By Harry Benson
(powerHouse Books, Hardcover, 9781576875810, 144pp.)
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
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Harry Benson’s rare, exclusive photos of the elusive and controversial chess genius Bobby Fischer taken during the historic World Championship chess match in Iceland in 1972 in which Fischer solidly defeated reining champ, Russian Boris Spassky, are collected here for the first time, in Bobby Fischer.
Photographer Harry Benson was one of the very few people Bobby Fischer would talk to during the historic World Championship chess match in Iceland in 1972 in which Fischer solidly defeated reining world champion, Russian Boris Spassky. The match, known at the time as the “Game of the Century,” is now generally considered a battle in the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Benson’s exclusive photos of the elusive and controversial chess genius give insight into the private
world of the man Benson calls “the most eccentric and most fascinating person I have ever photographed.”
Benson’s intimate access to Fischer was not the easiest of tasks to accomplish. In fact, Fischer barred the door even when his mother arrived from America. Filled with idiosyncrasies and a complete loner, Fischer is still revered by chess fans around the world and is considered the greatest chess player of all time.
Scottish born photojournalist Harry Benson was the most published photographer in LIFE magazine before it closed and continues to photograph for major magazines including Vanity Fair and Vice. In 2009, Queen Elizabeth named Benson a Commander of Order of the British Empire (CBE). Benson has had 40 one-man exhibitions of his work in the U.S. and Europe and is the author of 14 books including R.F.K.: A Photographer’s Journal (powerHouse Books, 2008), and Harry Benson: Photographs (powerHouse Books, 2009). Benson lives in New York and Florida with his wife, Gigi, who works with him on his exhibitions and books. Their two daughters live and work in Los Angeles.
“Mr. Fischer kept a chessboard by his bed, right, just in case he had any ideas during the night.”
Harry Benson, The New York Times
“I got along with Bobby Fischer because I knew nothing about chess. Bobby thought anyone who knew about chess was a moron.”
Harry Benson, Newsweek
“Fischer was notorious for his abrasive manner, but Benson’s pictures get beyond the antagonistic persona, beyond the antics. ‘There was a softness I found in him,’ he reflects.”
"Benson’s beautiful and evocative portraits help us recall the titan at his height."
Barnes and Noble Review