Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Bobby Fischer, 1943-2008

Rarely do gift and curse come as closely entwined as they did in the remarkable brain of Robert James Fischer, the greatest player ever of the greatest game ever invented. A grand master at 15, Fischer beat the Russian champion Boris Spassky in 1972 in a chess match in Iceland that was both a performance of symphonic brilliance and the master metaphor for a global geopolitical moment. But Fischer's genius soured into madness, and he lived the rest of his life in venomous and bitter seclusion. He died, leaving no family, in Reykjavík, the scene of his last and greatest victory.

Lev Grossman