What did Bobby Fischer Do After Chess?
Bobby Fischer was a chess legend who became the world chess champion in 1972 by defeating Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union in a historic match.
He was also a chess prodigy who broke many records and won many tournaments. He was widely regarded as one of the greatest and most famous chess players of all time. But he was also a troubled and controversial person who faced many challenges and conflicts.
He eventually withdrew from chess and public life, becoming a recluse and a fugitive. What did Bobby Fischer do after chess? How did he spend his life away from the game he loved and excelled at? What happened to him after he disappeared from the chess scene?
In this blog post, we will explore the life and activities of Bobby Fischer after chess, his reasons for quitting the game, his legal troubles and conflicts, and his death and legacy.
Here are some of the topics we will cover:
- Bobby Fischer’s refusal to defend his title and disappearance
- Bobby Fischer’s reemergence and rematch against Spassky
- Bobby Fischer’s arrest and deportation from Japan
- Bobby Fischer’s citizenship and residence in Iceland
- Bobby Fischer’s death and burial
Bobby Fischer’s Refusal To Defend His Title And Disappearance
Bobby Fischer did not play any official games after winning the world championship in 1972, except for a few simultaneous exhibitions in 1973. He also did not agree to defend his title against Anatoly Karpov, who had won the Candidates matches in 1974 and became his official challenger.
Bobby Fischer made several demands to FIDE, the international chess federation, regarding the conditions of his title defense. He wanted to change the format of the match, the prize fund, the location, and other aspects of the organization. He wanted the match to be unlimited in length, with the first player to win 10 games being declared the winner, unless the score was 9–9, in which case he would retain his title. He also wanted 30 percent of the gross revenue of the match, regardless of the outcome. He threatened to forfeit his title if his demands were not met.
FIDE tried to negotiate with Bobby Fischer, but he was unwilling to compromise. FIDE also faced pressure from Karpov and the Soviet Chess Federation, who wanted the match to take place as soon as possible. FIDE eventually set a deadline for Bobby Fischer to sign a contract for the match, with the conditions that had been approved by a majority of its member federations. Bobby Fischer did not sign the contract by the deadline, and FIDE declared him in default and stripped him of his title. Karpov was named the new world champion by default in 1975.
Bobby Fischer did not accept FIDE’s decision and claimed that he was still the true world champion. He also accused FIDE of being corrupt and biased in favor of the Soviet players. He said that he would only play for his title under his own terms, and challenged Karpov to a match outside FIDE’s jurisdiction. However, no such match ever materialized.
Bobby Fischer withdrew from chess and public life after losing his title. He became a recluse and a mystery, living in various countries and avoiding contact with most people. He occasionally gave interviews or made statements, but they were often erratic and controversial. He expressed antisemitic views, despite his Jewish ancestry. He praised the September 11 attacks and criticized the US government. He renounced his US citizenship and became an Icelandic citizen in 2005.
Bobby Fischer’s Reemergence And Rematch Against Spassky
Bobby Fischer reemerged in 1992 to play a rematch against Boris Spassky, who had lost his title to Karpov in 1978. The rematch was held in Sveti Stefan and Belgrade, Yugoslavia, which was under a United Nations embargo at the time due to the Yugoslav Wars . The match was organized by a Serbian businessman and chess enthusiast, Jezdimir Vasiljevic , who offered a prize fund of $5 million, with $3.35 million for the winner and $1.65 million for the loser.
Bobby Fischer agreed to play despite the political and legal risks involved. He also defied a warning from
the US government, which informed him that his participation in the match would violate an executive order imposing US sanctions on Yugoslavia. The US government threatened to revoke his passport and prosecute him for tax evasion and violating the embargo.
Bobby Fischer ignored the US government’s warning and played the match anyway. He arrived in Yugoslavia with a letter from Vasiljevic that stated that he was not subject to any sanctions or restrictions. He also held a press conference where he denounced the US government and spat on a copy of its letter.
The match was played under Fischer’s preferred rules, with no adjournments or draws by agreement. It was scheduled for 30 games, with the first player to reach 10 wins or more being declared the winner. Bobby Fischer won the match with a score of 10–5, with 15 draws. He showed that he still had some of his chess skills and creativity, but he also made some mistakes and blunders that indicated that he was out of practice and rusty.
Bobby Fischer’s victory earned him $3.35 million, but it also earned him a warrant for his arrest from the US government. He became a fugitive and a stateless person, as his passport was revoked and no country would grant him asylum or citizenship. He lived as an émigré for over a decade, traveling to various countries such as Hungary, Germany, Japan, Philippines, and Iceland.
Bobby Fischer’s Citizenship And Residence In Iceland
Bobby Fischer became an Icelandic citizen by a special act of the Icelandic parliament , which was passed on March 21, 2005. The act stated that Bobby Fischer had made “a valuable contribution to chess” and that granting him citizenship was “in the interest of the Icelandic nation.” The act also stated that Bobby Fischer had been “unjustly treated” by the US government and that Iceland had “a moral obligation” to help him.
Bobby Fischer arrived in Reykjavík on March 24, 2005, after being released from Japanese custody. He was accompanied by Miyoko Watai , a Japanese chess player and official who had been his companion since 2000. They were met by a large crowd of supporters and journalists at the airport, as well as by some Icelandic officials and dignitaries.
Bobby Fischer lived in Iceland for the rest of his life, mostly in seclusion and privacy. He stayed at various hotels and apartments in Reykjavík and other towns. He occasionally visited chess clubs or cafes, where he played chess or talked with friends or fans. He also gave some interviews or made some statements, but they were still erratic and controversial.
Bobby Fischer did not play any official chess games in Iceland, but he did play some casual games with local players or visitors. He also played some games of Fischer random chess , his own chess variant, which he promoted as a superior form of chess. He also expressed interest in playing another rematch against Spassky , but it never happened.
Bobby Fischer’s Death And Burial
Bobby Fischer died on January 17, 2008, at the age of 64, from renal failure. He had been ill for some time and had refused medical treatment or hospitalization. He died at the Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavík , where he had been taken after collapsing at his home.
Bobby Fischer’s death was mourned by many chess players and fans who admired his achievements and contributions to the game. He was widely regarded as one of the greatest chess players of all time, as well as the most famous. He inspired an entire generation of chess players, especially in the US and Iceland, where chess became more popular and respected because of him.
Bobby Fischer was buried in a small cemetery in Selfoss , a town near Reykjavík. His funeral was attended by a few friends and relatives, as well as by some Icelandic officials and dignitaries. His grave is marked by a simple stone with his name, dates, and a chessboard.
Conclusion What Did Bobby Fischer Do After Chess?
Bobby Fischer did not play any official chess games after winning the world championship in 1972, except for a few simultaneous exhibitions in 1973. He also refused to defend his title against Anatoly Karpov in 1975 and disappeared from the chess scene. He reemerged in 1992 to play a rematch against Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia, which led to his arrest warrant by the US government2. He became a fugitive and a stateless person, traveling to various countries and avoiding extradition3. He was granted Icelandic citizenship in 2005 and lived there until his death in 2008.
Benjamin Miller is the founder and editor of The Extra Game. He plays chess, scrabble and Monopoly at a masters level. He is a board game enthusiast, publisher, designer, and reviewer with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He loves to share his passion, knowledge, and recommendations for board games with the world.