Following up on the “Pawn Sacrifice” movie you might be interested in a fine interview of former world champion Anand’s take on it. Anand is never demeaning, always gentlemanly, and he is smart enough to understand why and how the movie was made. I had pointed out to my son Nate that Ed Edmondson was a key figure in getting Fischer to the table though Bobby treated him brusquely and eventually dismissed him. Anand, fortunately, knew this and said the same thing.

You can find this Indian interview here:

A friend and I will go see the movie in a couple weeks when it comes to the Quad-Cities. Try to take it in if you can. Don’t let some “blips” destroy the experience for you (such as when Fischer was a kid he was “so well dressed.” He wasn’t. Dressed like a kid.

Master Allan Savage enjoyed the film (roll back a few days) AND something I know that most of you don’t is that Allan had played Spassky at one time, in Iceland! In a tournament. He said that Liev Schreiber’s performance was stand out perfect. Quite a contrast to someone who wrote to me (and ChessBase!) that Schreiber was, in effect, totally miscast. That fellow needs to see an ophthalmologist.

At this point the paper media needs to proclaim the movie, which it most likely won’t do. Tis a shame. Lot of great production values. If I have one “nit” to pick it would be with Fischer’s sister. Too much emphasis even though internally it was true. But Zwick did do a great  job of limiting the number of characters in the movie so we could concentrate on the important stuff.

Thanks to those who commented and who will continue to comment.


P.S. In a 1990 issue of Chess Life I was browsing through last night there was a picture of three guys. One was Lombardy, the other was a teenage shot of Fischer (in the same picture, two feet away) of Bobby in a sweater (the other guy was a musician). Big nose which Tobey Maguire didn’t have–but Tobey put up a lot of the money to make this film. Thanks Tobey.


7 thoughts on “GREAT INTERVIEW

  1. It was a great movie and I will see it a second time because it is so good and I might pick up a few things I missed in the first viewing.

  2. I was able to attend a showing of Pawn “Sacrifice” this weekend at a local theater. The film has something to offer just about everyone. For all chess players it is an offering about our favorite game, made mainstream. For those who were products of the “Fischer boom” there is the chance to relive some of the experiences and feelings of that time. For those chess players who are hyper-critical and negative, there are enough factual and historical errors to sour their moods even further and give them something to complain about. For those who like good acting, the performances of Tobey Maguire (Fischer), Liev Schreiber (Spassky), and Peter Sarsgaard (Lombardy) in particular provide that. Without demeaning Maguire’s performance, I thought Schreiber’s portrayal of Spassky was superb, the strongest of all. For those who like romance… well…there is a scene after Fischer’s “virginity loss” but it doesn’t look like it was an especially erotic and tender encounter. For those looking for a babe actress, Lily Rabe, who plays Bobby’s sister Joan, may suffice (for me she did). And for those in my age group it was nice to hear some 60’s and early 70’s tunes.
    The aspect of the film I found most powerful were the personalities of the main characters and the relationships as they were presented. Fischer’s nearly total insensitivity to what Lombardi and his attorney were trying to do to help, and their reactions to him, are clearly displayed. There is intense emotion revealed in those interactions. Spassky’s competitive fire and cynicism towards his own government are wonderfully shown in the scene where he decides to play game three in the “ping pong room.” And because of Maguire’s excellent research into the life of Bobby Fischer, the aching loneliness of Fischer’s life is revealed as it grows along with his delusions. From a cinematic viewpoint, the insertion of Maguire’s Fischer in place of the real Fischer into the famous Dick Cavett interview was very well done. Reviews I have read are critical of this film for its “superficial” treatment of Fischer’s life, which I guess I can see but I wonder how much of the events themselves would have to be minimized or left out in order to do that.

    • Fr. Bill Lombardy is no longer a priest. In fact, some years ago someone came to me with the idea of a book from Bill Lombardy. I knew he could be “testy” so I didn’t give it much credence. These kinds of things have been brought up to me over the years and seldom do they pan out. Enthusiasm for a future project is no substitute for actually HAVING the cards on the table with the $$$ in the middle of that table. People often have tried to prove to ME they have clout when in fact all they have is a dream with no money THEY are willing to risk. That’s what dreamers do, talk tough. I lost my house in 1990 when I put it up as collateral for my typesetting business, and that year, the typesetting industry FELL. I really believed and thought I had all the right facts for what I was doing. It didn’t happen, desktop publishing (as bad as it was in the early years) took over. My main customers folded and many of them went out of business too when they bought desktop publishing equipment but those buyers really had no script for what they were doing! One of them was even cheating their own customers. They got caught, they went out of business within a year–70 employees! “Karma” came very fast for them.
      Chess players may take a chance in their games, but in business they want others to take all the risk… tis a shame.

  3. I enjoyed the movie very much! It’s easy for most of us to overlook some errors, like Spassky becoming WC in 1969, not 1965. Of course the movie was going for reinforcing a long time ongoing battle with Spassky and making him out to be WC earlier did just that. They did a nice job of filling the two hour movie with as much as they could. But I was disappointed that they chose not to include two major points: (1) Fischer never qualified for the playoffs to earn the right to play Spassky! Pal Benko had that honor and decided to give up his spot so Fischer could play. And (2) Fischer went through Bent Larsen 6-0 and Mark Taimanov 6-0 before he was “slowed down” by Petrosian—winning 12 straight games against some of the best players in the world is a feat which has never been duplicated. I really think the players who lived through those years had a ring side seat to what would later become “chess history” at its best!

  4. Pawn Sacrifice flashed me back to the early ’70’s. The coverage on PBS, the coverage in the newspapers made for a great time in chess. I enjoyed the movie, but was sad for what was lost.

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