Bobby Fischer Against the World Examines Rise and Fall of Chess Star
Looking at 40-year-old film footage of Bobby Fischer, it seems strange that no one sensed he was anything more than arrogant, demanding, and snide. As a teenager, he was clearly uncomfortable with people—more than just shy or embarrassed by attention. Despite his grandiose (and accurate) claims about his skills and chess genius, the boy—and later the man—was awkward and uneasy. Even still photographs capture his distress.
Released on DVD December 6, 2011, by Docurama Films, Bobby Fischer Against the World is a revealing documentary about the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of the person many believe was the greatest player in the history of chess. Difficult, moody, remote—Fischer seemed an unlikely candidate for ambassador for the world of chess, but the combination of being American, young, and world champion, catapulted him to front pages and television appearances in the 1970s. As his popularity rose, so did the world’s interest in chess—and that interest became a near frenzy.
Bobby Fischer Against the World is an intricate portrait of a complex personality. He is seen as a neglected child, an abandoned teenager, an asocial recluse, and—possibly—a paranoid schizophrenic. Throughout the course of the film, viewers will wonder why Fischer was not treated for his emotional problems (although Bobby Fischer Against the World does mention he refused to be treated in his later years).
Bobby Fischer was the epitome of “tortured genius,” a description more associated with art than with sports and games, but nevertheless appropriate. Bobby Fischer Against the World is an incisive record of his life, neither judging nor applauding.