Details of Fischer's exhumation revealed

by ChessBase
8/20/2010 – "I will give you a report but stress that we keep all details confidential as we have strict orders from the authorities not to reveal any such detailed information to the media," wrote Thordur Bogason, the Icelandic lawyer representing Jinky and Marilyn Young in the Fischer paternity suite. But their Philippine lawyer Samuel Estimo did pass it on – to us and the New York Times. Detailed description.

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Despite negative result on Fischer paternity, lawyer keeps on fighting

The Filipino lawyer for a woman who filed a paternity lawsuit claiming that Bobby Fischer, the late chess champion, was the father of her daughter, has criticized how tissue samples were obtained to perform the DNA tests. The test, which reportedly came back negative on Tuesday, was ordered by the Supreme Court of Iceland as part of a dispute over Mr. Fischer’s estate.

The lawyer, Samuel Estimo, also criticized the lawyer who represents the woman and daughter in Iceland, Thordur Bogason, saying that he had disclosed the results without the authorization of his clients, Marilyn Young and her daughter, Jinky. Mr. Estimo also said that Mr. Bogason had prematurely withdrawn the mother and daughter’s claim to the estate.

Mr. Estimo aired his criticisms and concerns about the case by forwarding a series of e-mail exchanges with Mr. Bogason to media organizations, including The New York Times, a day after the paternity test results were divulged. In his e-mails, Mr. Estimo included a detailed description from Mr. Bogason of how the tissue samples were retrieved from Mr. Fischer’s grave in the cemetery of Laugardaelir Church in Iceland. Mr. Estimo included the description of the exhumation, though Mr. Bogason’s letter said that the manner in which it was done should be kept confidential.

Details of Fischer's exhumation

We too received the full email correspondence between Samuel Estimo and Thordur Bogason, the lawyer who represented Marilyn and Jinky Young in Iceland. It contained a detailled description of the exhumation, as described by Bogason:

In the very early hours of 5th July 2010 a team of experts from Reykjavík Official Cemeteries opened the grave of Bobby Fischer and made space for forensic doctors to stand beside the coffin of Bobby in the ground. At 04:00 hours the Police Commissioner summoned the attorneys of the parties, being me and Vigdís along with Mr. Vilhjálmsson and Mr. Jónsson, attorneys for Ms. Watai and the Targ brothers to the site at Laugadaelir. Also present were the parish minister, rev. Kristinn A. Fridfinnsson, the head of the local health authorities, Dr. Óskar Reykdalsson, two forensic doctors (experts) that carried out the gathering of the samples and then police force that closed off the site and kept all unauthorised persons away.

When the necessary preparations for the forensic doctors had been done and the lid of the coffin of Bobby was ready to be opened, a big tent was erected to seal of any possible view of the exhumation. Thereafter the experts doctors opened the lid of the coffin and took seven different samples from the remains of Bobby Fischer to be able to carry out the DNA test. After the experts had done their job the lid of the coffin was replaced and thus the coffin itself was never removed or lifted to the surface. Then the parish minister blessed the grave in the traditional manner of the Icelandic Church. The coffin was then covered with earth and the tent removed and the experts from the Reykjavik Cemeteries closed the grave and put again grass on the surface.

The early morning of July 5th was a very calm, beautiful summer morning at Laugadaelir, the wind was peaceful and so was the whole of this operation. It was carried with dignity and respect for Bobby Fischer and in absolute privacy and silence. I am personally very grateful to the Police Commissioner, Mr. Kjartansson, in the way he managed to handle this delicate matter without causing any controversy. All other official parties, including the rev. Fridfinnsson, the local medical directors, the director of the Reykjavik Cemeteries, Mr. Ragnarsson, and of course the two forensic experts, that were necessary to carry out the procedure should be thanked for their great professional skills and the way they contributed to make this delicate operation a successful one.

Now the final chapter has already begun. The samples are on their way to a laboratory in Germany and we can expect results shortly, even in a couple of weeks, but of course this could also take longer time, depending on the quality of the samples retrieved. I do not have any date as of yet but I will of course contact you immediately when the results are sent to me.

Then the outcome of the research has to formally be recognised by the District Court of Reykjavík and the final verdict regarding Jinky’s claim will be based on the scientific outcome.

I hope this explains and gives you a full and through details of the events that took place here in Iceland. I am very pleased that the right of Jinky to establish her indentity was recognised by the Supreme Court of Iceland and I am equally pleased that we managed to carry out the exhumation in this swift and silent manner. Again my sincere congratulations to Jinky but we the adults must be aware of the graveness of this matter and the extent of rights that have been granted, and thus the responsibility thrust upon us. However, the wait will be over shortly I hope and a positive outcome pending. My guess is 4-6 weeks until the results are ready.

To this Esposito added in an email to us:

The exhumation of Bobby Fischer was not done the normal way. His coffin should have been brought up and opened so that it would have been sure that the seven tissue samples that were taken from the alleged remains in that coffin were that of Bobby Fischer. Indeed, the procedure undertaken borders on the doubtful. The lot where Fischer was buried belongs to the family of Gardar Sverisson, a close friend of Miyoko Watai.He had complete access to the area, and in fact, Fischer was buried there in front of the church in an early January morning without the church pastor knowing it.Who knows what could have taken place there between the date of burial and on the days before the exhumation?

Lawyer Samuel Estimo, Jinky and Marilyn Young, GM Eugene
Torre at Fischer's grave in December 2009

Marilyn, Jinky, Philippine Consul Maria Priscilla Zanoria, Estimo

In response Mr. Bogason wrote:

Let me again reassure you that the exhumation was done properly and the samples were indeed the ones of Bobby Fischer. The case is closed and you will have to accept that. It is no possibility that Gardar Sverrisson or anyone else would have made any substitution. I will certainly not come forward with such allegations and I advise you strongly from doing so. It is unfounded and could easily be considered as slander.

Samuel Esposito concludes:

As it will appear now, the Targ nephews will collect the estate of Bobby Fischer. Of the three claimants thereon, the nephews are the least favored in so far as Bobby was concerned. The two women closest to his heart are Jinky Young and Miyoko Watai, and if he could just have written a last will, he would have bequeathed his entire estate to the two. I doubt if the Targ brothers would get a single kroner in that will.

I am sure Bobby will not like the way his estate will be disposed of. The strong secondary evidences, like the photos, bank remittances to Jinky, the postcards which Bobby sent to Jinky where he signed " Daddy" and even the expensive house and lot that Bobby bought for Jinky in the Philippines, should have been factored in in the disposition of his estate. Jinky will be denied her rightful due to the estate of Bobby Fischer!

As if in a chess game, this is just a post mortem analysis of the moves played in what could appear as the last chapter in the life of Bobby Fischer – bizarre up to the end.

To be continued...

The end is still not in sight. We have received further emails and statements, which we will publish in due course.

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.

Icelandic Court: Fischer’s remains can be exhumed
18.06.2010 – 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.

Breaking news: Tissue sample obtained from Fischer's grave
05.07.2010 – We have been informed that the remains of former World Champion Bobby Fischer were "exhumed" on Monday in the early hours of the morning. This was done on the order of the Icelandic Supreme Court, to settle a paternity dispute. Everything was done in a professional and dignified manner, with a priest and doctor present. The grave was left in its original state.

Pastor in Iceland: Fischer not 'exhumed'
11.07.2010 – A week ago we broke the news: tissue samples had been taken from chess champion Bobby Fischer's grave, on the order of the Icelandic Supreme Court to settle a paternity dispute. Most news sources reported that the body had been "exhumed", and our version – a hole dug in the ground next to the grave – was disputed. Now the Pastor in charge of the procedure provides clarification.

DNA test results prove: Fischer was not the father of Jinky Young
17.08.2010 – This morning informed sources in Iceland told us that the results of the DNA tests that were conducted after the extraction of tissue samples from Bobby Fischer's grave have revealed that the paternity claim of Marylin Young is without basis. "It is completely ruled out" that Jinky Young can be the biological daughter of the former World Champion. Now the story is out in many leading news sources.

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