February 01, 2011
History is packed with tales about brilliant minds that
ultimately fall into madness. In our time, chess prodigy Bobby
Fischer is one of the most compelling and mysterious examples of an
early promise that plummets into disaster.
The life of this enigmatic genius is the subject of
Endgame, a new book by Frank Brady, Ph.D., Professor of
Mass Communications at St. John's University. On Monday, Jan.
24, New York Times critic Janet Maslin
praised Dr. Brady's study as a rapt, intimate book, greatly
helped by its author's long acquaintance with Fisher" and Dr.
Brady's "deep grounding in the world of chess."
Dr. Brady was the founding editor of Chess Life, the U.S.
Chess Federation's official magazine. This knowledge of the
game is equaled by Dr. Brady's own relationship with Bobby Fischer,
whom he met when the champion was a 10-year-old prodigy in
In addition to his own experience with Mr. Fischer, Ms. Maslin
writes, Dr. Brady "makes use of unusually good source material,"
such as Mr. Fischer's "own unpublished manuscript to 50 years"
worth of his personal conversations with Fischer's associates,
mentors and relatives." This includes letters and observations by
Mr. Fischer's longtime mentor and his mother, who seemed to predict
her son's increasingly bizarre behavior.
Ultimately, Ms. Maslin writes, Dr. Brady demonstrates consummate
skill at forging "a demystifying approach to Fischer's
eccentricities. He sees the person behind the bluster, and he
presents that person in a reasonably realistic light."
Dr. Brady, the former Chairman of the Division of Mass
Communications in the
College of Professional Studies at St. John's, has written
numerous books and articles about chess, including the Bobby
Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy, (to which HBO bought movie
rights). He also has written books about Aristotle Onassis and
At St. John's, Dr. Brady has mentored hundreds of students who
have gone on to success in journalism and mass communications.