THE CALIFORNIA CHESS REPORTER
(Vol. XXV No. 3) November-December 1975
THE FISCHER BOOM IS OVER
By Guthrie McClain
For a while it seemed that nothing could go wrong.
Tournaments got bigger and bigger, USCF Memberships climbed, chess books
were found in prominent displays in every bookstore, and everyone "in
the know" played chess - or at least talked about it. Even the
chessboards in ads were set up correctly. (We still have a backload of book
reviews we haven't had space to print).
Who was responsible for the popularity of chess in the
United States? Bobby Fischer, of course. Whatever you say about Fischer's
bad manners, he plays beautiful chess. The way he defeated Boris Spassky
for the championship caught the imagination of the public. Suddenly people
respected you for being a chessplayer, instead of thinking there was
something wrong with you. It was exhilarating, being popular for a
But the boom is over. Tournaments with advertised prizes
based on entries have had to reduce prizes. (There are exceptions, of
course: The Paul Masson or the American Open, for example). The USCF has
lost 22,000 members! The displays of books in stores have gone and it's
difficult to find a chess section at all in most bookstores. However, we
had a good time for a while. We may have to tighten our belts and
economize now that the coffers are empty again, but we're the better off
for the experience. Things will never be the same again.