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Searching for Bobby Fischer – The Movie

Searching for Bobby Fischer was a 1993 movie adaptation of the book written by the father of New York chess prodigy Joshua Waitzkin. It featured the popular actors Ben Kingsley,  Lawrence Fishburn, Joe Mantegna and actress Joan Allen.


In the quest to nurture his son’s talent, father Waitzkin hires a strict old-school trainer who tries to instill in Joshua Bobby Fischer’s intense will to win. This method of instruction is in direct contrast to the lessons Josh learns in playing against chess hustler Vinnie (Lawrence Fishburn) in Washington Square Park.



Some of the movie was shot in Toronto, which brings me to my connection to the film. While playing during a large international chess tournament in Toronto I was recruited to audition as a film ‘extra’. My photo was taken and my contact information was written down. Several weeks later at another chess tournament I was once again approached to audition. I told them I had already applied, but they insisted on another application with another photo – so I obliged.

For some inexplicable reason I was denied my chance at stardom – both applications were rejected! If I had only applied once I wouldn’t have taken the rejection so harshly! At least I can be content that I didn’t suffer the fate of renowned Hungarian/American Grandmaster Pal Benko – he was included in a few scenes, but they all ended up on the cutting room floor!

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