Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bobby Fischer (March 9, 1943)

Chess once had enormous meaning to Jewish intellectuals in their efforts to become something new and different. At least to some of them – for example, recall the role of chess in The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. Bobby Fischer’s genius at chess was undoubtedly of great importance to this older generation of secular-Jewish chess fans.

The extremely troubled life of Bobby Fischer and his search for religion (and his other personal searches) took place at the same time that chess was becoming less and less interesting to a lot of people including Jews. I think they found new ways to be secular while applying their intelligence.

Here’s a personal note: during his radical years in St.Louis long before he met my mother, my father belonged to a cohort of various people including Bobby Fischer’s mother. He thought she was untrustworthy.

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