Shelby Lyman on Chess: Fischer Found the Right Move

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Hint and Explanation: 
If Not One, the Other

In his early and mid-teenage years Bobby Fischer’s attire — dubious even by some middle-class standards — became an issue for at least a few in the New York chess community.

Denims, flannel shirts and sneakers — clean and tidy but sometimes of less-than-thrift shop quality — were his usual attire. Fischer regarded neckties, a modest expression of propriety, with ill-concealed disdain.

His clothes apparently were an expression of social class and limited economic means rather than stylistic choice.

But for some, his dress was a flagrant distraction in the complex, multilayered and status-driven society of New York and elite international tournaments.

Reflecting the sense of indignation which Fischer’s attire sometimes provoked, his biographer Frank Brady referred to his clothes at one international tournament as “atrocious.”

On a couple of occasions, haphazard attempts were made to ban Fischer from New York’s elite Marshall and Manhattan chess clubs. Not surprisingly, they failed.

Though his clothes didn’t meet the grade, his spiffy moves on the chessboard were better than those of anyone else. And being better than anyone else was what the tempest in the chesspot was all about.

Fischer eventually surrendered to the pressure for sartorial splendor by ordering and buying suits, designer shirts, neckties and shoes of the highest quality from master tailors and purveyors all over the world.

Never willing to lose at anything, he beat his critics at their own game.

Below is win by Alexander Onischuk of the United States against Cristhian Camilo Rios of Columbia from the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway.

Onischuk Rios

1. d4 Nf6

2. c4 e6

3. Nf3 Bb4ch

4. Bd2 a5

5. Nc3 d5

6. e3 O-O

7. Bd3 b6

8. a3 Bxc3

9. Bxc3 Ba6

10. Qe2 N(bd7

11. O-O Qe7

12. R(f)d1 R(f)c8

13. Ne5 c6

14. Nxd7 Qxd7

15. b3 a4

16. bxa4 Bxc4

17. Bxc4 dxc4

18. Qxc4 Qa7

19. a5 bxa5

20. R(a)b1 c5

21. dxc5 Qxc5

22. Rd8ch! Black resigns

Solution to Beginner’s Corner: 1. ... Rc1! If 2. Qxb7, ... Rxe1 mate. If 2. Rxc1, ... Qxf3, etc.