Spassky to Bush: Arrest me!

8/10/2004 – Boris Spassky, who played the contentious return match against Bobby Fischer in Yugoslavia 1992, for which the latter is currently facing deportation and incarceration in the US, has appealed to President Bush to show mercy and charity for his tormented successor. If for some reason that should be impossible, Spassky suggests a very imaginative alternative...

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Appeal to President Bush from Boris Spassky

Bobby Fischer’s biological roots can indeed be connected to Germany. We would therefore like to ask you to see if there is anything that you can do for Bobby Fischer using diplomatic channels. If asylum in Germany can be granted to Bobby Fischer, it would not be a problem for us to provide permanent housing and subsistence to him in the Rhein-Main area."

Mainz petition page to free Bobby Fischer with the full text of Schmitt's letter


Former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov wearing the special Chess Classic "Free Fischer" T-Shirt, with Hans-Walter Schmitt, chief organiser in Mainz [Photo: Dagobert Kohlmeyer]

The Fischer Saga: Farewell to America

Meanwhile the news is that the greatest hero of American chess no longer wants to be an American. Having finally hired a lawyer, Fischer released through her a statement saying, "I no longer wish to be an American citizen. Enough is enough. I hereby authorize my attorney Masako Suzuki to contact the U.S. embassy in Tokyo, Japan, immediately so I can officially renounce my U.S. citizenship at once."

Photo, l to r: Miyako Watai, president of the Japan Chess Association, Masako Suzuki, Fischer's lawyer, and John Bosnitch, a Japan-based Canadian who is helping Fischer.

Fischer's attempt to renounce his US citizenship will not enable him to escape the charges he is wanted for in the United States. It may, however, affect his status with the Japanese government. (Slate Magazine has a handy explanation of how exactly an American can renounce citizenship.)

Fischer is still in detention in the Narita Airport and is waiting for the result of his appeal of Japan's rejection to stay his deportation and to seek asylum in Japan. Technically this could take up to 60 days, but it is very unlikely to take that long. Another twist is that Fischer has been offered asylum in Serbia and Montenegro (the artist formerly known as Yugoslavia).

The case is hitting the editorial pages. The NY Daily News tabloid took a few shots, calling Fischer a "chess master and famous foaming maniac" and adds " Swell! So long, Bob! Sayonara!" to the news that Fischer doesn't want to return to the USA.

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