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Ice Fisching VII

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Taking a much-needed (if brief) break from Kasparovpalooza, a thoughtful piece from the managing editor of the Mainichi Daily News. He visited Fischer a few days ago on Bobby's birthday.

He plainly states that the US has pressured Japan to not allow Fischer to go to Iceland or anywhere but the US. I'm curious as to the channels involved, but there aren't details. This is getting beyond ridiculous. (Then there is the whole egg battle that was all over the wires. Fischer grabbing a guard over not getting his daily egg led to solitary confinement.)

Legally, there should be nothing stopping Fischer from leaving Japan. But the Japanese government has made a political decision to keep this 62-year-old man confined. It is unforgivable.

The reason I gave in my application for permission to visit Fischer was that I was an associate checking up on his health. That being considered, I suppose the center will not mind if I say that Fischer has allowed his beard and hair to grow and now resembles something like a cross between Leonardo da Vinci and deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein when he was arrested in December 2003. He has lost weight, but looks healthy.

So are they holding him just long enough for the IRS to get its case together and ask for a formal indictment and extradition? If this were a conspiracy, wouldn't it be better organized? But we know follow-up isn't this administration's strong suit.


Screw Fischer. He is a criminal in our country. The fact that he was a great chess player is NO excuse.

He violated US law by playing the 1992 match and he knew what the consequences would be. In addition to that, he has freely admitted to being a tax scofflaw. If I didn't pay my taxes (which over the years were much less, I'm sure), I would end up in jail too.

He may be sick, but here that still doesn't get you a free pass.

Yup. The Yugoslavia business is debatable. Not paying taxes isn't. The more interesting question is whether the IRS regularly uses extradition to bag scofflaws, or whether they are making a special case here.

The IRS is powerful enemy to have inside the US borders, but they would have little influence in getting the Japanese to cooperate with their investigation. Certainly the US State Department is the driving force behind keeping him in custody. You recall that Bobby called a press conference and publicly spit on their order to desist from playing in Herzagovina. That was throwing down the gauntlet in a way that wasn't going to be overlooked, winked at, or forgotten. I will always have mixed feelings about Bobby, but that's because I'm a chess guy. The State department has no such mixed feelings.

Actually Len, the "Yugoslavia business" is NOT at all debatable. You may argue that it shouldn't have been the law, but it was, he knew what the law was, and he literally thumbed his nose at it during a press conference.

That was U.S. law, and he broke it...open and shut.

Ken Lay sips cold champagne and Fischer has to fight for an egg. Brats with milk still on their breath call for his head. They are more jealous that he didn't pay taxes than that he did play Byrne in '58. Congress debates shrinking testicles when the poor are sacrificed like pawns. Ethics are banished while sanctimonious hucksters pass peach baskets of cash and Fischer must be brought to justice where there is none. Save me a spot, Boris, I'll sleep in the top bunk if I can watch you two old warriors conjure another world with wood.

If we are going to compare eggs to people, let's do it right:

1) Ken Lay, sunny-side up. When Enron was in trouble just fudge the numbers and everything would be rosy.

2) Fischer, most definitely hard-boiled.

3) Kasparov, scrambled. Just look at the chaos he left behind.

4) Anand, over easy.

5) Kramnik, Hollandaise sauce. A hardly cooked beaten egg yolk, gently thickened with hot drawn butter, plus a squirt of lemon juice, describes him perfectly. Slippery like butter, sour like lemon, yellow like yoke.

6) Leko, poached. Rubbery, tough, tasteless.

7) Topalov, raw. Totally barbaric.

8) Ilyumzhinov, fried. Delicious at the beginning when he was handing out moola, but at the end he just clogs your arteries.

9) Judit Polgar, meringue. Simply delicious.

> That was U.S. law, and he broke it...open and shut.

Not quite... procecutors routinely make decisions about which crimes to procecute and which ones aren't worth the effort. The fact that nobody (to my knowlege, somebody correct me if I'm wrong) has ever been indicted for violating this particular embargo is telling. Why is Fischer so important?

In any case, the fact that he has been held without charge for so long makes everything else moot in my book.


Great post, BoredOfYou!

Actually the legality of Bush Sr's executive order is in question. It's constitutionality is questionable that is. Also the US military itself disregarded this order in secret.
The state department's pressure on Japan is without international foundation. Also Fischer was indicted for his match with Spassky so never returned to the US. His error was not to give up US citizenship at that time. That would have made the tax problem moot. Japan and the United States present representatives should be ashamed of themselves in this behavior. Non the less, as the present US president and administration through mis-information has caused over 1500 deaths of US citizens for an empty reason (Or is this all big oil!) Just let him go to iceland, and be done with it.


Fischer can only be extradited to the US, Japan says...

New interview (31) now up on his site. Feb. 19th, so we'll have to wait for the next one to hear his version of this latest injustice. Sing it Bobby, 'All you Need is Love"

Thanks. Here's the link to the semi-official Fischer site Joshka is talking about:


The latest radio interviews are down a ways.

To John Renze: It is as "open and shut" as they come. Prosecutors rarely just let some one go...They may opt to plea bargain or drop a case they can't win, but that is not the case here. Whether anyone else has been indicted for violating those sanctions, it is irrelevant unless you can show that someone else did, but wasn't prosecuted. Fischer is not important, but he broke the law just the same.

His being held so long is his doing, and you are trying to apply U.S. law to a Japanese court...They can do what they want over there.

To Morrowwind: Had Fischer given up his citizenship in 1992, he still would have been on the hook for U.S. taxes for 10 years. Our law doesn't allow a person to give up citizenship to avoid taxation.

And about Ken Lay: While I think he is guilty and will be convicted, he hasn't had his trial yet so let him eat while he can. When he is convicted I hope he gets to serve a long time. The Bernie Ebbers case, in which he was convicted just today, will be an excellent bar to measure whether justice will be fairly dealt since he faces 85 years.

i've never had any love for the US and their ways, but this is just even too absurd to imagine being the reality of things. Sure, i've seen it on american tv-shows dealing with law...if they can't get a guy on the crime they want, some boss yells at them to go get him for anything at all.

Disgusting beyond belief.

And i'm not trying to argue about the legitimacy of what they are doing...they define their own laws so one can hardly suppose they haven't been written for their absolute advantage.
But just consider...what is Fischer paying taxes for? He has not been in US for decades, then what exactly has he been doing to warrant paying taxes?
Taxes are for public expenses and such...as far as i understand, Fischer has not used any US public facilities or institutions, save for the new passport now and then, and for that one has to buy on cash, it's not included in what is done with taxes. But hey, it's the law.

If i ever needed a reason to actually hate the US, instead of just being suspicious of them, i suppose this is a convenient one to start with..

Yes, Sacateca it is strange how the US can tax its citizens who are living abroad ("No taxation without representation!"- what representation does Fischer get? A CIA agent "Peter" visiting him in prison who would never tell him his second name)- and how no one seems to question the morality of this. Or putting a man in prison for playing chess. It's the law! And yes, buying a passport is like buying a document commercially, not public expenditure. If it is not, the 93% of the US population who are paying taxes but do not have a passport should be up in arms.

In terms of evidence of precedents of ignoring King George I executive order on Yugoslavia, I would call none other than the 42nd President- Bill Clinton. In his autobiography he says it was routinely done, for arms transactions none the less! But lets ignore those and get a man for playing chess!

Anyway, it seems the Japanese will stop playing silly games if Iceland grant Fischer citizenship

Hopefully the Icelanders will step up to the plate once again, while the rest of the chess community looks on shamed face once more. There's a reason I quit playing chess years ago, and it wasn't that "the game" was rotten to the core.

"...he has freely admitted to being a tax scofflaw. If I didn't pay my taxes (which over the years were much less, I'm sure), I would end up in jail too."...K Cotreau- March 16th

"During my ten years living abroad I spent a lot of time dealing with tax issues and filing 2555 forms. If you're holding a US passport the government wants its cut of whatever you make wherever you are. (Thank goodness for the Argentine cash economy!)" A famous chess journalist- March 6th (see Ice Fisching VI).

IRS overseas tax laws- http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc853.html

Is K Cotreau about to report Mig for tax evasion? Will Mig change his 6th March post, to paraphrase K Coutreau, "freely admitting to being a tax scofflaw"? Will the IRS convene a grand jury against Mig, or is Fischer being persecuted for his political beliefs?

Fischer has no intention of ever returning to the US, receiving any kind of US publicly funded good or service in return....so which is more ludicrous- going to jail for playing chess or going to jail for not paying taxes to a country you have nothing to do with?

Once again America shows it's efficiency as self appointed world police.
Even the Japanese are too scared of American sanctions to do the right thing and let Fischer go. The whole Fischer affair is absolutely nothing to do with Japan.
Since when did Japan arrest American tax dodgers?

It's funny to hear people asking what benefit Fischer has received for his taxes. That's not how taxes work - you don't to compare your outlay to your benefits received and see whether you came out ahead or not. The bottom line is that the "benefit" Fischer has received was simply that of being an American citizen and holding a US passport, something he could have rejected at any time. With citizenship comes responsibilities...it's something we teach kids all the time, does he get an out just because he was world champion?

Having said that, if you're really hung up on the tax/benefit issue, remember that he lived in the US until at least 1982 (the year of his infamous Pasedena jailhouse publication) and so yes, he did receive benefits during a time he didn't pay taxes.

This just showed up on the CNN website. Apparently, he is one step closer to Icelandic citizenship. Or is this just recycled stuff that we already know about?


In any case, it's interesting to see that CNN considers this story worthy of their time.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on March 14, 2005 7:27 PM.

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