Bobby Fischer - Charles Mingus (beat God)

Bobby Fisher Surprised Charles Mingus Surprised BellviewSurprised


  • I was just reading an article in New York Magazine about the closing of Bellview and they claim that Mingus says in his Autobiography that he met Fisher @Bellevue Hospital.

    Has anyone read this biography? I don't think they actually met up but it is an interesting thought.

    Found what i think is an excerpt from the book or Robbie Robertson's lyrics from a tribute album called - Weird Nightmare Meditations on Mingus .

    "There was a boy sitting across the table from me, reading a book on mathematics - I could see the equations and symbols. I saw him walking around earlier that morning - very tall and gangly, sandy haired, only about eighteen years old. I later learned he was a champion chess player and spoke seven languages. He was a genius, I guess. His parents had him committed, he told me, but he didn't say why. He didn't seem to mind. He was quiet and good-matured and always busy doing something. When he saw me looking at him he asked if I wanted to play a game of chess and he brought out his board. I showed him what I had just wrote.

    He looked very thoughtful, and said, "I don't have time to hear everything, but I'm interested in music and keep abreast of what's happening. It's odd you say you haven't been productive. It seems to me you have several-Let's see-" and he counted in his head - "I'd say six or seven albums that came out last year. That isn't bad." I was amazed, but he was right, and I released last year seemed like ten years ago to me.

    He checkmated me three times in a row, and I could see he was getting bored, so I went back to my bunk and tried to write some poetry.

  • Filminferno0104

  • i dint know, but charlies dingus was a genius himself in the world of jazz, an exceptional bass player.big sound!


    I agree with you El_Emigre and it is interesting to think of how these big minds in such horrific conditions. Bobby Phisher : ) always seemed to be one fry short of a happy meal and Mingus seemed to have too many. Even if these are just psychotic musings it is interesting to think about Mingus musing about chess. I think his song called "lock em up" is about his experience in the notorious Bellview.

    I used to work @LA county General hospital as a psych nurse and would often play the patients. Many of the Dre's would ask me about the mental status based on the play.


    Those paranoid schizo were a tough bunch - took forever to move and always knew what i was up to - Phisher had many of the signs and symptoms?


    I've played many people who were in the rages of mania and it was always funny to beat "God" in a game of chess.

  • Yeah! A genius, no doubt... with severe mental problems too. More jazz/chess lovers here?

  • This is pretty interesting. I'm actually reading Mingus' autobiography now. Hasn't been to Bellview yet, but I'll be sure to keep you posted as I read on.


  • Reb wrote:



    Fisher is just one take on the name. If you do a little homework, you will find that he changed the spelling of his name when he began to compete. Sorry to put you over the edge and if you like I'll spell it "Fisher." If you look @ how he spelled it during his freshman year in HS you will understand you are not alone in your confusion.

    Best Fishes

  • Yeah! A genius, no doubt... with severe mental problems too. More jazz/chess lovers here?

    Here is one ;)

  • The idea that devoting yourself to 1 thing obsessively means you are crazy is totally absurd.  By that logic everyone on the planet is crazy in one form or another.  One person likes tomatoes too much, another person bananas.


    But actually in Fischer's case he had a wide variety of interests.  People dehumanize him all the time, but he was a lot more complicated than the history-erasers give him credit for.

  • Here's a Mingus story I know is true, Tim Leary used to drop acid with Mingus and they'd trip riding the subways in NYC. What has this to do with Chess, well I thought you'd like to know that while doing this the did NOT play chess &tbsp &tbsp                         :>)

    But it makes me think Tim Leary must have been the real deal...

  • I saw Tim Leary speak back in ~ 86' @ Cal Poly Pomona and he said that in the future, people would have little computers that they could carry in their backpack. He went on to say that these little computers would become increasingly inexpensive so that all kids would have one and we wouldn't have to carry around those heavy backpacks with books.


    He also mentioned that the PC was the LSD of the 90s in that they would cause a global awakening much larger than what arose from the 60s. He spoke about how information was restricted to the ruling elite and passed down to the via sages - chiefs, Priests - kings, Professors- relatively affluent " kids like you ", etc... With these little computers the middle man would be cut out and anyone could now access this knowledge.


    He went on with the horse to water bit but also those who have been controlled by the knowledge of the elite would be thirsty and it would be the thirsty ones who will change the future.


    My Irish Grand Pa used to say, " If you leave it up to the government to educate you then you will know exactly what they want you to know."


    Just some rambling thoughts but they can be related to chess. Just think of the GMs of the future? Sure they will solve chess but someone will come up with some variants -  that will change it. If only I had this when I was a kid - I could never find anyone who was interested in a game. That isn't even throwing in the information databases of games, expert help, etc...


    What kind of chess player would Phizer be if only he had this?


    I've 14,000 songs on my ipod that is hooked up to my stereo and playing almost all the time. With so much music, guitar tabs, etc...


    Sure we have tons of useless things to sift over but the Seeker will see.


    What is the future going to sound like????


    If you have read this far thanks


    Surprised   big mouth spewing words....

  • You get my congratulations for using the word vituperation.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #13


    RobertABrown wrote:

    Hi Ace, 

    A very interesting post. Given Mingus' mental state and the fact that he was probably heavily medicated at times during his stay at Bellview, there are at least two reasonable and possible explanations for his claim to have met and played Fischer: he was hallucinating and really believed that a phantom of imagination was RJF; or he met a young fellow who was delusional and genuinely believed himself to be Bobby Fischer. 

    I've read almost everything I can lay my hands on dealing with Fischer and haven't come across anything about a stay in a mental hospital, until now. On that basis I think one of the speculations above are probably closer to the mark. Also, Fischer appeared to have sound mental health as an adolescent, the cracks in his psyche only appearing in the last few years preceeding his run to the World Championship. Moreover, Mingus's claim that the putative Bobby said his parents had him committed flies in the face of the fact that he had only one parent, and I strongly doubt she would ever have had him interred, 

    On the matter of spelling Fischer's name properly, Reb and I have played some games together and corresponded a fair amount. From that contact, I can tell you that he is gentleman and fine chess player. I'm sure he offered up the standard (and therefore correct) spelling of RJF's surname as a helpful gesture. For doing that he certainly didn't deserve the vituperation he received from others on this thread. 

    All the Best,



    Hello Rob,


    It is nice to hear from you and if anyone knows about the mending of music and chess it would be you.

    I don't think that Fischer was actually in Bellview with Mingus and felt that the New Yorker may have misquoted Mingus as I haven't been able to locate him saying it.


    The " Parents " part made me think that this was just some "creative writing" and I just found it interesting that Mingus wrote about such a chess player.


    With regards to the alternate spelling of his name I am sorry that it has drawn anyone away from my intention to draw out people might be interested in the connection between great artists and mental illness.


    Respect !!!



  • 4 years ago · Quote · #14


    I thought I'd never read those two names in the same sentence, with the possible exception of this one. Cool story.

Bobby Fisher Charles Mingus Bellview   I was just reading an article in New York Magazine about the closing of Bellview and they claim that Mingus says in his Autobiography that he met Fisher @Bellevue Hospital. Has anyone read this biography? I don't think they actually met up but it is an interest ...» more Dogmeat