Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (79)

3/7/2012 – The chess world’s interest in every aspect of Bobby Fischer’s life and career shows no signs of declining. Here, the Editor of Chess Notes presents a variety of items from the unique collection of Fischer memorabilia owned by David DeLucia of Connecticut. At his best, Fischer was sublime; at his worst, he was appalling. Some of the material is truly eye-popping and shocking.

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Chess Explorations (79)

By Edward Winter

As recorded in our Factfinder, a number of C.N. items have examined the books of David DeLucia, which are based on his unique collection of chess memorabilia. The previous Chess Explorations article discussed the offhand game between Capablanca and Tartakower played in Paris in the late 1930s, and now we turn to Mr DeLucia’s Fischer material, as featured in In Memoriam (Darien, 2012) and, in particular, in the earlier volume Bobby Fischer Uncensored. Regarding the Fischer monograph, C.N. 6189 reported:

One of the most extraordinary of all chess books has just been published: Bobby Fischer Uncensored by David and Alessandra DeLucia (Darien, 2009). A richly-illustrated 394-page hardback of supreme quality, it presents hundreds of items from David DeLucia’s collection of Fischer material, including photographs, game-scores, correspondence, contracts, books and ephemera ...

Numerous illustrations are of books and other publications owned by Fischer, including such titles as The White Man’s Bible, The World Conspiracy and The Myth of the Six Million. His personal notebooks are also reproduced, and it would be impossible to overstate the anti-Semitism with which they are suffused. ‘Hitler was right about the Jews: They want to steal everything I’ve worked for all of my life’ (page 244). On page 285 another note, dated 21 May 1999, is also typical: ‘It’s time for programs against Jews and it’s also time for vigilante killings of Jews – random killings of Jews.’ Page 301 has a draft letter which begins:

‘Dear Mr Osama bin Laden allow me to introduce myself. I am Bobby Fischer, the World Chess Champion. First of all you should know that I share your hatred of ...’, etc., etc.

Mr DeLucia presents such material without editorial comment, rightly leaving readers to supply their own revulsion. Fortunately, though, the book contains much chess material too ...

Also regarding Hitler there exists a ten-page letter which Fischer wrote to Pal Benko on 26 February 1979. With Mr DeLucia’s permission we have just made the full text available on the Chess Notes website.

Above is the front cover of Fischer’s copy of Mein Kampf. We also reproduce his draft letter to Osama bin Laden:


Click to enlarge

Fischer’s chess set, clock and cat are shown in this photograph:

An example of the many game-scores in Fischer’s own hand is the following, from the 1965 Capablanca Memorial tournament:

Another document shows Fischer’s corrections to the galley proofs of My 60 Memorable Games:


Click to enlarge

The next item was signed by both Fischer and Spassky:

One final illustration here is a passport issued in 1987:

As mentioned in C.N. 7537, the two-volume set In Memoriam by David DeLucia has been published in a limited edition of 150 copies. There is much Fischer content. The set can be bought either direct from Mr DeLucia (we gladly pass on enquiries from readers who supply their full postal address – and it may be added that some copies of Bobby Fischer Uncensored are also still available) or from the Caissa Editions Bookstore. At that website, Dale Brandreth, a leading chess bibliophile, provides his assessment of In Memoriam, with many justified superlatives. It is truly a phenomenal production.

Note: the copyright to all the above Fischer material belongs to David DeLucia, who has generously made it available for reproduction in, exclusively, this ChessBase article.


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All ChessBase articles by Edward Winter


Edward Winter is the editor of Chess Notes, which was founded in January 1982 as "a forum for aficionados to discuss all matters relating to the Royal Pastime". Since then, over 7,540 items have been published, and the series has resulted in four books by Winter: Chess Explorations (1996), Kings, Commoners and Knaves (1999), A Chess Omnibus (2003) and Chess Facts and Fables (2006). He is also the author of a monograph on Capablanca (1989). In 2011 a paperback edition was issued.

Chess Notes is well known for its historical research, and anyone browsing in its archives will find a wealth of unknown games, accounts of historical mysteries, quotes and quips, and other material of every kind imaginable. Correspondents from around the world contribute items, and they include not only "ordinary readers" but also some eminent historians – and, indeed, some eminent masters. Chess Notes is located at the Chess History Center. Signed copies of Edward Winter's publications are currently available.


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