Friday, January 18, 2008

Chess Whiz Bobby Fischer 1944-2008



R.I.P. The chess world will miss you Bobby.

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7 Comments:

Blogger mschumey07 said...

I admired the legendary Fischer. He's the reason why I took interest in chess. It's a sad day for the chess community.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Diego K. Guerrero said...

I became interested playing chess during the Spassky-Fisher 1972 match. Those were the days. I started playing against bangketa chess whiz in our barangay.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous ramir said...

By Vincent Cabreza
Northern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 20:02:00 01/19/2008

BAGUIO CITY -- A generation still remembers American chess genius
Bobby Fischer as a recluse. It is hard to picture this bearded
legend playing tennis matches at a country club or walking hand in
hand with a Filipina.

But this generation will have to embrace this new image of the 64-
year-old Fischer shaped before his death on Thursday in Reykjavik,
Iceland.

Fischer played tennis at the Baguio Country Club and had romanced a
30-year-old woman from Davao in Baguio City before he went on exile
to Iceland.

The man became an American icon for defeating Soviet grandmaster
Boris Spassky at the height of the Cold War and again in a highly
publicized match in Yugoslavia in 1992 that later led him to
renounce his American citizenship.

The American government sanctioned Fischer for playing in
Yugoslavia. It said he violated the United Nations embargo imposed
on Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic who fomented war in the Balkans.

Fischer became more notorious when he gave brazen speeches and
interviews over various radio stations around the world that
depicted the United States as an evil nation run by Jewish
conspirators.

But the man who styled himself as a modern American outlaw made the
American-built Baguio his home between 2000 and 2002 after he
renounced his American citizenship, his Filipino friends here said
on Saturday.

Fischer's certified Filipino heir was born in 2002 at the Saint
Louis University Sacred Heart Hospital here. Her birth certificate
bore her father¢s name.

The 6-foot-tall Fischer used to consume large servings of Filipino
cuisine and adored sinigang (a popular soup dish) while he stayed
here for almost two years, said Marilin Torre, wife of Filipino
grandmaster Eugene Torre.

Marilin said Fischer used to consume five balut (boiled duck eggs in
embryonic stage) in one sitting every day, years before he decided
to stay in Baguio.

Fischer asked Marilin to bring him 50 balut eggs when she went to
Yugoslavia with her husband for Fischer's match with Spassky. Eugene
served as Fischer's second in the match.

Eugene, Asia's first grandmaster, became Fischer's bosom friend and
one of the few people he trusted until his death.

Fischer had lived a nomadic life, pursued by what he described as a
cabal of Jews that controlled the world, so he entertained only a
small circle of friends like Torre when he decided to stay in the
Philippines, said Leonides "Des" Bautista, a close friend of another
chess icon, Florencio Campomanes.

Despite his reputation, Fischer kept a normal home with his
sweetheart in the city, according to Marilin.

A top executive of the Government Service Insurance System briefly
hosted Fischer at the country club for three months in 2000.

Jimmy Tangalin, 49, a professional tennis coach of the club,
supervised Fischer for a while, and found the man "kind and
entertaining. "

"It was Eugene who introduced me to Fischer. I knew about
[Fischer's] celebrity status. But it was still a pleasant surprise.
We just met, but he immediately opened up a conversation about Jews
and the US. These conversations were awkward for me," Tangalin said.

Fischer leased a home inside the compound owned by former Baguio
Councilor Elmo Nevada where the Torre family used to stay.

Elements of Fischer's bizarre reputation cropped up from time to
time, Marilin said. "When he showered, he didn't use any shampoo. He
preferred to wash with just water and soap. He brushed his teeth
without toothpaste."

Why he decided to make "a former American colony and city" his home
for a while still confounds his friends.

Bautista said Campomanes had a hand in bringing Fischer to the
country back in the 1970s at the height of martial law.

Since then, Fischer occasionally visited the Philippines.

He had been a close friend of New York-based Filipino artist Isabel
Diaz whom he sometimes accompanied to the country whenever she
returned for a visit, Marilin related.

But he began to frequent Baguio when he became close to Torre,
Bautista said.

Bautista said his first meeting with Fischer gave him some insight
as to why Baguio was the American¢s sanctuary.

"You don't recognize him. He wears a hat. For the older generation,
we remember him as clean-shaven so we would not recognize him if he
approached you. He had a beard and was balding. But when Eugene
introduced us, he was so comfortable. "

"Fischer lived in his own world," he added, and being incognito
fitted well with a community where people minded their own business.

Bautista said the old Baguio culture developed this habit because
residents were used to Caucasians who lived in the city.

"That's what Bobby loved about Baguio," he said.

Fischer never lost this connection to the city. When he was arrested
by the Japanese authorities in July 2004 for holding an expired US
passport, he telephoned friends in Baguio.

Marilin Torre said Fischer¢s sweetheart, then already based in
Davao, kept in close touch with Fischer even after another friend,
Miyoko Watari, publicly declared that she would marry the
controversial celebrity to keep him out of Japanese prison.

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