I am not asking about the 1975 "resignation" to Karpov, but for which reasons did Bobby Fischer gradually lose interest in competitive chess after becoming World Champion? Jews or not Jews, he did not play a single tournament or match game until the 1992 so-called "re-match".

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is no real definite answer for this question. Many people have floated different theories, most of which borrow bits and pieces from each other. It is quite possible that his mental struggles just got the best of him or that he lost interest after attaining the summit of the game. Psychologically, it must have been hard to cope when you get the thing you've been working for most of your life. In My Great Predecessors, Volume IV, Garry Kasparov offers a few reasons, arguing that Fischer probably would have lost to Karpov and probably knew it (that point is debatable).

Regardless, Fischer forfeiting the title was not without precedent in his career. He dropped out or quit major competitions or chess itself on more than one occasion. In fact, despite his spell of dominance in the candidate's and title match, his career had almost always been erratic. The reasons for this are debatable as well--I've seen people argue that it was mental illness, strategy, or just intimidation--but the answer is probably a mix of reasons.

  • Did anyone also consider that after the match he found himself with a relatively big amount of money, at least for those times, after struggling all his youth to live a decent life as a chess professional? I think that this factor is rarely mentioned nowadays. It might be more important that it seems, I think – A. N. Other Dec 24 '16 at 14:01
  • That definitely seems like it could be a contributing factor although a) he might have been doing ok for a while with sponsorship, b) the elements that lead to his break were already in place. – rougon Dec 24 '16 at 17:13

He had mental problems. But he is still one of the greatest chess players of all time.

Joseph Ponterotto has even written a book about Fischer's mental problems - A Psychobiography of Bobby Fischer

Ponterotto believes the evidence is strongest for paranoid personality disorder, a psychiatric condition characterized by unrelenting paranoia and suspicion of others, but is not schizophrenia.

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    Not quite sure why somebody gave you a down vote because you are absolutely right. Fischer had serious mental problems. Even after smashing up some of the other candidates 6-0 he only played the world championship match because the British businessman Jim Slater gave $50,000 to make up the prize money to an acceptable level for Fischer. After Fischer's disgusting behaviour the Soviets would have been well within their rights to claim the match by default but they (and Spassky) very much wanted the match to go ahead and made concessions. – Brian Towers Feb 5 '16 at 19:56
  • Some elaboration on what kind of mental problems (and maybe some references) would greatly improve this answer. – 11684 Feb 6 '16 at 0:06
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    same as morphy... mental illness paranoia . wikipedia mental state. Also dr .Joseph Ponterotto had a very good article about bobby legacy.fordham.edu/campus_resources/enewsroom/inside_fordham/… – Tili Llukmani Feb 6 '16 at 1:59
  • Asperger's syndrome is frequently mentioned in regard to Fischer nowadays. Of course these are, and will remain, speculations. – A. N. Other Feb 6 '16 at 7:40

Fischer declared in several media channels that his goal, all of his life, had been to become World Chess Champion. Once he had accomplished that, he concluded that playing chess competitively was no longer a challenge, and that if he did not have something significant to gain, there was no longer any reason for him to play.

I think he also may have just lost interest in chess. He did invent fisherRandom chess later after his resignation to karpov, saying that normal chess had become really bland for him. This and his mental issues combined led to him quitting. I think it's a shame.

  • I don't know if he lost interest in chess but it's a fact that he did not play any rated game after the match. Fischer Random is a product of the 1990s, I am talking about the mid-1970s Fischer. – A. N. Other Feb 6 '16 at 7:43

i met fischer and talked to him and know people who played chess with him and had closer interaction

imho he had some social adjustment issues and believed that chess players should make more money and that he should improve the game and circumstances but was frustrated by the bureaucracy

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