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Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall — from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness Hardcover – 19 May 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; First Edition edition (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849016933
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849016933
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 485,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A rapt, intimate book... Fascinating. (New York Times)

Frank Brady's superlative Endgame is a biography more than worthy of its charismatic subject ...the second half of his life is one of the saddest stories, even as this is one the year's best biographies. (Washington Post)

The Mozart of the chessboard is inseparable from the monster of paranoid egotism in this fascinating biography. Brady, founding publisher of Chess Life magazine and a friend of Fischer, gives a richly detailed account of the impoverished Brooklyn wunderkind's sensational opening--he was history's first 15-year-old grandmaster--and the 1972 match with Boris Spassky, in which Fischer captivated the world with his brilliant play and towering tantrums. Brady's chronicle of Fischer's graceless endgame is just as engrossing, as the chess superstar sinks into poverty after rejecting million-dollar matches; flirts with cults; and becomes, though himself Jewish, a raving anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist.... Brady gives us a vivid, tragic narrative of a life that became a chess game. (Publishing News (Starred review))

Rich in detail and insight...I consider this book essential reading in the effort to understand
Bobby Fischer and his place in our world.

(David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us.)

The definitive portrait of the greatest- and most disturbed-chess genius of all time. (Paul Hoffman, author of The Man Who Loved Only Numbers)

Tells the full and fair story of Fischer's astonishing rise and heartbreaking fall...Brady is the perfect biographer for Bobby Fischer. (Christopher Chabris, author of The Invisible Gorilla)

A heartbreaking story of failed hopes and torment. (Catholic Herald)

Fascinating. (The Times)

Well-researched. (Mail on Sunday)

(An) engaging account. (Sunday Telegraph)

Well-researched and enjoyable. (Jewish Chronicle)

Review. (Oldie)

A superb storyteller. (Literary Review)

Frank Brady knew Fischer well as a young man and has now written this biography with sympathy and skill. (Sunday Business Post)

Book Description

The fascinating biography that for the first time captures the complete, remarkable arc of Bobby Fischer's life.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a keen amateur chess enthusiast and one similar in age to Fischer, I was already aware of most of the details of Fischer's life. I read this book in the hope of finding some explanations for his anti-Americanism, his anti-Semitism, his Holocaust denial, his ingratitude to friends, his hypochondria, and his failure to play competitive chess after 1972 except for the meaningless match against Spassky in 1992. This book describes those elements of Fischer's character but offers no insights, and is a somewhat superficial treatment. For example, we are told that as a young man Fischer suddenly started to make anti-Semitic comments to acquaintances. There is no attempt to explain why this might have been so. Fischer's mother was Jewish (as was his probable real father) but he was not brought up in a religious family so it is unlikely that he might have been rebelling against his Jewish heritage.

I suspect that in Britain the book will be read mainly by chess players but the author clearly aims the book primarily at Americans, including non chess players interested in their fallen hero, which means he has to regularly explain features of the game that are basic knowledge for players. More importantly, the author avoids being too critical of Fischer, aware that many American readers will be passionate Fischer fans. For example, Brady explains Fischer's failure to play Karpov for the world championship in 1975 primarily as Fischer's desire for a change from the pattern of a 24 game match established by FIDE for all world championships after 1948 to a first to 10 wins with the holder keeping the title if the score was 9-9. This meant that if the score reached 8-8 then the challenger would have to win 10-8 to become champion.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a pretty good chess player having achieved a USCF expert's rating in my twenties and even in my sixties gaining a draw with International Master John Donaldson at the US Open in Los Angeles in 2003. (He offered a draw in a losing position. Since I had little time left on my clock I accepted.)

I should also say that I am a personal friend of Larry Remlinger whom I have known since childhood. He played against Fischer in at least one US Junior Championship in the 1950s. He recalled that after the games one day he and Fischer played blitz chess well into the night. Larry told me that Fischer (a year and half younger than Larry) was winning at first but as the night wore on Larry pulled ahead. Larry despised Bobby Fischer as well he might since even then Fischer was a narcissistic spoiled brat of a human being. And of course he only got worse as the paranoia and schizophrenia kicked in.

Frank Brady did not interview Larry Remlinger and Larry did not contact Brady. Too bad.

Nonetheless this is an outstanding biography, painstakingly researched and documented, beautifully edited and written in the kind of prose that tells the story without flourishes or pretension, the kind of "invisible" prose that George Orwell admired and practiced. And it is a "fair and balanced" account, celebrating the genius of Fischer's mastery of chess while not shying away from reporting his great failings as a human being. Moreover it is a great human tragic tale, the sort of story that would engage the mind of Sophocles or Shakespeare, and may someday find its great author to dramatize the sadness.

Yes, sadness, profound and maddening sadness. Note well that there is no review of this outstanding biography written by a master chess player among the Amazon reviews.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bobby Fischer was a complex,fascinating person who also happened to be one of the best chess players in the world with a genius iq.However we are all aware of his descent into mental illness and his hatred of jews.I find these obsessive people so interesting and was very much looking forward to this biography.Well it was a good read but boy its like a thrown stone skimming water.It literally will jump years in paragraphs and for me this is not good enough.I would recommend the book but would advise waiting for the paperback version.It offers a a few interview snippets but nothing much.A subject like Fischer needs a lot more work and effort,i read the book in two days wanting to know far more.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Frank Brady gives us a close look into the career of a chess genius, from his first contact with the board to world championship and beyond. He helps us to understand that genius is not a bed of roses. Bobby Fisher certainly made many people suffer, but he also suffered from the incomprehension of many people. A tragic life, that this book helps understand.
You won't learn much about playing chess, but you may learn things that will help you live with genius.
This book is hard work, but worth it.
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Format: Hardcover
The story of Bobby Fischer is quite fascinating. However, this book does not go far enough to explain why Fischer, on the brink of becoming the world's greatest chess player and a millionaire, threw everything away and ended up living almost like a down-and-out in California, then trawling around Asia in search of young women like many older American and European men, and ending up spending his last days in Iceland.

The author knew Fischer personally for a long time but he obviously lost touch and provides little first-hand insight on his later years. He never met Fischer after he disappeared from public view and does not even seem to have tried to contact him.

As he is chairman of the Marshall Chess Club in New York, he concentrates a lot on never-ending accounts of chess competitions and games and lists of players that end up just overwhelming the reader.

He does not dig into Fischer's background to even try and find out who his real father was. Nor does he tell the reader enough about Fischer's extraordinary mother - a Communist who ended up living in East Germany and Nicaragua. Her death is dismissed in the second half of a sentences.

Fischer was technically a Jew as his mother was Jewish but he became an unhinged anti-Semite. The author does not really try to explain this.

Despite these criticism, this is a pretty good book overall and certainly worth reading but I feel a more detached writer could have done a better job. I have not read any other biographies of Fischer so perhaps there is a fuller version of his life out there somewhere.
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