Bobby Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster recognized as one the greatest chess players of all time by many chess players of today. Fischer was a child prodigy who dedicated himself to chess and became a legend with his skills.
Fischer, only a six-year-old boy at the time, learned how to play chess with his sister using the instructions from a chess set bought at a local candy store. On vacation, young Bobby found a book on old chess games and studied fervently. On November 14, 1950, Bobby’s mother realized his immense potential and sent a postcard to the Brooklyn Eagle to find children for Bobby to play with. The postcard was forwarded to Hermann Helms, who helped set him on his path to success. Carmine Nigro, president of the Brooklyn Chess Club, became his mentor, and Fischer joined the strongest chess club in America, the Manhattan Chess Club.
Fischer joined the Hawthorne Chess Club, led by John W. Collins, in 1956. The successful player coached many of the country’s leading players in his time. Fischer dedicated much of his time to attending the chess club and being mentored beneath Arnold Denker, future chess grandmaster.
At only 13 years old Fischer won a game that became known as the Game of the Century. Fischer won a brilliancy prize for the game, and Hans Kmoch was quoted to call the match “a stunning masterpiece of combination play performed by a boy of 13 against a formidable opponent, [that] matches the finest on record in the history of chess prodigies.” One year later he participated in eight US Championships and won every single one. At 15 years old, Fischer was the youngest Grandmaster and the youngest Candidate for the World Championship. He achieved the only perfect score in the history of the US championship with 11-0.
1957 proved an eventful year for young Fischer. United States Chess Federation published the eleventh national rating list, stating that Fischer was rated at 2231. This qualified him as a master, and the country’s youngest ever chess master. July saw Fischer successfully defend his title as US Junior. In August Fischer participated in the U.S. Open Chess Championship, defeating the opposition and becoming the youngest U.S. Open Champion ever.
The USCF invited Fischer into the 1957-58 U.S. Championship. At fourteen, Fischer became the youngest US champion in history to win the tournament. The record still stands to this day. Fischer also earned the International Master title, as the championship was also the US Zonal Championship.
The young prodigy moved on to become the youngest ever Candidate, also earning himself a rank as the youngest Grandmaster in history (up until 1991).
This game Fischer versus Ruben Shocron is from “My 60 Memorable Games” where Bobby wins by a shocking move and a pure over sight by Shocron. I played Shocron at the World Open in the late 80’s and won in a similar fashion at least similar in the sense that he did not see it coming. If you don’t have a copy of Bobby’s “My 60 Memorable Games” I highly recommend you order one from the link above before it goes out of print again!