Sunday, November 05, 2006

My hero speaks. Sadly enough, a bit disheartening. Because deep down inside, i know that he's right.

What you are about to read is an excerpt taken from a radio interview with Bobby Fischer on a private talk radio station in Iceland. The original recording of the interview, in which Fischer discusses other things as well, can be heard here (as long as it's available).
In chess so much depends on opening theory, so the champions before the last century did not know as much as I do and other players do about opening theory. So if you just brought them back from the dead they wouldn’t do well. They’d get bad openings. You cannot compare the playing strength, you can only talk about natural ability. Memorisation is enormously powerful. Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get an opening advantage against Capablanca, and especially against the players of the previous century, like Morphy and Steinitz. Maybe they would still be able to outplay the young kid of today. Or maybe not, because nowadays when you get the opening advantage not only do you get the opening advantage, you know how to play, they have so many examples of what to do from this position. It is really deadly, and that is why I don’t like chess any more."

Morphy and Capablanca had enormous talent, Steinitz was very great too. Alekhine was great, but I am not a big fan of his. Maybe it’s just my taste. I’ve studied his games a lot, but I much prefer Capablanca and Morphy. Alekhine had a rather heavy style, Capablanca was much more brilliant and talented, he had a real light touch. Everyone I’ve spoken to who saw Capablanca play still speak of him with awe. If you showed him any position he would instantly tell you the right move. When I used to go to the Manhattan Chess Club back in the fifties, I met a lot of old-timers there who knew Capablanca, because he used to come around to the Manhattan club in the forties – before he died in the early forties. They spoke about Capablanca with awe. I have never seen people speak about any chess player like that, before or since.

Capablanca really was fantastic. But even he had his weaknesses, especially when you play over his games with his notes he would make idiotic statements like “I played the rest of the game perfectly.” But then you play through the moves and it is not true at all. But the thing that was great about Capablanca was that he really spoke his mind, he said what he believed was true, he said what he felt. He wanted to change the rules [of chess] already, back in the twenties, because he said chess was getting played out. He was right. Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorisation and prearrangement. It’s a terrible game now. Very uncreative. ~ Bobby Fischer


At 05 November, 2006 07:19 , Blogger Patrick said...

FYI, in the mp3 interview

banking scandals and american torture 0 - 27:20

the chess stuff starts at 27:20! ;)

At 09 November, 2006 06:20 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful picture!


At 09 November, 2006 09:04 , Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

Well thanks! That was exactly the thought i had when i first came across it. I can really relate to it, which makes it even more beautifull. It is Fischer somewhere around 1972.


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