20

Did Bobby Fischer actually write his bestseller primer “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” (1966, 978-0553130539), or was it written by a ghost writer?

I often ask myself this question because it seems very unlikely (to me, at least) that Bobby could keep interest in writing a book in which half of the book is about one or two-move mates, in other words, very simple tactics, and the other half doesn't go much deeper than that.

Cover of “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess.”

  • 6
    Somewhere in my readings I stumbled over an account of someone at a major tourney, who found Michail Tal watching TV in a corner. The program he was watching was a program for very early chess beginners. He author expressed his surprise, and noted Tals answer -- he said something about rediscovering chess with fresh eyes or something like that. Education is very different from professional interest -- I don't know just what Fisher did in the first area, but I would not hold it for entirely impossible that he might have had thoughts about it. – user18412 Oct 12 '19 at 10:48
  • 1
    Ok but Tal didn’t ever write such a basic book as the one Fischer (or better, his co-authors) wrote. Don’t get me wrong, I like the book, it’s just that it doesn’t seem to me “Fischer stuff”, having read his other book. – A. N. Other Oct 13 '19 at 6:30
25

Basically, no.

It was co-authored by Stuart Margulies and Don Mosenfelder, and while Fischer may have contributed a little, it is generally accepted that he just lent his name to the project.

Soltis, Andrew (2003). Bobby Fischer Rediscovered. B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 10. ISBN 0-7134-8846-8.

| improve this answer | |
  • 5
    That was my impression, too. – A. N. Other Oct 12 '19 at 10:44
  • 2
    Can we get some citations for this answer? Otherwise it comes across as pure speculation. – Pharap Oct 13 '19 at 9:49
  • 5
    There is a whole WIkipedia article on this, and it cites GM Andy Soltis, in particular: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Fischer_Teaches_Chess. At this point in history, you are not going to get a definitive answer. – PhishMaster Oct 13 '19 at 9:53
  • 3
    @PhishMaster As long as that Wikipedia answer doesn't link to this question as a citation for their content ;) Obligatory xkcd. – Davy M Oct 13 '19 at 21:05
  • 1
    Ahh, that guy. He has been causing trouble all day. I totally understand that. It really was not about the points...those are easy to come by, but I really wanted to make sense of it. – PhishMaster Mar 2 at 19:35
2

There isn't any way to give a definitive answer but I do believe he contributed to it. The thoroughness that covers such a basic concept lets you know that the author is very strong player. If you were that thorough in every aspect of your game you would probably be challenging for the world championship. That, in and of itself, is a lesson.

People say the book is simple but I guarantee most sub 2000 players will miss those tactics in 99% of their games.

| improve this answer | |
1

Yes and no. I knew Fischer. I doubt that he was cabable of writing a book like that. What likely happened is that Two good , not great, players, who could write well, worked with Bobby and his ideas to create the book.

Now the real question is why. Was it because Bobby was hurting for money? Or did some friends impose on him to use his name to help them make some money? Otherwise I see no reason for it.

| improve this answer | |
  • He probably needed money. I read that in the 1960s he sold all his chess books at least twice to book dealers. I think that’s because he needed some money. – A. N. Other Dec 26 '19 at 20:12
  • Could be. Or maybe he learned everything in them and wanted to buy newer books while not storing/lugging around the old ones. – yobamamama Dec 26 '19 at 21:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.