Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bobby Fischer Against the World Hits HBO

A fascinating documentary on the life of the late chess legend premiered last night. Not sure I learned anything important I didn't already know and it's certainly sad to see a mind capable of such brilliance decline so precipitously. But at least he wrapped things up in 64 years, one for each square on the chess board!

Turns out Bobby's dad wasn't exactly American... and our government kept a 950 page file on his mom - so maybe he wasn't as paranoid as some of his political statements might suggest.

Funny to see all the antiquated news clips of the 1972 Spasky event... Nightly news even placed game updates ahead of that silly Watergate break-in during its rundown. (Whatever happened with that Watergate thing, anyway?)

TV graphics certainly have come a long way in 40 years... and with everything broadcast engineers have learned through televising Texas Hold 'Em Poker, it's high time for live chess to become a cultural sensation once again. If chess was good enough for Charlies Angels, it should be good enough for the Bachelorette.

Maybe ESPN will dedicate their next channel to all things chess. Until then, HBO is continuing to show the Fischer documentary throughout the summer.

Sadly, I'm not sure there were any chess lessons to be gleaned... other than the folly of a bishop capturing a rook pawn when its two neighbors are still intact. But Fischer managed to overcome that first game blunder to prevail in the best of 24 match. Perhaps perseverance over the long haul is the enduring chess-related message here.

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