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Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How A Lone American Star Defeated the Soviet Chess Machine (P.S.) Paperback – Bargain Price, March 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Spassky loved the game for itself, and, as a well-rounded gentleman who liked fishing and festive parties with his friends, seemed sincerely to be looking forward to what he called "a feast of chess," win or lose. He admired Fischer, but the book shows that beyond a colossal talent for chess, Fischer possessed few admirable qualities. He was a morose man who one journalist said "was likely to greet even an old friend as if he were expecting a subpoena".Read more ›
To help the nonchess reader sort out the menagerie, authors David Edmonds and John Eidinow provide a "Dramatis Personae," listing 21 Americans, 24 Soviets, six Icelanders, four match officials, and six sundry others, explaining their relationship to the Reykjavik, Iceland chess match. They also include a short glossary to educate us in the vocabulary of competitive chess.
The book begins with a vital quote by Boris Spassky, "When you play Bobby, it is not a question of whether you win or lose. It is a question of whether you survive. This sets the tone for all that follows.
Edmonds and Eidinow lay out the social mire Fischer was growing up in, and his quick rise to chess dominance.
In 1954, when Fischer was 11, he was attending matches and doing well enough but not at his later prodigy level. In that year, as he is quoted, he "just got good." Modern chess history, or at least for one its most colorful characters, begins then.
1972: Boris Spassky was the champ. He deserved to be there. Bobby Fischer was the contender. He deserved to have the opportunity. Between these two men stood a world of complex politics, money, national pride, idiosyncrasies, and suitors to the game. Reykjavik, Iceland was the location of what has become one of the most legendary chess matches ever, between Spassky and Fischer.Read more ›
There are three themes that I thought were well illuminated by this book. First was Bobby Fischer's behavior. Of course I had heard that he was eccentric and difficult, but never did I imagine just how bizarre he really could be. His unbelievable micromanagement of every aspect of a tournament, his antisocial behavior, his forfeiting of a game in the world championship, all these are brought to life in a way that provides the reader a real taste for the character of the man that was wonderful, if frustrating, to read.
Second, the book did an excellent job of detailing exactly how beneficial Fischer, and the Fischer/Spassky match, was to chess overall. Bizarre behavior or not, Fischer took chess from a poor man's game to one in which top players could demand top dollar. This was far more interesting than most people would probably imagine and more interesting than I can convey with a simple review.
Third, and most fascinating, was the description of the Cold War chess match that was being played by the US and USSR on the world stage over the Fischer/Spassky match itself. Think about it - the Soviets not only dominated chess but explicitly stated that their chess superiority was evidence of the superiority of their socialist system. Then, not only are the Soviets knocked off their perch, they are utterly demolished.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Audiobook: A fascinating analysis of both the players and the chess culture and its history in both the United States and Soviet Union leading up to the famous duel between... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Eric C. Welch
A good read for people interested in chess. It gets a bit tedious in spots, but it's a rare book that doesn't.Published 5 days ago by David L. Kendall
If you have read up on Bobby Fischer, there is not much new here. But the content on Spassky and the Soviet system make it a worthwhile read.Published 15 days ago by iRead
Reading this book took me back to a time I had forgotten. I had never known the details of the event, the background of the participants, the extent of Bobby Fischer's demands. Read morePublished 16 days ago by ralbertyesq
Concise and well written. Enjoyed behind the scenes accounts of both Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky the Soviet chess grandmaster; their handlers, government involvement and... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Stephen Walker
I'm rounding up a bit.
I knew a certain amount about Bobby Fischer before reading this book, but little about Boris Spassky, the World Champion Fischer defeated. Read more
An excellent reference book that should sit along side Endgame and Bobby Fisher Comes Home.Published 3 months ago by Ray A Burleigh
What a well-done book, surprisingly so much better than Kasparov's book about Fischer.
Interviewing the important Soviet personalities, they do a great job of conveying... Read more