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Bobby Fischer (4) vs. Lance Armstrong; Riad Sattouf advances

Our best argument from the last one comes from Bobbie:

I used to believe that Euler could draw circles around anyone but after some investigation I now believe that Sattouf could draw anything around anyone (and write about it beautifully as well).

And today we have a battle of two GOATs, with Fischer seeded fourth and Armstrong unseeded. I have a horrible feeling that either one would come off as a whiny victim, with Bobby complaining about how the Russians conspired against him, and Armstrong complaining about all those damn reporters. But, hey, they’re both GOATs, so there’s that!

Again, the full bracket is here, and here are the rules:

We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.

I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!


  1. zbicyclist says:

    Who wants to risk an anti-Semitic rant?

    Gotta go with Lance, the Greatest Sports Jerk of All Time.
    (from Wikipedia): “Marking the [Tank McNamara] strip’s fortieth anniversary in 2014, readers were invited to submit nominations for the Sports Jerk of the last 40 years, which was “won” by Lance Armstrong, with Dennis Rodman and Pete Rose as runners-up.”

    I have to think Sattouf is a lock for the next round against either of these two.

  2. Jonathan (another one) says:

    Well, if you can’t trust zbicyclist about Lance Armstrong, whom can you trust? Unless zchessplayer registers here, Lance is a lock. Besides, how would you know whether you really got Bobby Fischer? Maybe he’d send Raymond Keene in disguise…

  3. DanC says:

    Fisher. Fisher may have been mentally ill and anti-Semetic, but at least he’d be interesting. A couple weeks ago I watched a clip from the old Dick Cavett show from the early 70s and Fisher was fascinating. Armstrong is a lunkhead.

  4. zchessplayer says:

    Fischer was, at least arguably, the greatest chess player of all time. Armstrong doesn’t belong in the GOAT category at all, since Eddy Merckx was clearly much greater. And no, I don’t think that is a matter of how we define ‘great’. And I don’t think it’s an unanswerable question because we’re comparing different eras and the sport has changed yada yada, as if we were trying to compare LeBron to Michael to Wilt. Merckx is from another planet…a planet where they are much fitter and have more willpower than we have here.

    But however Armstrong got into the mix, here he is, and he’s being compared to Bobby Fischer. And what does Fischer have going for him? Well, he once was at a gathering with the Columbia chess team: “It was great. Bobby was such a character. He read everybody’s palm and spoke very bluntly about everything. He told one of my friends after reading his palm, “You’re going to die young.”” Nuff sed.

  5. Manuel says:

    Seminar On Steroids?
    Save Our Souls, indeed.

    Fischer at least would give us the thrill of not knowing if he would show up or send someone instead. He could send Thomas Pynchon. Or, even better, he could send the Simpsons’ Pynchon, with the brown bag in his head!

  6. I grew up on Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess and improved my game through it, but over the years I outgrew Fischer, even as my chess skill diminished. I have been rather oblivious to Armstrong, but from what I can tell, he has two things going for him. First, he understands the concept of bicycling for fun. Second, zbicyclist gave such a strong argument for him that zchessplayer appeared out of nowhere–a testament to the generative potential of an Armstrong seminar.

  7. Jan says:

    In the case one of these two goons make it to semifinals, I would much rather watch Thorpe beat Fischer in chess than Armstrong in biking.

    Also, I was initially going to vote “Donald Duck” on this one, and I could not find any picture of Armstrong looking ducklike:

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