SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The Natural is a 1952 novel about baseball written by Bernard Malamud. The book follows Roy Hobbs, a baseball prodigy whose career is sidetracked when he is shot by a woman who seeks to kill arrogant athletes to “better the world.” Most of the story concerns itself with his attempts to return to baseball later in life, when he plays for the fictional New York Knights with his legendary bat “Wonderboy”. Based upon the bizarre shooting incident and subsequent comeback of Philadelphia Phillies player Eddie Waitkus, the story of Roy Hobbs takes some poetic license and embellishes what was truly a strange, but memorable, account of a career lost too soon.
America has always worshipped its winners. It doesn’t matter if you are born poor or with a golden spoon in your mouth. Some say that it doesn’t even matter if you play fair or if you have to cheat in the process…just as long as you don’t get caught. The only thing that really matters is…winning. That the end justifies the means… God, do we love our winners!
Bobby Fischer (March 9,1943–January 17, 2008) is now dead and is buried somewhere in Iceland. His life was certainly complicated and filled with controversy. But while he walked the earth, from the very first time that he entered the chess club, Bobby exuded a very special energy, a radiance, an undying faith in his ultimate destiny: Bobby Fischer believed–and made others believe also–that he was one day going to become undesputed chess champion of the world and nothing–NOTHING–was ever going to stop prevent that from happening!
Bobby inspired millions of us. His life story is about the price we
all must be willing to pay in order to achieve immortality. Imagine being a mere child and already being ear-marked to carry the dreams and aspirations of an entire nation…Bobby soon learned that chess was far more than just a game: chess was infact life itself!
That Bobby Fischer appeared on the American chess scene in the mid-1950’s and was able to carry the dream of his compatriots to completion has made him both a legend and a martyr. A legend because of the magnitude of his accomplishment…a martyr because he had to pay the price.. alone and to his grave.
It is more than just a curious coincidence that this past week the promotional work of Robert Redford’s Sundance Festival in promoting a documentary about Bobby Fischer’s life (Bobby Fischer against the world) has been scooped up by major film distributers all across the world. The story of Bobby Fischer is the story of anyone who can dream of achieving a dream …and the price that comes along with it.
Winnipeg’s own Cecil Rosner was in Rejkavik in the summer of 1972 when the historic Fischer vs Spassky (USA vs USSR) confrontation took place. Below are some photos , before now un-published, taken by Cecil and recently published on the Manitoba chess site:
The match venue. Despite it’s outward simplicity, this very site became the centre of the world’s attention for 2 whole months! Only the Munich Massacre would create greater media-waves…
Fischer’s car is pulling up. Fischer is seen on the left-hand side of the car.
Cecil photographing Fischer as he exits the car and is about to be mobbed by chess fans and the media.