Originally posted by mchill
Why is it that the 2 most powerful chess players ever to come from North America (Morphy and Fischer) were mentally unstable? Is there something in the drinking water? The rock formations? The food? The American chess community said some unpleasant things about the Russian chess players during the cold war era, but folks like Petrosian, Spassky, and Karpov led relatively normal lives compared to Morphy and Fischer.
The only unpleasant things I am aware of the American chess community saying about Russian (Soviet) chess players were usually in reference to collusion and cheating.
Usually the most entertaining conflicts were between Fischer and other US players (Reshevsky and later Benko when he defected).
I suspect that the players who could
have been the most powerful players from the US found better and more productive uses for their time, so that left the crazies a vacuum to fill.
In that context and as I spend time reading the forum and typing this, I wonder where I fall on the crazy scale...