wrote a tremendous book on the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team entitled Boys of Winter, that was just released: http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/293825p-251515c.html
(edited by NickBockwinkelFan on 29.3.05 0118) "Well, you can't involve friendship with business. It has to be one or the other. It's either business or friendship, or hit the bricks!" --Life Lessons from "The Tao of Bobby the Brain Heenan" Uncensored 2000 preview
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