On Feb. 1, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall — From America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness will be released. Written by Frank Brady, who met Fischer when he was a child and played hundreds of games with him, the biography chronicles his ascent to greatness, his descent to notorious recluse, and his death in January 2008.

Chess prodigy Fischer learned to play the game while growing up in an apartment in Flatbush. He purchased his first chess set from the candy store beneath his house, joined the Brooklyn Chess Club and played his first chess tournament in 1953. It was then that his career as a chess player began.
Fischer also has a connection to the Brooklyn Eagle — after Fischer learned how to play the game, on Nov. 14, 1950, his mother sent a postcard to the paper in order to place an advertisement, seeking to find other young children to play chess with Fischer.

The Brooklyn Eagle reportedly rejected the ad, but forwarded the inquiry to Hermann Helms, the “Dean of American Chess,� who told her that master Max Pavey would be hosting a local competition. Fischer competed in that competition and lost almost immediately. However, Carmine Nigro, president of the Brooklyn Chess Club, met Fischer there and began to teach him.

Fischer attended Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush at the same time that famous musicians Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond did. In 1959, the Erasmus student council awarded Fischer a gold medal for his chess achievements.

—Ryan Thompson and AP

 

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