Is This Why Bobby Fischer Stopped Playing Chess? | (2023)

Bobby Fischer was the 11th World Chess Champion. Some consider him to have the greatest natural affinity for the game in its history. His entire life and playing career were dogged with controversy and at the moment that he attained the incredible feat of becoming world champion, things started to unravel. He was due to defend it against Anatoly Karpov the great Russian world chess champion but instead, he forfeited and apart from one exception, Fischer never played competitive chess again.

Why did Bobby Fischer stop playing chess? Although Fischer never said why he stopped playing chess, we can speculate that he was quite disillusioned with the game. His entire life was built around chess and not always in a constructive fashion. He was a troubled man and he became more and more of a recluse until his death in 2008.

Is This Why Bobby Fischer Stopped Playing Chess? | (1)

Who Was Bobby Fischer?

Bobby Fischer was an American citizen who started playing chess at a young age. He was marked for his considerable talent very early in life and when he was just 13, he played a game with Donald Byrne (an International Master) at the Marshall Chess Club in New York.

The Game Of the Century

This game would be dubbed “The Game of the Century” by Chess Review magazine. Up to this point, Fischer had been known as a talent but one with no real affinity for playing tournament chess. Byrne, on the other hand, was a major talent. He had represented the US in 3 Chess Olympiads and was a promising International Master expected to fast track to grandmaster (something that never happened due to Byrne becoming sick).

(Video) Bobby Fischer Hated Chess

The young Fischer exploited his opponent’s greed for his queen perfectly. Byrne may have won the queen on the 17th move but by that time, he’d thrown away 2 bishops, a rook and a pawn for it. This massive loss of material allowed Fischer to force checkmate while keeping Byrne’s queen trapped and useless on the opposite edge of the board.

Fischer put this win down to luck. The rest of the chess community knew better, and his star began to rise. A year later, Fischer became the youngest US Chess Champion of all time. Another year passed and he became the youngest grandmaster of all time (then – there have been younger winners of the title, since).

The Perfect Scores

In 1963/4 he became the first ever player to win the US Chess Championship without dropping a single half point. He won all 11 games that he played. By 1970, he waltzed through the candidate matches for the world championship, again winning every game and ending with a perfect score of 6-0.

In 1971, he became the unofficial champion of the world. His ELO rating was 2785 and that was more than 100 points greater than that of Boris Spassky (the actual champion). This remains, to this day, the greatest gap between the two top rated players in the world of all time.

Fischer Vs Spassky: The USA Vs The USSR

He met Spassky for the title in 1972. It was the height of the Cold War. As you might expect, the USSR vs the USA over the board attracted a little bit of attention. It was the most controversial chess championship of all time and the most interesting – it broke audience records around the world. They still stand.

(Video) Why Did the World’s Best Chess Player Go Insane?

Fischer crushed Spassky 12 ½ – 8 ½ and won “the Match of the Century” in style. In the immediate aftermath Fischer hit his highest ever FIDE rating of 2785. He was flown to the USA where he rejected, out of hand, over $5 million of offers to endorse products.

He became the first chess player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. He starred on TV in a Bob Hope special.

The Cracks Begin To Show

Fischer didn’t leave his game against Spassky a happy man. In fact, he felt that their match had cheated the world of chess. He said that the rules which meant the winner would be the first player to 12 ½ points deliberately discouraged interesting chess.

He said that he’d taken advantage of this when he’d found the lead. He just played to draw. This made it much less likely that Spassky could win and thus guaranteed that Fischer could coast to victory.

He wanted the rules changed before the next tournament. He proposed the first player to chalk up 10 wins would win, however, if the score reached 9-9, then the player with the title kept it but the prize pot would be split equally.

(Video) Bobby Fischer vs Greenblatt: Chess Genius takes on Technology (1977)

FIDE felt Fischer’s proposals had merit. They voted on them. They agreed to the first to 10 rule but balked at the 9-9 rule. They said that this would mean that the World Championship could essentially become an infinite chess match.

Fischer Flounces Out

This didn’t sit well with Bobby Fischer who had become entirely enamored with his own point of view and he was unwilling to compromise on any aspect of his plan. He was invited to defend his title against Anatoly Karpov in 1975. He refused, ostensibly because of the rules, and his title was forfeit. Karpov became the World Champion without so much as pushing a single pawn.

There was (and continues to be) speculation that Bobby Fischer bowed out at this time because he was afraid of Karpov who was, to be fair, a more formidable opponent than Spassky had been and he’d had the entire weight of the USSR’s substantial chess machine thrown behind him to create the perfect player to take on Fischer.

However, we think this is probably unlikely. Fischer wasn’t the type of man to fear a game of chess, but he was the type of man to throw a massive tantrum over his own ego.

Seventeen Years Later

Fischer stopped playing chess entirely at this point and it wasn’t until 1992 that Jezdimir Vasliejevic a Yugoslav millionaire was willing to fund a match on Fischer’s terms.

(Video) Bobby Fischer's 21-move brilliancy

He refused to play Karpov, Korchnoi and Kasparov, however, claiming that FIDE had rigged their competitive play off to reach the result that they had.

Instead, Bobby Fischer would play Boris Spassky again (who had, by now, dropped to around 100th in the world rankings). Fischer might not have had any tournament practice in a long time but he was more than good enough to take on the Russian and won decisively 10-5.

This would be his final competitive chess match and Bobby Fischer never faced a great player across the board again.

So Why Did Bobby Fischer Quit Chess Entirely?

Bobby Fischer never made it clear as to why he quit playing chess. His reasons were his own and he took them to the grave. The sad truth is that once he had left chess Fischer dropped into a strange twilight existence which smacks of mental problems and illness.

He would become involved in the nastier side of right-wing politics and live a life mainly in exile from the United States. As he grew older, his problems just become worse and worse.

(Video) Bobby Fischer on Paul Morphy and how opening theory destroyed chess "I hate chess" - Bobby Fischer.


So why did Bobby Fischer stop playing chess? There’s no way to tell for certain. Many have speculated that it was fear of being forced to take on the entire Russian chess machine that forced him away from the board but this doesn’t seem to tie in with his pugnacious and combative character at all. It seems more likely that Fischer was simply rejecting the need to prove himself by putting himself through the wringer again.

What’s certainly not in doubt is Fischer’s problematic life from the time he quit at the tender age of 29 and his eventual death at the age of 64. The man who is often considered chess’s greatest natural talent never vanished into obscurity and despite the controversies of his later life, will always be admired for the games that he played on the board.


When did Bobby Fischer stop playing chess? ›

Fischer retired from chess after winning the world title in 1972 .

Why Fischer didn t play Karpov? ›

Fischer refused to play the then-standard "Best of 24 games" match and, after FIDE was unable to work out a compromise, forfeited his title instead. Karpov was named World Champion by default on April 3, 1975.

What problem did Bobby Fischer have? ›

“The problem was that he didn't have balance,” Ponterotto said. “His personal identity was fused with his chess identity. So when he stopped playing competitive chess, he lost that structure and became more vulnerable to possible mental illness.”

What was Bobby Fischer's IQ? ›

After beating Boris Spassky in 1972, he became the first American-born world chess champion. Bobby Fischer IQ was estimated to be over 180, who was an eccentric genius.

Was Karpov better than Fischer? ›

But yes, Fischer in '75 was almost certainly stronger than Karpov in '75. 1978 was a different matter however, and is open to more debate. In 1978 against Korchnoi, Karpov had another close match, the final score was Karpov 6 wins, Korchnoi 5 wins and 21 draws. I believe Fischer would of won in 1978 too.

What does Kasparov think of Bobby Fischer? ›

Former Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov said Fischer's conquest of the chess world in the 1960s was "a revolutionary breakthrough" for the game. But Fischer's reputation as a chess genius soon was eclipsed by his idiosyncrasies.

What did Bobby Fischer think of Kasparov? ›

Fischer was known for saying the K vs K games were prearranged, and had called Kasparov an idiot. Kasparov said Fischer's play in the return match vs Spassky was around 2500 level. Fischer was also obsessed with calling himself the world champion even after he defaulted the title.

Did Bobby Fischer fear Karpov? ›

So in that respect, he was fearful of Karpov. Add to this that Fischer had almost completely withdrawn from world class competition after his victory over Spassky. He knew he was rusty when the Karpov challenge loomed and this compunded his insecurity.

Who went insane in the world's best chess player? ›

By the end of his life, Wilhelm Steinitz, once considered the greatest chess player of the 19th century, was telling people how he had played chess with God ––and won. Steinitz' story follows a parabola of fame, an arc that took him to the heights of chess notoriety before dropping him into madness.

Is Bobby Fischer a genius? ›

That Fischer was a genius, with one of the most innovative and thrilling minds ever to address a chess board, is largely undisputed. He played in eight U.S. chess championships and won all eight, decisively.

How much was Bobby Fischer worth when he died? ›

Bobby Fischer was an American chess grandmaster and prodigy who had a net worth of $2 million at the time of his death. Bobby Fischer won his first U.S Championship at the age of 14 and went on to make many lasting contributions to chess.

What is Elon Musk's IQ? ›

Elon's IQ is estimated to be around 155, while Albert Einstein's is 160. With such a slight margin, Musk is undoubtedly an incredibly smart person. Who is the smartest person on earth in 2022?

What is the IQ of Bill Gates? ›

Bill Gates IQ is 151.45, despite the fact that he has never publicly disclosed it. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs in 1973, which converts to a score of 1590 out of 1600. With this IQ, Bill Gates is technically a genius because he is smarter than 99.96% of the population.

How high is Magnus Carlsen IQ? ›

And if Magnus Carlsen is the finest chess player the world has ever seen, he can be that intelligent! His IQ of 190 is ideal for him!

Who is the hardest working chess player? ›

Fischer, atleast seemingly, becomes known as the "hardest" working chess player who studies day and night, is never without his pocket chess set, has no interest beyond chess, gets lost in conversations and pulls out his chess set, etc.

Who has beaten Fischer? ›

In his eight US Chess Championships, Fischer lost only three games; to Edmar Mednis in the 1962/63 event, and in consecutive rounds to Samuel Reshevsky, and Robert Byrne in the 1965 championship, culminating in a total score of 74/90 (61 wins, 26 draws, 3 losses).

What was the best chess game ever played Fischer? ›

The Game of the Century is one of the most famous chess games of all time. It is also considered to be one of GM Bobby Fischer's best games, despite the fact that he played it when he was just 13 years old. Bobby Fischer in 1972.

Was Bobby Fischer better than Magnus? ›

If it was based on talent only then Bobby Fischer would probably win. Take away Carlsens ability to study with computers and only allow him to study with chess books from the early 1970s the odds are that Bobby Fischer would win by a small margin.

Was Einstein a good chess player? ›

It's also known that Einstein could play chess, though he reportedly disliked the competitive aspect. That said, he was a great player, even though he never really pursued the game. There are a few recorded games of Einstein's. However he rarely played.

What is the 20 40 40 rule in chess? ›

Follow 20/40/40 Rule

That's where 20/40/40 rule comes handy. For an under 2000 rated player, it makes sense to spend 20% of the time on openings, 40% on Middlegame and 40% on Endgame. Besides that, you should play practice games, solve tactics and analyze.

Who is better Bobby Fischer or Garry Kasparov? ›

Just about everyone can agree that Kasparov and the real Fischer are the 2 greatest chess players of all-time, but there is no consensus on who is better. If you're judging strictly by accomplishments, then Kasparov is better because he held the title for 15 years and took part in 8 World Championship matches.

What did Boris Spassky think of Bobby Fischer? ›

Boris Spassky: “I've kept good memories of Fischer. I don't have any grudges against him. I always forgave him the fact that he behaved like a child. Bobby was very pure and friendly.

Did Bobby Fischer speed chess? ›

In 1970, however, I was no longer a match for him at this speed.” There is also a report about the 17-year-old Fischer playing speed chess at the 1960 Leipzig Olympiad, where he dominated the likes of Robert Byrne and Miguel Najdorf but was reportedly still not quite a match for Korchnoi and Tal.

What was Bobby Fischer's favorite chess piece? ›

Bobby liked his mother a lot so the queen would be his favorite piece.

Did Bobby Fischer ever play against a computer? ›

In the same year, in 1977, then already the ex-world champion, the ingenious Robert Bobby Fischer played his match against the program "Chess Newsletter" in the USA. Fischer won the match with the result 3:0, without playing the 4th, last game.

Did Fischer ever meet Karpov? ›

3/27/2005 – In 1976 Anatoly Karpov met with Bobby Fischer in the Philippines, hoping to arrange an unofficial world championship match. It didn't happen, but the two grandmasters did play some informal games.

Why did Bobby Fischer refuse to defend his title? ›

Fischer refused to defend his title against Karpov in 1975 ,because FIDE did not accept all the American's terms for doing so. Ultimately there was only one regulation that FIDE rejected . The specification that if the match got to 9/9 the Champion retained his title (The match was to be the first to win 10 games).

Why is Bobby Fischer buried in Iceland? ›

Facing criminal charges in the U.S. for tax evasion and playing in sanctioned countries, including a rematch with Spassky in the former Yugoslavia (Fischer won), he eventually found refuge in Iceland.

Do the best chess players have high IQ? ›

Strong grandmasters with a rating of around and over 2600 are expected to have an IQ of 160 plus. The strongest grandmasters of the day with their ratings hovering around 2800 are expected to have IQs around 180.

Who defeated Einstein in chess? ›

Albert Einstein, the father of relativity, played a game of chess against Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. Einstein was actually a decent chess player himself, but hated the competitive aspect of it.

Who is the hottest male chess player? ›

But Magnus Carlsen is not just the best player on the planet – he's also been voted one of the sexiest men alive.

How did Bobby Fischer lose his citizenship? ›

In 2004, he was arrested in Japan and held for several months for using a passport that the US government had revoked. Eventually, he was granted Icelandic citizenship by a special act of the Icelandic parliament, allowing him to live there until his death in 2008. Fischer made numerous lasting contributions to chess.

How was Bobby Fischer so good at chess? ›

Bobby Fischer was a rare combination of talent and hard work. Bobby Fischer was dedicated to the game of chess and spent every minute he could studying the game by reading chess books. In fact, Bobby undoubtedly spent 10 times as much time reading chess books then he did playing chess.

What was Bobby Fischer's personality type? ›

Bobby Fischer – INTJ (96%/98%/99%/94%) – falls into category 3. A generally shy genius who was very creative at the board, hence his intuitive personality trait, often relying on this than deep analysis, although being an exceptionally strong chess player he probably did this as well.

How much money did Bobby Fischer make playing chess? ›

Back in August, we revealed which chess players had won the most prize money throughout history for their performance in major matches and tournaments.
All-Time Update.
GM Vladimir Kramnik$4,757,339$10,000
GM Bobby Fischer$3,519,559$0
GM Veselin Topalov$3,306,834$29,486
8 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

What is Kim Kardashian IQ? ›

Kim Kardashian IQ is estimated to be 190. Although some people are known to have IQs above 200, the theoretical maximum IQ in the world is 200. This IQ demonstrates that Kim is among the smartest people in the world. With a $1 billion net worth, Kim Kardashian is ranked 17th on the Forbes World Billionaires list.

What is Neil Tyson IQ? ›

According to the current records, Neil deGrasse Tyson has an IQ of roughly 123, but he has not released any formal test results, so this is just a rough estimate.

What is Mark Zuckerberg IQ? ›

Various sources, however, estimate it at 152 IQ based on biographical data, publications, and achievements. He is regarded as a genius and among the world's most intellectual individuals. A score of 152 is regarded as high, while a score of 100 is considered normal.

Who has 500 IQ? ›

Marilyn vos Savant
BornMarilyn Mach August 11, 1946 St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationAuthor columnist
SpouseRobert Jarvik ​ ( m. 1987)​

What's the IQ of Jeff Bezos? ›

Jeff Bezos' IQ has never been confirmed publicly but is considered to likely be over 150.

What is Ashton Kutcher's IQ? ›

With an IQ 160, Kutcher is not only in a unique class of brilliant folks, but he is also one of the few actors in Hollywood with such a score, according to Hollywood.

What is Albert Einstein IQ? ›

Albert Einstein likely never took an IQ test but is estimated to have a 160 IQ—but even that can't stand up to these masterminds.

What was the IQ of Nikola Tesla? ›

Nikola Tesla: IQ 160–310

Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American inventor—and arch-rival of Thomas Edison—reportedly had an estimated IQ falling somewhere between 160 and 310, depending on the measure.

What is normal IQ? ›

In general, an IQ score is defined with a median and mean of 100. Scores above 130 are labeled as above average or “very superior,” while scores under 70 would be considered below average or labeled as “borderline impaired.” Most people have an average IQ between 85 and 115.

How many hours a day did Bobby Fischer play chess? ›

' As Fischer developed as a chess player, he distanced himself from his mother. In 1962, he began living alone in the family apartment (his mother and Joan had moved out). Fischer began to devote 14 hours a day to chess.

Did Karpov ever play Fischer? ›

3/27/2005 – In 1976 Anatoly Karpov met with Bobby Fischer in the Philippines, hoping to arrange an unofficial world championship match. It didn't happen, but the two grandmasters did play some informal games.

Why was Fischer so good at chess? ›

He was a reasonably intelligent person who as a youth dedicated himself to the game,willing to play at any time. Linked with his capacity for hard work was his hatred of losing. As chess was his only pillar of ego, it had to be maintained at all costs.

How strong was Bobby Fischer? ›

Bobby Fischer never achieved 2800, the super-elite rating for the very strongest grandmasters. At his 1972 peak during his match with Boris Spassky at Reykjavik Fischer reached 2785, which reflected his record run of 20 consecutive games won and put him 120 points ahead of Spassky.

Why didn't Fischer defend his title? ›

In 1975, Fischer refused to defend his title when an agreement could not be reached with FIDE, chess's international governing body, over the match conditions. Consequently, the Soviet challenger Anatoly Karpov was named World Champion by default.

Is Fischer better than Kasparov? ›

Just about everyone can agree that Kasparov and the real Fischer are the 2 greatest chess players of all-time, but there is no consensus on who is better. If you're judging strictly by accomplishments, then Kasparov is better because he held the title for 15 years and took part in 8 World Championship matches.

Who is Magnus Carlsen's favorite player? ›

Magnus Carlsen: “Probably Bobby Fischer at his best. Because the precision and energy that he played with is just unmatched in the history of chess. So Bobby Fischer from 1970 to 1972.” MC: “Usually a salad or an omelet to get some energy.

What was Bobby Fischer's favorite opening? ›

As his first move, Bobby played c4 (English Opening, Queen's Gambit) instead of his favorite and strongest start: e4 (King Pawn). Bobby had been the strongest proponent of the e4 start his whole life but tied at 2.5 - 2.5 points, Bobby made a starting move he had played only two times in his life.


1. Magnus Carlsen speaks about Bobby Fischer || Magnus vs Fischer
(The chess guy)
2. Bobby Fischer teaches Chess in 1 minute
3. Bobby Fischer interview - "I really don't like the chess players in general"
4. Why Bobby Fischer Is STILL The Most Famous Chess Player
5. Bobby Fischer talks about the Russians
6. Fischer CRUSHED The World's No.3 Player in 10 Moves | Beat Everyone With this TRAP!
(Remote Chess Academy)
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