Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

Bobby Fischer Against the World 2011

Directed by Liz Garbus

The fascinating and turbulent life of chess master – and unlikely Cold War hero – Bobby Fischer. “It is a strange and complex story of a brilliant but deeply troubled man, full of bizarre twists and turns.” — Screendaily

UK / USA In English
90 minutes Colour and B&W



Liz Garbus
Rory Kennedy
Stanley Buchthal
Matthew Justus


Robert Chappell


Karen Schmeer
Michael Levine


Philip Sheppard


Bobby Fischer
Malcolm Gladwell
Henry Kissinger
Garry Kasparov
Larry Evans
Anthony Saidy
Shelby Lyman
Russell Targ
Susan Polgar
Saemi Palsson


Sundance 2011


Forty years ago a game of chess brought the world to a standstill. The 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjaviksaw Bobby Fischer, America’s rock-star chess player, take on Boris Spassky, the sleek show pony of the Soviet Union’s colossal chess programme. The prickly, unpredictable, self-determining American versus the cool paragon of Soviet cohesion: they were fighting the Cold War mano a mano on a chessboard. Left to his own devices by his activist single mother, Fischer had taken up chess at six and made himselfUS champion by 15, but he was never cut out to don the mantle of American hero. Thoroughly researched and richly archived, Liz Garbus’ portrait delves into his remarkable rise, his legendary triumphs and his decline into tabloid notoriety as a recluse and political pariah. — BG

“Compelling… fleshed out by interviews with those who knew Fischer best, psychologically revealing archival footage, and Harry Benson’s poignant, iconic photos… Fischer’s troubled genius infuses the film.” — John Lopez, Vanity Fair