Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness Paperback – January 17, 2012
|New from||Used from|
"Turning the Tables" by Teresa Giudice and K.C. Baker
From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again | Check out "Turning the Tables".
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Guest Reviewer: Dick Cavett
Even if you don’t give a damn about chess, or Bobby Fischer, you’ll find yourself engrossed by Frank Brady‘s book about Fischer, which reads like a novel.
The facts of Bobby’s life (I knew him from several memorable appearances on “The Dick Cavett Show” on both sides of the Big Tournament) are presented in page-turner fashion. Poor Bobby was blessed and cursed by his genius, and his story has the arc of a Greek tragedy---with a grim touch of mad King Lear at the end.
The brain power and concentrated days and nights Bobby spent studying the game left much of him undeveloped, unable to join conversations on other subjects. Later in his life, unhappy with his limited knowledge of things beyond the chess board, he compensated with massive study---applying that same hard-butt dedication to other fields: politics, classics, religion, philosophy and more. He found a hide-away nook in a Reykjavic bookstore---barred from his homeland, Iceland had welcomed him back---where he read in marathon sessions. (After he was recognized, he never went back to his cozy cul de sac.)
In Brady’s telling the high drama of the Spassky match quickens the pulse; the contest that made America a chess-crazed land was seen by more people than the Superbowl. People skipped school and played sick in vast numbers, glued to watching Shelby Lyman explain what was happening. The fanaticism was worldwide. The match was seen as a Cold War event, with the time out of mind chess-ruling Russian bear vanquished.
Arguably the best known man on the planet at his triumphant peak, Bobby is later seen in this account riding buses in Los Angeles, able to pay his rent in a dump of an apartment only because his mother sent him her social-security checks. The details of all this are stranger than fiction, as is nearly everything in the life of this much-rewarded, much-tortured genius.
I liked him immensely, knowing only the tall, broad-shouldered, athletically strong and handsome six-foot-something articulate and yes, witty, youth that Bobby was before the evil times set in, with deranged anti-Semitic outbursts and other mental strangeness preceding his too early end at age 64.
I can’t ever forget the moment on the show when in amiable conversation I asked him what, in chess, corresponded to the thrill in another sort of event; like, say, hitting a homer in baseball. He said it was the moment when you “break the other guy’s ego.” There was a shocked murmur from the audience and the quote went around the world.
Frank Brady’s Endgame is one of those books that makes you want your dinner guests to go the hell home so you can get back to it.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Frank Brady first met Bobby Fischer when the young prodigy was a child and Brady was a teen, and he went on as a journalist to cover Fischer's life as the boy from Brooklyn rose to become the first American to win the World Chess Championship.
Brady is a full professor of communications at St. John's University, and the president of the Marshall Chess Club,the most prestigous chess club in the country. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Maxine, a writer and editor.
Top Customer Reviews
From this disturbing scene, we shoot back to Fischer's childhood during the Mcarthy Era in which his mother, who lived in Russia and was involved in Leftist political activities, is investigated by the FBI. Fischer as a child with a genius IQ of 180 becomes obsessed with chess and is soon hailed as a prodigy beating adults around the world, including US's rival, Russia.
As Fischer becomes more and more prominent, Brady captures the demons that begin to consume Fischer: He becomes more and more anti-Semitic though he himself is a Jew, he becomes a hypochondriac, a paranoid malcontent, and a grouch who cannot elicit the reader's sympathy, at least for me.
Brady takes us to Fischer's final years in Iceland (the only country that would host him after he renounced his US citizenship and became a wanted man by Interpol all over the world), referred to as a "devil's island," a place where Fischer must spend the rest of his life.
We get the picture of a broken man with no will to live, mildly consoled by eating at restaurants 3 times a day and refusing medical treatment for his urinary tract and weakened kidneys.
Growing up in the 1970s and taking pride in Fischer's domination over the Soviets, I found this a bracing read, a portrait of a man too smart for his own good and too delusional. Highly recommended for those who want a biography that neither praises nor condemns Fischer as much as it gives us a lucid portrait of him.
This book is a fascinating account of what happened in between these flashes of news and succeeds in explaining what Fischer was all about. You don't have to be a chess fan to enjoy it (or even know the moves). It's easy, vivid reading, and kept me up beyond my bedtime. It's full of all sorts of interesting details: where his strange religious and political views came from; the files the FBI had on him and his mother; whether he was circumcised (!); the fact that he was Russell Targ's brother-in-law. The author certainly knows his subject.
Fischer was one of the most extreme "outliers" of his generation: totally brilliant, tragically self-destructive, utterly ungrateful, but thoroughly captivating. Whether you remember Fischer or not, you'll enjoy this book as a character study of an amazing figure.
Some features of Fischer's personality emerge from the book. First, he was apparently unable to understand that business agreements require that both sides get something from the deal. He believed that if other people profited at all from his activities, then they were taking advantage of him. As a result, he walked away from over ten million dollars in business opportunities after winning the world championship. It's tempting to say that this view reflects the zero-sum nature of chess, and his own playing style, which sought victories and not draws.
Second, there was a healthy dose of paranoia in Fischer's makeup. He was convinced that the Soviet Union, and later the United States government, were out to get him, as were the world's Jews. Of course, paranoids can have real enemies - - the Soviet chess establishment did collude to try to keep the title in their community, and the U.S. government did go after him for violating international sanctions against Yugoslavia. Fischer's anti-Semitic paranoia seems purely irrational.
Third, I was amazed at how much loyalty Fischer could command from his friends despite treating them poorly and discarding them all too easily. Brady does not convey exactly why people put up with this treatment, even though Brady was a sometimes friend of Fischer himself. I suspect that hero worship helps explain why people tolerated mistreatment in order to remain close to such a gifted chess player.Read more ›
Fischer gradually faded from the consciousness of most chess fans and tournament players, finally re-emerging in 1992 to play a privately sponsored rematch against Boris Spassky. Both men were paid handsomely for the match, with the major problem being that they were being paid by war criminals whom the US State Department had already proscribed any business contact with by US citizens. An arrest warrant was put out for Fischer, and he never returned to his native land. Fischer may have already harbored a resentment for America, but regardless of whether one already existed, this episode placed Fischer fully at odds with his homeland.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed reading this biography. It is well written, thorough and captures the life of one of the most gifted, yet flawed individuals of our time. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Stuart
Great and disturbing both read, both at the same time. It begs the question, what if ????Published 21 days ago by Donald Lacroix
Interesting and refreshingly informative. The author corrects many journalist produced mythology about Fischer e.g. Read morePublished 26 days ago by AH
I just finished the book. It was interesting to read from start to finish. It describes Bobby Fischer from childhood to the end of his life and provides a deep look into his... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr.Chunky Monkey
A well written interesting account which examines the intense thoughts and emotions of Bobby Fischer with an honest balanced look at arguably the best and most interesting chess... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ray
Really nice book. Lots of details about Fischer's life that I hadn't read before. Fischer was a perfect example of the wedding between genius and insanity.Published 3 months ago by Richard C. Mannix