Robert James "Bobby" Fischer (born March 9, 1943)
is a grandmaster and former world chess champion,
who on September 1, 1972, became the first American
chess player to win the FIDE World Chess Championship.
In 1975, he officially lost the title when FIDE, the
international chess federation, refused to accept
his conditions for a title defense.
Garry Kasparov wrote that of all world champions
of chess, the skill gap between Fischer and his contemporaries
was the largest in history. Fischer is also well known
for his eccentricity, unconventional and irrational
behavior, and outspoken political views.
Despite his prolonged absence from competitive play,
or perhaps because of it, Fischer is still among the
best known of all chess players. Fischer's victory
over the Soviet champion Boris Spassky to win the
world championship in the "Match of the Century" was
seen as a symbolic victory for the West that catalyzed
interest in the game internationally.
His opponent was portrayed, in the United States
in particular, as the product of an impersonal, mechanical,
and oppressive system of state control, while Fischer
was the solitary genius overcoming the Soviets' claim
to dominance. As a national hero, Americans were willing
to forgive his behavior and views as eccentricities,
and in popular culture he became a symbol of the genius
whose brilliance is so great that he is destroyed
by it. (wikipedia)