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I do remember, somewhat vaguely it must be admitted, when the notorious and neurotic (to be polite) Bobby Fischer played Russian behemoth Boris Spassky for the world Grand Master of Chess back in 1972.
The portrait that was being painted of Fischer by many in the media at the time was of someone who was acting outrageously, unreasonably and very, very strangely in order to out-psyche his blindsided opponent. In other words, everyone thought there was a method to Fischer’s madness.
But writer Steven Knight and director Edward Zwick, in their version of the match in their new film Pawn Sacrifice, take a different approach. In their perspective, Fischer came by his outrageousness honestly. According to Knight and Zwick, Fischer’s actions were the result of some pretty serious mental issues rather than fully conscious choices.
In other words, while everyone, including Spassky, thought that Fischer was playing Hamlet, in reality, he’s the guy in the hospital who thinks he really is Hamlet.