I Remember Bobby

An Author's Musings

My brother and I had a board set up in the same position as Fischer and Spassky’s in far away Reykjavik that summer of ’72. We sat mesmerized for hours every day, our attention divided equal parts between the board and the endearingly goofy Shelby Lyman on TV.

The broadcast was on WNET, Channel 13 in New York, soon to be PBS, primitive even by 1972 standards. After all, Telstar had launched in 1962, allowing transoceanic images to be beamed across the globe. Despite this technological innovation, poor Shelby was reduced to receiving news of a move by either Fischer or Spassky over the phone, then moving the piece on the in-studio board. Until the next move, which could be an hour off, Shelby filled the air with analysis, curiosities and the occasional talking head. In part, the primitive telecast was attributable to the fact the combatants were holed up…

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