Tug-of-war over Fischer's fortune

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Tug-of-war over Fischer's fortune

by Frank “Boy” Pestaño

AFTER disappearing mysteriously for about 20 years, Bobby Fischer played a rematch in 1992 against Boris Spassky in Sveti Stefan, a resort in Montenegro, Yugoslavia, despite United Nations’ sanctions due to the civil war in Bosnia.

The prize fund was a staggering $5 million, with the winner receiving $3.65 million, aside from TV income as the match was broadcast over most of Europe. Fischer was 49 years old then and Spassky was 55.

The sponsor of the match was Jezdemir Vaseljevic and Bobby’s second was our very own Eugene Torre.

Bobby easily won the match 17.5-12.5 after 30 games and earned almost $5 million. With Fischer’s death two weeks ago, this money is now the subject of contention by his heirs. What is left of the money is about 140 million Icelandic Kronor and based on the latest exchange rate, it is about $2.4 million. I read sometime ago that Bobby converted some of his money into gold holdings and with the tremendous appreciation of gold, I estimate Bobby‘s estate to be at $3 million.

There are three claimants to this money, or four, if you include the Internal Revenue Service.

Joan Fischer Targ, Bobby’s sister, died in 1998. She was married to Russel and they had two children, Elizabeth and Alex. Russell went to Iceland to see if Fischer indeed had a legal wife or children. He intends to make demands on Fischer’s money in behalf of his children, since they are his next of kin.

Here is a brief background on the Japanese connection. When Bobby was in Japan in 2004, he was put to jail for about nine months when the United States cancelled his passport and wanted him extradited. During the course of his defense, Bobby decided to marry Miyoko Watai, with whom he had been living with as common law partners for years.

This marriage was confirmed by John Bosnitch, a former chairman of a committee in Japan, trying to free Bobby Fischer. He was the male witness to the marriage and the document bears his name, although it was a marriage of convenience.

The Japanese embassy in Iceland questioned the validity of that marriage, alleging it may have been unlawful because of Fischer’s lack of valid passport at that time.

The third claimant is the alleged daughter of Bobby Fischer, Jinky, who was born in May 21, 2001 in Baguio City to a Filipina, Marilyn Young. Young may have the strongest and most valid claim to the fortune.

In a release by Reuters yesterday, lawyer Samuel Estimo said that he has copies of the passports, pictures, signed notes and bank accounts of Bobby’s daughter, Jinky, whom Bobby sent the latest remittance of 1,500 Euros to on Dec. 4, 2007, including copies of birth and baptismal certificates.

He further said, “I believe we have substantial proof to back the claims of Marilyn Young and her daughter. They even stayed with him in Iceland for three weeks in 2005.”

This effectively dismisses the contention in Iceland that Fischer was not in contact with Marilyn since their daughter was born.

Also, Marilyn said that she and Bobby were exchanging text messages everyday. The last time they talked was Jan. 16–the day before Bobby died.


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