Forgeries in Chess

Forgeries in Chess

| 8 | Fun & Trivia

Since Bobby Fischer's death, there have been at least three forgeries of his signature on eBay and other auction sites.  One must be careful of these forgeries. 

Lawrence Totaro, a Las Vegas collector and researcher, wrote a very nice colorful book, called Fisching for Forgeries, that pointed out the attempts to sell Fischer's forged sigature on eBay.  Grandmaster Larry Evans wrote the introduction to this book.  With the help of Sheila Lowe, an expert graphologist, he was able to an unbiased handwriting analysis of Bobby Fischer.  His book shows 11 variations of Fischer's real autograph, then 9 examples of forged Fischer signatures.  Totaro put together a list of authentic autographs, high-priced forgeries, and pre-prints to compare.  So if you collect Bobby Fischer memorabilia, beware of the forgeries out there.

Fischer's signature isn't the only chess forgery.  There are also forgeries in chess stamps.  Chess stamps commemorating Kasparov and Karpov and issued by the Palestinian National Authority are forgeries.  Forgeries were also found in chess stamps supposedly issued by Bulgaria and Cuba.

Then there's My 61 Memorable Games.  This book, supposedly written by Fischer, was a hoax.  The book actually got up to a bid of over $3,000 before eBay pulled the plug and suspended the bid and the seller's trading privileges.

Even in chess politics there have been forgeries.  Years ago, there were forged documents on a bogus contract for the 1999 National Elementary Championship.  The forged signature was to procure more favorable financial terms for the United States Chess Federation.

A few years ago, chess games and chess problems composed by Pope John II turned out to be forgeries.  The pope did not compose any chess problem.

In the early 20th century, it was discovered that chess scoresheets by Jean-Jacques Rousseau supposedly played in the 18th century turned out to be forgeries.

In February, 2008, four people claimed they would represent India in a purported chess tournament in the United States.  They were artrested in New Delhi for forging documents to get visas.  They claimed they were invited to a chess tournament in Washington State.

 Then there are other chess players that are forgerers.  Norman Whitaker and Claude Bloodgood initially went to prison for forgery.

 Finally, there is the case where Alexander Alekhine said that his Nazi articles were forgeries.  Later, when his last wife died in 1955, it was discovered that she had the manuscripts of the Nazi articles and it was in Alekhine's handwriting.

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