More on Profile of a Prodigy

This book is the story of Bobby Fischer. The often brilliant and just as often bizarre former World Chess Champion.  It begins with one of my favorite quotations from James Joyce:

A man of genius makes no mistakes.  His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”  (from Ulysses)

That’s a good one, and I think quite often true (though not always true).  I would counter it with another favorite quotaton of mine – this one from Carl Sagan:

“Intellectual genius is no guarantee against being dead wrong.”

I may be paraphrasing a bit, but this was heard in his epic PBS Series “Cosmos” back in the ’80s.  I think sometimes too much allowance is given to the ‘geniuses’ – excusing poor, antisocial or malevolent behavior.  Perhaps this is why  Bobby Fischer still has so many ‘fans’ to this day.

Fischer is such a fascinating character, and I’ve received so many views of my other post about him that I thought I’d link to a few videos (below) for those interested in hearing more about and from him.

A nice short video about Fischer’s 1972 match against Boris Spassky can be found here on YouTube.

Another video features a somewhat engaging Bobby Fischer on Dick Cavett show.  Although perhaps the hints of later troubles are there, such as his constant ‘fidgeting’ and ‘restless leg’ and laughingly dismissing questions about his prior ‘bad behavior.’

And finally, another video of Jeremy Schapp of ESPN’s encounter with Fischer in Iceland years after Fischer had ‘gone off the deep end’.


  1. Chris said,

    February 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    does anyone know where and when this picture of Bobby was taken?


    • Jay said,

      February 10, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Hi Chris,
      I believe this was during his 1971 match with Tigran Petrosian in Buenos Aires.


      • Chris said,

        February 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

        Thanks, i really like the picture. Bobby looks very distinguished before his battle. thanks again


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