He's Chess Champ, But Still Just a Boy

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He's Chess Champ, But Still Just a Boy - em-barrased. He 's Chess Champ, But Still Just...
em-barrased. He 's Chess Champ, But Still Just a Boy By Milt Freudenheim NEW YORK, Jan. 27. Th Chicago Dally Aewtrnot-Pltnttcb Bpeelal Dispatch. Copyright 1050. INTERNATIONAL grandmaster of chess Robert J. Fischer asked that presentation of his second consecutive United States championship cup be delayed briefly. The presentation would have conflicted with his preparations for midyear examinations at Erasmus High School, where 15-year-old Fischer is in his junior year. Bobby Fischer, said to be the youngest international grandmaster in the history of chess, won't slight nis school work. "If I had a lot of money, I'd like to play in chess tournaments (and nothing else). But you can't make a living in chess," he says. His prize as American champ was $600. It took the combined efforts of a television show, wealthy chess patrons, the . United States Department and the Soviet Government to get him to Europe for big matches last year. And the fact that Bobby away from the chess board is just a typical, big, clumsy, shy, self-centered teen-aged kid from Brooklyn has cooled the ardor of would-be patrons more than once. But the champ playing chess is another story. He held his own with some of the world's best at the interzonal tourney" last summer at Portoroz, Yugoslavia. "Little Bobby." as enthusiastic Yugoslav fans dubbed him, won the right to return in September 1959 for eight-man playoffs. The 19J9 winner takes on world champion Mikhail Bot-vinnik of Russia in 1960. If by some combination of wizardry and good luck, a teenage American beats the Soviet world champion, the repercussions could be awesome. In contrast to the United States which ignores chess, and kids its experts, the Soviets teach the game in school. Russian champs are pampered, given soft jobs and movie-star treatment. But like competing with the Russians in sputniks and luniks, polishing up Bobby Fischer will not be easy. The six-foot, CMcago-born chess genius wishes the public would please go Way. He may be the first boy his age in history to deliberately repel the advances of would-be biographers from Reader's Digest and the Saturday Evening Post. Bobby contends the press aims to use him in a conspiracy "to make chess players look like funny people." Actually, he looks like the boy down the block, favoring bright flannel shirts, never a tie, corduroy slacks, unshined shoes, crewcut brown . hair needing a trim even on an evening trip to a chess club in Manhattan. Bobby handles himself like a basketball player, long-limbed and loose-jointed, dropping a chess piece into place in a fast game of "rapid transit" (10 seconds a move) or "blitz" (no pauses at all). He likes sports.' Some New York reporters have shined up to him by taking him to hockey games or hitting tennis balls f ; I . I Y 1 If 5'"' if -1" -v. . ' . : VC I : ; VK m inrnir . - .... .. . BOBBY FISCHER with him. A ski pro traded ski lessons for chess lessons with Bobby. At Erasmus High, he studied Russian to use in Moscow. "I'm pretty good at Spanish, and I like science, astronomy most of all, he says. Born March 12, 1943. Bobby loved puzzles as a baby, according to his mother, Mrs. Reglna Fischer, a nurse. His parents were divorced when he was 2. His sister taught him chess when he was 6. In fourth grade he won a scholarship to a Brooklyn school where his chess was encouraged. At the Brooklyn Chess Club, president Carmine Nigro "helped me more than anybody," Bobby recalls. By the time he was 12, he was taking on big-timers at the Manhattan and Marshall Chess Clubs. He was 14 when he beat famed Samuel Reshevsky, then 46, for the United States championship the first time. Repeating the feat a second year sealed Bobby's achievement. It couldn't be "luck" twice. Short on friends his own age, Bobby spends most of his after school hours studying books on chess (which he remembers practically totally) and playing the game with adults. Winning chess demands athlete-type training, boning up on opponents' past games, planing strategy. That plus school-work puts a heavy strain on Bobby's time. For those who dare hope to checkmate the young champion, or others just interested in how he does it, book publishers Simon & Schuster are bringing out "Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess." Nearing 16, surrounded by chess glory, Bobby is beginning to notice the world now and then. "The other night " he even came up and shook hands with myi wife," said a pleased former champion old enough to be Bobby's grandfather. HAIR WARTS MOLES h ruts EtffiMMt 0SToM Offal OaMlltM Offcf lilt nmmc.ri. MM fwoM.aiwi) Km IM Fn Tan Tlwn V

Clipped from
  1. St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
  2. 27 Jan 1959, Tue,
  3. Page 33

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  • He's Chess Champ, But Still Just a Boy

    BobbyFischer – 28 Feb 2018

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