Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bobby Fischer Goes to War by Edmonds & Eidinow

Halfprice Books is a favorite stop when Jill and I go on dates. The one section that I visit first and every time is the chess section. I've found some good books there before. The last time we went, I found two books that I had seen before but never purchased. Since I have really jumped into chess recently, I decided I needed something to read that was chess related but not of the study type. So I bought Bobby Fischer Goes to War and The Chess Artist.

Bobby Fischer Goes to War was a little tough to get into and to finish. I didn't really like the style of the authors. Perhaps since it was written by two authors, their two styles might have muddled things a bit.

The most interesting thing I found as I read this book was the fact that I seemed to be pulling for Spassky while reading it. Of course I knew Fischer won, but if what the authors described of Spassky is true, I think I would have pulled for Spassky. Fischer seemed to be such a pompous, self-conceited individual while Spassky seemed humble and level-headed. I really felt sorry for Spassky and all that he had to put up with in that championship match. He was really squeezed between a rock and a hard place (Fischer and the Communists).

Another thing I found fascinating, which I didn't know before, was how dominating Fischer was in the preceding tournaments before the championship including his 6-0 thrashing of Mark Taimanov and 6-0 drubbing of Brent Larsen. That just boggles the mind.

I'm glad I read this book. I never really knew much about the Fischer excitement of the late 1960's and early 1970's. My dad and brothers got into chess (like thousands of others around the country) because of the Fischer/Spassky match. As a result, I ended up playing chess with my dad and brother as I grew older. Every chess enthusiast should read this book.

Several other sites have read and reviewed this book. Also, I've seen a few links that suggest this book will be made into a movie to be released in 2010.

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Review by Ken Owen
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