Fischer's Electronic Archives – just an April 1st hoax

by ChessBase
4/2/2008 – It was simply too good to be true: Bobby Fischer corresponding with all the great players in the past years, giving them tips and lines to play in their games? Fischer secretly responsible for all the dramatic novelties over the past years? Naturally this was a carefully crafted prank with no basis in reality. Tragic but true. Most readers spotted it immediately. Here a selection of their letters.

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Fischer's Electronic Archives

It is truly amazing how many people wrote in, and from how many different continents and countries. We swear we did not know there were so many. Naturally we cannot quote all the feedback messages we receive, so using a semi-automatic process we select around a third. If your message is not included in the ones given below it is not because we thought it inferior to the others, but because our selection script simply skipped it. Unless it was chaotically written, with caps switched on, or everything in small letters. Naturally obscenities are eliminated, although there was a pleasantly small number of these amongst the letters.

We start with the readers who were taken in by our April Fool's prank. In the letters we quote (also around a third of the ones we received) we have removed the names. Readers might be embarrassed by the fact that they fell for such an obvious prank.

Name withheld, USA
These are real?!?!? Holy sh*t! These are amazing and drastically change the picture of chess today. To know that Fischer suggested 2...a6 to Miles and the Kasparov gambit to Kasparov, and helped Kortchnoi in his match against Karpov and showed that Nxf7 sac to Topalov is downright unbelievable. For the first time ever reading your site my mouth was fully and utterly agape. What a landmark Fischer is and what contributions he has made to the game. We always knew that Bobby would have just a little more to say on chess even after he refused to defend his title. Although I don't agree with his politics we must agree that that this is a good argument for him being the greatest.

Name withheld, Brazil
Wow, this is absolutely awesome! I am really not sure how legal is to disclose that type of correspondence even if the sender already passed away but, independently of that, these e-mails are like pure gold! It is great to see how Fischer continued his quest against the Russians even after he officially quit playing. I was very excited while reading these e-mails and going through the novelties Fischer suggested to the other players. It is also enjoyable reading Fischer's writing style, very transparently reflecting his personality and beliefs. Great job, ChessBase and plase, keep posting more documents from the Fischer archives!

Name withheld, Canada
I just hope and pray this will not turn out to be another "donation of Pepin." If genuine, it should revolutionize contemporary chess history. – On reflection, I just remembered today's date, i.e. April 1st. This fact alone is enough to bring into question the letters' authenticity.

Name withheld, The Netherlands
This is really the most interesting stuff I've read on the Internet (or anywhere else) in ages!! Earlier I read that the brilliant move 14. Bh6!! of Browne-Bisguier, US Champ. 1974 was an idea submitted by Fischer to American players a few years before that game (Evans or Kavalek wrote that). But what these e-mails reveal to the public is outright sensational!

  • Fischer's prophetic advice to Korchnoi in '78: 'Whatever you do, don't play the Pirc against Karpov!' How true. That was EXACTLY what lost Korchnoi the World Championship Match!
  • 1...a6!? of the sensational win of Miles over Karpov, Skara '80 (probably Miles' most famous game) – was an idea of Fischer...
  • Most sensational of all, the pawn offer 8..d5 of the WCh Match K-K '85, game 16, was also Fischer's idea. Stunningly, he even gave the refutation with it: 12.Be3! Bxe3 13.Qa4+, 'but probably Karpov won't find at the board', he adds clairvoyantly! Indeed, Karpov and his helpers didn't find it in a whole WEEK, since this was the second game Kasparov played this pawn offer in the match (the first time was in the 12th game.) This brilliant win gave Kasparov again the lead in the match, leading to the Title.
  • The Nimzo-Indian with g3 which gave Kasparov a very valuable win in the first game of that same match: the whole course of the opening of that game was foreseen by Fischer.
  • And even the shocking knight sac Nxf7!? of Topalov-Kramnik, Corus 2008!, was apparently an idea of Fischer, mentioned one month before his untimely death at 64.

So this man was a fountain of inspiration, bubbling with atomic bomb opening novelties LONG after 1972, right up to his death 35 years later. I am completely flabbergasted (and probably I'm not the only one)!

Name withheld, United States
Concerning the uncovered Fischer emails: in the e-mail second from the bottom addressed to Peter, Fischer tells him to among other things to send regards to Sofie. This reminds me of Peter Leko who is married to Sofie and was playing against Kramnik (a Russian) in a championship at this time. If you look at game 8 played October 7, 2004 (Fischer's email is dated October 4, 2004) the main line that Fischer gave is played out exactly in the game until move 29! Kramnik did in fact play 23. Qf2 which Fischer said he may not be able to resist. It's a wonder how Fischer knew what he would play and Leko already had all the right moves from the e-mail! I could be wrong here but that would be a very big coincidence!

Name withheld, Algiers, Algeria
In my opinion, there are two possibilities and both have dramatic impact in terms of chess ethics:

1. The letters (it's better to call them letters because there was no internet nor e-mails in the 70's 80's!!) weren't written by Fischer and it's just a campaign against some players or an attempt to praise the genius of Bobby even more.

2. Bobby wrote these letters effectively (and before the events he's talking about!!). In that case, shame on the players who received them, used the ideas and gave themselves the credit; and/or criticized later Bobby i.e saying that his chess hadn't evolved!!

I don't know which of the two possibilities is the reality; but in either case, there's a serious problem in the world of chess!! I'm impatiently expecting the authentication of the material proofs and moreover : The players' reactions because there's no need to be Freud to guess who's involved here! It would also be very interesting to have a look at the "players'" letters sent to Fischer to ask for a piece of advice. Everything should be public because the meaning is too heavy to be neglected. EXCITING!!

Name withheld, Bristol, England
Probably like a lot of people I wanted to respond to the story about Fischer having sent all of those letters over the years, and as the story suggests, the firm hand Fischer had in modern chess history. There is a part of me and probably most fans who got excited at reading these stories, just as such a buzz was caused by the suggestions that Fischer played and beat Short in blitz a few years ago, but it's hard not to be a little cynical about it all. Anand mentioned how he had spent time looking at chess with Fischer, so we know Fischer still had some interest in the game, but the notion that he happened to be at the centre of some of the biggest moments in chess history seems a little too much like a great story. Why would he have in email format letters sent in the 80's and 70's? Besides, the role Fischer plays in these letters seems questionable. Perhaps you might imagine Peter Leko seeing Fischer as some kind of sage and mentor because of their history in Hungary, but it seems a little far-fetched to imagine Viktor Korchnoi writing a "dear Bobby, what should i do?" style letter, when he holds his chess ideals as such a matter of principal. Something similar might be said for Kasparov and Topalov. This is not to say that I want to dismiss these letters, but it seems that there is a greater likelihood these are forgeries made to add to Fischer's already immense name- the fact that letters dated in the 70's and 80's are in email format seems too suspect- but of course if these correspondences become verified it would be nothing short of amazing.

Name withheld, Singapore
What an article it was! It thrills me to know that the reclusive World Champion was such a fine man, of great character, with an intense and almost unparalleled love for chess. Even though he took his unusual dislike for Russians to his grave, he will forever be looked upon as a role model following the uncovering of his electronic archives.

Always desiring to be behind-the-scenes, ever ready to help chess players (except Russians!), ever willing to share his ideas, not craving for money or recognition, the list just goes on. He has set such high ideals, and it would not be unfair to call him a modern day saint, one who was immensely in love with chess.

As of today, there are only 6 players over 3300 in blitz in playchess. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess who it would have been if we go by the process of elimination. Perhaps you can make it known to us and publish some of his games as a tribute to the legend? It would also be great if further archives of his are released for millions of his fans around the world.

Taking offence

We now come to the readers who took offense at the April 1st prank. It was, of course, the fact that it came so soon – just over two months – after Fischer had died that they found improprietous. Here's a selection of readers who were upset with us.

Carlos Aguirre, Switzerland
I had no fun whatsoever with your April Fool's joke about Fischer. The guy has died two month ago. Given such irreparable loss everyone who really loves chess should still be in mourning.

Devangshu Datta, Delhi, India
As usual, you've come up with a nice April 1 item, if one ignores the (possibly) bad taste involved in dragging a dead man into the prank. Tell me, aren't you a little scared that a revenant will rise from an Icelandic graveyard and come to haunt you all? Nice try anyway!

Tommy Andersson, Sweden
It's highly disrespectful to fool around and make fun of the greatest player ever lived. Even more so when one consider that he just passed away. I don't find it amusing at all. This joke and the writing about Simon Webb (The tiger is slain) are your lowest yet.

Joshua Franz, Prior Lake
April Fools, but not Funny! If this is a legit article it's very interesting and of course I would want to see more. But since it seems an obvious April fools article I must say: VERY BAD TASTE. Show more respect to the deceased. You should be ashamed.

Jim Anderson, Glasgow, Scotland
If this is an April Fool's joke this is VERY bad taste. To use such material regarding any person in any walk of life who has recently died shows an extremely JUVENILE sense of humour. This does ChessBase NO CREDIT WHATSOEVER – how would you feel if such a "joke" was issued regarding a recently dead relative. The person who thought this one up should be sacked – or then again maybe the article is true? If not, to retain its professional reputation Chessbase should issue an apology for using this material.

The magazine Chess Today really took us to task:
Yesterday was the worst day of the year, April fools' day, where decent people are trying to make their fellow human beings look like idiots for no reason. The BBC had an article about flying penguins in the morning. In the evening they were landing in the jungle in a spot advertising their relatively new service, BBC iPlayer. On there was an article about Fischer's laptop, including an e-mail meant to have been sent in 1978. This 'e-mail' (to Korchnoi) ends with a PS: 'If you tell anybody about our correspondence I will personally KILL you. My greetings to Petra.' Perhaps more than just a bit over the top? But not very funny if you ask me, so forgive me that I did not check the rest of the article to see if any humour was present there. This is how you get those pranksters, don't play their game.

Tasteless? Us? Well, we open our Python Bible to Chapter 36 Verse 41 and see the group react to the tragic death of their colleague Graham Chapman, who succumbed to a rare form of spinal cancer one day before the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Flying Circus. Take a look at how his colleagues deal with their grief.

Interview with the Phytons, enter Graham Chapman

Embarrassment when the urn is kicked over

General feedback

We come to the fun letters, which simply prove that many, many readers enjoyed the prank and that it would have been wrong, wrong, wrong for us to have had compunctions about its propriety. We would like to draw special attention to the first letter in which K. Cowcill hits it square on the nail. An April Fool's joke is not defined by how many people it fools. It is supremely easy to formulate one that nobody can spot check and nobody can disprove ("Carlsen retires from the game" or "Blitz chess banned in Kazakhstan"). The point is not to make it as hard as possible to detect, but to as great a degree as possibly funny. Entertaining. Even if 80% of the readers say "Come on guys, we spotted it within minutes!"

K. Cowcill, Canada
I enjoyed that one. It won't fool anybody but that isn't the point of this article. Its main point is to amuse and that it certainly did. Every email had me chuckling. Well done to the author.

Andra Cimina, Athens, Greece
Best 1st April ever!!! Can't wait to learn how many people believed it!! Congratulations!

Glen Hart, Manasquan, NJ
So it is Fischer who has been working diligently behind the scenes coming up with all the novelties and inspiration played by the modern masters in their efforts to bring down the dominance of the Russians for these past few decades since his disappearance from chess?!? A brilliant attempt, but I'm not buying it! Nice try!

Frank Pi, Vienna
Damn! i really searched and replayed the Topalov-game till 22. .. c3 and thought 'Wow, that is incredible!!..' But then I reminded myself of the special date. You stole my sleep with this one. Grrrrr.

Dr. Ioannis Kerkines, Atlanta, GA, USA
Happy April Fool's Day Chessbase! I was waiting to see what you'd come up this year. Even though the Fischer story was evidently fake, it was simply amazing, and hilarious. So many fine details weaved into your plot...the flavor of Karpov's yogurt, Tony Miles' 1. ...a6, Garry's strategy in the 1984/85 matches, the Danemann cigars that Leko has to take with him, even the Nxf7 sacrifice that we saw from Topalov a few weeks ago. And all of these have the same denominator. Reminds me of "Forrest Gump" in a way :) Congratulations for the always high-quality surprises each year!

Nick Easom, Liverpool, UK
Fabulous! I'm pleased to say I twigged well before the end, but if you'd seen my face when Fischer suggests 1...a3 to Tony Miles you would congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Sebastian Fernandez, Tampa, FL, USA
It seems to me that the article on Fischer is an April Fool's joke. Right? It was hard choosing between this and Kasparov playing shogi, but I decided the Fischer story is false.

Paul Joseph, NJ, USA
I almost fell for your Fischer April Fool, but you went to far with the Nxf7 letter to Topalov.

Juan Pablo Beserra, Brasil
It's an April Fool's prank. Otherwise, Fischer would have been acting like a puppeteer over the chess world after his seclusion. I mean, all the talk of him having suggested that Anthony Miles played 1...a6 against Karpov, and etched the novelty Nxf7, used by Veselin Topalov against Kramnik, is preposterous! Nice try!

Grivet Simon, Soissons, France
Nice hoax!!! I'm glad to see that some people do take the April 1st hoax tradition seriously!

Charles Hall, Orlando, FL, USA
Come on, you can do better than that! Throw in a little more hate speech and profanity if you want it to be believable that it came from Fischer.

Lim Teng Soon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Great April's Fool joke. Nearly caught me with Viktor's story but Tony's and Garry's is just too coincidental to be believable. For a moment my hopes were raised about the depth of Fischer's penetrative insight in chess and human psychology.

T. S. Randall, Angels Camp, USA
One would think that I would learn to catch myself when I read your website around April 1st, but, no, once again I was snared. Absolutely hilarious spoof! Kudos to your writers.

David, Yasinovsky, Newton, Massachusetts USA
For the last seven years I've been devotedly reading this newspage, and I've been looking forward every April 1st to see what you guys will come up with. As usual, I was delighted to see not one, but two unlikely stories appear on ChessBase on 4/1/08. Of course, the story about Fischer sounds a bit outlandish, but who knows what the guy did in his later years. Perhaps he wrote the emails but never mailed them. The Kasparov story seems plausible, but many a time I have been fooled by a seemingly sound story which was pulled under the radar by an astonishingly true story. So I decided to investigate. The Kasparov story found a listing of the same article by Dr. Rene Galla on The only difference was that the article was published on February 16, 2008. NOT on April Fool's day. This article has a reference to a press release by Manabu Terao, the Vice Director of ISPS, dated July 6, 1999. So this story seems to be proven true. But again, maybe ChessBase and are in league with each other. So I tried to find proof of the Fischer story. This was a lot more difficult, as no other article relating to this was easily visible. At this point, already very suspicious, I drew upon my knowledge of the history of email. As you can read on the website of Compuserve that, although they were offering computer time-sharing services since 1969, they only started offering personal email services in 1979. But Fischer's letter to Korchnoi is addressed 9/28/1978. A little continuity goof. But I think this exposes the April Fools Prank. A great way to remember Bobby Fischer though. Congratulations on another year of deception.

Jose Ortiz, Lima, Peru
I just can say that this year you really prepared a GREAT IDEA for April Fool's day!! It has been simply exhilarating to follow all this stuff. My congratulations!

Mario Mico, Montclair, New Jersey
Oh, no! this is an Aprils fools joke! I realized that only when Cheparinov was mentioned. Before that, I was believing it all the way.

Plínio Márcio, São Paulo, Brazil
Of course, the e-mails are fake. They are too funny and too orderly arranged to be true. It must be some kind of joke from Andre Schulz... :-) The first e-mail is addressed to Viktor Kortschnoi, and it is related to some critcal happenings in the match with Karpov in Baguio City. "DO NOT play the Pirc" is a marvelous joke! Kortschnoi played the Pirc in the final and decisive game of the match, and lost it.

The second e-mail is addressed to Tony Miles. It is a joke regarding his creation 2... P-QR3, which usually transposes into a Sicilian. The e-mail refers to his famous victory over Karpov with Black. I believe Tony would not find that joke funny... he would be jealous of his creation.

The third e-mail was written to Kasparov, and here we see Bobby teaching Kasparov how to play the 1984 match. Garry indeed, on the verge of defeat, started playing for draws with the only intention of tiring Karpov. One of the funniest jokes is the second e-mail regarding the 1985 match. Fischer teaches Kasparov to play the "Kasparov Gambit", the weapon that decided the match in his favour!

The 2004 mail is related to the Leko-Kramnik match. And the 2007 e-mail is just related to the important innovation in the Moscow Variation introduced by Topalov in Wijk Aan Zee. "Cheperinof guy"?? Ha ha ha ha.

David Young, Rotterdam Netherlands
Nice one guys, Fischer would be proud of you!

Boldizsár Fejérvári, Budapest
I came by today determined to see what you have cooked for this day's issue. I wasn't disappointed. Thank you for a series of good hearty laughs!

Vivek Nambiar, Bangalore, India
Wonderful April Fools joke! You had me for a while till I began to wonder how e-mail could work back in 1978 :-)

Robert Coleman, New Orleans, USA
Sorry, you've got the wrong version of My 60 Memorable Games on the desk. Fischer hated that reprint and would not have allowed it in his house. April Fools indeed!

Leonid Sandler, Australia, Melbourne
Well done, what a fantastic jokes. Perfect humour for April 1st.

Cristobal, Santiago, Chile
The idea was great, it could have been such a nice April Fool's joke. But emails on 1978? Dear Garry? ...P-QR3? Too bad nobody did a little checking to make it more believable.

Álvaro Padilha, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Ha ha ha... You guys never disappoint me when it comes to the April First jokes. I cryed from laughing because of the 'don't play the Pirc' stuff... But this one is too obvious, so i am assuming the REAL trick is that 'Kasparov takes shogi' thing. You never know. Maybe I am all wrong and this IS serious? OMG, you got me!

Derrick Robinson, Kent, Washington USA
The Fischer Archives story was not funny, nor even especially clever, but I still think your website is super.

Tom Welsh, Basingstoke UK
Brilliant, just brilliant. It suckered me even though I was on the look-out for April Fool tricks! The letters are so convincingly written... I reached the second one before I twigged.

Geoffrey van Wyk, Pretoria, South Africa
Wow!!! Even to Veselin?!...Wait a minute. Today is 1 April.

Peter Adlersburg, Vienna, Austria
Brilliant article, laughed myself right under the table.

Greg Koster, Chicago
DAMN YOU! EVERY @#%^*#$# YEAR! I was halfway through the "Tony" letter before I checked my calendar.

Dennis Cesar Caluban, BnEid Al-Gar, Kuwait
After playing the moves in my head, it turns out that Fischer's suggestions to the top GMs were absolutely fantastic, all winning – but wait, today is April 1st!!! Rest In Peace Bobby.

Dmitry Pechyony, Tel Aviv, Israel
That's a 1st April joke! These were no emails in 70's and 80's.

Gregor Bombek, Slovenia
Fischer writing emails to Korchnoi in 1978?? Ha ha ha ha, the best April fools joke I've heard in ages... Thanks for a good laugh!

Mike Willett, Rudyard, USA
You do an excellent job with your April Fools jokes. Keep up the good work.

Hans de Munnik, Hilversum, Netherlands
Laughed out loud at your Fischer emails!! Very good joke!

P. Perry, Kailua, Hawaii
Your Fisher story is clearly the April Fools day prank! Emailing in 1978 from Manila using Compuserve?
I was computer literate in 1978 and I never used email until nearly a decade later.... Also, why are all the early emails posted from Manila? Bobby did not run off to the Philipines until the US blacklisted him after the second Spasky match in the early 90's. And the comments on the games.. Telling Miles to play 1...a6 to go for a win against Karpov...... Telling Korchnoi not to play the Pirc, which he did anyway and lost the last game of the match to Karpov...... And the last one, from his death bed, Fisher giving Topolov the night sack on f7.... All a bit too much to believe.

Giordano Bergamo, Trento, Italy
I was sucking it all up. Then I got to the e-mails... to Viktor, 1978? Hee hee, thank you for keeping the tradition alive!

Bill Cornwall, Coral Springs, Florida
Oh how I would love to believe that Fischer was giving advice to Victor and Veselin, that he was up with chess even at the end, that he was playing thousands of games with an astronomical rating. If only it weren't April 1st, a day when the sneaky ChessBase sadists dash our hopes with yet one more "joke" designed for fools. May they get out of life what they truly deserve.

Nick Murphy, London
Hilarious! Who says that you Chessbase boys can't do comedy?!

Colin McGraw, Montreal, Canada
You got me in the past but not anymore! Still, great attempt. I'm sure you had many a chess fan foaming at the mouth there.

Virat Markandeya
What a fascinating article on games Fischer played in his 'away' years! All those breakthrough variations, all those world championships. All those ladies' to whom Fischer sends his regards! Until, one realises what date it is and hmnnn... Net in the 1980s? Plus too many hints! A wonderful read, only wish it were true. It would add something to the void that RJF left when there was so much left to play for.

Bob Long, Savannah USA
The April Fool story must've been fun for someone to write... throwing in little details here and there which Fischer was NOT prone to do. And, no typos in his message. Fischer was not one of the world's great spellers.

Abdellatif Faouzi, Casablanca, Morocco
It's a joke! Un Poisson d'Avril. Thanks

Flavio Brugnoli
Bobby Fischer's e-mails to all those "mysterious" players are the best April Fool's Day on chess I ever read. Chapeau!

Alistair Chew, Singapore
Every year you come up with something better and better for April Fool's Day...

Mike Jaqua, Firestone, Colorado, USA
Bobby Fischer sent email in the 70's??!! He really was ahead of his time eh? Cute story. Happy April 1st to you too.

Chester Bean, Bloomingburg, New York
Bobby Fischer on Compuserve in 1978!! On the Internet before Al Gore "invented it".Ha Ha April Fools. The biggest give-away was "Dont play the Pirc"!!

Harry Sadeghi, Lake Wobegon MN, USA
Ed Edmondson and my lawyers are waiting for you on the other side. – Bobby

Luke Peristy, Canada
Congrats on a great April Fools day article. You really had me going for a minute with all that talk of Fischer having a playchess rating of 3300. I was wondering if maybe Fischer was the enigmatic Raphael. However, I didn't think that even Fischer would "personally KILL" Viktor Kortchnoi. Then I realised what day it was, and the jig was up. Keep up the good work.

R. v. Beemdelust, Almere, Holland
I almost fell for your trap untill a good friend of mine told me it was April 1st. Fischer as a international advisor of top players! I almost feel sad that it is a joke! It would have shaken the chessworld!

Francesco Tosi, Latina, Italy
A very nice April fool! Actually, it was just a wee bit overdone – apart from that, quite enticing.

Shiv Mathur, Mumbai, India
Brilliant !!! I was really fooled for quite a while. VERY clever idea .... My congratulations!! WONDERFULLY done gag. Excellent !!!

Wolff Morrow, Dallas, TX, USA
When I got home from the chess club to check my favorite chess links, I was astounded about the Fischer laptop story. But then I got suspicious after the claim of the Playchess account that broke 3300 was on it. Then I remember its April 1st. Nice one!

Paul, Denham, Glasgow
Well done ChessBase, you had me going there for a while until I spotted an e-mail to Korchnoi from 1978!!! Almost as good as the flying penguin story on the BBC.

Stefanos Kadoglou, Tichero Greece
I could die in complete hapiness if those mails were true... Anyway... the best April fool's joke of all time!!

Royce Campbell, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Geez, wouldn't it be nice if the Fischer story were true! (I'm not saying it isn't, cause you BURNED me last year!). It's early, and there may be more stories to come today, but this is a strong and worthy candidate. Thanks for giving me something to look forward to every April 1!

Richard Price, Mobile, Alabama, USA
Very funny bit! Witty! Made me laugh out loud!

Andreas Kren, Vienna
Well done, as every year! Just when I checked some dates of important games I suddenly began to smile!

Mel Cooper, Geneva
I was amazed till I read the alleged advice to Topalov to play the knight sac in the Moscow variation with the full path of the game uncovered. This was TOO MUCH!! AHA, only then I realized that it is today April first, GOSH! Especially realistic was the caption of a somewhat outdated notebook (same as one of mine) AND the mention of the ChessBase taboo word "Rybka", with an up to date version. Very sensible for a guy as obsessional and striving for perfection like Fisher. Too bad this is not true ;-)

Teodoro Rodrigo, Americana, Brasil
First I was simply surprised by the fact that Fischer was corresponding with his fellow chess players these days and then I got really stunned by the fact that Fischer's advices to Garry and Kortchnoj versus Karpov, Leko and Topalov versus Kramnik were actually played! But then, tragically, I remembered that it's just an April Fool's anecdote. Anyway Fischer was a genius and his legacy will be always a humane treasure.

Tratama Noordeen, Jakarta, Indonesia
The first few lines seem very convincing. However, a glance at my desk calendar reveals it all: 1 April 2008!

Rick Massimo, Providence, RI, USA
Surely somewhere in there there was an e-mail to Ivanchuk about sacking his Queen on e6 in the Bc4 line of the Najdorf! Well, maybe you'll find that in exactly one year from now.

John S., Charleston, WV USA
I must confess that you had me going for a solid 5 to 10 minutes, and then I remembered it was April Fools Day. Way to go!! Very creative and realistic on the emails. One can picture Fischer saying these things!
One thing that gave it away was the dates on the emails. Some were dated before the Internet was invented! Again, very creative imagination on your part. I admire your efforts.

Aben Rudy, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Happy April Fools! Your article made for a pleasant way to start the day.

Steven Stannish, Potsdam, NY
This is an April Fool's joke – or the worst forgery since the Donation of Constantine. The idea that Fischer was sending email in the 1970s, together with the un-Fischer-like vocabulary of the messages, makes it clear. Thanks for the entertainment, though! I always enjoy your site.

Angelo Mattiello, Mexico
As usual you've outdone yourselves. Interesting reading, the letters, by the way. How do you come up with these things, in the shower? Happy April's fool and Greetings from Mexico!

Marleny Nunez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Nice one you little %*/§#!! Just kidding, but truth is you had me fooled until I wondered why you didn't make more of this and where were the comments from everybody in the world after this "amazing" ("fantastic?") material. Maybe the Topalov/"Cheparinof guy" part was too much for my believing... but definitely a brilliant piece from your part! Happy April Fools Day! I was quite a happy man for a few minutes.

God, Paradisum
It would not have looked so April foolish if thou hadst written the emails more professionally. PS: Tell NO ONE of this email, for on the day thou dost, thou shalt surely die. April Fool is an abomination unto me.

Arun Raju, Riverside, USA
I actually thought your magic eye training was the April Fool's joke until I saw the Fischer archives. Nice try!

Duke C. Darkwolf, Georgia, USA
A Fischer e-mail written in 1978? The world was still trying to rub two sticks together to make fire. Good effort! (Ha! Ha!)

Eric Hongisto, San Francisco
OMG, you got me. The Peter email finally was the one – that tilted me to remember the date. Good job and thanks for the entertainment.

Tom Miller, Midland, Michigan USA
Good Gawd. Are we supposed to believe that Bobby was responsible for Topalov's wacking of Kramnik in round 9 of Wijk this year!! Nice try bobo.

Natan Estivallet, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Congratulations! Very creative!!! April´s 1st! I think this was the best story you invented.

Daniel Hauser, Dover, DE, USA
Good gag. I was especially impressed with the letter to Korchnoi. Good job capturing the spirit of Fischer's public image, and the "somewhat outdated" notebook was a nice touch. Easily one of your more entertaining and creative April Fool pranks.

Asim Pereira, Stamford, CT
OMG, Had fisher been alive today, he would have fainted reading this April fools day article! I guess this is too obvious, probably a better story could have been, 'Fischer found alive!'

Adolfo Guido, Río Cuarto Argentina
Is this article true? E-mails in the 70, 80 and early 90s? Internet didn't exist! Do you think that I or we are stupids? I'm terribly sorry but your article is incredible!

Robert Hellman, Stockholm, Sweden
Before sleeping I decided to browse a bit on the Internet, and checked as I often do. I took a quick look at the Fischer article, and wondered if chessplayers were e-mailing each other as early as the late 70's. (The first actual email was sent in 1971, but I was quite skeptical since Internet was not a common communication tool before the 90's). I figured all correspondence were just text files or something, and quickly read some messages. Pretty Fischer-like comments, so my compliments for that. The moves described got my attention, and just for fun I decided to look for a 1-0 Topalov win in Wijk 2008 and instantly found Round 9. Playing the Topa-Kramnik game, I felt more excited with every move that suited the line "provided" by Fischer. And just when I was looking for superlatives to express my feelings, it struck me: 1st of April!

I immediately placed the whole article in a new perspective, and was now 99% sure of the joke. After reading the article more carefully, and finding the phrase "our readers can maybe help us out" (right: the world's most famous chess database company needs help finding correlation) it was totally clear: someone is trying to fool the readers! Technically, since it's after midnight I wasn't fooled on Fool's day at least, and I got the joke relatively quickly (pity for those who have been looking at ALL the games haha), but it must have been some work (and fun) setting it all up, so congratulations on this years item!

Lonnie Kwartler, Chester, NY, USA
You forgot Fischer's letter to Frank advising him to play 0-0 instead of d6 and to follow up with d5 against the Cuban. April Fool!

Matthias Galvin, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
I would like to know if your story regarding the emails and games of Fischer on the "somewhat outdated" laptop is true, or is in fact an April Fools joke.

Sam Thompson, Carrboro, NC USA
Clearly that must be the game Topalov who won against Kramnik at Corus 2008! Topalov stated that his helper Cheparinov found Nxf7 just as Fischer had instructed!

Hari Krishnan, New York
Ok. I admit I was fooled when I read it first, because it is actually believable. The made-up games and variations are also funny and realistic, but the mouse in the picture should be on the left hand side of the monitor, because, Bobby was left handed if my knowledge is right.

Zhigen Lin, Melbourne, Australia
"Just uncovered - Fischer's Electronic Archives" is an April Fool's Day joke! Very funny.

Wolfgang Remmel, Vienna, Austria
How did it come that an email from 1978 is found on the hard disk of a computer, though old, is certainly much younger than from 1978? Was email really in commercial use back in 1978? It seems unlikely that both Korchnoi and Fischer used email in 1978. – Okay, I checked the date of your article: 1.4 (April). This does explain to me the many implausibilities. Fine prank though, I believed it in the beginning (like so many, I think, wanted to believe it). I would like to pay my sincerest compliments to the author. It was really exellently written, very humourous.

Marc Steinhebel, Ventura, USA rating of 3300, DO NOT PLAY THE PIRC (Coincidentally Korchnoi loses match with Karpov playing the Pirc), amazing how details in Fischer's letters played out in reality-this is rich! Nice April Fool's joke. Really liked the PS in many letters stating "Don't tell anyone you got this from me!" Wonderful.

David Wong, Union City, California, USA
I think this is an April Fool story. Around 1978, email is still being used only in university (maybe not yet). I first used email when I studied in my graduate classes here at US around 1986. Email was still primitive, used only in Unix machine, PDP-11 mini computer at school. I don't think Fischer had access to a university computer.

Themba Dube, Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA
Are these "Fischer emails" for real? I somewhat have my doubts. Whoever sent you these probably made them up. Perhaps the one to Peter (Leko, obviously) and the one to Veselin might be legit; the others - especially the one to Garry - are a bit apocryphal.

Antonio Viriato Ferreira, Andorra la Vella
I have no doubt that your article is fake. Fischer never ever spoke with Kasparov. The emails are made for someone that from the future knows the past! "Don't ever play the Pirc", from Fischer to Korchnoi. LOL. Please, try to be be a litle more serious.

Ed Zator
Hey you guys! Enough is enough!! Not Bobby Fischer, but April Fools. A Good One Though!! Karpov won't like it.

Kerem Yunus Camsari, Lafayette, IN
Amazing joke guys... You got me for ten minutes and then I said to myself: check the date idiot...! That would've been a really shocker for me. Fisher mailing Kasparov, Topalov, possibly Svidler..! Giving out novelties..! Treasure of treasures! VERY nice try... (Especially don't tell anyone you got it from me part!) You guys rock! I love the tradition.

Prof. Nagesh Havanur, Mumbai, India
I nearly fell for the spoof and then checked the date. Wonderful!

David Molina Gomez, Dendermonde, Belgium
This can't be true! But if it is, it's the prove Fischer was the very best, ever. Still I believe it's joke, released on April 1 Fools day, and if we take a closer look and do some researched on the net, there are some facts that are just not right. For instance the possibility to send and receive e-mails in 1978. Then the accuracy of the famous Topolov-Kramnik game.... It's too much and maybe deliberately done so the readers could find out them selves. On the other hand: joking about Tarrasch (trash), stupid Tartakower, and renaming Karpov...? Anyway, the article just made my day. If it's no joke: thrilling! If it's a joke: thrilling! (I'm getting more thrilled by the hour! Don't keep us waiting too long...)

Mohammed Abu Ra'ad, Doha, Qatar
Haha that was a good one. It's obvious that a lot of effort has been put to make it look real. You got me in the beginning but, as much as a lot (including me) wanted it to be true, it was just too good to be true. I think it would be more "believable" if there weren't too much emphasis on details such as "regards to Sophie", "say it's from Cheparanov", "Adorjan found it" .. etc. And besides, were emails THAT popular in the 1970s?! This would be hard to believe by normal people and experts know that emailing started (I think) in the mid 70s and wasn't that popular. It was for business use then. "But why would they lie", I wondered. "Hmmm .. " [scrolling the page up .. checking the date .. Bingo!].

B. Mohanakrishnan, Chennai, India
Good April Fool joke. What gave you away? A purported email between Fischer and a certain Viktor in 1978. Email was not in vogue then or in 1980 when he is reported to have written a certain Tony.

Tahir Q. Khan, Karachi, Pakistan
How i wish it was true!! But these seems to be the fantasies of a mind who desperately wants to be in the centre of all things/events related to chess. Fischer is my favourite player, even this will not shake my love, respect and admiration (not necessarily in that order)for him. But I wish he had remained with chess longer than he did.

Bryan, Martin, Los Alamitos, USA
April Fools! I could see this one a mile away

Gary Walters
The Fischer April Fool's joke was brilliant. I was embarassingly hooked for the better part of 15 minutes and sorely disappointed to see Chess Today's lack of sense of humor regarding it.

Henk Schmitz, Amsterdam, Holland
Was it an April Fool Joke?? If so, you did a pretty good job! I guess I was fooled by you guys...! Well done.

Dr. Andrew Chiou, Rockhampton, Australia
This is probably the best April Fool joke I have come across so far. I was almost taken in. If you have had kept it to two letters, it would have been believable. But Garry, Peter, Tony? By the way, email in 1978 probably used the X.400 standard, and the OS in those days was the BSD Unix. Bobby would have to gone Berkeley to send e-mail on their main-frames. I don't think so. He he he. Nice. Keep it up. Cheers from Australia.

Rick Kramer, Oud Beijerland
Well, you did it again and I must say it was convincing at first. It took about half a minute before I realised it was one of your famous 1 April jokes. Thanks for the fun!

Bret Helm, Illinois, USA
I only wish it wasn't an April Fools joke. Funny stuff.

Previous ChessBase April 1st pranks

  • Fritz trainer: Emanuel Lasker, New York 1924
    01.04.2007 – After winning the 1924 New York tournament Dr Emanuel Lasker, who was passionately interested in new technologies, recorded his comments on the games using the fledgling new technology of talking movies. The film material was recently recovered and digitally remastered. We have turned it into a Fritz Trainer DVD with twelve video lessons. You can order it now. Retractions.

  • ChessBase: no more April Fool's jokes
    01.04.2006 – In the past years our web site has published a series of elaborate April Fool's stories. Not this year, and not any more. An international watchdog group which calls itself League for Truth and Veracity, is threatening news services as well as private pranksters all over the world with lawsuits for publishing false information. This unfortunate activity spells the end of an old tradition. Reactions.

  • Amber: Bareev beats Anand 2-0 in first round Kriegspiel
    01.04.2005 – After the Blindfold and Rapid tournaments in Monaco, on April 1st 2005 the Kriegspiel section started. The main point about this variant of chess is that players only get to see their own pieces, not those of their opponents. They also do not know what moves the other side has made, so they have to guess where the opponent's pieces are. Only the referee knows exactly the real position of both sets of pieces. GM Evgeny Bareev started with a stunning 2-0 victory over Vishy Anand. How the prank was perpetrated.

Alexei Shirov during a Kriegspiel game

  • Kimo – an 'intelligent' approach to chess
    01.04.2004 – On April 1st 2004 we announced that a new chess program named Kimo was due for release. It worked with chess knowledge derived from 20,000 master games, which had been extensively analysed by the program, which drew heuristic conclusions on the principles of chess: the value of the pieces in different positions, their strengths and weaknesses, attacking and defensive motifs, etc. Although it examined just two positions per second (as opposed to millions in a traditional brute force search) it was able to hold its own against the world's strongest programs. The story was modified in the article Kimo – the full truth.

  • The bionic chess interface
    01.04.2003 – On April 1st 2003 we reported that the Brutus FPGA hardware project that ChessBase was engaged in had been taken up by the US National Science Foundation and other US defence agencies who had been working on a project to interface the brain directly with computer equipment. The scientists working on the project decided that the hippocampus, a portion of the temporal lobe, was the ideal location for a "bionic interface". There was a vigorous reaction from our readers ('Please don't touch my hippothingy!').

    Laboratory rat with a chess bionic interface

  • New Fischer move: the retractor
    01.04.2002 – On April 1st 2002 we reported that the reclusive ex-world champion Bobby Fischer 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. Reactions.

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