Shelby Lyman on Chess: A World Class Teacher
Sunday, October 25, 2015
(Published in print: Sunday, October 25, 2015)
Bobby Fischer had an insatiable drive for chess mastery — his search for knowledge and perfection making him a superb teacher of others when he assumed that role.
His collaboration, at the age of 19, on Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess with Stuart Margulies and Don Mosenfelder, was marked by a characteristic insistence on clarity and accuracy.
Although he had not, himself, written the basic text — a pioneering effort by his co-authors in programmed learning — Fischer was relentless in perfecting it.
Margulies, who developed a profound respect and affection for Fischer during the project, was amply rewarded for giving the prodigy free rein.
The additional time and effort were repaid beyond expectation.
Even before Fischer’s ’72 match with Boris Spassky, the book had sold over a million copies — a stratospheric chess best seller, unsurpassed 43 years later.
The same dedication was also evident in a series of columns he authored from 1966 to 1969 in the Boy Scout monthlyBoys’ Life.
Bobby’s writings were notable for his ingenuity and warmth in addressing the magazine’s young readers.
A bit of advice offered in his column:
“Psychologically, you should have confidence in yourself and this confidence should be based on fact. But if you don’t win it’s no great tragedy — the worst that happens is that you lose a game!”
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– GM Susan Polgar