When I bought my waterbed last month, I thought I did everything right. I checked out all the reviews online, I tried one out in the store, and I made sure I was getting the best bed for the best price. On the day my brand-new waterbed finally arrived, I was ecstatic. Then I discovered the drowned body of former chess world champion Bobby Fischer inside.
From the first night I slept on my bed, I knew something was wrong. It certainly didn’t feel like the waterbed in the store, and there was a noticeable lump on one side of the mattress. I was going to just let it go, but eventually my curiosity got the best of me. It was my bed, and I needed to know what was inside.
“He examined the chess problem and set out the pieces. It was a tricky ending, involving a couple of knights. ‘White to play and mate in two moves.' Winston looked up at the portrait of Big Brother. White always mates, he thought with a sort of cloudy mysticism. Always, without exception, it is so arranged. In no chess problem since the beginning of the world has black ever won. Did it not symbolize the eternal, unvarying triumph of Good over Evil? The huge face gazed back at him, full of calm power. White always mates.” ― George Orwell, 1984
When I started this blog, one of my first posts addressed chess square utilization by Bobby Fischer. At the time, several people asked me how his move distribution compared to other GMs. So I finally decided to revisit the topic and do some additional exploration. Here are the results for square utilization for 12 masters, playing as white and black. In generating these, I calculated some other interesting stats that I thought were worth a few bar charts. Who knew queenside castling was so unpopular?
Data source: http://www.pgnmentor.com/files.html#players
The nature of genius may not be definable. Fischer’s passion for puzzles was combined with endless hours of studying and playing chess. The ability to put in those hours of work is in itself an innate gift. Hard work is a talent.
“Bobby Fischer, a 21-year-old U.S. chess champion from Brooklyn, plays against 50 opponents simultaneously in April 1964 at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. Fischer won 47 games, lost one and drew two.”