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Bobby Fischer Against The World 

Directed by Liz Garbus (Mongrel)

An excellent portrait of the troubled chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, from veteran documentarian Liz Garbus and HBO Documentary Films. For those who don't know the history of the American chess prodigy turned world champion turned paranoid recluse, there's plenty of key footage of Fischer here along with compelling interviews from people who knew him during his professional peak and subsequent retreat from the public eye. The film is presumptuous at times, offering a touch too much armchair psychobabble to try and explain Fischer's erratic behavior, but the revisiting the 1972 championship match in Iceland between Fischer and his Russian nemesis, Boris Spassky, during which Fischer goes to extraordinary lengths to sabotage himself, is fascinating. In the end, Garbus's case that the game of chess provides not only a link between sports and art, but between madness and genius, is compellingly made.
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Vol 27, No 25
November 14, 2019

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