LOVE him or loath him,
Bobby Fischer will always remain one of the games biggest stars, not
to mention one of its biggest enigmas.
Thanks to the legions of
fans who have kept the faith over the years, the erratic and often
misguided American genius is still big news in the game despite the
fact it's nearly ten years now since he last (officially) played a
The rumor mill on his
whereabouts these days is always active. Prohibited from returning to
the US due to an outstanding arrest warrant from the Treasury (though
when I visited Seattle recently I have it on authority from a very
reliable source Fischer managed to come back into the country via
Canada to attend his sisters funeral last year), he's been known to
favor living in Budapest (even Scotland's own Jonathan Rowson bumped
into him one night there whilst on the metro), though its recently
reported he now lives in Japan. Whilst in Budapest, he struck up a
working friendship with the Hungarian No.1, Peter Leko. In return for
some "free" advice and insight into the game from the great one, Leko
played a number of (unpublished) Shuffle Chess games with him.
It's now claimed Fischer
has been playing again under a pseudonym on an Internet chess server
and smashing up several strong GMs - by playing weird openings such
as 1. f3 followed by some bizarre king maneuvers in an effort to
avoid book theory. Often the games are said to resemble his latest
development for chess, "Fischer Random". As ever, all playing stories
such as this is taken with a healthy pinch of salt, but it would be
good for the game if substantiated.
Fischer even made it into
the pop charts this year! The Sydney-based indie guitar band Lazy
Susan managed to get a lot of airtime recently in Australia with a
single, simply entitled, "Bobby Fischer", telling of the life and
struggle of their hero.
Certainly no candidate
for an Ivan Novello or Grammy award, the catchy lyrics go something
"Bobby Fischer beat
Spassky in Iceland '72. I know a girl who's better looking but who
thinks like Bobby Fischer too. When Bobby Fischer was a kid they knew
he was a prodigy. I know a girl who's somewhat older but no less of
I wish I had the smarts
to understand her charts. If I don't concentrate she'll have me in
In Tampa Bay and
Lafayette they all knew Bobby Fischer's name. I know a girl who made
her mark in smaller cities but her fame's the same. When Bobby
Fischer made his comeback in the 90s he was worse for wear. I know a
girl who made a comeback but her mind was altogether there.
She said, 'I drink
chocolate milk from a cow I built. Doot n'doot doot doot. Doot'n doot
They're all saying you'll
never play again. They're all saying you're finished, you're washed
up as a friend. All my life I have 'feather-dustered' but it's not how
it's going to end. Oh no.
Spies in hideouts send
their secret messages. There's a thief caught in the headlights of a
car beneath a bridge. There's no lights on in the house except the
light in the fridge. Oh yeah.
Reykjavik, no one ever
says Reykjavik in a song. Reykjavik, no one ever says Reykjavik in a
Despite persistent rumors
he'll play at some time a "Fischer random" or Shuffle Chess match
against a top GM (one rumor had it he would play his long-time
friend, the Philippines GM Eugene Torre), nothing ever materialized.
Yet, despite declaring on winning the world crown in 1972 , "all I
want to do, ever, is play chess", he never officially touched
another piece for twenty years - and only then when he had reputedly
run out of money.
He came out of his self-
imposed retirement in 1992 to face his old rival, Boris Spassky, in a
$4M match in war-torn Yugoslavia. Unbelievably, in first game it was
almost as if he hadn't been away.