Eccentric, but definitely someone with good moves, American chess master Robert James Fischer (1943-2008) was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois.
Raised in Brooklyn, he learned chess at six, then became the youngest ranking grand master at the mere age of 15, the youngest to achieve that title.
"Chess was my obsession," he said.
In 1972, Fischer was the first American to win the World Chess Championship, beating the then-Soviet Union champion, Boris Spassky. In a historic event that lasted two months, Fischer lost the first game, protested the presence of television cameras, and forfeited the second game.
In the next four games, with confidence, astonishing moves, aggressive tactics, and brilliant combinations, he beat Spassky. At one point, Soviet security dismantled Fischer's chair to look for information-feeding electronic devices.
Fischer's victory, a celebration of democracy over communism, made him a Cold War legend and breathed life into the game of chess. "I like the moment when I break a man's ego," said Fischer who resigned his title in 1975 after demanding a number of strict conditions for a match against Anatoly Karpov.
"I love to see them squirm," he once said of his opponents.
The game of chess was introduced in India in the year 531. William Shakespeare refers to the game at least 57 times in his writing. Throughout history the game has inspired imagination, logic, planning, intuition, and caution.
Benjamin Franklin called chess "the image of human life." The game is a passionate metaphor for success: the use of concentration, problem solving, and the discovery of astonishing solutions... and good moves.