How Bobby Fischer Got Better at Chess
No matter how long you’ve been playing chess, odds are that you’ve heard of Bobby Fischer, who is the most famous and perhaps greatest chess player of all time. From the age of 14, he competed in and won eight US Championships for chess. By 15, he was the youngest grandmaster in the world and continued to dominate the professional chess world in almost every event he competed in. Finally, in 1972 he won the World Chess Championship by defeating Boris Spassky, cementing his place as a historical figure and pop culture icon.
There are many different things you can point to in order to explain how Bobby Fischer became one of the best chess players on the planet. Obviously, he was a brilliant young man who had a talent for chess, but that wasn’t enough to make him the player that he was. In fact, when he was around 12 years old, Fischer was a good player, but not a great one. He played competitively, but was not well-known because he simply wasn’t extraordinary.
How did he get better? He studied and worked extremely hard. For about a year, he took time off from the competitive chess world and worked on his mastery of the game. Instead of focusing only on modern chess, he studied the classic chess matches of the 19th century. He learned how all the best chess players used to play and was able to integrate antique strategies that no one was used to seeing anymore.
Bobby Fischer also started learning Russian. This allowed him to read Russian magazines and publications on chess, so that he could learn how Russian players were playing. When he started competing again, he was suddenly one of the most formidable players in the world.
What’s the moral of the story? To become the best, it takes intellect, but also extreme study and hard work. And don’t be afraid to look for unique sources of inspiration for your chess tactics, they can give you an unorthodox and difficult-to-defend playing style.