How It Works
Bobby Fischer, chess, grandmaster, 1 September 1972, US, USA, Soviet Union, Boris Spassky, tournament, World Chess Championship, tournament

What was it that made Bobby Fischer world famous?

Bobby Fischer, chess, grandmaster, 1 September 1972, US, USA, Soviet Union, Boris Spassky, tournament, World Chess Championship, tournament

Born on 9 March 1943 in Chicago, Illinois, Bobby Fischer was destined to become a chess prodigy, learning the rules at the age of just six years old.

He became US chess champion by the absurdly young age of 14 (winning it eight times in a row) and earned the title of International Grandmaster in 1958.

In fact, he only lost two matches in ten years, between December 1962 and the first game of the World Championship match-up that made his name in 1972.

This was a major match, not only because it was to decide who would become world champion, but also because it was set against the backdrop of the Cold War, a battle between the United States and the Soviet Union to see which was the most powerful country in the world. It was also pretty important as the Soviets had held the title since 1948, so losing it would be a huge blow to the country.

The match was played in Reykjavik, Iceland and begun on 11 July 1972. Fischer made a major error in the first game to lose it and forfeited the second by not turning up because the cameras in the hall were upsetting him.

The cameras were removed and immediately Bobby Fischer became an absolute machine, winning or drawing the next eight and then not tasting defeat for the rest of the match. On 1 September 1972 with the score at 12.5 to Fischer and 8.5 to Spassky, the Soviet resigned and the USA finally had a world chess champion.