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Chess / By Shelby Lyman

Most of us steer a course between independence and conformity.

Not so with Bobby Fischer, who defeated Boris Spassky in a now legendary 1972 world championship match in Iceland. Almost from birth, Fischer defined, as few are able, his own reality.

As a child, we were told by Regina, his mother, that Bobby was “difficult.” In fact, adults found it easier to adapt to the child’s demands than impose their own.

When Bobby was 16, his mother left - to their mutual relief - to pursue her dream of becoming a physician.

Living in a low-rent Brooklyn apartment with adequate income from his burgeoning chess career, Robert James Fischer strove to transcend even larger boundaries.

Embattled off the chessboard as well as on, he never ceased to generate excitement and controversy.

A 1992 contretemps, in which he defied the U.S. government to play a politically charged rematch with Spassky in war-torn Yugoslavia, led to de facto exile from the United States and eventual asylum in Iceland.

For the remainder of his life, Fischer dared not leave the island in face of a worldwide Interpol alert to detain and extradite him to the United States.

Before the 1972 match with Spassky the British grandmaster C.H. O’D. Alexander offered an apt description of the often enigmatic American:

“Fischer,” he said, “makes no compromises, accepts no second-bests and preserves a unity of purpose and personality.”

Below is a win by Igor Kovalenko against Pouria Darini from the Baku Open tournament in Baku, Axerbaijan.