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Old April 7th 10, 07:29 AM posted to,
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Default Playing chess with Kubrick


By Jeremy Bernstein

The scene now shifts to the spring of 1972. I was spending the year at
Oxford, and spent some Sundays with the Kubricks. Our interest again
turned to chess but this time it was with the imminent match between
Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in Iceland. One Sunday, Kubrick and I
watched Fischer’s interview with Mike Wallace for “60 Minutes.” It was
around the time of Fischer’s birthday and Wallace had come with a
cake. “I don’t like that kind of cake, ”Fischer said graciously. Then
he told Wallace how he had learned to play chess. His older sister had
taught him the moves. He soon began beating her so he spotted her
pieces. Then he said that that no longer worked so he began playing
with himself—Fischer vs. Fischer. “Mostly I won,” he commented with no
trace of humor. I expected a pleasant summer in Oxford reading about
the match but one morning in May the phone rang in my office. The man
on the line identified himself as the features editor of Playboy. He
informed me that Hugh Heffner was interested in chess and had read my
New Yorker profile of Kubrick. They had decided that I was the perfect
person to write about the Fischer-Spassky match for Playboy. They
would pay all my expenses and I would even have the American
grandmaster Larry Evans at my disposal....

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