Bobby Fischer, Back From the Grave

By Ezra Glinter

Published June 23, 2010, issue of July 02, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Bobby Fischer was once the greatest chess player in the world, before he devolved into a ranting, rabid antisemite, despite the fact that he himself was Jewish. By the end of Fischer’s life, the only country that would have him was Iceland, where he died in 2008 of kidney failure, leaving behind some $2 million and no will. Now, The Associated Press reports, Iceland’s Supreme Court hopes that exhuming his corpse will help determine who gets the loot.

Checkmate: Fischer’s body will be exhumed to determine who is entitled to his estimated $2 million fortune.
GETTY IMAGES
Checkmate: Fischer’s body will be exhumed to determine who is entitled to his estimated $2 million fortune.

Since Fisher’s death, four different parties have been bickering over his fortune, including a 9-year-old Philippine girl named Jinky Young who, according to her mother, Marilyn, is his daughter. The other claimants are a Japanese chess official named Miyoko Watai, who says she was married to Fischer in 2004; Fischer’s two American nephews, Alexander and Nicholas Targ, and the American government, which claims Fischer’s money in compensation for unpaid taxes.

As the New York Post explains, however, according to Icelandic law, Young would get two-thirds of the money and Watai one-third, if both of their claims turn out to be true. Genetic testing based on material from Fischer’s body should presumably determine whether Young is his daughter.

“At this point we are just trying to establish this,” said Young’s lawyer, Thordur Bogason. “And if she is confirmed as the daughter of Bobby Fischer, then by Icelandic law she is his legal heir.”

Fischer was perhaps the greatest chess prodigy of the 20th century, becoming an American champion at 14 and the youngest grand master in history at 15. In 1972, he won the World Championship against Soviet player Boris Spassky, and then dropped out of competitive chess for 20 years. Fischer incurred the ire of the American government in 1992 when he played a rematch against Spassky in Yugoslavia, which was then under United Nations embargo. Instead of returning home, he lived out his final years in Hungary, Germany, the Philippines, Japan and finally Iceland, which granted him citizenship in 2005.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.