Browne was enjoying his best years as I was first becoming a serious player, and thus I always knew him as a very strong GM. He won the first of his six US Championship titles in 1974, a year after I had first joined a chess club and first read a chess magazine. Over the next decade or so, he was a very active player, who chalked up many successes in strong GM events. Wijk aan Zee was an especially successful hunting ground - in seven appearances, he never had a minus score, including two first places, a 3-4th, a 4th, a 5th and a 6th. Browne was also the King of the American Swiss circuit, for which his uncompromising style made him ideal, and he has won literally hundreds of Swiss events.
He always had a reputation for several things - aggressive attacking play, deep theoretical knowledge (especially in his beloved Najdorf Sicilian), ferocious concentration, appalling time-scrambles, and for being extremely brash. Much of this fascinating personality came over when he appeared in a couple of series of the BBC TV programme, The Master Game. My abiding memory of those is that his first words, after his opponent's move, were almost invariably, "Huh, that's what I figured!".
The Stress of Chess is an excellent read, and a superb collection of annotated games. One gets a very good feel for the life of a chess professional in the 1970s and 80s, especially one as active as Browne. Many is the tale of last-minute flights, delayed flights, lost luggage, sleepless nights travelling, followed by a game the next day, etc. Nobody who reads the book could ever think there was anything easy or relaxing about life as a chess pro, just as nobody who watched Browne play could ever get that idea, either.
In addition to chess, Browne has always been a great gambler, and part of the book details his exploits, making serious money at poker, backgammon, etc. Indeed, I recall Robert Bellin describing the evening atmosphere at Wijk aan Zee in the mid-1970s, and especially the legendary Sonevanck Cafe, where in those days, the GMs would spend their evenings (nowadays, you won't spot an elite GM anywhere near a bar in Wijk - they are all in their hotel rooms, wired up to their computers...). Bellin gave a memorable description of how the ordinary players could rub shoulders with the top GMs, ask their opinion on a game for the price of a beer, chat, or "challenge Browne to a game of anything at all for a couple of guilders"! Browne was like a figure lifted out of The Cincinnati Kid.
Above all, though, any GM's ultimate legacy is his games, and Browne played plenty of brilliant ones. This is the one he himself names as his "Immortal". His sacrifice at move 14, found over the board after an hour's thought, is amazing enough, but the follow up makes the game a masterpiece:
You can order a copy of Browne's book here. It is every bit as good as I expected. In fact, it's just what I figured...