Bobby Fischer on the Dick Cavett Show

by Johannes Fischer
4/7/2017 – Bobby Fischer's reclusiveness was legendary. But in 1971, before his Candidates Match against Tigran Petrosian, he was a guest of talkshow legend Dick Cavett. In 2008 a video of this show appeared on YouTube and by now it has more than a million views. Less known is the fact that Fischer appeared a second time on the Dick Cavett Show, this time before his match against Spassky. A video of this show was just published on YouTube.

Master Class Vol.1: Bobby Fischer Master Class Vol.1: Bobby Fischer

No other World Champion was more infamous both inside and outside the chess world than Bobby Fischer. On this DVD, a team of experts shows you the winning techniques and strategies employed by the 11th World Champion.

Grandmaster Dorian Rogozenco delves into Fischer’s openings, and retraces the development of his repertoire. What variations did Fischer play, and what sources did he use to arm himself against the best Soviet players? Mihail Marin explains Fischer’s particular style and his special strategic talent in annotated games against Spassky, Taimanov and other greats. Karsten Müller is not just a leading international endgame expert, but also a true Fischer connoisseur.


After winning the match against Tigran Petrosian: Bobby Fischer on the Dick Cavett Show

In the show Fischer seems to be in a good mood, a bit tense but accessible and focused. He talks about the match against Petrosian and the pressure of such matches, shows the end of the last match game against Petrosion, quickly explains the basic rules of chess, praises Nona Gaprindashvili as a "very strong player" and laughs about a joke talkshow host Dick Cavett made about paranoia. Fischer also declares that he "intends to play for a long time" after winning the match against Spassky.

Before the match against Tigran Petrosian: Bobby Fischer on the Dick Cavett Show

And here again the video of the better known Dick Cavett Show with Bobby Fischer

Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".
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Pieces in Motion Pieces in Motion 4/10/2017 01:51
A Fischer article is always a treat. Chess definitely needs a renaissance akin to that era and a world champion with Fischer's brilliance and personality.
Rational Rational 4/9/2017 11:05
This is quite moving to see, Fischer seems very together and focussed and though his replies are short his answers are all honest and factually true.
It is interesting that he displays some empathy with Petrosian when answering Cavett's question about when Tigran resigned the Candidates final.
Also Fischer is respectful about Menchik and Gaprindashvilli in contrast to the much more widely circulated Knight odds quote from his youth which was taken out of context.
blueflare blueflare 4/8/2017 10:49
Did Fischer ask about the payment during the commercial break?
Halflash Halflash 4/8/2017 08:12
Fischer is very brutal when he moves the pieces on the board. xD
Maturner Maturner 4/8/2017 07:50
I knew that video of Fischer (after defeating Petrosian) existed but this is the first time I have seen it. Great find! Thank you.
Raymond Labelle Raymond Labelle 4/8/2017 05:44
The Dick Cavett tribute to Bobby Fisher. Indeed moving. Thank you Rational for having pointed it out.
genem genem 4/7/2017 10:00
Cavett was very well prepared for his interview. All of Fischer's answers are limited to one or two sentences, so there is no "conversation". Yet Cavett kept the show going for three long segments. I wish could have conversed, or at least given some longer answers, or gone of on an interesting tangent or two.
Rational Rational 4/7/2017 08:22
Cavett wrote a quite moving tribute after Fischer died, worth finding.
Shurlock_V Shurlock_V 4/7/2017 07:03
He also appeared on The Mike Douglas Show.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 4/7/2017 05:31
Thank you for posting that video. I never knew it existed.
Perhaps the best interview of Fischer I have seen.
naisortep naisortep 4/7/2017 05:29
I'd love to see the Fischer on Carson episode.
naisortep naisortep 4/7/2017 03:16
Had to whince when Sandy Duncan asks Fischer if he does chess full time or is it just a hobby.
Jarman Jarman 4/7/2017 02:49
I guess many of the people who have only heard of Fischer in the last few decades will be surprised to see how normal he looked and sounded in these interviews. I've also read that Dick Cavett got to interview him a third time (after the Spassky match) - hopefully one day that last video will surface as well.
It's a bit sad that this article about a TV show of 46 years ago is going to draw much more of the readers' attention than those about current top level chess events. Anyway thanks a ton, Chessbase!
Denix Denix 4/7/2017 01:35
Thank you!