Canarsie
In the Land of Fischer, Dismay and Awe

By SAKI KNAFO
Published: February 10, 2008

ON Saturdays, a dozen habitués of the Brooklyn Chess Club sit under fluorescent lights in a synagogue in Canarsie, moving plastic pawns and bishops across rubbery chess mats.

Despite its name, the club is in no way related to the Brooklyn Chess Club of the 1950s, where the former world champion Bobby Fischer studied as a boy. Nevertheless, when Mr. Fischer died on Jan. 17, at the age of 64, David Rybstein, the founder and president of the Canarsie club, suddenly found himself fielding inquiries from the news media.

“Some local reporters, some Internet places,” Mr. Rybstein said with a shrug. “They wanted to know if it affected the membership whether Fischer was in or out of chess, alive or dead, and I said no.”

As it turns out, the relationship of Mr. Fischer to Mr. Rybstein’s club is complex. Although many of the players worship his skills and a few have fond memories of personal encounters with Mr. Fischer, discussions of his genius are punctuated by sighs and grumbling.

Here is the full article.

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