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First anniversary of Bobby Fischer's death

1/17/2009 – Exactly one year ago a great chess legend died, at the age of 64. Bobby Fischer was buried without ceremony in a private cemetery in southern Iceland, which now has a simple headstone – a reader sent us a picture. In a commemorative article we remember Bobby with an inspiring story from his childhood – "The Sicilian Vespers" and with links to his Sixty Memorable ChessBase Reports.
 

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 state.


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.


To 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 9.Bh4 g5!?

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 notorious "Sicilian Vespers".

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 American team.

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 fashion.

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 not.

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 (21st) round:

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 to Cardoso.

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."

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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 miss it.

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 and video.

Edward Winter presents: Unsolved Chess Mysteries (23)
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 and excerpts.

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 and tributes.

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 commemoration.

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. Reactions...

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 report.

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 Sonas explains.

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 editorial cartoons.

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 news...

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 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
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 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
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 confrontation.

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 Connection...

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 details...

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.

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 the full 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. Harrowing stuff...

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 imaginative alternative...

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 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.

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? Read on.

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 video footage.

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 Online.

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 core!
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
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