Friday, January 18, 2008

So Bobby Fischer Has Died

What to say? Excellent chess player. But often being really really smart, in one area, goes hand in hand with being a bit nuts in general. It also can make you think you know everything, even about subjects outside your field. And I would attribute his anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism to that.

One thing I think was a good innovation was Chess960. Chess players memorize the opening moves, such that these opening configurations and responses all have names. And among good players, it is often a matter of memorization more than creativity. To cite Wikipedia:
Fischer's goal was to create a chess variant in which chess creativity and talent would be more important than memorization and analysis of opening moves. His approach was to create a randomized initial chess position, which would thus make memorizing chess opening move sequences far less helpful. The initial position is set up in a special way and there are 960 such positions, thus the name 'Chess960'.

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