This book is not the usual psychoanalysis of Fischer but attempts to show Fischer in a more pleasant light and is the story of Olafsson’s friendship with Fischer. The review describes Fischer as a complicated person, funny and good-natured at times, bitter and unbearable at times, suspicious, but fun to be with.Olafsson was a member of the committee that successfully worked to free Fischer from a Japanese detention center. He first met Fischer shortly after Fischer returned to Iceland in 2005 and they spent a lot of time together making trips, watching movies, playing games and spoke on the phone almost every day.
Olafsson doesn’t give us any new “dirt” on Fischer. Instead he remembers Fischer as a friend and at the same time explains, or tries to explain, why Fischer acted the way he did. At the end of a dinner out with Anand as they drove away, Fischer made a statement to Olafsson that seems both curious and interesting. He told Olafsson , “Yes. I think Anand got a better upbringing than I did.”
Olafsson described a series of blitz games he played against Fischer in the latter’s apartment in 2005 claiming, “It almost felt like the game of chess was too easy for him. His calculating abilities were great. It is difficult to describe this but it seemed that he somehow had a different calculating method than most chessplayers. As if he was visualizing the geography on the chessboard, and every square was somehow within his grasp. As if he had created an internal spatial map in his brain. The main thing, however, was that he was happy playing chess, as if he was finally speaking his native language.”
A fascinating book on a side of Fischer we don’t hear much about these days.
Bobby Fischer traveling to Iceland Part 1
Part 2 Part 3