In 1972, America was chess-obsessed. The Soviet Union used chess to demonstrate its intellectual superiority to the West, but along came a young, lone American, who demolished the Russian masters of the sport. At the height of his career, Bobby Fischer was better known than any other man in the world. Relentless press attention, political pressure and a monomaniacal focus on chess ultimately led to his undoing. Academy Award-nominated director Liz Garbus (The Farm, Angola USA) uses the narrative tension of the 1972 match between Fischer and the defending World Champion, the Russian Boris Spassky, to explore not only the politically charged period of the early 1970s but also the nature of genius, madness and the game of chess itself.
In 1958, 14-year-old Robert James "Bobby" Fischer stunned the chess world by becoming the youngest grandmaster in history, launching a career that would make him a legend. Over the next decade and a half, his breathtaking rise to the top of the game riveted the world and inspired an international chess phenomenon. Then, at the apex of his success, Fischer disappeared from the public eye.
The revealing documentary BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD, debuting MONDAY, JUNE 6 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, chronicles the chess master's meteoric rise, culminating in the historic 1972 match against Boris Spassky in Iceland, as well as his shocking withdrawal from competition and the paranoia that derailed his life. The film was a 2011 Sundance Film Festival selection.