Friday, July 02, 2010

Jeff Sarwer

I slacked off in my poker magazine reading for a while, but I'm gradually getting caught up.

The May issue of Bluff magazine had one of the most interesting player profiles I've ever read. It's available online here in case you missed it.

Jeff Sarwer was a true child prodigy in chess, even being invited to provide commentary on televised matches at age 7. In fact, he was the inspiration for the fictional central character in the film "Searching for Bobby Fischer." But he suddenly vanished from the chess world. Now that he has re-emerged, we know what happened to him.

I'll let you read it for yourselves, but it's an amazing story involving an abusive and radical father who drove his kids around Canada instead of getting them formal educations, a stint in foster homes, then a clandestine reuniting with his father and the remainder of his childhood spent on the lam, evading child protection authorities.

After having some business success, he has now turned his interests to poker on the European tournament circuit, and notable figures such as Shawn Deeb and Jonathan Aguiar are prasing his raw talent as if he is the Messiah of poker, unlike anybody they have seen before.

Is it just hype, or is there really something new and phenomenal emerging here? I don't know, but this article sure makes me curious to sit back and watch for the next few years.

1 comment:

Aussiesmurf said...

Just a brief comment about 'Searching for Bobby Fischer' - one of my favourite films.

Jeff Sarwer is not the basis for the main character in the movie. He is the basis for the main character's antagonist, who is named Jonathan Poe in the movie.

The main character is named Joshua Waitzkin, based upon the real chess-player Joshua Waitzkin. The film is based upon the book by the real Joshua Waitzkin's father (Fred Waitzkin), with said book also being called Searching for Bobby Fischer.

The character of Jeff Sarwer / Jonathan Poe is used in the film as a contrast to the attempts by Joshua Waitzkin's family to give him a 'normal' life, compared to the obsessive and left-field parenting of Sarwer / Poe's parents.

All of the above can be checked on Wikipedia or similiar sites.