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.