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Historic Moment For Chess: Kasparov at Fischer's Grave

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 3/10/14, 1:33 PM.

On the day Bobby Fischer would have celebrated his 71st birthday, Garry Kasparov paid a visit to his grave in Selfoss, Iceland. It was a historic moment for chess: arguably the two greatest players of the game never met, and so they were never as close to each other. Chess.com was there to witness the moment and for a brief interview with Mr Kasparov.

On Sunday, March 9th, 2014 the President of the Icelandic Chess Federation, Gunnar Björnsson, took Garry Kasparov to the small town of Selfoss, which is about 50 km east of Reykjavik. About half a year earlier he had invited the 13th World Champion to come to Iceland, to visit both Fischer's grave, and the Reykjavik Open. At the same time Mr Kasparov would have the opportunity to meet several Presidents of Scandinavian chess federations, to try and convince them to vote for him at the upcoming FIDE Presidential elections.

For Kasparov, the visit to Fischer's grave was the most important event, and it was carefully planned to take place on March 9th - Fischer's birthday. The author of these lines had the honor (it really was!) to be present at the historic moment when Kasparov arrived in Selfoss, walked towards the grave, had some photos taken, and sat inside the small church for a while.

Below is the brief interview with Mr Kasparov - in it you will also see images from his visit to the new Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss.

Transcript:

“I can't help but thinking that this is the graveyard also for great, unfulfilled hopes, because so much could be achieved. This is the country where Robert Fischer reached his peak. It was not only his peak, but it was one of the most glorious moments in the history of the game of chess. It could have ended differently. It's not for us to come up with hypothetical versions of alternative history, but it's still very sad. It's as if this graveyard... We could feel that so many great hopes and expectations have been buried, without being realized. It's all behind us, all the controversies, and what is left is the unique contribution of Robert James Fischer to the game of chess and I'm here to pay this tribute.

Kasparov at Fischer's grave

It's a huge sense of sadness because... he stopped playing chess at 29. It's insane. How much can be done, how much could be achieved, if not for this terrible tragedy that put him away of the game of chess. Again, now, after everything is behind us, all these controversies, and all these things that have been associated unfortunately with Fischer's name, what is left is just this sadness that he's gone.

Kasparov at the Bobby Fischer Center

And also, I couldn't help myself but thinking: I never met him, which is also quite amazing, OK, I was nine in 1972 when he won the title, but still, there were many opportunities technically, but unfortunately it didn't happen. It's something that of course I will be missing.

1972 definitely was one of the greatest moments in the history of chess. I don't think chess ever reached such a peak of popularityas in 1972. I could only dream of using my abilities to make sure that the heritage of 1972, and the memories of Fischer's great rise, will be somehow repeated in the future.

Kasparov signing the book of condolances

As I just put in the book of condolances, it could be a great dream of working with him to promote the game of chess, but it didn't work out. But still, this legend I'm sure will accompany us in our quest for making the game of chess as popular as Fischer wanted.”

22487 reads 84 comments
22 votes

Comments


  • 7 months ago

    GarryAlekhine

    Why his grave is in Iceland?!

    Isnt he Amarican?

  • 7 months ago

    mrtacticNL

    A great move by one of the greatest dispite all the negative things Bobby said about the match Kasparov-Karpov.

    Fischer's end was sad, just like Morphy's. The last half of their lives was without chess.

  • 7 months ago

    GarryAlekhine

    Kasparov is the best!Wink

  • 7 months ago

    iMacChess

    Kasparov is not only a great chessplayer but he's also a gentleman...

  • 7 months ago

    vivekchessgroup

    Wish you were here Bobby. RIP

  • 7 months ago

    LousanneB

    Nice to see Garry Kasparov pay tribute to Bobby.  

    He will always live on in the chess world

  • 7 months ago

    sisu

    razzles wrote:

    I wouldn't put too much stock in Fischer's anti semitism, the Polgars are Jewish and had a good relationship with Bobby Fischer. It does not make his statements right, but he was paranoid, looking between the lines at things that weren't there. I believe his problems with Jews stemmed from his own problems, and he may have held animosity towards them but the fact that he accepted the Polgars as individuals suggests that it was cognitive dissonance to the nth degree.

    The real analysis is: we don't know much about Fischer's really private life apart from what he has said, but a lot of people talk like they do. The price of being famous, I suppose. Fischer did class all jews as one though, and so if you hold animosity towards them, then of course the Polgars fall into this category. That's just the way he was, no compromises.

    Really put yourself into Bobby's shoes without speculation or prepositions and try to understand why and you will find some answers.

    There was a Filipino guy (I think it was mentioned in Olafsson's book) that said: "the only criticism of Bobby that I have, is that he expects people to do things for him".

    I guess we are not perfect, after all (but from a chess point of view he was close Laughing). If we try to remember him only for the chess, then we experience the most joy.

  • 7 months ago

    acir11

    This event maybe part of the campaign but I really admire Kasparov for doing this. This is such a beautiful sight to see him paying tribute to Fischer. I am looking forward for the far more better fame of chess when GK will become the FIDE President. GO, go Gary.

  • 7 months ago

    razzles

    I wouldn't put too much stock in Fischer's anti semitism, the Polgars are Jewish and had a good relationship with Bobby Fischer. It does not make his statements right, but he was paranoid, looking between the lines at things that weren't there. I believe his problems with Jews stemmed from his own problems, and he may have held animosity towards them but the fact that he accepted the Polgars as individuals suggests that it was cognitive dissonance to the nth degree.

  • 7 months ago

    BrendanFraserFan1

    Good player, not as great as Brendan Fraser though

  • 7 months ago

    fastcache

    amazing! thank you for being there.

  • 7 months ago

    proanalyst

    KASPAROV SPEAKS OF HONOR FROM HIS HEART.  

  • 7 months ago

    jimmie_cecil

    It is just and right that Kasparov paid tribute to one of his great predecessors.

  • 8 months ago

    IM DanielRensch

    Incredible. 

    Thank you Peter Doggers. 

    Thank you Mr. Kasparov for your honest and heart felt summary of what's Fischer's chess career (and all that could have been) meant to you. 

  • 8 months ago

    sisu

    Bobby didn't descend into madness, he was just frustrated by idiots, and refused to compromise on his principles.

  • 8 months ago

    Lawdoginator

    That was a very moving photograph of Kasparov at Fischer's grave. 

  • 8 months ago

    Pyrfox

    I admired Garry Kasparov's skill at chess, but above that I honor his courageous work for human rights and social justice.  His kind gesture to the memory of Robert Fischer speaks to his character.  Well done sir.

  • 8 months ago

    jkelley1000

    To play at such a high level as Fischer and Kasparov sometimes means emotional and social instability as the price to be paid for being amongst the greatest. Please pity and forgive poor Bobby for his ways but we can also admire his tremendous ability on the chess board. Grandmaster Kasparov's achievements in my eyes are even greater than Fischers. We should treasure and support a man of such intellectual chess abilities who is also a fine human being. Chess enthusiasts all aspire to play like the best but we can also aspire to simply love and appreciate chess and chess players like the gentleman named Kasparov!!

  • 8 months ago

    papitala

    Is it true than Fischer spoke bad of Kasparov on various occasions? 

    Yes its true. Fischer said that the Karpov vs Kasparov plays was prevoius game draw agreement. I think that Fischer was impressed with succersor abilities.


  • 8 months ago

    receipt1

    Thanks so much to chess.com for this report.  I consider Bobby Fischer to have been the greatest player ever to sit at the board simply because his ELO rating exceeded his closest rival by the largest margin ever achieved, 125 points.  All else is just words.

    It's sad that no real efforts were ever made to stop his descent into madness.  One wonders why not.

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