- Paperback: 440 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (January 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780307463913
- ISBN-13: 978-0307463913
- ASIN: 0307463915
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness Paperback – January 17, 2012
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2011: There may be no one more qualified than Frank Brady to write the definitive biography of Bobby Fischer. Brady's Profile of a Prodigy (originally published in 1969) chronicled the chess icon's early years, a selection of 90 games, and (in later editions) his 1972 World Championship match with Boris Spassky. With Endgame, published two years after Fischer's death, Brady's on-and-off proximity to Fischer lends new depth to the latter's full and twisted life story. Though Fischer's pinnacle artistry on the chessboard may often be discussed in the same breath with his eventual paranoia and outspoken anti-Semitism, the particular turns and travels of his post-World Championship years (half his life) lend his story most of its vexing oddity: the niggling insistence on seemingly arbitrary conditions for his matches, the years on the lam after flagrantly disregarding U.S. economic sanctions, his incarceration in Japan, his eventual citizenship and quiet demise in Iceland. All told, Fischer's life was like none other, and told through the lens of Brady's personal familiarity and access to new source material, results in an utterly engaging read. --Jason Kirk
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.
Brady’s insightful biography of the legendary chess player focuses more on Fischer’s life as a chess champion than on his much-publicized legal troubles and alleged psychological breakdowns. Brady first became friends with Fischer at a chess tournament when they were both children, and he combines a traditional biography with a personal memoir. Fischer began playing chess at age six and was soon playing games by himself, unable to find worthy competition. He seems to have had a lifelong battle with himself, and his biggest challenge may have been conquering not his competitors but his own intellect. Brady is uniquely qualified to write this book. Not only is he a seasoned biographer and someone who knew Fischer on a personal level; he’s also an accomplished chess player himself, able to convey the game’s intricacies to the reader in a clear, uncomplicated manner. The book should appeal to a broad audience, from hard-core chess fans to casual players to those who are simply interested in what is a compelling personal story. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I started playing chess in 1972, before I ever heard of Bobby Fischer. When I did learn of him I went out and purchased my first chess book, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess. Despite the current criticism of this book it was helpful to me at the time and made me want to learn more.
Then came the 1972 World Chess Championship against Boris Spassky. The excitement of his win, not showing up to defend his title, his disappearance, derogatory remarks, problems with the U.S. government, his rematch against Spassky in 1992, and finally his death - I knew these things but I didn't know the stories surrounding them and was never satisfied with any of the other books I've read until I came across this one. Thank you Mr. Brady for a wonderful, well written story of Bobby Fischer's life! It answered a lot of questions and I learned many thing's I didn't know. I can't explain why I didn't come across your book earlier but I'm glad I did. Very highly recommended if you want to know more about Bobby Fischer!
Aside from psychosocial and biographical information about Bobby Fischer, the books also goes over a number of details of the world at the time of any given time period in Bobby's life.
I really cannot think anything to criticize about this book. Some have complained that Brady doesn't list or discuss the actual chess games themselves move by move. I think it is a good decision to avoid that and focus on Fischer's biography only.
Chances are that you're looking at this book because you've heard about or watched the recent film about Fischer, "Pawn Sacrifice". This is a much better source of information about Fischer and a much better and more accurate look into his life.
He said in the "Author's Note" to this 2011 book, "As someone who knew Bobby Fischer from the time he was quite young, I've been asked hundreds of times, 'What was Bobby Fischer really like?' This book is an attempt to answer that question... Paradoxes abound. Bobby was secretive, yet candid... naive, yet well informed... religious, yet heretical... he was not the idiot savant often portrayed by the press... I ask forgiveness for my occasional speculations in this book, but Fischer's motivations beg to be understood... I want readers ... to feel as though they're sitting next to Bobby, on HIS side of the chessboard, or in the privacy of his home." (Pg. ix-x)
He observes that "From a very early age he followed his own rhythms... An intense stubbornness seemed to be his distinguishing feature." (Pg. 13) He notes, "Fischer, who much later in life would gain notoriety for his anti-Jewish rhetoric, always said that although his mother was Jewish, he had no religious training. It is not known whether Bobby... participated in the formal Jewish ritual of Bar Mitzvah." (Pg. 53)
He recounts that Fischer began listening to Herbert Armstrong's radio and then television program, and ultimately became closely associated with Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God: "He refused to enter tournaments whose organizers insisted he play on Friday might, and he began a life of devotion to the Church's tenets." (Pg. 120-121) He adds, "he began to face a time conflict between his two commitments: religion and chess... [Yet] Forty years later he'd still be espousing ideas put forth by Armstrong and [Armstrong's magazine] the 'Plain Truth.'" (Pg. 143) Still, "His connection to the Church was always somewhat ambiguous. He was not a registered member, since he hadn't agreed to be baptized by full immersion in water by Armstrong or one of his ministers... The Church imposed a number of rules that Bobby thought were ridiculous and refused to adhere to, such as a ban on listening to hard rock or soul music... despite Bobby's unwillingness to follow principles espoused by the Church, his life still revolved around it... he enjoyed perks only available to high-ranking members." (Pg. 210)
When his participation in the champion chess match with Boris Spassky was in jeopardy, Fischer received a 10-minute phone call from Henry Kissinger, then-National Security Adviser; "It was at this point that Bobby saw himself not just as a chess player, but as a Cold War warrior in defense of his country." (Pg. 184) Although he eventually lost his 1972 title due to his failure to defend it, he still described himself as "The World's Chess Champion." Brady notes, "Bobby explained to a friend that he had never been defeated... he believed the true World's Champion title was still rightfully his." (Pg. 228)
After his victory in 1972, he began reading anti-Semitic writings; "Bobby's evolving credo was not only anti-Semitic, but as he fell away from the Worldwide Church of God, completely anti-Christian. He discredited both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the very book that had been so much a part of his belief system." (Pg. 212-213) After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, he made some incredible comments in a radio broadcast, such as that "I applaud the act [i.e., the terrorist attacks]... I want to see the U.S. wiped out..." (Pg. 277-278)
Brady's book is a very honest, sympathetic, and insightful portrait of this genius whom many of us idolized in 1972, yet whose subsequent behavior puzzled and sometimes outraged us.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
He more or less figures out Bobby Fischer.Read more