Saturday, June 09, 2012

Bobby Fischer - the chess prodigy

                   There are players deemed as "prodigies" in the game of chess. At a very young age, their comprehension about the game is phenomenal.  Their creative instinct and intuition are unexplainable. It is as if they are playing on sheer God given talent and their victories attained after a perfect execution of the fundamental principles of chess.

             If we think of chess prodigies, the list will always include the name of Bobby Fischer.  Perhaps, he is one prodigy who created that paradigm shift in the game of chess.  His 1972 match against Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland has transformed chess into one great sport from just a board game to past the time.  
           The two superpowers of the cold war - the United States and the former USSR disputed their supremacy on the chessboard.  Chess which is actually a game of intellectual pursuits, the attainment of victory has become a matter of pride between the two countries. It was only at that time that the domination of the Soviets in chess was tested to the hilt.

           After Fischer crushed Spassky, the world recognized chess as a sport whose importance in international relations cannot be ignored. Chess transcended all barriers. It is a form of communication between people of different languages, beliefs, religion and culture. Chess is universal and its effect on humanity has been established.

          If we are to take a closer look at the games of Fischer, it cannot be denied that the person pushing the pieces is extraordinary. One particular example of his genius is that game known as “the game of the century” where the thirteen year old Bobby Fischer demolished Donald Byrne in 1956 during the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York. Fischer’s move (11. __Na4) is an attestation of his immense talent against the former United States' Chess Champion and Olympian. It shows Fischer’s deep comprehension of the game.  At that time, everyone was convinced that someone phenomenal is soon to emerge in the chess world. And he did!

           I sometimes wonder whether it is only the genes that create prodigies. The genes may be a factor but I think there are other reasons as well.  One factor is hard work and determination to succeed in chess. When chess was introduced in Fischer’s life he digested all chess books his hands can hold on to. He studied seriously and practiced diligently.

             To be successful in chess, it is necessary not only to have the right genes but also the right books and reference materials to improve that God given talent. Chess is a game that is simple to learn but very complicated to attain mastery. While we may not be masters in chess, our skills can always be improved through hard work and dedication.

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