Post-World War II tensions between the two superpowers of the USA and the USSR were heightening and playing out in disparate arenas, producer Gail Katz' said. She added: "There was the space race, Vietnam, China, the Cuban Missile Crisis. Then in 1972, improbably, we were fighting it out on the chess board. The match became a symbolic battle over which system of government was superior. Chess was a Russian pastime, and they were often world champions. The United States had never had a world champion and our political leaders felt we finally had a chance with Bobby [Fischer (Bobby Fischer)]. Henry Kissinger, who was the U. S. National Security advisor at the time, called to urge him to play this match. Considering the events' historical significance and Bobby's mystique, I saw this as the perfect subject for a movie. The more I read about the outlandish details of the match, the better the story became." See more »
In the film, Fischer and Spassky were shown to appear at the table for their first game drawing lots to determine who would play White. That would never happen in any serious match or tournament - least of all in a Championship Title match. The drawing of lots for who is to play White in the first game in a match is always done days in advance, since the knowledge of color of pieces is crucial for the before-the-game preparation for both players . Similarly, in a round robin tournament, the color of the pieces you have against each of your opponents is also known from the start, and is never determined at the table. See more »
Written by Grace Slick
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
Courtesy of RCA Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing Irving Music, Inc. on behalf of Copperpenny Music See more »
brilliant but disturbed
Well, the reviewer before me absolutely trashed this film for its dramatic license, so now I don't know what to say.
This is the highly fictionalized story of Bobby Fischer, a chess fanatic and genius who rose to the very top of his field. He was part of a Russia vs. U.S. superiority struggle when he played Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), the world champion back then, in the '70s. It's unlikely he understood that; he didn't have a broad or worldly focus. The chess was all he cared about, that and money.
Biopics sometimes take a lot of liberties. Characters are made up, time is shortened, incidents are moved around, elements are put in for dramatic emphasis. That's why you can't take a biographical film as factual. It's better if you become interested in the person and read about him, as I did about Fischer, though I remember him.
Toby Maguire does a fantastic job as Fischer. Yes, Fischer was tall and Maguire is short. Frankly I wasn't made aware of Maguire's height while watching the film.
I believe the filmmakers were trying to give us a psychological story -- a complete genius with an IQ of 181 but one who also had mental problems. Lots of so-called geniuses are strange, I suppose, but Fischer was a real study in opposites.
He often made unreasonable, last-minute demands, made anti-Semite remarks, and accused the Russians of colluding against him. In the second game of his world championship against Spassky, he didn't show up. Nevertheless, his achievements in chess were remarkable, and many consider him the greatest chess player who ever lived.
His later life was a mess; he became reclusive; his passport was revoked and finally, Iceland took him in. By then he was off the wall completely.
Edward Zwick directed this film with a lot of zip and made it an intense and absorbing experience, as did the actors.
Look at this as the psychological story of a phenomenal talent whose emotional/mental problems interfered with his life and career. Don't take it as the detailed life of Bobby Fischer, his relationship with his mother, and who taught him what. The most interesting thing about him was his incredible talent.
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