Fischer's 'widow' and nephews in legal tussle for £1m estate

Fischer's 'widow' and nephews in legal tussle for £1m estate

| 4 | Chess Players

Fischer's 'widow' and nephews in legal tussle for £1m estate

As a chess mastermind Bobby Fischer was capable of executing manoeuvres as complicated as they were brutal. Now, following his death, the tussle over his million-pound estate may turn out to be just as convoluted.

Fischer, an American Jew who renounced his heritage, was buried after a Catholic funeral service at a small country church in Iceland, where he had lived as a citizen and a recluse from 2005 until his death on January 17. It is thought he did not leave a will.

Last week the Reykjavik newspaper Visir reported that Fischer's estate, worth an estimated 140m Icelandic kronur (£1.07m), would go to Miyoko Watai, whom it described as Fischer's widow.

"It has been confirmed that Watai was Fischer's wife, not his girlfriend as has been argued so many times," the report said.

But Fischer's brother-in-law Russell Targ has been in Iceland to instruct a lawyer to investigate whether Targ's two sons should be the beneficiaries.

There are also confusing accounts of a daughter, now seven, whom Fischer is said to have fathered during a relationship which blossomed at country club in the Philippines.

Yesterday Watai's lawyer, Arni Vilhjalmsson, said he had received an official document from Japan confirming the marriage. "It's a copy and I am waiting for the original," he said.

If the document is proved authentic, Vilhjalmsson will take it to a magistrate in Iceland and ask for a private liquidation of the assets. A second lawyer, Tudjon Jonsson, confirmed that he was working for Targ. "But I cannot make any comment," he said.

But the wedding waters are muddied by reports that in a radio interview Fischer gave in Moscow in 2005 he said that he and Watai were never married. "We are just good friends," he said .

Yesterday the Chesbase website carried a letter from John Bosnitch, who chaired a committee to free Fischer when he was detained in Japan in 2004 for illegally travelling on a US passport, claiming that Fischer had married Watai in a ceremony at which he had been present.

"During the course of his defence, Bobby agreed that it was time to publicly recognise his de facto marriage with Miyoko Watai, with whom he had been living in common law for years," wrote Bosnitch, a Canadian media consultant and civil rights activist.

"I was the male witness to that marriage and the marriage certificate bears my name."