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The Late Bobby Fischer is still creating controversy

The Late Bobby Fischer is still creating controversy

Sep 16, 2010, 7:28 PM 7

Controversy of Bobby Fischer Beyond the Grave

by Dr. Jim Fox



Bobby Fischer’s life was filled with gamesmanship and controversy.  In many ways he liked it that way.  He was a genius.  Spassky said (paraphrased) “that you do not play against Bobby Fischer, you try to survive”.  The best player in the world saying that about the new reigning champion.  That alone is something.


Studying Bobby Fischer’s games will at times astound you.  For a lower rated player like me, it might take 5 moves further into the game to see why a move was important.  Sometimes his genius played on the board is so subtle that us mortals have a hard time seeing it.


But after winning the world championship, he disappeared and did not show up to defend his title.  I am a psychologist, so from the little hints he left us, I can make some guesses.  He was the best, he proved it, and in his mind had little to prove by defending his title.


He did come out of hiding for a few years and played Spassky again.  Again, he beat Spassky and some other GMs during a period of a few years.


Then back into hiding. Geniuses are 4 times more likely to commit suicide and several more time likely to be mentally ill.  Sad really.  Robert James Fischer wrote a open letter to Osama bin Laden:


Dear Mr. Osama bin Laden allow me to introduce myself. I am Bobby Fischer, the World Chess Champion. First of all you should know that I share your hatred of the murderous bandit state of "Israel" and its chief backer the Jew-controlled U.S.A. also know [sic] as the "Jewnited States" or "Israel West." We also have something else in common: We are both fugitives from the U.S. "justice" system. (Wikipedia).


At the time he was living in Japan and his visa was not in order.  Well, the US, was not about to help as he now aligned himself with a notorious terrorist.  Japan was also not eager to help (he had been arrested in Japan).  But Iceland, which Fischer helped “put on the map”, gave him a visitation visa.  Good enough for the Japanese and off to Iceland he went.


There he died on January 17, 2008 with an estate of about 3 million US dollars.  Fischer was buried in a small church plot and a Catholic priest presided in the small town of Selfoss, south east of Reykjavik.


But even at his death, controversy still surrounded him.  The September 2010 issue of “Chess Life” (the official publication of the USCF) reports in a article title “Still the Center of Attention” by Elliot Adams he talks about Fischer’s body being exhumed in Iceland.  It was exhumed to help determine the estate squabble using DNA.  The order actually came from the Icelandic Supreme Court.


The dilemma is quite a spectacular one.  But what else would you expect from Bobby Fischer?  It seems he has one, or maybe two wives and a daughter named “Jinky”.   According to Icelandic Law, 2/3 of the estate goes to the child, and 1/3 to the spouse.


It is not clear whether Fischer ever legally got married.  He had a partner in the Philippines in which he supposedly had Jinky with.  Since he never got legally married, if the DNA shows Jinky as his daughter, by Icelandic Law she would get ALL the money as Jinky’s mom was never legally a spouse.


To make things even more dramatic, the estate is also being claimed by his de-facto wife Miyoko Watai (who happens to the the General Secretary of the Japanese Chess Association).  The legality of Fischer’s Marriage to Miyoko is very questionable, as his passport was not in order.  A very complex situation.  IF, Miyoko Watai’s marriage to Fischer was declared legal, she would get 1/3 of the estate and Jinky would get the other 2/3’s IF she is proven to be the daughter.


IF Jinky is not proven to be the daughter by DNA sampling, then most likely the strongest claim would be by Miyoko Watai who would then get the whole estate even though her marriage is legally dubious, it would end up being the strongest claim.


Confused yet?




There, do you feel better?


Robert James Fischer.  A Grandmaster and World Champion like no other.  Arrested in Japan trying to get to the Philippines because his visa was out-of-order.   He went to Iceland and died of Renal Failure.  Had a scattering of a family around the world.


Bobby Fischer.  The greatest.  The most controversial - and still the most controversial chess champion nearly two years after his death.  After they got the DNA from the burial plot, he was placed back in it.  Maybe now he can Rest-in-Peace.

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