REYKJAVIK (AFP) — Chess legend Bobby Fischer, the troubled high school dropout whose fabled 1972 victory over Soviet world champion Boris Spassky made him a Cold War hero, has died at the age of 64 at his home in Iceland.
"I can confirm that he died yesterday in his home due to an illness," close friend Gardar Sverrisson told AFP. Fischer was reportedly hospitalized for a period last year.
Sad, a very sad day for us all, especially the U.S. Government. I would like to write my own thoughts about Mr. Fischer, but a friend, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, did it better than I could ever do... he is, after all, a writer of some decent repute. Again, I quote...
“The notion that Fischer was a criminal for playing chess in defiance of the US government has always struck me as one of the most bizarre happenings in our history. He wasn't the personable kind of hero who might have aroused the American people in protest of what was, clearly, an unconstitutional act intended to reduce citizens to subjects: the beginning of the process that the TSA exists to continue.
He may have been the greatest chess player of all time. Certainly he was the equal of anyone living in his time. The imbecility of the US government petulantly deciding that he was a criminal because he played a chess match in defiance of the US government's policies of intervention in the territorial disputes of Europe continues to amaze me.
An anti-Semitic Jew, arrogant, violently individualistic -- and the greatest chess player of his time. He wasn't the sort of person who would win any great sympathy from the masses, or even from his admirers. He wasn't likable, and thus many who might have protested against the arrogance of the government thought it all served him right. After his government made him a criminal for playing in a chess match, his hatred of the United States made him even more odious to all. And yet, his loss of liberty is our loss.”
If that doesn’t sum it up, I don’t know what else could.
To be made a criminal, for doing what you do, and do well. Amazing. And yet, what law did he really break, save for violating a sanction imposed by the government against trade and “artistic endeavors”. <sigh> Had he had a personality, or even the media coverage that CNN/MSNBC bring about today, the travesty would have been undone in moments. Although... we are in the Bush era. (Is it not sad that we must refer to this as an era, not an administration?)