Book Vs. Movie: Searching for Bobby Fischer
The true story of a chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, his father’s New York Times article, and the 1993 film
The Margos gently enter into the world of chess (a game neither of us knows very well so please be patient!) with Searching for Bobby Fischer. Josh Waitzkin was considered a chess prodigy when he played in tournaments around thew country as a young child. In 1985 his father, Fred Waitzkin, wrote an article for The New York Times “Fathering a Chess Prodigy” about the struggle to raise a son who is gifted in a sport/game.
Fred wants his son to achieve his dreams, but he is fearful Josh won’t be a normal kid (Josh eventually became an International Chess Master at 16.) The book Searching for Bobby Fischer came out in 1988, and the 1993 film was directed by Steven Zaillian and earned praise for its cinematography and performances.
Bobby Fischer led a very complicated (and frankly, sad) childhood as a chess champion which later turned him into a hermit. Did the chess bring on his mental illness, or was that always going to happen? How does someone Jewish become an ardent antisemite and an enemy of his country? Why did he disappear for so long?
Between the 1985 article and the film–which did we like better? You have to listen to find out!!
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- The controversial Bobby Fischer (1943-2008)
- Josh Waitzkin & his father Fred’s writing career
- What it means to raise a child prodigy
- The cast: Joe Mantegna (Fred Waitzkin,) Max Pomeranc (Josh Waitkin,) Joan Allen (Bonnie Waitzkin,) Laurence Fishburne (Vinnie,) Ben Kingsley (Bruce Pandolfini,) David Paymer (Kalev,) William H. Macy (Tunafish father,) Dan Hedaya (tournament director,) and Laura Linney as Josh’s teacher.)
- Max learns about the word “contempt.”
- Josh Waitzkin selling his book The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance (video)
- Bobby Fischer on Dick Cavett’s show August 5, 1971
- Searching for Bobby Fischer’s original trailer 1993
- Josh and his dad have a chat
- Josh’s teacher thinks chess is like pinochle
- Music by James Horner
Book Vs. Movie is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more podcasts you will love Frolic.Media/podcasts
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Margo D. @BrooklynFitChik www.brooklynfitchick.com [email protected]
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