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September 19, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER: The Father of a Prodigy Observes the World of Chess by Fred Waitzkin (Penguin: $7.95; 226 pp.). The popular film was based on Waitzkin's memoir of his son Josh's entry into the weird, recondite world of master-level chess. Although ostensibly about Josh, much of the book focuses on the author, who believes that his son is better at chess than he himself will ever be at anything. Despite his protests that he's just an average, everyday dad, Waitzkin emerges as a domineering parent, determined to make his child the biggest fish in a small, artificial pond. The reader wonders if Josh truly enjoys his talent, or if he would prefer a childhood without the stress of competition.

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