ELUSIVE CHESS CHAMPION
Your July 29 article Bobby Fischer was a masterpiece. William Nack's account of his hunt for the reclusive Fischer read like an excerpt from a Robert Ludlum novel. But I still can't understand why Nack didn't approach Fischer after finding him in the Los Angeles Public Library.
ANTHONY GARGIULO JR.
River Forest, Ill.
William Nack's piece brought out the desire of the chess public to see Bobby in the limelight again, but it ended with the one thing that Bobby wanted most, respect for his individual right to privacy. A middle-level tournament player since 1970, I, too, have missed his presence in the chess news and will always believe he possesses the greatest mind for chess of anyone who has ever "pushed wood." Bobby doesn't need to come back to chess. He's already a legend!
DAVID Y. CAUSEY
William Nack's detective work on Bobby Fischer was interesting, and Greg Spalenka's art fascinating. Fischer, while the greatest chess player who ever lived, does possess some of the strange proclivities often associated with genius.
I doubt that most of the currently competing grandmasters would want to see Fischer come out of his self-imposed retirement unless it were to watch him humiliate someone else. In any case, it's a good thing Nack and Fischer did not speak. A conversation might have proved disappointing.
Guess you'll have to find another library, Bobby.
Harbor City, Calif.
I read with great dismay the article about my high school hero, Bobby Fischer. Although it was clearly evident even then that he was eccentric, all that mattered to me and my chess-playing friends was his obvious brilliance on the board. Now after all these years it saddens me to discover that his peculiarities were much more than trivial quirks. He apparently was, and is, a very disturbed man. Say it ain't so.
Bobby Fischer said he would play chess until he died, and he did. He died publicly when he won the world championship and then disappeared. But he has continued to play a private game of chess. His opponent is the press. The stakes are his "normal" life.
Contrary to Fischer's belief, he no longer is world champion. The world championship is a public title. And his private game is flawed because it is played solely from a defensive point of view.
A picture caption in the Bobby Fischer article states, "By shunning formal competition, King Bobby has checkmated the chess establishment." Rather, Bobby has checkmated himself. Imagine Joe Louis, Arnold Palmer and Martina Navratilova at their athletic peaks declining to compete for a decade. Could they still claim to be the reigning champions? Of course not. The champion must defend his or her title; one cannot rely on memories. It's your move, Bobby.
Garden City, N.Y.
Bobby Fischer's genius at chess is well known. Less known is that Fischer has been used and exploited by many of his so-called friends. He has been misquoted, and untrue rumors have been printed about him.