Legend Lives On
50th Anniversary of
"My 60 Memorable Games"
By Pete Tamburro Jr.
Pete Tamburro is the consulting editor of American Chess Magazine. He also currently writes a monthly column for British Chess Magazine with the same title as his popular book, Openings for Amateurs.
The Fischer Core Collection
Read more in American Chess Magazine #12
Yes, this is a subjective little essay. “Best of” lists are always so. I put my money where my mouth was on all of these and others. These would be the ones I would keep. A brief shout out to two honorable mentions: the 1963 and 1964 Chess Life issues that had Fischer’s game annotations. They are the most entertaining notes you’ll ever read. Pure 60s Fischer. Second are the LIFE magazine articles by Brad Darrach in 1972. I take them out every now and then and reminisce.
Best about Fischer
- Fischer v. Spassky, Alexander O’Donel, Vintage Books, 1972, 144 pages.
- Endgame, Frank Brady, Crown Publishers, 2011, 402 pages.
- The Chess of Bobby Fischer, Robert E. Burger, Chilton Book Company, 1975, 373 pages. See below
- My 60 Memorable Games, Robert Fischer, Simon and Schuster, 1968/9, 384 pages. See below
- Russians versus Fischer, D. Plisetsky and S. Voronkov, Moscow Chess World, 1994, 396 pages.
- Russians versus Fischer, D. Plisetsky and S. Voronkov, Everyman Chess, 2005, 462 pages.
- How Fischer Won, Cecil Purdy, E.J. Dwyer Ltd., 1972, 101 pages.
- Post-Mortem 1976, Cecil Purdy, Self-Published, 1976, 8 pages.
If you want to understand the inner Fischer (if that’s even possible), your best bet is Dr. Frank Brady’s phenomenal Endgame. If you want to understand how the Russians tried to figure him out, then the “Versus” book is fascinating in its biases and reveals an awful lot about the Russians, too. There is a scarce earlier edition that offers some contrasts in the translation area with the later edition.
The Alexander and Purdy books are the most literate of the ten or so in English. Purdy even put out a little pamphlet with commentary on other commentary! You could tell both these authors loved what they were doing.
The most instructive book on the chess of Fischer is the gem by Robert E. Burger. He takes all the instructional tactical themes and applies them to Fischer’s games.
That, of course, brings us to the elephant in the room. My 60 Memorable Games is a collection of 60 extraordinarily interesting games. The stronger the player, the greater the appreciation there is for the book. For the average chess player, it’s a little different. The annotations are detailed, and sometimes quite personal and sometimes even explanatory in a way the average player could understand, but not most of the time with the latter part. It’s a book that forces you to try to understand more, to get better and then understand even more. It’s a challenge, but Fischer has always been a challenge.