Fischer-Spassky 1992 (Epilogue)

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Now that the Bobby Fischer had defeated Boris Spassky in a rematch of their legendary encounter in 1972 Reykjavik, the burning question was whether or not he would play again.  His belief that he was still the true world champion did not bode well for the possibility of him going through the normal FIDE qualification process to earn a shot at the recognized champion, Garry Kasparov.

Another question was whether or not his level of play against Spassky, after a 20-year hiatus from competitive chess, was good enough for him to even sit at the table with someone of Kasparov’s caliber.  Many grandmasters pointed out that Fischer’s play steadily improved during the course of the match and that he showed flashes of his previous brilliance, but that he was not yet ready to challenge the top grandmasters of the time.  Implications were made that his uncharacteristically conservative play was intentional and that he played just well enough to win, without revealing any theories or novelties that he had devised over the last twenty years.

When asked about the possibility of his next match, Fischer replied “It depends on the offer, the money, and how it pleases me.  My plans are open now.”  This opened the proverbial flood gates for all types of speculation.  The Yugoslav business man who financed the Spassky rematch, Jezdimir Vasiljevic, had made mention of attempting to arrange a match for the official world title between Fischer and Kasparov.  Another report had a match being negotiated between Fischer and the world’s top ranked female, Judit Polgar.

We of course know that none of these matches ever occurred and that Fischer unfortunately never played competitive chess again.  But for one brief moment in 1992, the world was blessed with the artistry and brilliance of Bobby Fischer for one last time.  Robert James Fischer passed away on January 17th, 2008 at the site of his greatest achievement in Reykjavik, Iceland.  He was appropriately enough, 64 years of age.

Rest in peace Bobby, the chess world is eternally in your debt.

--Kevin Marchese


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