World Famous Comics > About | Columns | Comics | Contests | Features

COLUMNS >> Tony's Online Tips | Law is a Ass | Baker's Dozen | Cover Stories | After the Golden Age | Philodoxer | CyberDen

Schedule TODAY!
Fri, June 21, 2024

Anything Goes TriviaAnything Goes Trivia
Bob Rozakis

Last KissLast Kiss
John Lustig

Buy comics and more at Mr. Rebates

The Philodoxer
Thoughts on writing and publishing, and the various sources of entertainment...
A weekly column by Abel G. Peña, best known for his Star Wars work.

Current Column >> Column Archives | About Abel | Message Board

THE PHILODOXER for 06/17/2007
The Cold War Comes to Iceland

Not the chess match of the century ... the chess match of all time.

- Gudmundur Thorarinsson, Icelandic Chess Federation President, on the 1972 World Chess Championship

The time was July 11, 1972 and the very zenith of the superpowers conflict: the Cold War. Without irony, a place called Iceland marked the battlefield that day, in the city of Reykjavik. The participants? The erratic American Bobby Fischer versus the rebellious Soviet Boris Spassky in the greatest thinking game known to man.

Bobby Fisher Goes to War

Bobby Fischer Goes to War dissects the most notorious chess match of the 20th century with all the scrutiny, wit, and élan that three-decades-worth of new information, documents, and plain old perspective can grant. Mixing many of my personal fascinations (the Cold War, iconoclasts, and, of course, the game of chess), authors David Edmonds and John Eidinow bring the investigative rigor they utilized in fleshing out the beef between two rival philosophers in Wittgenstein's Poker, only now to a subject of significantly greater substance and scope, resulting in much more meat and much less speculation.

Edmonds and Eidinow chronicle their protagonists' respective careers, genius, and character flaws in a very straightforward yet highly captivating manner. Fischer, the renowned chess machine, unsurprisingly comes off as an unpredictable maniac, but the nuanced portrait of the Russian World Chess Champion Spassky reveals a man that, rather than representing an exemplar comrade, is also mischievous, repeatedly testing the tolerance of his Soviet superiors.

As Fischer and Spassky inch toward their legendary clash, there is a colorful cast of supporting characters spicing the narrative, including vanquished chess champs and grandmasters, the KGB and Henry Kissinger, and even President Nixon and Fidel Castro. Admirably, the book also gives us the pitiful aftermath that is so often the real life sequel to epic events such as these, recounting Fischer's downward spiral following the 1972 chess contest and the anticlimactic rematch between Fischer and Spassky twenty years later.

Bobby Fischer Goes to War expertly unravels a unique historical incident that unwittingly made pawns of two men of rare genius, forced into roles as ideological combatants by the media and circumstances. Still, at the heart of the book remains a riveting story filled with the same pride, blunders, triumphs and defeats that are the cornerstone of every epic.

Till next time folks.

- Abel G. Peña

<< 04/15/2007 | 06/17/2007 | 07/01/2007 >>

Discuss this column with me in World Famous Comics' General Forum and at Pop Culture Bored.
Also, visit my website at

Recent Installments:
NEWESTMany September 11ths (09/09/2007)
08/26/2007Madness? This-is-Reefer!!!
08/12/2007D'oh! I mean, Woo-hoo!: The Simpsons Movie
07/29/20075 Essential Self-Promotion Practices and "Closing the Circuit"
07/15/2007Spaceballs: The Book Review!
07/01/2007Kill Bush, or Death of a Perfectly Good Idea
06/17/2007The Cold War Comes to Iceland
04/15/2007Grindhouse: The Art of the Twofer
03/11/2007Of Vulgar Eloquence
02/25/2007Michael Wilson Vs. Michael Moore
02/11/2007The Last Weasel of Scotland
01/28/2007Don't Go Bush Before Having A Good Piss, Mate!
01/14/2007Labyrinth of Similitude
Archives >>

Current Column >> Column Archives | About Abel | Message Board

COLUMNS >> Tony's Online Tips | Law is a Ass | Baker's Dozen | Cover Stories | After the Golden Age | Philodoxer | CyberDen

World Famous Comics > About | Columns | Comics | Contests | Features

© 1995 - 2010 World Famous Comics. All rights reserved. All other © & ™ belong to their respective owners.
Terms of Use . Privacy Policy . Contact Info