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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:04 pm 
When I was a teenager and aspired to become a great chess-player, Alexander Alekhine, and to a some extent Bobby Fischer, were mi idols. I am talking of the years 1973 and 1974, when Fischer was World Champion.

Today I learnt that Fischer has died at the age of 64.

A few years ago I wrote a little humorous book in Spanish about why so many chess Grandmasters become mad. Fischer's passing away moves me to translate a few paragraphs of that book:

C├ęsar Tort wrote:
I must confess that the career of Anatoly Karpov causes me both fascination and repulsion. Nothing bothers me the most in chess that Fischer had not defended his crown in 1975! That's something that irritates me to the Nth degree, and it should have been enough for me to, from that year on, never touch a pawn again. The American could have defended successfully his crown in the 1970s, right in the Cold War. How a spectacle it could have been! Fischer was at the peak of his abilities, and the skinny Karpov would have been "sandwiched" between the frightening Fischer of the 1970s and the new star, Gary Kasparov: who would have been the champion in the 1980s.

* * *

BOBBY FISCHER had horrendous problems with his mother, who invited her Jewish friends to her Brooklyn flat; friends that before the eyes of the boy Fischer were but alien buddies.

Fischer confessed to the women he knew intimately that, at twelve, he felt greatly betrayed by the absence of his mother: a mother who preferred her Jewish buddies than her little boy. At sixteen, when Fischer conquered the status of Great Master, her mother abandoned him forever along with his sister and moved with some of her friends to Europe. The teenager Fischer never did a healthy mourning for his parental loss (his father had abandoned him even before, when Fischer was two years old). Instead, Fischer hanged himself onto Caissa's skirts with an unmatched vehemence. That way he ran away from himself and his immeasurable pain. Yes: he became so bewitched by Caissa that she conceded him the gift to beat, by himself, the Soviet school of chess at twenty nine! However, from his early, unresolved experiences which some of us call betrayal of love, sprang Fischer's anti-Semitism and all of that stuff of a ''Jewish world conspiracy''. Already in exile and paranoid, living in Budapest he told to one of his interviewers: "I am being persecuted night and day by the Jews". In his fifties Fischer also stated that the Holocaust never existed: "They made it up for the money!", he shouted. And he called Kasparov "Weinstein the Jew" in spite of the fact that Fischer himself has Jewish blood. It is common that the mistreated individual who doesn't know himself projects onto others his inner childhood demons. In Spare the child, a book on abused children, Philip Greven says that paranoia is one of the main consequences of child abuse. The assaulted selves of the children makes them paranoid as adults. The conspiracy claims, so common in paranoiacs, reflect the conflict of a child engulfed by an intrusive mother. Since our society does not allow the child to manifest feelings of rage toward his parents, as an adult these feelings are displaced and attributed to conditions or things that have nothing to do with the original harassment.

After wining Caissa's crown Fischer fled from the world, especially from the journalists who harassed him. I have said that nothing has made me feel more disillusioned in chess that Fischer refused to crush Karpov in the 70's. En 1975, the year when all of the fans craved to see him defending his crown, Fischer befriend Claudia Mokarow, an older woman whom Fisher called Mommy. When the journalists tracked him, Fischer ran to Claudia's flat shouting: "Help me! Help me! They're here, Mommy, Mommy! Help me Mommy They've found me!"

Obviously, Bobby needed a maternal substitute for the mother he never had.


And so, in that year 1975 Fisher refused to defend his crown in spite of the fact that the president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos offered 5 million dollars for the World Chess Championship prize, of which a substantial amount of that figure would be given to the winner (and still a very fair amount to the loser).

Good bye Bobby. I am truly sorry that you never found an enlightened witness...

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