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If you didn’t recognize the well-dressed man in the picture, he’s the grandmaster of grandmasters, Bobby Fischer, and you may be hearing a lot more about him in the months ahead.

Word leaked today that Tobey Maguire’s producing a film version of the Fischer’s 1972 match with Boris Spassky—quite possibly the most dramatic moment of his career—and it might just the posthumous revival that chess’s most famous disappearing act needs.

He’s always been one of our favorite figures—and this t-shirt doesn’t hurt. He became a grandmaster at 15, was the most famous chess player in the world at 20, and played unwilling pawn in a staggering number of high-profile U.S.-Russia chess matches, then promptly descended into paranoia and increasingly hateful encounters with the outside world. He’s still the only American World Champion in chess history, but even the early interviews hint at a fragile human being completely unprepared for what the world was about to throw at him.

It’s a grand and deeply ugly story—think a nerdier, more tortured Howard Hughes—and the geek-gone-sour vibe is just about perfect for where Maguire’s at these days. Genius is a powerful thing, and when it’s turned in on itself…let’s just say it’s the kind of thing actors go wild for.

As for movies about child prodigies ill-equipped for adult life, maybe Wes Anderson’s free?

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom