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.”

37899 reads 87 comments
23 votes


  • 3 years ago


    The great meets the greatest.

  • 3 years ago


    This is the most moving tribute to someone who, for many (including myself) was the greatest chess player who ever sat at the board. The fact that the tribute comes from Kasparov is especially meaningful. Both Fischer and Kasparov have been... embroiled in controversies, and both have played chess as a high form of art, unbeatable, enviable, breathtaking, beautiful. Now to have this tribute from one to the other is a moment we in chess are happy to have lived to see. Bravo Kasparov. Bravo Fischer. Thank you both for the happiness you have brought to our lives.
  • 3 years ago


    Happy Birthday Robert J. Fischer

  • 3 years ago


    My church does not hold Mr.Ficsher as anti-pathy..what he may have said,what his feelings were,I have never heard from him or his family.just maybe something outrageous addressed .()-.-)r

  • 3 years ago


    Yes, a very tender and heartfelt moment indeed. We see some repeating the negative side of Bobby Fischer, which there undoubtedly was, but we should honor the dead with greater praise. In chess alone, he was among the greatest to have ever played, as is also Mr. Garry Kasparov. Thank you, sir, for your kind words in this interview.

  • 3 years ago


    A great chess player but more importantly not at all a good person.  He was phychologically very unstable, paranoid, and refused to defend his world championship.  He was also very anti-American and a known antisemite. So he could play chess.  Who should care about such a disgrace?

  • 3 years ago


    Kasparov speaks so kindly about Fischer even though Fischer disregarded him in the past.

  • 3 years ago


    Great meets Great, nice and sad

  • 3 years ago


    Might be relevent, and even more touching, to mention that Boris Spassky has visited the grave, and in fact purchased the plot next to BF for his own final restinng place-together forever in Iceland!

  • 3 years ago


    Not A Tragedy , It was Tragic though..

  • 3 years ago

    NM AdamCormier

    The two greatest chess players to ever play the game (and we can argue endlessly about which one is #1 out of the two)!

    This was such a phenomenal moment for chess and I would have given anything to be there! It's very emotionally powerful! 

  • 3 years ago


    Not sure he missed much by not meeting him. Unless you enjoy the ravings of an anti-semitic lunatic.

  • 3 years ago


    It is great to hear what Kasparov thinks of Fischer. "Very sad", are not even the right words; it's tragic. I hope that Carlsen never goes down that path. Also, that is what Kasparov is referring to; "His abilities". I think he would like to promote Carlsen in the way that Fischer should have been. 

  • 3 years ago


    Is it true than Fischer spoke bad of Kasparov on various occasions? I don't trust the web that much, especially regarding Fischer...

  • 3 years ago


    Very moving.  Thank you for the report!

  • 3 years ago


    Very touching. Kasparov has tremendous respect for Fischer.

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