Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer and Stuart Margulies

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer and Stuart Margulies

In the world of chess, Bobby Fischer is revered as the greatest player of all time. Now, you have the opportunity to learn from the master himself in this one-of-a-kind book.

Discover the Bobby Fischer way of playing chess, a method that is not only the fastest and most efficient but also the most enjoyable. Whether you are a beginner looking to grasp the fundamentals or an experienced player seeking more advanced strategies, this book has got you covered.

What sets this book apart is its unique programmed learning method. It presents you with a question and if you answer correctly, it moves on to the next one. However, if you make a mistake, fear not. The book provides a detailed explanation of why your answer is incorrect and gives you the opportunity to try again.

The formatting of the book is designed to enhance your learning experience. The exercises are on the right-hand pages, with the solution hidden on the following page. Interestingly, the left-hand pages are printed upside-down intentionally. Once you reach the end of the book, simply turn it upside-down and work your way back.

By the time you finish this book, not only will you have honed your skills as a chess player, but you may even be able to challenge and defeat Bobby Fischer himself. Prepare to embark on a chess journey like no other.

Dr. Stuart Margulies: Co-author of Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess

L earning Chess Through “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess”

Hello everyone, I am Ben Johnson and this is the Perpetual Chess Podcast. “Perpetual Chess” is a weekly interview show where top chess players, authors, content creators, and accomplished amateurs discuss their careers, share stories, and provide chess improvement tips. It is part of the Bluewire Podcast Network. Special thanks to our presenting chess education sponsor, For more information about the podcast, visit

But without further ado, let’s get to the show. Today, we have a legendary author in the chess world. He is 89 years old and best known for being the co-author of the book “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess”, which is considered one of the best-selling chess books of all time. He is also a USCF master and an educational psychologist who has written extensively about educational technology and the effect of chess on reading scores. Please welcome Dr. Stuart Margulies to the show.

Dr. Margulies, can you tell us about your first encounter with Bobby Fischer?

Dr. Margulies: My first encounter with Bobby Fischer was about 60 years ago when he was about 15 years old. We used to play chess together, and he would often give me odds. I remember being amazed at how good he was, even at such a young age. We would play with a chess clock, and he would often give me a pawn and four moves.

Ben: Did you have any other memorable experiences or games with Fischer?

Dr. Margulies: Well, I did win one game against him after playing him many times. It was quite an achievement for me. But overall, playing with Fischer was always a pleasure. He was a nice person and a fantastic chess player.

Ben: Did you have any insight into Fischer’s personality at that time?

Dr. Margulies: Fischer was a nice and friendly person with no hint of any difficulties. He was easy to work with when we were writing “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess.” He had some specific requirements for the book, but overall, he was a pleasure to collaborate with.

Ben: How did “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” come about?

Dr. Margulies: The book originated from my work in educational psychology and program instruction. It was published by Xerox, and we used the concept of program instruction to break down chess learning into small steps. The book was a departure from traditional chess books, as it focused on teaching chess to beginners using a programmed instruction format.

Ben: Did Fischer have much involvement in the writing process?

Dr. Margulies: Fischer’s involvement was modest but essential. He endorsed the book and ensured its accuracy. He also made some suggestions, such as making the positions look like they came from real games.

Ben: “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” is considered one of the best-selling chess books of all time. How do you feel about its success?

Dr. Margulies: I am thrilled that the book has been so successful. It has introduced countless people to the world of chess and helped them improve their skills. It’s gratifying to know that something we worked on so many years ago is still appreciated today.

Ben: What do you believe makes “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” such an effective learning tool for beginners?

Dr. Margulies: One of the key factors is the programmed instruction format, which breaks down chess learning into manageable steps. The book also uses visual aids and avoids complex chess notation, making it accessible to beginners. Additionally, Fischer’s endorsement added credibility and appeal to the book.

Ben: Have you considered creating a course based on “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” using platforms such as Chessable?

Dr. Margulies: I am not familiar with Chessable, but I think a course based on the book’s principles could be beneficial. The programmed instruction format and visual aids could be incorporated into an online course, making chess learning even more accessible to beginners.

Ben: You have also conducted research on the effects of chess on reading scores. Can you tell us about your findings?

Dr. Margulies: My research has shown mixed results regarding the impact of chess on reading scores. While some studies indicate a positive correlation, others have not shown significant improvement. It’s challenging to isolate the effects of chess due to various factors that influence reading performance. However, there is evidence that chess can serve as a distraction and provide mental engagement in challenging situations.

Ben: Do you have any general advice for maintaining good health and cognitive function as you age?

Dr. Margulies: I can only speak for myself, but staying physically and mentally active has been helpful for me. Regular exercise, reading, and engaging in activities you enjoy, such as playing chess, can contribute to overall well-being. However, everyone is different, and it’s important to find what works best for you.

Ben: Thank you, Dr. Margulies, for taking the time to share your insights and experiences with us. It has been a pleasure talking with you.

Dr. Margulies: Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure to reminisce about my chess experiences and discuss “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess.”

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