21 December 2010

The Bobby Fischer Saga (cont.)

There's been a spate of new Bobby Fischer material over the past few months, the most recent being the announcement of ENDGAME by Frank Brady (Crown Publishers). Subtitled 'Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness', the book will be hitting stores in February 2011.

Dr. Frank Brady is best known as the author of Profile of a Prodigy (Amazon.com), the biography that followed Bobby from his birth in Chicago in 1943 to his capture of the World Championship in 1972. To get a preview of Brady's new book, see Endgame by Frank Brady - Excerpt (Scribd.com).

Less pleasant is A Psychological Autopsy of Bobby Fischer by Joseph G. Ponterotto (Miller-McCune.com, where the essay is currently listed as no.2 under 'Most Viewed'), subtitled 'Chess player Bobby Fischer’s tortured life illustrates why promising young talents deserve better support programs.' Pulling together many odd facts about Fischer, it appears to be the prelude to another book.

Providing a detailed differential diagnosis of Bobby Fischer would require a much longer treatment of the topic than is possible here. I do provide such an expanded consideration in a book-length project in progress. For present purposes, suffice it to say that I believe Bobby did not meet all the necessary criteria to reach diagnoses of schizophrenia or Asperger’s Disorder. The evidence is stronger for paranoid personality disorder, which the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) says “may be first apparent in childhood and adolescence with solitariness, poor peer relationships, social anxiety, underachievement in school, hypersensitivity, peculiar thoughts and language, and idiosyncratic fantasies.

'Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World' was the title of an infamous 1974 book by Brad Darrach, who also wrote a series of articles on Fischer for Life magazine. 'Bobby Fischer Against the World' is the title of a documentary accepted for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival: A sad Portland-at-Sundance note: Karen Schmeer's last film. For more about the film, see its Facebook page.

And finally, going back a few months, Chessmoso reposted articles originally written for the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper: The Bobby Fischer saga continues and New twist on Jinky and Joey case. The 'Bobby Fischer saga' might never end.


Later: I wanted to link the mention of Brad Darrach's book to a recent essay by Edward Winter on Darrach but was unable to locate it on the Chesshistory.com site. Afterwards it occurred to me that the article had been published on Chessbase.com: Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (52), 'In 1975 Bobby Fischer filed a $20,000,000 libel suit over a book by Brad Darrach on the 1972 Spassky v Fischer world title match in Iceland. What were the rights and wrongs of the affair?'.

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