I’ll be reading this one soon…

Next Tuesday is the publishing date of Frank Brady’s new book, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness. I’ve posted about Bobby Fischer before, and I’m also sure that by now everyone’s tired of hearing me say how I used to compete in chess tournaments in a prior life, but I won’t be able to resist reading this new book and writing about it once I’m done. There is a good review of this new book in the new York times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/books/24book.html?_r=2&ref=books

I think maybe it’s the uncomfortably close relationship between “genius” and “madness” that makes Fischer such a compelling figure. The history of chess is almost littered with tales of geniuses who “went mad” ostensibly due to their obsession with the game, or even the overworking of their brain in mastering its complexities. E.g., “Blindfold Chess” – where one player must keep track of the board and positioning of the pieces in his head vs. a sighted opponent – was “forbidden” for a long time in the former Soviet Union because it was felt to increase the risk of madness. Fischer, however, was the first celebrated case in this modern age of mass media, which may make him a kind of poster boy for the phenomenon. I can’t wait to read more about him. Supposedly, the book is very accessible to even non-chess players, so it may be worth a spot on your TBR lists..

Indiana chess master (and blogger!), Dennis Monokroussos, has written a review of the book on his web site, The Chess Mind. You can find it at:

http://www.thechessmind.net/blog/2011/1/4/a-review-of-frank-bradys-_endgame_-a-bobby-fischer-bio.html

Note, however, that his comments about the book lacking photographs and other supporting material only apply to his review copy, not the upcoming published version.

-Jay

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2 Comments

  1. Ann Marie said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Playing blindfolded chess can lead to madness? Uh oh … hopefully that only applies to games that are more than 15 moves (or was your game with Tim fewer moves than that?)

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      I think that was 18 moves, and I do recall going a little crazy for awhile after that…

      But seriously, I think the Russians were more talking about playing multiple blindfold chess games simultaneously. (yes, people actually do that!) Two at a time was my record. What I do not recommend is playing a blindfold chess game while driving a car – although I did beat my Dad once back in the 80s that way…

      Like


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