Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bobby FIsher - - Game Over

How sad, how sad, how sad.

I am not into Chess. I did however know who Bobby Fisher was ... a chess champion; but had no idea how important and impressive he really was. So when I read this morning that he had died, I was very amazed at his obit. "The U.S. chess Grandmaster Bobby Fisher died at age 64 of an unknown illness, (the Post and Sun -- said Kidney Failure) -- the national radio station in Iceland reported on Friday. Fisher moved to Iceland in 2005 and later obtained his citizenship, after the U.S. authorities pursued in arresting him mainly for violating President George H. W. Bush’s executive order in 1992 of not engaging in economic activities with Yugoslavia (Fisher chose to play against Spassky, despite the order).

The former world chess champion was pronounced dead on Thursday, at a Reykjavik hospital, but no further details have been released to the press. Fisher was the first and only U.S.-born champion, in a sport where the Soviets always had the lead. “It’s really the free world against the lying, cheating, hypocritical Russians,” he used to say.

In 1972, Fischer was propelled to international fame after his thrilling world championship win over the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky in Reykjavik.

The victory in the classic Cold War showdown made Fischer America's first world chess champion in more than a century.

However, Fischer quickly became known more for his idiosyncrasies than for his talent.

In 1975, Fischer forfeited his title to another Soviet, Anatoly Karpov, when he refused to play against him in Manila.

In 1992, after years in recluse, Fischer agreed to play Spassky again in an exhibition rematch on the Yugoslav resort island of Sveti Stefan.

Because of the location of the match, Fischer became a wanted man in the U.S. for violating sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia.

He then disappeared until after the 9/11 attacks. In an interview with a Phillippine radio station, Fischer applauded the strikes and said he wanted to see the U.S. "wiped out," reports Reuters.

Frank Brady, author of "Bobby Fisher: Profile of a Prodigy", told CTV Newsnet on Friday that the man's anti-Semitic remarks and anti-American statements helped to propel his infamy.

"Certainly he was the greatest chess player that every lived and he was famous because of what he did on the chess board, but he was certainly infamous for what he did off the chess board," Brady said.

Brady said Fisher's antics became increasingly more bizarre as he aged.

"He just sort of went bad, he went mean in the latter part of his life," he said.

However, Brady said the chess genius never uttered a controversial word prior to 1972, leading the first half of his life as a "polite" yet "arrogant" champion.

In July 2004, Fischer was held in a Japanese detention centre after having been caught trying to leave the country using an invalid U.S. passport.

Following his release in March 2005, Fischer unzipped his pants near the airport entrance and gestured as if he was going to urinate on the wall.

The outspoken Fischer accused Japan and the U.S. of "kidnapping" him.

Known for his anti-Semitic views, Fischer also said he was being hounded by the U.S because it was "Jew-controlled."

Reached in France, Spassky told The Associated Press he was "very sorry" to hear of Fischer's death. (sources: post, sun, CVAT, eflux)


The more I read about Fisher the sadder it was. It seems he was a genius trapped in his own mind of genius. According to press; he was a recluse, angry, disoriented, could not follow conversation and unusual .... He ditched his family years ago, his country and, well, I don't quite know what to say. For some reason, his death bothers me in that he was so smart, yet his genius made him mentally different from everyone else and himself .... I wish that mental illnesses could be addressed better from both a medical point of view, financial point of view and stereotyping point of view.... I wish people could realize when they need help. There is so much more I could ramble about on this issue - because you see and hear so much, but I won't. I'll just close in saying I find it very sad that someone of his intellect and genius did not live what I would consider a full life (he may have felt he did live a full live), or at least one that was not as angry and incoherent as he was.

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