Toby Maguire as Bobby Fischer


I wrote the other day about PAWN SACRIFICE being available for download on YouTube. Later that same day my wife and I watched the video together. Neither of us had seen it before, even though it passed thru Guarda (Portugal, where we reside) some months before…


Having witnessed the media-reaction of the match taking place while I lived in Montreal in the summer of 1972, I must say that the film does justice to the excitement generated by the Fischer-Spassky match. There might be some small inaccuracies in the film’s details, but perhaps the director, Ed Zwick, did so on purpose for his own reasons. For instance, back in the summer of 1972 it was impossible to follow the match LIVE on television. IN ANY CASE, I was especially moved by the performance of Toby Maguire in the role of Bobby Fischer.  In fact, I was blown away by Maguire’s representation!


Bobby Fischer is an extremely difficult individual to accurately impersonate, not only given the huge amount of utter nonsense out there on the ‘net–both pro and anti–about Fischer’s controvertial personality, but especially because Fischer never let anyone get close enough to him long enough for anyone to really understand him. Maguire managed to grab on to the most important trait that made Fischer great–his almost obsessive  need to seek out and reveal the truth, and not just confined to the chessboard–Maguire never let an opportunity pass to let the spectators see Fischer’s highly organized, highly principled inner-world thru his own eyes.


This was seen at the climax of the film when Fischer had just won the 6th game, pulling ahead for the first time in the match. Spassky stood up and began to applaud…then–soon afterwards–the spectators began to applaud. The 6th game was a work of ART, and perhaps the most brilliant sporting achievement produced in chess in the 20th century.

While all this was happening, Fischer’s facial expressions indicate a pure, innocent–almost childlike–surprise at what was going on around him. But the whole world, FINALLY, understood what Bobby Fischer was all about, and why he had fought so hard and for so long for the best playing conditions for himself and for all players.  I was moved!  I intend to see the film again…

One response

  1. Quanto mais leio sobre o match de 1972, mais acho que o ponto final ainda não foi colocado, e, pelo visto, nunca o será. Diga o que se diga, foi um match no mínimo estranho.

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