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"An Abject Fear of Losing"

Having just a few days ago posted an encomium to Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion and current courageous political activist, I was struck by an interesting contrast between his story and the late Bobby Fischer's.

One of the main points Kasparov kept mentioning in the talk I heard him give is that, You have to have the courage to fail." In contrast, "Fischer's obituary in the New York Times notes, "some said he was driven by an abject fear of losing."

A comparison would be both facile and unfair, since their circumstances were very different and Fischer clearly suffered from mental problems. But it is interesting nevertheless to ponder the difference in fates between a genius who conquered his fears, and one who was conquered by them.

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