Bobby Fischer Against the World

I recently watched the HBO Documentary – “Bobby Fischer Against the World”.  I was so excited about this movie, that I upgraded my cable package that morning to include HBO.  It was actually pretty reasonable to do, and I only ended up paying about 10 dollars more a month, and got HBO plus 100 more channels.

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you can watch it here:


Around 5pm – 2 hours before the start of the movie, I posted on my facebook status that I had ordered HBO, and quickly received a bunch of “can I come over and watch it too” type responses.  I ended up having 8 people at my apartment.  See the picture below for an idea of what it was like.

Chess Party to Watch Bobby Fischer Against the World

Chess Party to Watch Bobby Fischer Against the World


We ordered some pizza, and it was a lot of fun.  Everyone really enjoyed the movie.

Anthea Carson wrote a review about the movie.  In the comments section I listed a lot of the things I liked about it (more comments below).

Here is an interview with the creator of the Documentary by CBS News that is interesting:

There was an interesting Colorado connection to the movie, in that Life Master Brian Wall, a prolific chess writer, tactical genius, and chess celebrity here, was pictured in the closing credits.  See picture below.  You can click on it to see the full screen version.  It is kind of funny, because he is actually playing backgammon instead of chess.

Colorado Life Master Brian Wall in Closing Credits

Colorado Life Master Brian Wall in Closing Credits

I was able to grab the screen shot, using the Xfinity “On-Demand” feature from Comcast, where you can watch the movie right on your computer.  The closing credits showed how hundreds of people would be out in public playing chess against each other.  Pretty amazing.

That was one of the things I didn’t really realize until I watched the movie – how HUGE chess was in 1972.  The evening newscast would start off with something like “There was a huge discovery in the Watergate case today, but FIRST Bobby Fischer….”.

Some other interesting things I learned and enjoyed about the movie.

  • Bobby Fischer was the most famous living person on the entire planet.
  • they talked about how when playing chess you basically have to be paranoid, because your opponent IS out to get you.
  • I never knew what a workout and exercise fanatic Fischer was, and what good shape he was in.
  • They showed footage of his mom and sister.  I didn’t realize his mom moved to Europe when Bobby was only 16 years old, leaving him by himself in a roach infested apartment in Brooklyn.
  • They also showed a picture of his real father, who looks a lot like Bobby.
  • What a great sportsman Spassky was.  I got to meet and listen to a speech by Spassky in Reno a couple of years ago.  He talked a lot about how unfair it was that Bobby was prosecuted for playing in the 1992 rematch, and how much that rematch helped him, and how grateful he was to Bobby.  A documentary about him would also be fascinating.
  • Spassky also ended up becoming quite paranoid during the match, and had the chairs and lights inspected for radiation devices.  They found two dead flies in one of the lights.  The headline read “Who killed these two flies…. and why??” which was really funny.
  • The footage of 15 year old Bobby on a TV game show was great.
  • I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell, and it was cool to see him in the movie
  • HBO had some extras that were not in the movie that were also interesting, like the battle for his money after he died from his nephews, and a girl that was claimed to be his daughter (but wasn’t after DNA tests)
  • The Hungarian girl who brought Fischer back to the game
  • The footage of Bobby taking the “poison pawn” in game 1 was great.
  • Larry Evans was great in the movie, and glad they were able to interview him before he died.  I also got to meet him in Reno, and he had lots of great Fischer stories.

Overall the movie is fantastic, and a must see for any chess fan.


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One thought on “Bobby Fischer Against the World

  1. I saw the movie at a friend’s house on Thursday. I was looking for Brian in a purple shirt and saw the guy on the right at the next table over, but it didn’t look like Brian. I guess that’s because it wasn’t Brian. lol

    This is a must see movie for anyone who has heard of Bobby Fischer. It does a lot to explain that he was actually mentally ill, not an anti-Semitic and anti-American evil person.

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