Bobby Fischer Against the World

THE GREATEST MATCH WAS IN HIS MIND.

bobbyfischerA 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)

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