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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Research on help for troubled chess players: A psychological autopsy of Bobby Fischer

Chess news and chess trivia blog (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2010

Hello Everyone,

We found this interesting link to a study titled 'A psychological autopsy of Bobby Fischer' via Chess player Bobby Fischer’s tortured life illustrates why promising young talents deserve better support programs, argues Joseph G. Ponterotto in his research essay.

What would Bobby Fischer’s life and career have looked like had he received appropriate mental health services throughout his life? And is there a way for society to help troubled, often defiant prodigies become less troubled, without diminishing their genius and eventual contribution to society? These and other issues are discussed in a Miller-McCune research essay.

An excerpt from the essay states:

It appears Fischer never adjusted well to the New York City school system. He was expelled from a public school in Manhattan when he kicked the principal, and he dropped out of high school. In contrast to this disinterest in school, Bobby developed an intense focus on chess. In fact, to say Bobby became obsessed with chess would be a wild understatement.

During Bobby’s childhood and early adolescence, Regina consulted with, or had Bobby meet directly, three different mental health professionals. According to Brady, Regina spoke with Ariel Mengarini, a New York City psychiatrist and chess master, about curbing her son’s “chess obsession,” and Mengarini responded: “I could think of a lot worse things than chess that a person could devote himself to and … you should let him find his own way.” Regina received a similar response from Harold Kline, who saw her son at the Children’s Psychiatric Division of the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital.

You can read the full essay here.

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  • At December 29, 2010 at 11:30 AM , Anonymous Saira Fernando, Madrid said...

    Very interesting. But not all chess players have problems. Look at Anand, Kosteniuk, Kasparov, Short, Carlsen. Most people though like to typecast chess players. But we're normal people handling all aspects of life.


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