11:30 GMT: Fischer arrives in Iceland

3/24/2005 – 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 news...

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Log of latest news

24.03.2005, 18:00 GMT, 19:00 MET: Bobby Fischer and Miyoko Watai arrived in Copenhagen Airport from Tokyo on schedule. They left the plane ahead of other passengers and were driven away in a police car, in accordance with arrangements made by the Icelandic Embassy in Denmark. Together with Saemi Palsson they were transported to Malmö, Sweden. This was because the private jet that had been arranged for then was not able to land at Kastrup Airport due to fog. It is expected that the party will leave for Reykjavik at 19.00 GMT. By landing at Reykjavik Airport Fischer avoids having to set foot on the NATO and US army based Keflavik International Airport. A camera crew of Channel2 television Iceland, headed by Pall Magunsson, chief reporter, will be on board the aircraft, as they are producing a documentary film on the Fischer affair. The jet was provided by the television station.

24.03.2005, 20:00 GMT, 21:00 MET: The Icelandic private jet could not land in Malmö either. So they have diverted to Kristianstad Airport, one hour's drive to the north. The delegation will make it to Iceland tonight. Fischer is in great spirits, says he is not tired, but has more energy than ever, because he is a free man.

24.03.2005, 20:30 GMT, 21:30 MET: The private jet transporting Bobby Fischer to Iceland is expected to land at Reykjavik Airport at 10:30 p.m. local time. Fischer will be greeted by members of the RJF Committee, and his Icelandic Citizenship Brief will be handed over to him. He will be charged $20 for the Brief.

23.03.2005, 11:30 GMT, 12:30 MET: Bobby Fischer and his fiancee Miyoko Watai finally arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland, his new country of residence, at 11.05 p.m., after some 24 hours of travel from Japan. They came on a privat jet on the last leg from Kristianstad, Sweden, after the aircraft had been turned back from Copenhagen's Kastrup airport due to fog. The weather in Reykjavik was warm, with a little rain in the dark.

A full report with videos will follow shortly


CNN reports (on its online web site, but also on TV) that "chess legend Bobby Fischer has walked free from a Japanese detention center and immediately departed on a plane for his new home, Iceland, following a nine-month standoff with Tokyo officials trying to deport him to the United States." Fischer has a long, gray beard and was wearing jeans and a baseball cap pulled down low over his face when he left the immigration detention center on Tokyo's outskirts early Thursday morning. As he was taken to the airport in a black limousine provided by the Icelandic Embassy, his vehicle was mobbed by immigration officials, photographers and reporters. Fischer was accompanied by his fiancee, Miyoko Watai – the head of Japan's chess association – and Iceland's ambassador to Japan Thordur Oskarsson. Fischer and Watai caught an afternoon flight to Denmark en route to Iceland.

Fischer was characteristically defiant as he arrived at the airport and spoke briefly to reporters. "I won't be free until I get out of Japan. This was not an arrest. It was a kidnapping cooked up by Bush and Koizumi," he said, referring to U.S. President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. "They are war criminals and should be hung," he said.

Fischer, 62, could still face extradition to the United States – Iceland, like Japan, has an extradition treaty with Washington. A federal grand jury in Washington is investigating possible money-laundering charges involving Fischer. [However, Icelandic law would appear to preclude the extradition of an Icelandic citizen – see Laws and Regulations, Act No. 13, Article 2]. The full CNN article is here:


Mainichi Shimbun reports from Tokyo that Bobby Fischer has left Japan from Narita airport, blasting Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and U.S. President George Bush as he left. Fischer departed on a Scandinavian Airlines System flight to Reykjavik via Copenhagen at 1:27 p.m. following his release earlier from the East Japan Immigration Bureau Detention Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Fischer was dressed in baggy blue jeans, a blue denim shirt that hung out of his trousers and over his belt and a sweater with gray stripes. He took infrequent sips from a bottle of water. Though walking with a slight limp, he appeared weary, somewhat thinner than he had been last summer and with a decidedly longer gray beard and hair, Fischer said he was feeling well. "Yeah, I feel good," he said, adding that he was pleased to finally be free. He later said: "I'm very happy to be leaving. Japan is a nice country, but you have a criminal leadership." Miyoko Watai, Fischer's fiancee who accompanied him on the flight to Iceland, said she was thrilled. She said they already had plans for when they arrived in Iceland. "I'd say we'd probably go to a hot spring."

Fischer checked into his flight and then spent several minutes shopping for duty-free electronics as the media contingent waited for him to go through the Departure Gate. Watai said Fischer "really likes electronics." As he walked through the Departure gate, Fischer continued to abuse Bush for invading Iraq and Japan for supporting the U.S. invasion.

At the airport Fischer talked to Mizuho Fukushima, President of the Social Democratic Party, who told him how she had applied pressure over the past week on Immigration Bureau chief Masaharu Miura to make sure he allowed Fischer to leave the country if he secured Icelandic citizenship. "Why didn't you help me last July?" Fischer told Fukushima. "I've been in here for nine months." He blasted the ruling LDP. "The Liberal Democratic Party. That party are criminals. They've destroyed Japan."


Previous ChessBase articles

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 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 read.

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 and video.

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 egg. We 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
2/23/2005 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 interview.

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 Fischer's request.

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. A harsh blow for the chess legend.

Bobby Fischer – six months in jail
1/17/2005 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 confrontation.

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 Connection...
Fischer to get refuge in Iceland?
12/16/2004 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 details...
Returning to the 'scene of the crime'
30.11.2004 Twelve years ago Boris Spassky played a match against Bobby Fischer in Yugoslavia. That got Fischer into a lot of trouble, while for Spassky, a French citizen, there were no repercussions. Now the tenth world champion returned to Belgrade to open the Belgrade Chess Trophy. Quick interview...
Fischer to Bush and Koizumi: 'You are going to pay for this!'
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.
'We want to live together forever'
01.09.2004 She collected pictures of her chess hero after his match with Boris Spassky in 1972. One year later they met in Tokyo – the start of a romance spanning decades. Since four years the two have lived together in downtown Kamata in Tokyo's Ota Ward. In an exclusive interview for ChessBase Miyoko Watai tells us the story of her life with Bobby Fischer.
Listen to Bobby Fischer
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Dramatic moments around Fischer's deportation
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'Bobby Fischer and I have decided to marry'
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Fischer renounces US citizenship
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Spassky to Bush: Arrest me!
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Fischer's appeal rejected
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Fischer a sacrificial pawn?
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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 full article.
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.

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