Fischer second Lombardy faces eviction

by Frederic Friedel
3/16/2016 – The New York Times has a big story on William Lombardy, a former catholic priest and strong chess grandmaster, who coached and seconded Bobby Fischer from the age of eleven to the World Championship in 1972. Lombardy, now 78, faces eviction from his apartment in New York, over rent arrears that he hotly disputes. Here are details and a video appeal by his student David Siudzinski.

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On that fateful day Lombardy was served eviction papers stating that Mr. Lombardy was $27,124.82 behind on rent. He maintains he always paid his rent, if not always on time. Stuyvesant Town’s records, which Mr. Lombardy calls a fraud, suggest otherwise. Since the 80-acre redbrick apartment complex north of the East Village was sold a decade ago, its management has been accused of employing tough tactics with tenants. The NYT writes:

Mr. Lombardy arrived in Stuyvesant Town in 1977, to help take care of Jack Collins, a renowned coach who had supported both him and Mr. Fischer. ... [Lombardy] did not appear for his initial June 2014 court date, nor several that followed, though on some occasions, his student Mr. Siudzinski, a 26-year-old filmmaker from Long Island, went in his place. In July 2014, a judge ruled in favor of the landlord, in part because Mr. Lombardy had not appeared in court. The next month, he did arrive to contest the new eviction notice, and Judge Anne Katz directed him to seek counsel through Manhattan Legal Services. Rubin Englard became his lawyer that December and began to work on a settlement. The landlord would have received $13,562.46, the balance of rent since the case started, with almost all of the money provided by social service programs. As the settlement progressed last spring, Mr. Lombardy rejected it and fired Mr. Englard (who did not respond to requests for comment). Mr. Siudzinski resumed his role in court.

Stuyvesant Town, a large, post-World War II private residential development,
on the east side of the New York City borough of Manhattan [photo Wiki]

You can read more in this New York Times article, or listen to David Siudzinski describe the situation – and appeal for assistance:

William Lombardy

William James Lombardy, 78, is an American grandmaster, chess writer, teacher, and a former Catholic priest. He was one of the leading American chess players during the 1950s and 1960s, and a contemporary of Bobby Fischer, whom he coached from the time Fischer was aged 11 through the World Chess Championship 1972. Lombardy led the U.S. Student Team to Gold in the 1960 World Student Team Championship in Leningrad. He was the only World Junior Champion to win with a perfect score.

Bill Lombardy and Bobby Fischer analyzing, with Jack Collins watching [photo Wiki]

The adult Fischer following a game of Lombardy at the 14th Chess Olympiad in Leipzig 1960

William Lombardy during a ChessBase interview (German) in October 2013

William Lombardy chatting with Frederic Friedel in 2003. Fred found him
abrasive, sarcastic, cynical – "definitely my kind of person."

Lombardy, played by Peter Sarsgaard, with Fischer (Tobey Maguire) in the movie Pawn Sacrifice

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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fons fons 3/17/2016 11:07
@ wowbagger:

An appeal is a fairly standard procedure in the justice system.

The guy in the video goes into a bunch of legalese that's hard to understand, instead he should have summarized the situation such that also non lawyers can grasp it.

It does seem Lombardy went to extreme measures as a last ditch attempt, but it's hard for me to judge as I am not a lawyer.

From the NY Times article I gather he has lost his case.
FAD FAD 3/17/2016 11:46
Another hing is to be said about the profucer of the movie "The pawn gambit" who is the son of a jail sick bay attendant trying to use the confusion to take possession of Fischer's estate
FAD FAD 3/17/2016 08:43
Lombardy,in 1972, indecently let Fisher down with no money to carry on, having something else on his personnal agenda with Fishcher's girlfriend. Maybe a present day world champion could help him?
koko48 koko48 3/17/2016 12:33
Let's hope he has more luck in court than Fischer did

Fischer had a pretty straightforward and legitimate case imo....He sued Brad Darrasch (and/or his publishers) for writing a libelous book about him, when Darrasch was only supposed to be writing articles for Life Magazine....And Fischer's case was thrown out of court
wowbagger wowbagger 3/16/2016 11:31
I have watched the video, and it sounds a bit insane, honestly. Is he trying to sue the court?
KOTLD KOTLD 3/16/2016 10:30
I love Friedel's sense of humour.
stephen brady stephen brady 3/16/2016 10:23
"The adult Fischer following a game of Lombardy at the 14th Chess Olympiad in Leipzig 1960"

I guess you could consider 17 year old Bobby Fischer an "adult". Strange choice of words.
fons fons 3/16/2016 09:58
Before criticizing Lombardy: watch the video by David Siudzinski, read the NY Times article and the links therein of the strong-arm tactics by the owners of the buildings who've been involved in numerous law suits with tenants.

How would you react if you've been wrongly accused to get you evicted from your apartment?

I don't know who's right here, but I would not jump to conclusions as there's clearly more to the story than a superficial reading of this article might suggest.
kassy kassy 3/16/2016 07:38
So he failed to show up in court several times and then had an arrangement made were the landlord would accept about 1/4 of the owed amount($13K of $49K) that was going to be paid by groups other than him.
That wasn't good enough(owing no money) so now he is back to square one(or probably square neg 3 as interest accrues).
Not really sure we should be all that sympathetic.
Aighearach Aighearach 3/16/2016 05:15
If you won't go to court, there is no reason or purpose in begging for help. Sorry man, that's the way it goes; no more luxury apartment. And to be honest if you're poor, it is better to move on than to fight that one.
KevinC KevinC 3/16/2016 01:50
I hope this gets settled for him, but rule one in court is show up. If you default, you already face an uphill battle.
grandmastermac grandmastermac 3/16/2016 12:51
FIDE and the ACP announced in January 2015 the veterans' support programme, which is aimed to help the chess legends, who dedicated their life to our beloved game. Lombardy appears on that list along with five others So perhaps FIDE and the ACP can support Lombardy in his case.
LSI LSI 3/16/2016 10:42
Well, maybe the film producers, who have earned millions of dollars can pay the arrears as a generous gesture ?

Or it will just be another chess player who will die in poverty. It's difficult to be an artist these days...