Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall by Frank Brady

Summary ~ Drawing from Fischer family archives, recently released FBI files, and Bobby’s own emails, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness is unique in that it limns Fischer’s entire life—an odyssey that took the Brooklyn-raised chess champion from an impoverished childhood to the covers of Time, Life and Newsweek to recognition as “the most famous man in the world” to notorious recluse.

 I grew up hearing the name Bobby Fischer.  At the age of four my father started to teach me the game of Chess.  At first I learned to play with just the pawn pieces.  Eventually I was taught how to use the other pieces; the king, queen, knights, bishops and rooks.  My father had been on the Chess team in high school and continued to play in college at M.I.T.  In high school he would challenge my boyfriends to a game of “Speed Chess” and kill ’em on the Chess board in just minutes.  My father would read articles about Fischer in the Washington Post and study the Chess games printed in the Style section of the Post too.  So when Julie @ Crown Publishing and Broadway Books reached out to me and my blog Planet Books with an invitation to read and review a new biography of the famous yet infamous Bobby Fischer and jumped on it.  It’s no wonder that this book continues to receive great reviews from the press and other readers like me. 

Covering Fischer’s life from childhood through the formative teen years where he proved to the world that he was a prodigy of the most respected and challenging game in history, Frank Brady recreated a wonderful, lonely and mostly misunderstood young Fischer for the reader to meet and get to know.  Fischer is not a likeable man for the most part in the pages of Endgame but I believe it to be very truthful of the real character who created controversy and mystery wherever he went.  The energy conveyed in the pages of Endgame focused on the tournament and world championships is high and exciting.  Brady continues to share with us Fischer’s more complicated adult years that took him all around the world and living in a way, on the edge of society until his death.

Reading Endgame was an educational and interesting ride through the ins and out of Bobby Fischer but it was also a great story of the drama that was International Chess in the Cold War and era.  Fischer’s choices, opinions and lifestyle were questionable mostly but the bottom like I felt was that his mother’s fear of the “obsession” that commended Bobby Fischer’s life from an early age took him to heights in our history that were amazing.

Though Fischer was not an all around good guy, his life reads like a Cold War thriller at times, the Chess board being the war field.  Bobby Fischer was an unlikely hero and villain in the international Chess world and he played an interesting role in U.S. and world history.  He was a bona-fide star to the general media for a time and was written about and interviewed by Sports Illustrated, Chess Life Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times, just to name a few. 

Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s remarkable Rise and Fall by Frank Brady is a must read if you are a fan of Chess and ever followed the life of the Grand Master. 

{Rating ~ 4.5 out of 5}