Analysis Of "searching For Bobby Fischer" - English 151 - Essay

1399 words - 6 pages

“Searching for Bobby Fischer” Analysis Essay
Victoria Lombardi
Professor Mason
Psychology 226
November 30th, 2016
Prodigies are most often found in three fields; mathematics, music and chess. None of the
three depend on maturity, social skills or insight of human relationship but do depend on an
intuitive understanding of complex relationships, something that’s natural. The idea of this is a
blessing and a curse- being a gift majority can’t grasp, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to a greater
happiness in life as a whole. Based on true events, Bobby Fischer himself was arguably the
greatest chess player who faced and defeated the best players of his time as a kid. The movie
“Searching for Bobby Fischer” tells a story of the ‘new’ Bobby Fisher- young Josh Waitzkin who
nurtures his love for the game through the world of Washington Square Park chess hustlers. He
learns about the game of chess and consequences of losing and winning through observational
and operant conditioning.
Reinforcement is one of the strongest factors that play out through the movie “Searching
for Bobby Fischer” and is expressed through both Albert Bandura and B.F Skinner’s perspectives
of personality. The theorists differ in the sense that Skinner believed in consequence determining
behavior through reinforced punishment, while Bandura believed that behavior is reflected off
of a persons observations, surroundings and one another. Much like this, Josh Witzkin is
motivated by two coaches who symbolize these perspectives. Both mentors being so passionate
about chess and teaching Josh the art of it as an apprentice are so different in their level of
passion; sacrifice, desire and interest- when to take the queen out.
Josh Waitzkin’s character by nature is a loving, caring young kid. From the moment Josh
played his first chess game he contemplated the cons and pros of winning the game. As a seven
year old, he would have been content playing chess in the park with friends. When his father
begins to enter him into games and tournaments, he comes face to face with the fault of chess-
someone always loses. It’s evident he genuinely cares about people due to his reluctance to
beating his dad in chess and hurting his feelings, being concerned for his street mentor’s
homeless status, being unable to look down on his opponent, etc. The inequity between the
chance of losing and winning is what throws Josh off so much as a character, as he is torn
between what he is expected to do, what he wants to do and what he feels he needs to do. The
influences in his life have a major impact on his self esteem as a kid and his ability to do his best
in the game of chess. His parents and two mentors seem try and influence Josh in completely
separate angles. At such a young age, this can confuse a child because we are influenced by those
who care for us. In the end Josh is able to win against Jonathan Poe using Bruce’s strategy and
Vinnie’s philosophy of “letting his time run out.”
As far as th...

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