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Bobby Fischer Against the World

Directed by Liz Garbus
Produced by Nancy Abraham, Stanley F. Buchthal
Release dates
  • January 2011 (Sundance)
  • June 6, 2011 (United States)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Bobby Fischer Against the World is a documentary feature film that explores the life of chess Grandmaster and 11th World Champion Bobby Fischer. It incorporates interviews with chess players Anthony Saidy, Larry Evans, Sam Sloan, Susan Polgar, Garry Kasparov, Asa Hoffmann, Friðrik Ólafsson, Lothar Schmid and others. It includes rare archive footage from the World Chess Championship 1972.

Garbus began her work on the film after Fischer's death in 2008 at the age of 64. She said of Fischer: "It's hard to imagine that in 1972, all eyes were on a chess match, but it does, in fact, seem to be the case. Bobby Fischer was this self-taught Brooklyn boy who took the New York chess scene and then the national chess scene by storm. And the Russians had been dominating the sport for decades. ... So for an American to have a real chance at beating that [Soviet] machine, this was big stuff. ... The symbolism of the match was enormous."

The documentary has a 87% rating and a average rating of 7.1/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus not yet reached.

The film is dedicated to editor Karen Schmeer, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident while they were already a few months into the editing process.