How dominant was Bobby Fischer?
Some people recently asked me how dominant was Bobby Fischer at his peak. Here are just a few of the highlights:
An amazing 20 game winning streak against world-class competition:
It started with him dominating the 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal with the score of 18.5 - 4.5, a full 3.5 points ahead of 2nd place, and winning his final 7 games! (The field included big names like Larsen, Geller, Hübner, Taimanov, Uhlmann, Portish, Polugaevsky, Smyslov, Gligorić, Panno, Mecking, Hort, Reshevsky, etc.)
After that, he defeated the Soviet star Mark Taimanov 6-0 in the Candidates Match #1
He continued his streak by defeating the Danish Superstar Bent Larsen 6-0 in Candidates Match #2
Then he finished his streak by beating Petrosian in the 1st game of Candidates Match #3 (He only won the match by the score of 6.5 - 2.5)
The streak: 7 + 6 + 6 + 1 = 20 games!
Fischer also had the biggest rating gap between #1 and #2, 125 points ahead of Boris Spassky! No one has ever matched this gap, not even close!
He had his many big flaws. He made many big demands (which directly helped many of the current chess players becoming millionaires). He became very sick (mentally) later on in his career. He was very controversial. But without a doubt, he was an incredibly dominant player when he played.
Tal said that Fischer is "the greatest genius to have descended from the chess heavens."
Petrosian said that Fischer put more time into chess than the entire Soviet team.
Anand said that Fischer is "the greatest chess player who ever lived!"
Because the international rating system only started in 1970, there was no way to accurately measure or compare players' ratings. However, Chessmetrics (uses algorithms to rate rating performances of chess players retrospectively and uniformly throughout chess history) determined that Fischer's peak rating was 2895, which is still the highest in history.