Black & White: The Rise and Fall of Bob­by Fischer

  • From the Publisher
March 8, 2022

A graph­ic nov­el biog­ra­phy fol­low­ing the life of Bob­by Fis­ch­er, from chess wun­derkind and nation­al hero to his even­tu­al spi­ral into mad­ness and infamy

The life of Bob­by Fis­ch­er (1943 – 2008) had many unex­pect­ed moves — from his soli­tary child­hood to his stratos­pher­ic accom­plish­ments in the world of com­pet­i­tive chess, and even­tu­al­ly, his decent into men­tal ill­ness and dis­grace. Black & White begins in Brook­lyn, where Fis­ch­er was born and raised by a sin­gle moth­er. By the time he was a teen, he had estab­lished him­self as a lon­er and dropped out of school. But none of that mat­tered; he had found his true call­ing — chess.

In 1972, Fis­ch­er played what many con­sid­er the game of the cen­tu­ry” against the Sovi­et Union’s chess cham­pi­on Boris Spassky at the height of the Cold War. Lat­er, Fis­ch­er became the youngest-ever US Chess Cham­pi­on and the game’s youngest grand­mas­ter. Nev­er before had chess received such inter­na­tion­al atten­tion. Fis­ch­er, whose sole focus in life up until then was chess, reached the Olym­pus of chess at 29, and then … he disappeared.

Suf­fer­ing from men­tal ill­ness, the chess genius became increas­ing­ly para­noid, lost in anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries — despite the fact that he him­self was Jew­ish — and died as a fugi­tive in Ice­land. With Black & White, author Julian Voloj and illus­tra­tor Wag­n­er Willian have craft­ed a beau­ti­ful and fas­ci­nat­ing work that reveals Fischer’s his­to­ry while also con­tex­tu­al­iz­ing his last­ing impact on pop cul­ture. Black & White is the first-ever graph­ic nov­el to tell Fischer’s sto­ry and exam­ine the lega­cy he left behind.

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