Kasparov on Fischer + Fischer's Legacy, Big Screen plans

2/1/2008 – 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.

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Kasparov on Fischer

Time: The Chessman, by Garry Kasparov
It is hard to say exactly when I first heard the name Bobby Fischer, but it was quite early in my life. When he was battling Boris Spassky for the world title in 1972, I was a 9-year-old club player in my native Baku in the Soviet Union. I followed the games avidly. The newspapers had extensive daily coverage of the match, although that waned as it became clear the Soviet champion was headed for defeat. Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games was one of my first chess books. (It had been translated into Russian and sold in the U.S.S.R. with no respect for copyright or royalties, infuriating its author.)

Controversy over Fischer's legacy

Times Online: Bobby Fischer, chess genius, heartless son
Unpublished letters seen by The Timesnow throw new light on the origins of Fischer’s precarious mental state and his obsession with beating Boris Spassky at the so-called match of the century in Reykjavik in 1972. He did not know who his real father was, and he deeply resented his mother for being an active communist under constant surveillance by the FBI.

Guardian: Fischer's 'widow' and nephews in legal tussle for £1m estate
As a chess mastermind Bobby Fischer was capable of executing manoeuvres as complicated as they were brutal. Now, following his death, the tussle over his million-pound estate may turn out to be just as convoluted. Last week the Reykjavik newspaper Visir reported that Fischer's estate, worth an estimated 140m Icelandic kronur (£1.07m), would go to Miyoko Watai, whom it described as Fischer's widow. But Fischer's brother-in-law Russell Targ has been in Iceland to instruct a lawyer to investigate whether Targ's two sons should be the beneficiaries. There are also confusing accounts of a daughter, now seven, whom Fischer is said to have fathered during a relationship which blossomed at country club in the Philippines. Yesterday Watai's lawyer, Arni Vilhjalmsson, said he had received an official document from Japan confirming the marriage. "It's a copy and I am waiting for the original," he said. If the document is proved authentic, Vilhjalmsson will take it to a magistrate in Iceland and ask for a private liquidation of the assets. Yesterday the Chesbase website carried a letter from John Bosnitch claiming that Fischer had married Watai in a ceremony at which he had been present: "I was the male witness to that marriage and the marriage certificate bears my name."

IceNews Daily: The complicated legacy of Bobby Fischer
Chess legend Bobby Fischer, who died on January 17th, was recently buried at a country church in Iceland during a Catholic funeral service. Though the service itself may have been peaceful, the legal wrangling over Fischer’s million dollar fortune may be about to turn nasty. Russel Targ, Fischer’s brother-in-law, has flown to Iceland in order to pursue legal investigations into the matter of inheritance which he feels should belong to his two sons. Another possible beneficiary is a seven year old girl, said to be Fischer’s daughter from a country club romance in the Philippines.

Fischer on the Big Screen

Variety: Macdonald to direct 'Bobby Fischer'
Universal and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner have tapped Kevin Macdonald to direct "Bobby Fischer Goes to War." The drama about the upstart chess whiz's triumph over Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship in 1972 is scripted by Shawn Slovo, based on the book by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. Bevan and Fellner will produce. Macdonald won an Oscar for the documentary "One Day in September" before making his scripted directing debut on "The Last King of Scotland."

Cinema Blend: Bobby Fischer Heading Back To The Big Screen
Variety is reporting that Kevin Macdonald will direct Bobby Fischer Goes to War, a drama about the American chess champion. Fischer was a teenage sensation when he became a chess grandmaster at the age of 15. His huge accomplishment though, came in 1972 when he defeated Russian chess champion Boris Spassky. Of course, later in life Fischer became known as an eccentric and an anti-Semite. Macdonald's movie will apparently focus only on the match against Spassky. Fischer is a fascinating American figure, a hero for many years who later completely shunned his country. Given that the main character in Macdonald's Last King of Scotland was a murderous dictator, he's proven he can take on controversial but fascinating figures. I'm excited to see what he can do with this highly unusual story.

General articles

Daily Star: Talking about Lebanon with Bobby Fischer
Julie Flint remembers the Match of the Century: "Reykjavik in 1972 was my first big reporting assignment, for The Associated Press. I went for three days and stayed for three months". In 1992 she went to Belgrade to meet Fischer (with the help of Svetozar Gligoric), at 2 a.m., and was grilled about her reporting from Lebanon. "In the 1980s and early 1990s, I had been reporting from Beirut for ABC radio – and Bobby had been listening. He quoted myself to me. Why had I said this? What did I mean by that? Why was I out of breath when I said such-and-such (because I was recording, live, as I ran down a street in Mar Mikhael under Lebanese Army tank-fire in February 1984). Why were the Israelis so 'bloodthirsty'? 'Israelis' was not the word he used."


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