In the last week since Bobby Fischer's death, I realized that I probably would not have gotten into chess if not for him. My dad was enthusiastic about chess in 1972, and in either that year or the next, he taught me the royal game.
"The Bobby" as I like to refer to him was probably the greatest chess player ever, and it is sad that he went into obscurity and mental illness. In my chess lessons this morning, some of the students asked about chess, but two asked about "bad things he said about the United States." I explained to them that Bobby suffered from mental illness later in his life.
On a very positive note, I used the Game of the Century to demonstrate the two key goals in the opening--1) develop your minor pieces and a few pawns to control the center and 2) protect your King by castling. In the game, both Donald Byrne and Fischer followed the first rule, but Bobby punished Byrne for not castling! Bobby was 12 at the time, just a few years older than the students I teach.
I am thankful for chess for Bobby's countless contributions to it! Thank you and rest in peace!