Understanding the Genius, Mystery, and Psychological Decline of a World Chess Champion
Robert (Bobby) James Fischer was one of the world’s most mysterious and exciting personalities of the middle 20th century. He single-handedly ended a 35 year span of Russian domination of elite chess when he defeated Boris Spassky for the World Chess Championship in 1972 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Fischer’s dynamic victory ignited in Americans a passion for the game of chess and a deep pride in being American during the height of the Cold War. The world knows the story of Fischer’s ascent to the pinnacle of chess genius and brilliance, and it knows of his psychological decline into social isolation, paranoia, and likely mental illness.
Now, for the first time, through “A Psychobiography of Bobby Fischer”, we come to understand the inner workings of Fischer’s mind – the genetic, personal, cultural, and political factors that collectively provide a penetrating window into the “why” of Bobby Fischer’s genius and bizarre behavior.
Many questions remain regarding the life of one of the 20th century’s most innovative and brilliant minds. First, was Fischer a “genius gone mad” as often portrayed in the media (see particularly, Chapa, 2009)? Was mental illness held at bay through an intensive focus on chess? Was Bobby Fischer really paranoid, or were his high levels of suspicion and mistrust legitimate and warranted? Second, why was Fischer’s intense anger directed primarily at his own cultural group, Jews, and secondarily to his native country, the USA? Third, why would Fischer forfeit his World Championship title in 1975 by refusing to compete against the FIDE selected challenger, Anatoly Karpov, representing the Soviet Union?
Renowned counseling psychologist and author, Dr. Joseph G. Ponterotto deconstructs almost every aspect of Fischer’s family, personal, and career life to sculpt an integrative psychological profile of this enigmatic world personality.
Though there have been many articles, books, and films on Bobby Fischer, this text represents the first scholarly psychological assessment of the world’s most famous chess champion. The "mysery" of Bobby Fischer has now been unveiled.
The book includes 10 content chapters and select Tables, Figures, and Family Genograms, as well as Appendices providing extensive detail on the life of Bobby Fischer and family. Finally, the book includes some original family photos never before published.