In the news today, I read of Bobby Fischer's death at the age of 64, in his home in exile, Iceland. Somehow, this seems like a thoroughly appropriate age at death for him.
I am a child of the 60's and early 70's, having turned 18 in 1974, and during my life until then Chess in America was spelled F.I.S.C.H.E.R.
His games against Spassky for the world championship were carried on television, albeit in awkward fashion. The complete games appeared in the major daily newspapers. His presence was big enough that a match many years later, repairing him with Spassky was still news, even though Spassky was far from the player he had been and nobody knew what sort of game Fischer was up to.
I was (and am) a chess player, and I loved the game he played. I never knew him personally, and doubt that the stories I have heard come anywhere near describing the complete man, so I am loathe to even remotely claim I know why he did much of what he did or said some of the wild things he said.
I just know that as with many other iconic figures, he changed a lot of lives, many of them for the better, despite his eccentricities as well as because of some of them. The world is a poorer and less strange place without him.
Goodbye, Bobby Fischer. May you have the happiness and peace now that seemed to elude you throughout most of your life.