For those who aren’t total chess geeks, the name Bobby Fischer may barely seem familiar. But to lovers of the game, he is both a hero and a cautionary tale. For those unfamiliar with his masterful skills, Fisher at age 15 became the youngest Grandmaster in the history of competitive chess, and briefly served as America’s mascot in the international gaming world.
But by the time of his death three years ago, Fisher was an exile from him own nation who cheered on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and espoused bizarre, antisemitic views whenever anyone asked what he thought about the world.
The crazy ups and downs of this mad genius are the subject of Bobby Fischer Against The World, which screened today at the Sarasota FIlm Festival. Filmmakers say the tale could offer some understanding of Fisher’s mindset.
So does it reveal what his beef was with America? “I think he felt as if the country had turned its back on him,” explains producer Matthew Justus.
The film chronicles the days when Fischer was the lone American able to take on the grandmasters from Russia but felt like the nation wasn’t supporting him with the same Cold War spirit saved from Olympic contests. Fisher’s paranoia seemed to get the worst of him, though, when he got in trouble for financial dealings with Yugoslavia and found himself in exile.
If you are curious about the story, see the second screening of the film at 6:45pm this Saturday.