Chess grandmaster who brought Bronx brashness to his play
Arthur Bisguier, a largely self-taught chess grandmaster who brought a native Bronx brashness to his style of play in defeating some of the game’s greatest players while finding mostly frustration when he faced Bobby Fischer, died on Wednesday in Framingham, Massachusetts. He was 87.
His daughter Erica Bisguier said the death, at a care facility, was caused by respiratory failure.
Bisguier) learned to play chess when he was five by watching games between his older sister and a cousin.
He was not yet 20 when he won the US Junior Championship in 1948; the next year, he successfully defended the title. He went on to win the US Open in 1950, the first of five times he would triumph or tie for first in that tournament. And in 1954 he won the US Championship.
Bisguier might have won more US Championships – or at least one more – if not for Fischer. When Fischer came along he was 14 years younger than Bisguier, but he began to dominate the US chess scene almost immediately, winning his first championship, in 1957-58, before he was 15.
Bisguier’s one taste of victory against Fischer came in the first game they ever played, when Fischer was a child prodigy of 13. But he would not beat him again. Bisguier’s career record against him consisted of that one win, one draw (in their second game) and 13 consecutive losses. Bisguier had a good opportunity to best Fischer in the 196263 championship, however. The two were tied going into the last round and had to play each other head to head. But, as happened so often against Fischer, he finished second.
Though he could never overcome Fischer, Bisguier counted some formidable opponents among his vanquished, including former world champion Boris Spassky; Samuel Reshevsky, who won the US Championship eight times; and Svetozar Gligoric, who was a candidate for the world championship three times.
Bisguier was awarded the title grandmaster, the highest in chess, in 1957 by the World Chess Federation.besides Erica Bisguier, he is survived by another daughter, Cele Bisguier; a sister, Sylvia Prival; two granddaughters; and three step-grandchildren. Copyright New York Times