Bobby Fischer, 1943–2008
On January 17 2008 Robert James Fischer, the reclusive eleventh World Chess
Champion, died at the age of 64 in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he had been living
for the last three years. Fischer moved to Iceland after spending nine months
in Japanese detention while the US sought his extradition for tax evasion. He
was released when Iceland, where in 1972 he had defeated the tenth World Champion
Boris Spassky, granted him citizenship and afforded him refuge in the Nordic
That long lonesome road: Fischer in Iceland – picture sent to us by
Einar S. Einarsson ©
Fischer settled in Reykjavik in April 2005, disappearing once again from the
limelight that his arrest and release in Japan had cast on him. He had just
two or three trusted friends whom he occasionally visited, a few shops and the
library, where he could occasionally be seen, and some restaurants where he
ate. Fischer generally refused to talk to journalists or entrepreneurs who approached
him in droves with projects and business proposals.
A picture of Fischer's grave in Iceland, sent to us by Hans van Brandwijk
After a few relatively peaceful years Fischer, who was born on March 9, 1943,
took ill a few months earlier and was admitted to hospital. His friend Einar
S. Einarsson informed the international media that in Iceland sickness is catagorized
as private matter, and being sick is not a subject of media reports. Then on
January 17th 2008 news of his death caught us during our car journey from Hamburg
to Wijk aan Zee. Our links below tell the story of Fischer's final days.
commemorate the first anniversary of Fischer's death we retell one of the most
exhilarating stories from Fischer's youth. It is taken from the book
"Chess Phenomenon Bobby Fischer" by Aleksander Pasternjak. It is a lovely (and
loving) work, originally published in Slovenian and now out of print. A German
language version was published without a date by Copress Verlag in Munich, excellently
translated by Darko Dolinar. The following English translation of passages from
the first chapter is by Frederic Friedel.
The Sicilian Vespers
By Aleksander Pasternjak
It is the final round of the Portoroz Interzonal in 1958, in which the six
finalists for the Candidates tournament to find a challenger to Mikhail Botvinnik's
world championship title will be chosen. The youngest participant is just fifteen
years old and is playing against one of the tournament leaders. Robert James
Fischer has black against Svetozar Gligoric, twenty years his senior and an
experienced world-class GM.
Svetozar Gligoric – Robert Fischer [B98]
Portoroz Interzonal Portoroz (21), 1958
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 h6
Gligoric stares at the lad in amazement. Bobby Fischer has just played a daring
idea of Herman Pilnik in the Sicilian Najdorf. It is not just a surprise to
his opponent, it has the entire playing hall stunned. Fischer has gone for the
The boy is covering his eyes with his long, bony fingers. He is calm, his gaze
is steady, the eyes occasionally dart across the chessboard. Even at this early
age Fischer is considered a great expert in the Sicilian Defence. His Yugoslav
opponent is baffled: is the lad trying to trick him with some new analysis,
or is he simply desperate?
Gligoric vs Fischer at the Interzonal in 1958 in Portoroz
This famous encounter between Gligoric and Fischer actually began three years
earlier. Fischer was using a line that had suffered an extraordinary fate at
the Interzonal in Gothenburg 1955. The Argentinean players, Miguel Najdorf,
Oscar Panno and German Pilnik had based their preparation for this tournament
on the Najdorf Variation, but Paul Keres had defeated Panno with a novelty in
the first part of the tournament, refuting their entire strategy of the South
The Argentineans were in panic. But on a free day the temperamental Pilnik
had come up with the 9...g5 improvement that seemed to give them a powerful
weapon against Keres' new move. The Argentinean team and their helper spent
24 hours analysing every aspect of the devilishly clever Pilnik idea. In the
end the great Najdorf made the decision: we play 9...g5.
This led to the "total chess war" in Gothenburg. Argentina was the second-strongest
chess nation after the Soviet Union, and in round 14 chance would have it that
the three top players had black against the leading Russians Efim Geller, Boris
Spassky and Paul Keres.
About half an hour into the round the Argentinean plan struck like lightening
out of a clear sky. Almost simultaneously the three GMs played the fateful move
9...g5, and the Soviet "analysis engine" came to a grinding halt.
The tension in the playing hall was tremendous. Three demo boards showed identical
positions, and while the Russians sat there in deepest thought Miguel Najdorf
wandered around the hall, merrily asking people what they thought of his position.
One of them was Svetozar Gligoric, who was writing chess columns in Gothenburg.
On the boards the sharpest tactician amongst the Russian players, Efim Geller,
was the first to play. After 30 minutes he played a three-move combination,
sacrificing a knight, offering a bishop and then playing a quiet bishop move:
10.fxg5 Nfd7 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Qh5+ Kf8 13.Bb5 Ne5 14.Bg3. Spassky and Keres took
almost an hour to find the same moves, which marked the end of the Argentinean
dream. All three games were lost by Najdorf, Panno and Pilnik in very similar
That is the story of the "Sicilian Vespers", the tale of a variation that had
appeared like a comet and gone down in a blaze. Who would ever dare to play
the line again? The answer: a fifteen-year-old, and in a decisive game, one
of the most important in his career!
Fischer arriving in Portoroz
Fischer knew that Gligoric had witnessed the events in Gothenburg, and that
he knew all the analysis the Soviets had come up with. In fact earlier in the
year he had actually asked Gligoric innocently about the variation. It was the
last thing the Yugoslav could have expected, to see the move 9...g5 played by
his last-round opponent against him.
With some female admirers
In secret Fischer had been working very hard on the Pilnik line, spending many
hours unravelling its secrets, even studying the Russian language bulletins
from the tournaments in Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk in search of new ideas. In
the day before his game against Gligoric he ordered breakfast, lunch and dinner
in his hotel room, going over the material he had produced in his Brooklyn laboratory,
agonising over the decision whether to play the line in this decisive game or
10.fxg5 Nfd7 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Qh5+ Kf8 13.Bb5 Rh7!N
At the board in Portoroz Gligoric slowly began to realise that he had run into
the firestorm of home preparation. The psychological advantage was entirely
on Fischer's side. After the 13th move the young man got up for the first time
and wandered around the hall. He was on familiar terrain and could spend some
time looking at the other games. Gligoric on the other hand sat there, bent
over the board, deep in thought. Behind him stood Mikhail Tal with sparkling
eyes, obviously enjoying the complications he could see in this dramatic position.
Chess is like a symphony. The first phase of this piece was a furioso, leading
to a quiet second movement, a positional struggle between two very different
personalities. Fischer's 13th move blocked the path to White's mating attack,
the rook on h7 held the tattered black position together with unusual tactical
plans. But most importantly it forced his opponent to use all his energy solving
problems which the lad from the USA had worked out up to move 30 at home.
But it was not without risk. Take a look at the standings before the final
Fischer's main rivals had easier tasks: David Bronstein had to play Rodolfo
Cardosso, a Philippine IM who had lost five games in a row in this tournament.
Fridrik Olafsson faced IM Boris de Greiff from Columbia, the second-last in
the table. Ludek Pachman and Laszlo Szabo had Raul Sanguineti and Oscar Panno,
both without any further ambitions in this tournament.
In the previous 20th round Fischer had almost lost his place in the Candidates.
Playing white against Cardosso he ran into some home preparation and, after
taking a poisoned pawn on b7, found himself into a hopeless position. But with
incredible determination Fischer managed to find all the right moves and, in
a filigree 62-move effort he beat Cardosso to retain his chances for the Candidates.
Now in the last round Fischer had to play for a win against one of the top
players of the tournament (and the world), and he had to do it with the black
pieces. Svetozar Gligoric had won four of his last five games and was in the
form of his life.
14.Qg6 Rf7 15.Qxh6+ Kg8 16.Qg6+ Rg7 17.Qxe6+ Kh8 18.Bxd7 Nxd7 19.0-0-0 Ne5
20.Qd5 Bg4 21.Rdf1 Bxg5+ 22.Bxg5 Qxg5+ 23.Kb1
At some stage Gligoric proposes a draw, which Fischer rejects, forcing the
Yugoslav GM to play on with three pawns for a piece. Fischer is determined to
win the game and maintains his positional advantage, even though Gligoric plays
some very clever defensive moves.
23...Qe7 24.Qd2 Be6 25.g3 Rd8 26.Rf4 Qg5 27.Qf2 Kg8 28.Rd1 Rf7 29.b3 Qe7
30.Qd4 Ng6 31.Rxf7 Qxf7 32.Qe3
The tension has reached its highest point, Bobby Fischer is twitching in anticipation.
But at this dramatic moment he sees a tragedy taking place on an adjacent board.
David Bronstein, who had not dropped a single game so far in this tournament
(or in two previous Interzonals) has a completely lost position in his game
Suddenly the tension is gone, Fischer has a sure place in the Candidates. In
the above position he accepts the draw and leaves the tournament hall beaming
and proud. When asked by journalists about his greatest achievement in Portoroz
he says "overtaking the great David Bronstein!" And his goal in life: "To fight
for the world championship title against Mikhail Botvinnik."
Sixty memorable ChessBase reports on Bobby Fischer
||Bobby Fischer's final manoeuvre
21.04.2008 – He was a genius, a recluse and
a political outcast. In the latest issue of the Sunday Times Christine
Toomey examines the controversial life and legacy of one of the world’s
greatest chess players, whose last move has sparked a vicious wrangle
over his fortune. This excellent four-page article is online on the Sunday
Times web site. Don't
||A French tribute to Bobby Fischer
02.03.2008 – 64 years, 64 squares. International
Grandmaster at 15 years old. The 11th champion of the world left behind
no school, no follower. He was incarcerated in Japan and died far from
his old chess friends in Iceland. Who was Bobby Fischer? The French chess
magazine Europe Echecs has devoted its whole issue to Fischer. Excerpts.
||Dick Cavett on Fischer – thank you very much!
26.02.2008 – The reactions to talk show host
Dick Cavett's eulogy on Bobby Fischer were moving – not just the ones
from our newspage readers, but also those in the New York Times. Cavett
has written a new piece thanking the Fischer fans who wrote in. “Thank
you, Mr. Cavett, for bringing the human Bobby Fischer back into my life,”
as one lady said. Report with a new video
you've got to see.
||Remembering Bobby Fischer – on the Dick Cavett Show
10.02.2008 – "Among this year’s worst news,
for me, was the death of Bobby Fischer," writes one of America's great
talk show hosts, Dick Cavett. "Towering genius, riches, international
fame and a far from normal childhood might be too heady a mix for anyone
to handle. For him they proved fatal. I’m still sad about his death. In
our three encounters, I became quite fond of him." Eulogy
Edward Winter presents: Unsolved Chess Mysteries
20.01.2008 – We present a special Fischer
edition of items from Chess
Notes, with discussion of games, photographs, quotes and publications.
An obscure match played in Belgrade in 1958, a three-word note by Fischer
which has perplexed commentators, and a collection of his 52 (not 60)
Memorable Games. On these and many other matters readers are
invited to join
in the hunt for clues.
||Kasparov on Fischer + Fischer's Legacy, Big Screen plans
01.02.2008 – The latest issue of Time Magazine
has a moving tribute to the eleventh World Champion Bobby Fischer, written
by Garry Kasparov, the thirteenth World Champion. Meanwhile controversy
is brewing over Fischer's estate, estimated at £1 million. And Variety
reports on plans for a Hollywood movie "Bobby Fischer Goes to War" directed
by Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald. Links
||Bobby Fischer – his final weeks
25.01.2008 – One of the greatest chess legends,
the eleventh world champion Robert Bobby Fischer, passed on January 17,
2008. The cause of death was renal failure. He was quietly buried by his
closest friends at a cemetery in the countryside he loved. Controversy
is arising due to the secrecy of the burial, but we are convinced it was
conducted according to his personal wishes. Report
||Bobby Fischer buried in Iceland
22.01.2008 – Chess legend Robert James Fischer,
eleventh world champion, was laid to rest in the cemetery of Laugardalur
Church outside the town of Selfoss, 60 km south of Reykjavik. Fischer,
who died of kidney failure, had requested that only a handful of people
be present at the funeral – amongst them Fischer's companion, Miyoko Watai.
We bring you the wire reports and a statement
by Garry Kasparov.
||Bobby Fischer dies in Iceland
18.01.2008 – One of the world's greatest chess
geniuses, Bobby Fischer, has died at the age of 64. A spokesman for Fischer
said the former world chess champion passed away in a Reykjavik hospital
yesterday. The US-born former world chess champion, who became famous
around the world for beating the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky in 1972,
had been seriously ill for some time. Rest
in Peace, Bobby.
||Bobby Fischer and the missed combination
17.12.2006 – Iceland. A week ago. The TV station
Ríkisútvarpið RUV broadcasts two hours of live chess. At the
end of the game Icelandic master Arnar Gunnarson commits a blunder that
allows his opponent Bragi Thorfinsson to mate him in one move. Nothing
remarkable so far. But then comes a call from a viewer to suggest a spectacular
win for Arnar. A
voice from the past.
||Speaking about Fischer...
04.11.2006 – A few weeks ago, in the early
morning hours, the listeners of Utvarp Saga, a privat talk radio station
in Iceland, suddenly heard the voice of Bobby Fischer. The 11th world
chess champion discussed his public dispute with the Swiss bank UBS, international
affairs and everyday life in his Icelandic refuge. It becomes particularly
interesting when Bobby
talks about chess, past and present.
||Chess history: Capablanca played the game!
04.11.2006 – That's the power of the Internet
for you. Just days after we had speculatively published a 1909 game in
which the great Capablanca had lost to an unknown player with the white
pieces, our readers had dug up all the relevant information, proving that
the game had actually occurred. And, reacting to an earlier article, one
reader sent us a better picture of young Fischer before the move
of the century.
||The game that shook the world|
17.10.2006 – Today, exactly fifty years ago,
a 13-year-old boy played 17...Be6!!, sacrificing his queen and entering
his name in the history books: Robert James Fischer, known to the world
as "Bobby". The game was hailed as the "Game of the Century" and has been
discussed in countless chess books and collections. We bring you a half-centennial
||Bobby Fischer's life for sale – on eBay
13.12.2005 – When he dropped out of public
view in the seventies, World Champion Bobby Fischer placed all of his
most valuable belongings into a Pasadena storage unit. Some years ago
the contents were sold off by the landlord, apparently in response to
nonpayment of rent. Now the Fischer memorabilia have appeared on eBay.
||Breaking news: Fischer comeback?
27.05.2005 – Bobby Fischer is considering returning
to the arena of competitive chess. Yesterday he met with his former adversary
Boris Spassky, who travelled to Iceland with the expressed purpose of
"drawing Fischer back to the chessboard". Fischer is agreeable to the
notion, but insists on a worthy opponent and Fischer Random rules. Video
||The Greatest Chess Player of All Time – Part II|
28.04.2005 – What was the greatest chess performance
of all time? Fischer's 6-0 6-0 whitewash of Taimanov and Larsen in 1971?
Karpov's 11/13 in Linares in 1994? And which player dominated his contemporaries
at the most advanced age? These are questions that must be answered if
we want to find the greatest player of all time. Jeff
||Bobby Fischer settles down
15.04.2005 – The news was he planned to sue
the US Government for $200 million. Now we learn that Fischer has dropped
the lawsuit, which may have been filed without his consent. He is settling
down in Iceland, enjoying the food (especially seafood and lamb), the
space and fresh air, the absence of nuclear plants. We bring you the latest
news and lots of new photos.
||Bobby Fischer: latest news and pictures
04.04.2005 – It's more than a week since Bobby
Fischer arrived in Reykjavik, and news of his new life in the Nordic country
has been steadily reaching us. For instance that Iceland will never deport
him. Or of a 60 Minutes program that is in preparation. We bring you a
collection of new Fischer photos, articles, declarations, even
||Easter editorializing on Fischer's escape
29.03.2005 – Thursday night Bobby Fischer arrived
in Iceland, looking haggard after a detention of almost nine months in
Japan. Over the Easter weekend journalists all over the world have sat
down to write down their own personal views on the case. From the hundreds
of articles that have appeared in the world press, here are a few of the
more striking ones.
||Tumultuous welcome for Fischer in Iceland
25.03.2005 – They are scenes like we have never
seen before, certainly not in the chess world. Bobby Fischer arrived in
Iceland to a hero's welcome from a midnight crowd at Reykjavik Airport.
Looking harrowed and gaunt after almost nine months in Japanese detention
he took time to speak to TV journalists. We have dramatic
live footage from Icelandic TV.
||11:30 GMT: Fischer arrives in Iceland
24.03.2005 – Bobby Fischer is on a plane en
route to Iceland, where he is due to arrive later tonight. During his
departure from Narita Airport in Tokyo he was mobbed by press and TV.
At 11:05 p.m. Fischer's plane, a private jet sent to pick him up by an
Icelandic TV station, landed at Reykjavik Airport (not Keflavik International,
which is a NATO base) at 21:30 GMT. Latest
||Fischer released in Japan
23.03.2005 – Bobby Fischer is due to be released
from the Japanese detention center at midnight GMT. "The passed Fischer
pawn has been shepherded home to the eighth rank," wrote Einar S. Einarsson
of the RJF Committee. "It can now be promoted into a piece, with complete
freedom of movement." Update: we have just learnt that Bobby
Fischer has been released!
||Bobby Fischer: ich bin ein Icelander!
21.03.2005 – At 5:06 p.m. today the Icelandic
Althingi, has granted former world chess champion Bobby Fischer full Icelandic
citizenship. Despite stern U.S. diplomatic warnings, the world's oldest
existing democratic parliament voted 40 in favour and two abstentions
to make Fischer a full citizen. The
readings took just 12 minutes.
||Fischer to receive Icelandic citizenship
19.03.2005 – "Iceland has just got its tenth
grandmaster – Robert James Fischer," rejoiced the RJF Committee. The country's
parliament decided unanimously a few hours ago to grant Fischer Icelandic
citizenship. Japanese authorities have confirmed that in such a case they
would release the detained former world champion. Long
||Playing the Al Capone Gambit against Fischer
15.03.2005 – It's a strategy that worked well
on leading mob figures: if you can't get them, let the IRS do the job.
Former world champions Fischer was initially detained in Japan because
of invalid travel document, then we were told it was for breaking sanctions
in 1992. Now it looks like the US government will use tax evasion and
money laundering to bring him down. Reports
||Bobby Fischer: five days in solitary confinement
08.03.2005 – We had just reported about Fischer's
new passport, which an Icelandic delegation had carried to Japan. A minor
mystery was why it had not been handed over to him last Wednesday, as
planned. Now we learn that Japanese authorities had put the former world
champion into solitary confinement. For five days. Over a hard-boiled
are not joking.
||Fischer's passport – to freedom?
08.03.2005 – March 9th is Bobby Fischer's 62nd
birthday. By chance a very special gift has arrived in Japan for the former
world champion: an Icelandic passport with which he may be able to travel
to freedom after more than six months in a Japanese detention facility.
We have exclusive
pictures of the new passport.
||Fischer receives an Icelandic passport
23.02.2005 – Immigration authorities in Iceland
have decided to issue full travel documents for former world champion
Bobby Fischer, who is being held in Japanese detention for not possessing
a valid passport. Fischer's new passport will be sent to Japan by diplomatic
mail, and a delegation is traveling there to escort
him to Iceland.
||Fischer's lawyer Masako Suzuki speaks out|
02.02.2005 – Is Japan buckling under pressure
by the US? Bobby Fischer, 61, former World Champion of Chess who has been
jailed in Japan for six months now, is applying for Icelandic citizenship.
But Tokyo seems to be balking at a constructive solution entailing his
release to Iceland. Fischer's lawyer Masako Suzuki has given us an exclusive
||Bobby Fischer applies for Icelandic Citizenship
25.01.2005 – After the Japanese authorities
last week refused Fischer's request to be extradited to Iceland the chess
legend, who is being held in a Japanese detention facility, has today
written to the President of the Icelandic Althingi (picture), applying
for Icelandic citizenship. A special law would have to be passed to grant
||Bobby Fischer – immigration plans on ice
22.01.2005 – His supporters filed a petition
that Fischer might be released from detention in a Tokyo jail and allowed
to travel to Iceland, where he has been granted refuge. But Japanese Justice
Ministry lawyers said they were not prepared to change Fischer's deportation
destination to Iceland, and that he would have to remain in detention.
harsh blow for the chess legend.
||Bobby Fischer – six months in jail
17.01.2005 – On July 13, 2004 he was arrested
at Narita Airport in Tokyo, for attempting to leave the country on an
invalidated. Since then the greatest hero of Western chess has been languishing
in a Japanese detention facility, now physically exhausted and suffering
from dizzy spells. His Icelandic friends, who are offering him refuge,
have launched another appeal
to the authorities.
||US threatens Iceland, Fischer Committee appeals
22.12.2004 – Iceland is under US pressure to
drop plans to offer a home to fugitive former chess champion Bobby Fischer,
the Reuters news agency tells us. But the Icelandic government has stated
that its offer "will not be withdrawn despite pressure from the United
States." How do we know that? Among other things we read it in Aljazeera,
would you believe? Here's the latest on this international
||Was Fischer afraid of Karpov?
21.12.2004 – Garry Kasparov's "Great Predecessors"
series is out, with the long-awaited volume IV "On Fischer" hitting the
bookstands. Kasparov devotes 200 pages to the lives and careers of Sam
Reshevsky, Miguel Najdorf and Bent Larsen. But then he digs into Fischer,
with stunning analytical intensity and startling conclusions. Review
and interview with Hannon Russell.
||RJF Committee mobilizes pro-Fischer forces
18.12.2004 – While Bobby Fischer remains incarcerated
in a Japanese prison a special committee in Iceland is moving to get him
free and find him a home on the North-Atlantic island country. Iceland's
foreign minister and a prominent political scientist have spoken out.
Here's a report on Fischer's Iceland
||Fischer to get refuge in Iceland?
16.12.2004 – The news today on Bobby Fischer,
who is currently being held in a Japanese detention facilities pending
extradition to the US, is that the Icelandic government has offered to
grant him a residence permit. In a telephone interview Fischer speaks
about his plight in Japan and reacts to statements by Garry Kasparov on
Fischer Random Chess. Full
||Fischer to Bush and Koizumi: 'You are going to pay for
18.10.2004 – Bobby Fischer, still in detention
in Japan, has spoken out again in an interview, this time threatening
the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi and US President Bush: "You are going
to pay for this, and you are going to pay for your crimes in Iraq too."
His new lawyer, Richard J. Vattuone, plans to release documents to prove
US government involvement in a
plot against Fischer.
||The latest on Bobby Fischer
13.09.2004 – It's been some time since we last
reported on the fate of the former world champion, who is detained in
a Tokyo prison, facing extradition to the United States. Over 1000 articles
have been published world-wide, numerous letters written or editorial
opinions expressed. We bring you the latest material – in original and
in summary. After all it is currently the hottest
story in chess.
||Listen to Bobby Fischer
26.08.2004 – In emotional phone calls from
his detention cell in Tokyo ex world champion Bobby Fischer gave a Philippine
radio station two lengthy interviews. Fischer is facing deportation and
incarceration in the US, and voices his nightmare fears: "I will be tried,
convicted, sentenced, imprisoned, tortured and murdered." We have summary
transcripts and audio files.
||Dramatic moments around Fischer's deportation
24.08.2004 – First the Japanese Justice Minister
Daizo Nozawa issued a deportation order against former world champion
Bobby Fischer's, then Fischer's lawyers filed a lightning appeal on the
grounds that physical deportation would be a flagrant violation of Fischer's
right to full legal recourse and protection under Japanese law. Here's
story by Fischer's legal coordinator.
||'Bobby Fischer and I have decided to marry'|
17.08.2004 – Bobby Fischer, the former world
chess champion, plans to marry the president of the Japan Chess Association
(and four-time Japanese women's champion) Miyoko Watai. This was reported
in newspapers and wire services last night. Now Watai-san has sent us
a statement explaining the background of her
personal relationship with Fischer.
||Fischer renounces US citizenship
15.08.2004 – Bobby Fischer has been moved to
a new detention facility in Tokyo, pending a decision on his deportation
to the US, where he faces a 10-year jail sentence. A lot of new material
has surfaced, including Fischer's handwritten renouncement of his US citizenship
and a blow-by-blow description and picture of his arrest at Narita Airport.
||Spassky to Bush: Arrest me!
10.08.2004 – Boris Spassky, who played the
contentious return match against Bobby Fischer in Yugoslavia 1992, for
which the latter is currently facing deportation and incarceration in
the US, has appealed to President Bush to show mercy and charity for his
tormented successor. If for some reason that should be impossible, Spassky
suggests a very
||Fischer's appeal rejected
28.07.2004 – Bobby Fischer's appeal against
his deportation was rejected today by Japanese authorities. Meanwhile
the Icelandic Chess Federation has appealed to US president Bush to pardon
Fischer and set up a petition web site to collect signatures. In Tokyo
a "Free Fischer Press Conference" is scheduled for Thursday. More...
||Fischer a sacrificial pawn?
25.07.2004 – Bobby Fischer is still in detention
at Narita Airport in Tokyo, traumatised but stubborn, "behaving like a
Samurai". At the same time news outlets all over the world are covering
the story, with Fischer's brother-in-law Russell Targ assailing the Bush
administration for playing election year politics with the former chess
champion's freedom. There's
a lot to be read...
||Game of Life: Kasparov on Fischer - in full
20.07.2004 – The news of Fischer's arrest in
Japan came as a shock to Garry Kasparov, who was in a holiday camp working
intensely on the games of his greatest American predecessor. In today's
issue of The Wall Street Journal Kasparov assesses Fischer's chess career
– for a public that was being exposed to his current situation. We now
bring you Kasparov's
||Will Fischer be extradited?
19.07.2004 – Chess legend Bobby Fischer, the
hero of millions, languishes in the detention facilities of Narita Airport
in Tokyo, waiting for a decision by Japanese Immigration authorities on
his deportation to the US. We have collected all the documents and reconstructed
a timeline to his arrest. Fischer, who has no legal counsel, is appealing
for international assistance.
||Bobby Fischer detained in Japan (updated)
16.07.2004 – It's the latest twist in the sad
tale of American former world champion Bobby Fischer. He has been detained
in Japan and faces possible deportation to the US to face charges for
playing in Yugoslavia in 1992. Fischer's website says he was "very nearly
killed" in Japan. The story has been picked up by news
services all over the world.
||Bobby Fischer goes to war
15.03.2004 – Summer 1972. Richard Nixon is
president. The Cold War is raging. In Reykjavik, Iceland, an American
faces a Russian across the chessboard for the title of World Chess Champion.
Now, more than thirty years later, a new book is out on the subject. Here
are some interesting reviews
and audio interviews.
||Bobby Fischer goes to print
18.01.2004 – Robert James Fischer exerts a
powerful pull even though his great achievements are 30 years gone. The
new book "Bobby Fischer Goes to War" revisits the life and times of the
1972 world championship. The authors recently penned a book on philosophers
Wittgenstein and Popper. Can they add anything new to Fischer-Spassky?
||Fischer signature a fraud?
29.12.2003 – It looked like a great find: "This
is a 1972 edition of Bobby Fischer's book" wrote a seller on Ebay. "Fischer
has signed it with a sketch and the message 'Checkmate'." The book went
for $676.00 on December 23rd. But was it genuine? Experts
and friends of Fischer think not.
||Robert Hübner revisits Fischer Memorable Games
06.05.2003 – Was there ever a player more exciting
than Robert James Fischer? The enigmatic US-born world champion is known
for his tremendous victories, especially his single-handed triumph over
the entire Soviet chess machinery. Now Dr Robert Hübner, one of the world's
finest analysts, has taken a look at Fischer famous book My Sixty Memorable
Games in a new
ChessBase monograph, which also contains some incredible historical
||His 60 Memorable Years
09.03.2003 – Today, March 9 2003 Robert James
Fischer turns 60. We could celebrate the occasion with a detailed biography
of the 11th world champion. But who doesn't know all the details of the
life of the most charismatic and enigmatic player in the history of the
game? So instead we give you one
of our favourite stories, with a Happy 60th Birthday to
Bobby Fischer – wherever you might be.
||The man behind the Fischer-Spassky show
03.01.2003 – In 1972 WNET/PBS aired the greatest
TV show ever seen in chess, with millions of viewers glued for five hours
to their sets. In a New York Time article Fred Waitzkin told the story
of how a dour Latvian-American chess master and a Harvard-educated sociology
teacher made the show a success (see report from 29.12.02 below). Now
Wired Magazine Rudy Chelminski sets the record straight on some
points and gives credit
where it's due.
||There just ain't no pity – Fischer's pathetic endgame
20.11.2002 – The international chess community
tracks Bobby Fischer the way astronomers track the orbit of a dying comet.
The reclusive ex world champion lives in Japan and, since January 1999,
has been giving interviews, mainly to Philippine AM radio stations. Now
the latest has been aired. Rene Chun describes it in a long, interesting
retrospective in which we learn about Fischer's 22-year-old girlfriend
Justine and their two-year-old daughter. A must-read in Atlantic
||Fischer moves – a cruel hoax!
02.04.2002 – Yesterday we posted a report
on a new rule proposed by Bobby Fischer and under consideration by FIDE.
To our horror we have discovered that this was a cruel hoax, perpetrated
by an evil prankster in the ChessBase team. Apparently he was practising
a pagan ritual know as "April Fool". We apologise to the visitors who
for who found the spurious article distressing, and thank everyone for
the many letters we we received. You will find some excerpts here
||New Fischer moves
01.04.2002 – Although the reclusive ex-world
champion Bobby Fischer has not played much chess in the last 30 years,
he has introduced a number of important innovations into the game. After
the Fischer Clock and Fischer Random Chess he is now proposing a further
change, the "Fischer move". It was presented to FIDE and will come up
for a vote at the Executive Council meeting in Dubai. More...
||I'm finished with the old chess, it's rotten to the
31.01.2002 – Bobby Fischer has given another
interview, the first after the deeply disturbing remarks we heard from
him on September 12 last year. This time he talks much more about chess,
although the tirades of hate against Americans and Jewish people still
comes through at full blast. But mainly we learn that he has turned his
back on the "old chess" and will only play Fischer Random. You will find
some excerpts and the full audio files in MP3 format here.
||Disturbing radio interview with Fischer
04.10.2001 – It is with some
misgiving that we provide the following link. On a Japanese web site there
is a very drastic interview with Bobby Fischer. It was conducted on
September 12, just hours after the terrorist attacks in America. We can
only hope the whole thing is a fake – it is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
If you have the nerve you can listen to the interview, which is the last
(no. 19) on the web site "Bobby
Fischer Live Radio Interviews", or read a partial transcript here...
||The third coming of Bobby Fischer?
18.09.2001 – The story is not going away, in
fact it is gaining momentum. Many people believe that Bobby Fischer has
returned and is performing miracles on the Internet. Nigel Short said
he was "99 per cent sure" he has had played Fischer. Tim rabbé, who was
initially skeptical, has now seen the light. We have taken another closer
look at the evidence. Check it out more