Monday, September 14, 2009

Did Bobby Fischer have Asperger's Syndrome?

I was told by a chess playing friend who has Asperger's Syndrome-an autistic disorder characterized by often superior intellectual abilities but also by obsessive behavior, ineffective communication, and social awkwardness- he believed I too could have a mild form. Having read, Shadow Syndromes: The Mild Forms of Major Mental Disorders That Sabotage Us by John J. Ratey earlier, I did not discount the possibility. I have read a great deal about Asperger's since then. Recently I finished reading a novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, after being told the way the protagonist thought was the way my friend thought.
Asperger's did not have a name until the mid-90's, yet now the books and movies proliferate. For example, the movie, ADAM: A LOVE STORY ABOUT ASHPERGER'S made a showing earlier this year, and the just published book: Parallel Play: Growing Up with Undiagnosed Asperger's by Tim Page. The NYTimes review ( begins: When Tim Page was a teenager, he thought of Howard Hughes, Glenn Gould, Bobby Fischer and J. D. Salinger as role models.
Having read extensively on Bobby Fischer, I cannot help but wonder if he, too, would have been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome?

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