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Bobby Fischer Comes Home: The Final Years in Iceland, a Saga of Friendship and Lost Illusions Paperback – June 16, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Olafasson's poignant book delivers the fullest account yet of Bobby Fischer's triumphal and tragic years in Iceland with a thoughtful, thorough, and balanced presentation, including topics that transport us beyond the limits of its place and theme. A personal and heartbreaking account.
(John D. Warth, This title is destined to be a classic... ChessCafe.com)

Bobby Fisher Comes Home describes the end of the life of a brilliant chess player with dignity. (Richard Vedder, FIDE Master, Netherlands Schakers.info)

Olafsson doesn't apologize for Fisher in the way some of his other biographers have. A charming aspect of the book is how Olafsson weaves his own biographical details into the narrative.

(Cecil Rosner Winnepeg Free Press)

A fascinating read, in turns poignant and perplexing, and I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone interested in the second Pride and Sorrow of American Chess.

(Ken Surratt ChessVille)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 143 pages
  • Publisher: New In Chess,Csi (June 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9056913816
  • ISBN-13: 978-9056913816
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher J. Falter on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Chess fans know about Fischer's fall from grace after winning the world title--his refusal to negotiate the terms of the hoped-for 1975 title match, his 1992 rematch with Spassky, his hostile rants against America, Jews, Communists, and pretty much everyone who had tried to befriend him, his flight from American arrest warrants.... But I had never known about everything the Icelandic chess community had done for him. They had treated him as an honored guest in 1972, and the small island nation where everyone knows everyone basically adopted him as a member of the extended Icelandic family even before they broke the impasse over his Japanese incarceration by granting him full citizenship in March 2005.

By recounting the story of how he became a Fischer fan even before the great 1972 match, and how he became engrossed with Fischer during the match, Icelandic GM Helgi Olafsson helps us understand how the whole island came to regard him as a member of their tight-knit community. But the relationship was just getting started in 1972. Olafsson recounts the dismay he and the Icelandic chess community felt as Fischer broke down psychologically over the ensuing decades, and how they decided they must help him even as the US government made his life difficult by seeking to extradite him for violating US economic sanctions. For example, they formed an "RJF Committee" that pulled in Icelandic government officials to send diplomatic cables pleading for mercy on Fischer, but they got little response from the US State Department.

When the Icelandic parliament finally declared Fischer a full citizen, Olafsson felt like they were bringing him home.
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This is an interesting account of one man's relationship and experiences with Bobby Fischer in Iceland. There are interesting insights into Bobby but some of the writing is awkward, the time shifts can be confusing, and some passages are difficult to understand. In my opinion there's also far too much focus on the author in some chapters. I wanted to read about Bobby Fischer, not the author. This book clearly shows that Bobby Fischer was not the mad man as he was made out to be by the media. Yes, he had a temper and he spoke his mind, but he wasn't mentally ill. It left me feeling sorry for the life he had to endure due to political manipulations, specifically at the hands of the US government. A short book, but a fairly good read, although the price seems a bit steep considering that there's not a lot of really new information in it.
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Format: Paperback
Another book on Fischer. Its different however from most of the others. Devoted mainly to his time in Iceland towards the end of his life, with flashbacks to earlier times. Its fairly well written, particularly by a non native English speaker. No games just the story of events leading up to his incarceration in Japan, and the efforts to have him sent to Iceland. Most of the content is reasonably well known but the author was there and puts his slant on events. I received my copy from New In Chess as a gift for a magazine subscription but had thought about purchasing the book. It is well worth your money and time, even if only to remind you what a shifty lot the US government can be from time to time.
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Format: Paperback
Helgi has done a beautiful job interweaving the quite dramatic 'rescue' of Bobby Fischer and Fischer's final years in Iceland (mostly in Reykjavik) with Helgi's own upbringing in the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar). Although I followed the international press at the time Fischer was relocated to Reykjavik, it was very difficult to get the 'full story' in terms of the extensive diplomatic relations and the sequence of events-- but now I have it from this marvelous text! Helgi is honest (sometimes brutally honest) in his discussion of the events. As a native English speaker, I did not struggle with the text at all-- Helgi really has a remarkable talent for storytelling in English... as well as winning chess games! If you are planning a trip to Iceland and want to be sure to visit some of the places where Fischer lived, and also his grave, it is very easy to identify those cites from the text as well as the helpful photos. You can probably also find Helgi too-- at the Reykjavik chess club where he coaches young students.
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I grew up in awe of Bobby Fischer and the sport he inspired me to study. However, I found myself alienated and confused by the overly fantastic caricature presented of his later life.

This book is eloquent and honest. From a very impressive and intelligent author we are presented Bobby Fischer the man. And I could not be more thankful for the opportunity.
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