Bobby Fischer Against the World
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Bobby Fischer Against the World

Liz Garbus (USA, Special Presentations)

Sunday, May 1, 1:30 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)
Tuesday, May 3, 7 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 (350 King Street West)

You don’t have to be a chess nerd to enjoy Bobby Fischer Against the World, a documentary that follows the life of the eccentric, egocentric, Jewish, Jew-hating genius that took the world by storm.
The film, by Liz Garbus, uses interviews with chess players and friends of the ill-fated recluse and TV interview footage from the last 50 years. It paints a picture of a man whose creativity made him a national hero, but also made him very crazy—like, tinfoil on the windows and believing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion crazy.
It’s fascinating to see the TV reports and newspaper pages from Fischer’s 1972 world championship match against reigning Soviet player Boris Spassky. Billed as a Cold War showdown, the chess tournament gets higher billing than Watergate and the Vietnam War. “Fischer realized he was representing not only him, but the entire free world,” notes eloquent Russian chess master Garry Kasparov in the film. “I think there was too much weight on his shoulders.”
Bobby Fischer Against the World is a well-made look at an engaging, enigmatic, and frustrating character, and at the ways brilliance and madness are often inextricably linked.