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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness

Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Frank Brady

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2011: There may be no one more qualified than Frank Brady to write the definitive biography of Bobby Fischer. Brady'sProfile of a Prodigy(originally published in 1969) chronicled the chess icon's early years, … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Frank Brady
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Entertainment
Publisher: Crown
1 review about Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise...

A compelling, if skewed, portrait of troubled genius

  • Feb 22, 2011
I've been a chess player all my life. The idea of a Bobby Fischer, a brilliant chess player by both instinct and dedication, intrigues me on many levels. But I never really knew who he was.

After reading Endgame, Frank Brady's new biography of Bobby Fischer, I definitely feel I have a better understanding of the man behind the chessboard. I was surprised, in fact, to see that large segments of the book had not much to do with chess at all. Endgame is the story of a boy with a singular talent and a passion to pursue it. It's the story of a young man finding his independence. It's the story of the rise and fall of fame. It's the story of a Jewish boy who comes to deeply hate everything Jewish. It's the story of anger, paranoia, obsessive behavior, and possibly madness.

Of course, there are significant portions about chess and even on particular games. As a chess player, I really enjoyed these parts and especially the description of the "Game of the Century" in 1956, an exciting and detailed retelling of a 14-year old Bobby Fischer defeating Donald Byrne with a queen sacrifice. This game, and all the other chess games and tournaments, are described so that anyone should be able to understand then but chess players should still enjoy them.

Perhaps the only fault of Endgame is that Brady is a little too apologetic of Fischer's less palatable personality quirks. Nearer the end of the book he does describe many of Fischer's radio diatribes and hateful rhetoric, but he does so while glossing over some of it, with the idea that nobody could ever truly understand. 'Endgame' is not an objective view of Fischer as a man or as a player, but clearly written from the perspective of a friend and an admirer. It's a valuable perspective to be sure, but at some of the rougher spots a more objective view might have been preferable.

Endgame should be of interest to anyone who enjoys chess, to be sure. As the story of a man with great talent, great dedication, and a troubled mind, it also makes for an compelling story in general.

As someone who likes chess AND enjoys good stories with complex characters, I found Endgame to be quite good. Perhaps not the work of a master, but certainly someone with a talent for the game.

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March 03, 2011
My husband would enjoy this read. Excellent recommendation!
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