Review: Endgame Is an Engaging Biography of Chess Great Bobby Fischer (Plus Giveaway!)

Geek Culture

At the beginning of the film Searching For Bobby Fischer, the main character, Josh Waitzkin, talks about Bobby Fischer’s role in the 1972 World Chess Championship. He narrates:

On the 40th move of the 21st game, he countered Spassky’s bishop to king-6 with a pawn to rook-4. And it was all over … Then Bobby Fischer made the most original, unexpected move of all — he disappeared.

And to much of the world, it seemed as if Fischer had, quite literally, disappeared. At the peak of his popularity, when everyone wanted to know more about the chess sensation, he dropped from the public eye. He had just accomplished some truly amazing feats: he capped off one of the most dominating years the chess world has ever seen (including 20 straight wins against the world’s toughest players), he finally beat the Russians to become the first modern (and still only) American World Champion, and he kicked off a chess craze in the United States that spawned an entire generation of players.

Everyone wanted a piece of Fischer and he was offered the riches and recognition that he had long desired. But, rather than accept fame and fortune, he turned his back on it all and went into “the wilderness”. In the following years when Fischer was gone from the spotlight, very little was known of his activities, his reasoning for forfeiting his title and what occurred in the three decades between the championship and his death. Fortunately, Endgame, a new biography, sheds light on Fischer’s meteoric rise on the world chess stage and his cataclysmic fall, soon after reaching the top.

Endgame was written by Frank Brady, who first met Bobby Fischer when the prodigy was just ten years old. The author also served as an official during some of Fischer’s most important matches. With this intimate knowledge, Brady was able to paint a portrait that is both breathtaking, motivating and, in the end, tragic and heartbreaking. While Brady was able to draw on his experiences with Fischer to bring more accuracy to this biography, Brady pulled no punches. Fischer’s behavior grew more paranoid, antisocial and reclusive as he grew older. Brady presents Fischer’s feelings, theories and words as they happened, warts and all.

Endgame also draws on letters and photographs from the Fischer family archives, e-mails that Bobby sent and recently released FBI files. The result is the most comprehensive biography of the elusive grandmaster, to date. What’s more, Brady’s writing style is easy to read and the book goes quickly. If you’re a fan of chess, this is definitely a book worth checking out. It will have you playing our Fischer’s most famous games on your board, analyzing moves and being amazed by his brilliance. If you don’t play chess, the story is still compelling, fast-moving and enjoyable.

We have a copy of this book to give away to one lucky reader. If you would like a chance at winning a copy of Endgame, just leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite opening is. Edit: we have chosen a winner – thanks for entering!

Disclosure: GeekDad was sent a review copy of this book.

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