On Chess: Paranoia served Fischer well on board

Saturday, April 16, 2011 03:06 AM
Shelby Lyman – Columbus Dispatch

Bobby Fischer was characteristically defensive and even conspiratorial. His anti-Semitic theories, for one, were off-the-wall.

But his fears weren’t always so patently without merit, as when he claimed that the “Russians” had tried to rig a tournament against him by accepting quick and easy draws against one another.

His dread of journalists was motivated by grievous experiences at the hands of a sensationalistic press.

His quirky, outspoken manner made him an easy, if not appetizing, target.

Fischer clearly was aware of the issue of paranoia.

During an appearance on Dick Cavett’s talk show in 1971, Fischer looked over his shoulder and declared humorously: “The paranoids are after me.”

Years earlier, when told by grandmaster Pal Benko that he was paranoid, Fischer replied: “Sometimes paranoids are right.”

Chess is a duopoly of aggressive action and defense.

Fischer dreaded losing, especially via unforeseen events on or off the chessboard. On the defense, he strove above all to do away with such possibilities.

One might say – not necessarily pejoratively – that his chess style had a “paranoid” quality.

Source: http://www.dispatch.com

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