For Boris Spassky, the key to Bobby Fischer's unparalleled chess achievements was his implacable will to win. Bobby's competitiveness was noticed early by others. As a 9-year-old grade-school student, he elicited the following appraisal by a teacher:
"Whatever he played, baseball in the yard or tennis, he had to come ahead of everybody. If he had been born next to a swimming pool he would have been a swimming champion. It just happened to be chess."
Concurring was Arnold Denker, a U.S. Champion, who described Bobby - also at 9 - as "playing chess for blood."
"You could literally see the killer instinct in his eyes," Denker elaborated.
Was it DNA or something more, perhaps in his family culture?
His sister Joan, a future Ph.D., looked for greener pastures when her younger brother - engrossed and bewitched by the game - easily beat her.
"We, Fischers," she explained, "hate to lose."
In his frequent wanderings around Manhattan, the chess nonpareil would stop on occasion at Marty "The Needle" Reisman's table tennis parlor on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
Reisman offers this impression:
"Fischer played table tennis the way he played chess: fiercely, ferociously, going for his opponent's jugular. He was a killer, a remorseless, conscienceless, ice-blooded castrator."
Tai Memorial blitz
Below is a win by Alexander Grischuk against Luke McShane frin the Tal Memorial blitz tournament in Moscow, Russia.