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.


“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.”

37923 reads 87 comments
23 votes


  • 3 years ago


    I wish to share happiness for this great moment.

  • 3 years ago


    Fischer challenged the World. In chess and in our intolerance for his disenchantment with politics interfering in his desire to play a rematch with Spassky in 1992. A man comes out of retirement of 20 years could not be denied and the chess world was convinced he had not lost his edge for great chess after it was over. Yes, he may have been bitter in his old age, but it perhaps comes out that way when the struggles in life make a person of fame asks themselves, "why isn't life wasn't getting better or easier". Without him, this life, this world, would have been seen as a little less awesome!

  • 3 years ago


    Stick to Fischer's chess. We don't talk about Kasparov's politics (which exists) or Euwe's drinking when we speak of these other (less charismatic) masters. Why do we never forget Fischer's private business? We damage the dream that he was for our benefit, the fantasy that he made so real for us, the perfection of hope he gave us like forever bread. Without Fischer Chess is next to nothing - just a geek's game with no color, bo stars, no zazz, no pizzazz. Fischer brought life to chess and put it in the hearts of millions who never before gave a damn. He was Diego Maradona nd Babe Ruth.e was Joe Luis and Mohammad Ali.  Let's focus on this amd stop forever reminding ourselves of irrelevancies. Thanks, good people. I love you all - the sane, rational, unspectacular players that we all are - on his brilliant behalf.

  • 3 years ago


    two of the best payer ever... together

  • 3 years ago


    A gracious, eloquent tribute; well done Kaspy. 

    Without Fischer and his match with Spassky (a true sportsman; conducted hismself superbly), I would not be here. Simple. That might have been a good thing, and certainly no loss to chess, but there we are! 

  • 3 years ago


    Two great great champions !

  • 3 years ago


    For a chessplayer, the Fischer Spassky match was our time- U.S. v. Russia, games on the nightly news, excitement, chess as the big sport, the incredible background of 6-0 wins against the best players in the world. 

    Spassky turned out to be a hero.  He could have tried for a default, but this great sportsman wanted a championship, and to win on the chessboard.   

  • 3 years ago


    Everything's relative, and everything depends on your perspective. Probably everbody's nuts, and everybody's sane to a certain degree. I think in Chess we prove what we know, but we still have to learn. Fischer needed to have his opinions-even if not already proven by test. For our parts I'm sure the people who are seperated by fame or such need the friendly involvement of "Normal People" if we can ever find them.

  • 3 years ago


    How low one human being can go???

    Kasparov really reached a new level! In his campaign for FIDE president, he even needs to go to the grave of someone, who differently from him, wasn't a cheater, like in his game with Polgar.

    Everybody speaks badly of the actual FIDE president, well, I'm sure Kasparov is going to show there is no end at how things can get worse.

    By the way, his matches with Karpov really put the entire world to sleep, and created disinterest in chess, maybe he should have stopped then.

    I do understand why Fischer didn't want to play anymore with the Russians, likely there were not enough antiemetics he could get to stay in front of people like Kasparov.

  • 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace, Bobby Fischer.

  • 3 years ago


    It is incredible to see how modest Robert Fischer's grave is, although he was a true genius, while mausoleums, huge monuments and imposing tombs are built for nonentities, like mafia barons, corrupt politicians and other rascals. Even after his death Bobby may be seen as a good example.

  • 3 years ago


    @Vingore: And did Fischer put that cross there? Just another case of people misunderstanding him. Remember him for the chess.

  • 3 years ago


    Man with respect

  • 3 years ago


    Fischer was a truly pathetic, sad and incredibly psychologically disturbed man.  He desperately needed psychiatric help, but never got it due to his own stubbornes.  He died the same way, refusing medical help that could have prolonged his life.  Even his grave is pathetic: he was a bizarrely and rabidly obsessed  antisemetic  Jew, son of a Jewish woman,his sister is Jewish as is her entire family, and Both of his possible fathers were Jewish.  Yet he has a cross on his gravesite, another religion he  first embraced and  that he later railed against. A sad little man indeed!

  • 3 years ago


    Fisher was a great player, USA cannot control every body every time..all hail Iceland

  • 3 years ago


    @bferi: I don't care about his father.

  • 3 years ago


    mcris: His father was hungarian. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Fischer#Paul_Nemenyi_as_Fischer.27s_father )

    By the way, great article chess.com!

  • 3 years ago


    Great moment indeed!.. And Fischer has chosen to end his days in Iceland, cause US was persecuting him for he had disobeyed an US Department of State order to not rematch Spassky in 1992 in former Yugoslavia, so he never returned to US and after being arrested for several days in a Japanese Airport, Iceland offered him citizenship (http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Fischer#Life_after_world_championship)...

  • 3 years ago


    He was an American.

  • 3 years ago


    Why his grave is in Iceland?!

    Isnt he Amarican?

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