Friday, January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer

Dead at 64.

Of all the commentaries dispensed today I prefer Gabriel Schoenfeld's:

Anti-Semitism has been likened to a disease in the way it sometimes infects entire societies, and it is indeed a suitable metaphor to describe that phenomenon. But when applied to individual anti-Semites, the disease metaphor has the defect of removing responsibility for evil words and actions. But in Fischer’s case, as was made plain by so much else about him, his anti-Semitism truly was the consequence of disease.

Thanks to Bobby Fischer’s illness, the public has absorbed the idea that great chessplayers tend to be madmen. And while there have been several deranged grandmasters, it is doubtful that the frequency of mental illness in this group is higher than the average rate among geniuses. In the end, Bobby Fischer deserves to be remembered for his contributions, even if those contributions were seriously marred by the disrepute he brought upon the game of chess.

No comments: