On Chess: Fischer’s obstinacy had its advantages

Saturday, April 2, 2011 03:06 AM
Shelby Lyman

Bobby Fischer was a fighter.

Besides dominating the world’s best at the chessboard with a relentless campaign of all-out combat, he waged warfare with adversaries ranging from tournament organizers and patrons to the U.S. government.

Working conditions and remuneration for chess were abysmal before Fischer ascended to the world stage.

Fischer protested and demanded basics such as decent lighting, comfortable chairs, a suitable board and pieces, and at least a modicum of quiet when he played.

Fischer’s demands

were often misunderstood or portrayed as unreasonable.

Remuneration in chess was pitiful compared with professional sports when he engaged Boris Spassky in a 1972 match for the world title.

When Fischer threatened to boycott the event, a British banker doubled the purse to $250,000.

Three years earlier, Spassky had played for the title in Moscow against Tigran Petrosian for a paltry $2,500.

Spassky later described Fischer as a “one-man trade union” for chess players.

Source: http://www.dispatch.com

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