Icelandic Court: Fischer’s remains can be exhumed

6/18/2010 – On April 1st of this year we reported – and it was not a tasteless April Fool's joke – that the remains of former World Champion Bobby Fischer could be exhumed to settle a paternity dispute. The District Court of Reykjavik did not allow it, but now the Iceland Supreme Court has overturned this ruling after receiving new evidence from the claimant Marilyn Young. The story is in the international news.

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Fischer’s remains to be exhumed

I our April report we provided details of the court appeals. Samuel Estimo, the lawyer representing Fischer's alleged Filipino child Jinky Young, told us that Judge Sigrun Gudmundsdottir of the Icelandic probate court found no DNA samples of Fischer at the National Hospital in Iceland, where the ex-world champion died on January 17, 2008 of renal failure. Because of this development, Estimo and his collaborating Icelandic lawyer, Thordur Bogason, requested the court to issue an order for the exhumation of Bobby's remains for DNA samples to be tested with the blood samples extracted from Jinky when she went to Iceland in December last year.


Bobby Fischer with Jinky Young and "live-in partner" Marilyn Young in 2004

In our article we also described an inexpensive and uncomplicated alternative to digging up the remains of Fischer to extract DNA samples for testing against those of Jinky Young. The company 23andMe, a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company (co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, who is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin) provides a service that genotypes DNA samples and can map the ancestry of a subject.

A single sample – in the form of saliva – taken from Jinky Young will provide a map of her DNA family tree, going back many generations. If the map shows ancestry in Hungary and the US, where Fischer's parents originated, then further tests are justified. If they are only in Asia or the Philippines then it would be clear that Fischer is not the father of Jinky – without having to extract DNA from an exhumed body. The cost of a 23andMe is $399 for ancestry. The DNA mapping can also be conducted by many hospital facilities.

Fischer's friends in Reykjavik

One of Fischer's Icelandic friends and member of the RJF Committee Einar S. Einarsson told us that "many of Bobby's friends doubt very much that he is the biological father of Jinky Young." He and others are against the exhumation and argues that "it is easy and possible nowadays to get a DNA from a postage stamp that has been licked, or even from a hair, which should be quite easy to get from his appartment, which has been sealed off since he died. To exhume his body for DNA samples, which could be retrieved by other means, is simply a brutal and a rude thing to do. It distrub the sanctity of the grave and is a very serious matter."

Einar sent us the above picture, which is probably the very last taken of Fischer. It was during a privat New Year's party, with Kantathi Suphanongkhon, who had represented Tailand at FIDE and Asian Zone meetings, GM Helgi Ólafsson arrange the party, and his uncle Thorgeirsson was the host.

The photo, which appeared in the January 27 issue of The Nation (above), was probably taken by Miyoko Watai, as there were only four people at the party.

Dr Kantathi Suphamongkhon was the 39th Foreign Minister of Thailand and is presently the University of California Regents' Professor at UCLA. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Burkle Centre for International Relations in Los Angeles. You may want to read his 2008 article A song for Bobby Fischer.


However, in spite of protests by Fischer supporters, the Icelandic Supreme Court has now ruled in favour of exhumation, as a number of newspaper and TV reports reveal:

Bobby Fischer: chess legend's body to be exhumed 'after bitter love child legal row'

The remains of Bobby Fischer, the former world chess champion, are to be exhumed to settle a bitter dispute over his £1 million estate, Iceland's Supreme Court ruled, amid claims he fathered a love child.

The 64 year-old left no will when he died in a Reykjavik hospital in 2008, 35 years after he deposed the Soviet Boris Spassky in a match that came to symbolise Cold War rivalry. But now the American-born chess grandmaster’s $2 million (£1.3 million) estate is at the centre of an extraordinary legal dispute amid claims he fathered a secret love child in the Philippines.

The Iceland Supreme Court this week ruled that his body could be exhumed to prove whether he was the paternal father of Jinky Young, 9. It overturned a ruling from the District Court of Reykjavik last month after new evidence emerged that the chess champion sent money to Jinky’s mother, Marilyn Young, 31, just before he died.

The money from the estate, thought to originate from his 1992 defeat of Boris Spassky in their "world championship rematch, is also being contested by his wife Miyoko Watai, two American nephews and the American government, whom he owed unpaid taxes. The court was told that new evidence had emerged that Fischer had transferred money to Mrs Young in 2006 and 2007, boosting her case that he was in fact her father. The court ruled that DNA could be taken from Fischer's remains and compared to genetic matter from the girl and her mother.


Bobby Fischer to be exhumed in paternity case

Icelandic court decision involves 9-year-old girl and chess genius' estate

The remains of chess genius Bobby Fischer are to be exhumed to determine whether he is the father of a nine-year-old girl, a lawyer representing the child and her mother said Thursday. Thordur Bogason, a lawyer based in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, said the country's Supreme Court made the decision earlier this week in order to allow for tests so his client, Jinky Young, can find out who her father is. "At this point we are just trying to establish this," he said. "And if she is confirmed as the daughter of Bobby Fischer, then by Icelandic law she is his legal heir."

Other articles in the international press


Related ChessBase reports

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 – 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.

First anniversary of Bobby Fischer's death
17.01.2009 – 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.

Iceland: Fischer's estate, his final resting place
10.11.2009 – The chess legend Bobby Fischer died in Iceland on January 17, 2008. He was buried in the compound of a church in Selfoss, 60 km from the capital Reykjavik. Since then there has been a battle over his estate, which is claimed by his nephews Alexander and Nicholas Targ. Now the Reykjavik Discrict Court has ruled in favour of Fischer's lawfully wedded wife, Miyoko Watai. Pictorial report.

Fischer's daughter Jinky files claim to his estate
11.11.2009 – Yesterday we published a report on an Islandic court awarding Fischer's estate to his lawfully wedded wife Miyoko Watai. Today we received a message from Marilyn Young, Fischer's "Filipina live-in partner", who is seeking justice for her and Fischer's eight-year-old daughter Jinky. The two are on their way to Iceland to file their claim. Marilyn has sent us some fairly compelling photographic evidence.

Marilyn and Jinky visit Fischer's tomb
05.12.2009 – As we reported some weeks ago, Marilyn young, Bobby Fischer's "Filipina live-in partner", is claiming rights to the late champion's estate for their common daughter Jinky. The claim has been filed with Icelandic courts, and during their visit a blood sample was drawn from Jinky and submitted for DNA ananlysis. Marilyn's lawyer Samuel Estimo sent us the following report from Reykjavik.

Fischer’s remains to be exhumed?
01.04.2010 – After his death on January 17, 2008 an Icelandic court awarded Bobby Fischer's estate to his wife Miyoko Watai. Then Marilyn Young, Fischer's "Filipina live-in partner", filed a claim on behalf of her eight-year-old daughter Jinky, who she says was fathered by the former World Champion. Now it appears the case will be settled by the disinterment of Fischer's remains for DNA testing. Press release.

On Fischer and Miyoko Watai

'Fischer and Miyoko were indeed married'
27.01.2008 – Did Bobby Fischer marry the president of the Japan Chess Association, Miyoko Watai, with whom he lived for some years in Japan? This question moves out of the gossip columns and requires serious investigation as questions are raised in the press about the legality of Fischer's "secret burial" – and the fate of his estate, estimated at about £1.5 million. We have received a letter from a close associate.

'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.

'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.

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