Bobby Fischer: My 60 Memorable Games

With the final match in world chess championship happening now as of Nov. 16, 2018, perhaps you are curious to who is the best chess player of all time. Well, that is not quite an easy answer, there is Capablanca, Fischer, Lasker, Kasparov etc. However, the best player, and possibly the most popular chess player of all time, Robert James (Bobby) Fischer (1943-2008) is probably the safest answer. At the time Fischer became the youngest chess grandmaster in history. He was 15 when he became a grandmaster. Fischer dropped out of high school at the age of 16. Despite being a high school drop out, Fischer’s IQ score was found to be 185-187, making him have one of the highest IQ scores of any person; in comparison Albert Einstein’s IQ was 160.

In his book, My 60 Memorable Games, Fischer explains why he made the moves he did in his games. He gives objective, honest, and self-critical annotations on the games, he has won, drawn, and lost. This book is like if you were watching Leonardo Da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa with him explaining why he made certain strokes along with his interpretation of each stroke. When I was reading through the games, with his analysis of the moves, along with the strongest chess engine as of today, Stockfish; excluding Alpha Zero, most of his moves are exactly what the chess engine would have played, and the strength of Stockfish can easily beat the current top chess masters. So, Fischer, was playing extremely high-level chess long before the first chess computers even existed as well as long before the internet existed.

One of my personal favourite games from the book is game 17, Bobby Fischer versus the Magician from Riga, Mikhail Tal; Candidates Tournament, 1959, Sicilian Defence. Fischer did not win this game; however, his opponent was Tal, the greatest attacking grandmaster of all time and the youngest world champion at the time; 1960. Tal was the kind of player who would sacrifice a rook on a pawn just for something interesting to happen, and in this game, Fischer made some aggressive moves against the wrong player!

One does not have to be passionate, or serious about chess to see the beauty and artistic qualities of Fischer’s chess games, nor must you have lots of chess knowledge to see the genius of Bobby Fischer himself. So, whip out your chess boards and immerse yourself into the mind of Fischer.