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Chess By Shelby Lyman

Bobby Fischer once said that he did not believe in psychology; he preferred good moves.

What he meant was that he did not believe in psychological ploys or tricks. He was, in fact, highly esteemed by his colleagues for his respectful behavior at the chessboard.

Bobby hated to win cheaply. He did not like to take sick-days and on one occasion, at least, he balked at winning on forfeit.

He believed above all in being prepared for battle.

And battle it was. One observer described him as Achilles without an Achilles heel.

On a few occasions, he talked of “crushing his opponents’ ego,” a remark widely interpreted as cruel and sadistic.

Curiously, the current World Champion, Magnus Carlsen – when asked about the matter – agreed with Fischer’s view a few years ago on the TV show “60 Minutes.”

Recently, Casey Goff, a football defensive coordinator at Salve Regina, a Rhode Island college, did the same during an interview with this writer.

Casey, like Magnus and Bobby himself, impresses one as gentle in real life. But his own view also was unequivocal.

“No one in athletics would frown on what Fischer said,” he explained. “Any athlete wants to demoralize or crush the spirit of his opponents.

“If you can set the tone from the beginning, they are going to lose.”

Below is a win by Lin Chen against Liu Qingnan from the Chinese Championship in Xinghua, China.

Chinese championship

Lin Chen vs. Liu Qingnan in Xinghua, China.