THE GREATEST MATCH WAS IN HIS MIND.
A straightforward, engaging documentary that takes us back to the 1970s and one of the weirdest battles of the Cold War – the World Chess Championship 1972 in Reykjavik where Bobby Fischer defeated the champion, Russian Boris Spassky. The focus lies on Fischer who started out as quite a prodigy, but as an adult his erratic behavior became a problem and in his later years he succumbed to delusions, coming at odds with the U.S. government and believing in conspiracy theories and voicing anti-semitic opinions. Interesting interviews with various chess profiles, and people like Henry Kissinger, give us an idea of what a big deal the Fischer-Spassky match was at the time, and there’s also an attempt to understand how someone so brilliant could also be so lost – which is true for many chess legends.
2011-U.S. 93 min. Color. Produced by Stanley F. Buchthal, Liz Garbus, Matthew Justus, Rory Kennedy. Directed by Liz Garbus.
Trivia: Dedicated to the memory of its editor, Karen Schmeer, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident while working on the film. The Bobby Fischer story was also dramatized in Pawn Sacrifice (2015).
Last word: “Boris Spassky was in ill health, so he wasn’t part of the film. For a while I really, really regretted that, but then I realized had Boris been in the film and Bobby hadn’t been, it would have become more of a Boris story. In a certain way that limitation allowed us to hone in more on Bobby.” (Garbus, Cinema Blend)