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Fischer-Benko in Serbia?

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Several people have sent in reports of something that was rumored last week. Sean Evans sent in this this Russian report, which has the most details. A cleaned-up online translation:

According to the major Russian news agency RIA, chess ex-champion Bobby Fischer, who has recently settled in Iceland, is planning to visit Serbia again.

In a Wednesday press conference in Belgrade, Janos Kubat, Fischer's colleague and friend, said that Fischer wants to visit the small town of Kanizsa, where he lived for eight months in 1993 (located on the border between Serbia and Hungary) to play a chess match.

Kubat said that he has already selected two hotels in Kanizsa that are sutable for a match with Pal Benko - the Hungarian-born American who currently lives in Budapest.

"I have already found a sponsor. Now it fully depends on the Icelandic authorities permitting Fischer to come to Serbia," said Kubat.

Why Benko? Wasn't Lilienthal available? Will it be shuffle chess, aka Chess960, aka FischeRandom? Will Fischer declare himself world champion again when he wins? The 76-year-old Benko hasn't played more than a game or two per year in a decade.

As predicted, it hasn't taken long for the lawyers and others hanging around Fischer to try and make a buck. Playing senior citizens and old friends is one way. (Nothing wrong with it either, but I hope Fischer puts his cut in a safer bank this time.) On a less savory note, Sean also sent this item about the comical $200 million Fischer lawsuit against the US government. [In an amusing follow-up to that story on the lawyer Vattuone, Fischer apparently fired him over a week ago. [Vattuone posts below saying he is still on retainer, and that the lawsuit Fischer filed was dismissed by Fischer. He also says he never received the letter to him linked to above, which was posted at Fischer's semi-official website and is clearly in Fischer's hand.]]


Bye Garry!

Welcome, Fischer!!


Wait, maybe it's not *Pal* Benko. There's an FIDE-rated Benko in Argentino who's even older than Lilienthal!

Yes, Francisco Benko, an old acquaintance of mine from Buenos Aires. He was quite a strong player (had some serious pressure on Fischer, in fact, who used a spectacular tactic to escape). He's mostly been doing studies and problems for years now.

I am sure that the U.S. governemnt would be delighted to see Fischer arrive in a courtroom in the U.S.A. to present his evidence.

In the 1972 World Championship cycle, Benko gave up his Interzonal spot to Fischer. (Fischer wouldn't play in the U.S. Championship, the zonal event, because it hadn't enough rounds to for him to consider it a "serious" event.)

Well that's typical of Bobby, if this story is true, which I doubt, Iceland bends over backwards to help him, so he snubs them and goes to Serbia to play a match. I remember back when the Iceland offer was being presented, that I was hoping they were going to get Bobby to at least commit to some form of chess obligation to his new country, wondering if they even tried.

"Wasn't Lilienthal available?"

ROFL. Very funny, indeed. Isn't he 94 now? That guy played with Maroczy and Tartakower.

Fischer-Karpov 30 years on would be interesting. However, Fischer won't play any match he knows he won't win.

Fischer-Karpov would make Fischer rich... I presume he needs money due to his extravagant lifestyle and lawyers bills.

Any-hoo, I hear that the press in Iceland wrote some articles supporting Fischer's schizophrenic believes !! Now that IS scary !


Well, i don´t think there were many really expecting that Fischer would play chess in Iceland. But actually some guys i know, organized a fischer-random blitz tournament last saturday in a local pub in Reykjavik. There were about 18 players, some quite strong, about 2200-2400 icelandic elo-points, but most intermediate players (1500-2000). I think few of them had some experience with fischer-random.
One of the organizers phoned to Sćmundur Pálsson, Fischer´s icelandic friend, he´s called "Sćmi rokk" in Iceland, i suppose that´s because when he was young in the sixties he was an enthusiastic dancer and i suppose his favourite music to dance to was rock´n roll. Sćmi was quite positive, said that sounded good, and he wanted to tell this to Fischer, so everybody was expecting or at least hoping Fischer would show up, but he never came. Actually, another organizer of this local tournament came late, everybody was waiting for him, and when he came, he told us he met Sćmi in the local swimming-pool, actually the "hot-pot" of the pool (very popular in Iceland, "hot pots" in swimming-pools). He also talked with Sćmi.
It was interesting that those scoring best in the fischer-random were the best blitz-players in the group, i think if you´re not used to fischer-random, it´s maybe not so clever to play blitz-games, maybe rapid-time, about 25 minutes for each player.

Sean, where did you hear this? I haven´t read that. But actually there was quite a big interview with Fischer in one of the biggest newspapers in Iceland, "Morgunblađiđ" last weekend, but i could not see they were supporting his view, they let him express his views, his hate against against USA and jews, but i think only people who understand icelandic not so well would say they were supporting him, especially because the paper is a conservative one, the oldest contemporary paper in Iceland, and they have a tradition of supporting the US, but you can also read critical articles in this paper.


DV - Daily News -Iceland


Fischer Won't Kill Anybody Jónas Kristjánsson

Though Bobby Fischer is paranoid and profane, it should not be forgotten that, in general, and if one overlooks his personal issues of dispute, he is right in most of the things he says about Israel and the United States. For quite a while these two countries have represented the most serious threat to mankind.

[Snip of long editorial criticizing the US and Israel. Just trying to keep on topic. -Mig]

Though Mr. Fischer is different from the rank and file of humanity, he is not a threat to his environment, as Israel and the United States are. What he has are merely opinions, which won't kill anybody.

There are lots of leaders and public figures who inspired hatred and killing without ever pulling a trigger. But the damage Fischer causes is mostly to chess.

Well, Jónas Kristjánsson, he´s an experienced journalist and quite provocative. As far as i know he´s now again editor of DV, which is a paper similar to the english "the sun". A lot of people in Iceland don´t like this paper, but it is part of the media. And Jónas is not so bad. I mean so what, maybe Fischer is crazy, schizo-affective, or schizophrenic or something else, but some of that he says makes sense, i don´t have anything against jews or the US, but Israel and the US are far from holy.

By the way, Sćmundur Pálsson, "Sćmi rokk" in action: http://www.mbl.is/mm/myndasafn/img/102/400x400/Tonlist16.jpg or here with some tiny text, says picture taken around 1960 in the local "Silfurtungliđ": http://www.mbl.is/mm/myndasafn/detail.html?id=87184;group_id=469;offset=5

Fischer-Benko - Bunk

Fischer-Karpov (after all?) - Interesting... a battle b/w two has beens. Never happen.

It's not a questions of agreeing with some of what Fischer says or not. You can't say "well sure, he's calling for the extermination of all Jews and death to America, but you know, I don't like the politics of Israel or the US either." Insanity. Ignoring the racial/religious/genocidal part to try and make him out like a slightly quirky Chomsky is pathetic. Trying to make his hate speech out to be rational political debate is both dangerous and sick. If, amid the psychotic rage, he were the only person speaking these points of view, it might be more interesting. But you don't have to go very far to hear "Death to America. Death to the Jews."

That is, Fischer says "Death to America, death to the Jews, US policy is bad and Israel is bad." Umm, why is the latter half relevant? Is he the only person around saying these things? Hardly. Has he any unique insight into them? Now, if someone says "Death to America, death to the Jews, hey, your house is on fire," that's worth parsing and extracting.

I respect the Icelandic governement's position that this was a human rights rescue, much the way some countries won't extradite criminals to the US or other countries with the death penalty. They view his indictment as political persecution. But there is no excuse at all for saying his rants are in any way useful and ignoring the hate speech they always include. The Icelandic author conveniently ignored that part, which is even worse than casually dismissing it. How disgusting is "Well, okay, the stuff about killing all the Jews and Americans is a little wacky, but boy that Bush guy is a real killer!" So what? If you have any balls you can say the part about Bush on your own without exploiting Fischer and holding him up as a rational creature by bowlderizing his speech.

Well stated Mig. Quite a few Bobby apologists need to draw back a few steps I think. I can't help but feel that if Bobby's statements were made by their local neighborhood misanthrope they'd view them in a different light. He needs help..not encouragement.

Or maybe we're seeing the first attempt of the Icelandic people to rationalize their decision...

I've always found the theory of cognitive dissonance interesting; especially when after a choice have been made, you start to adapt the less fortunate facts, to better correspond with the choice made...

i doubt there's anything more disrespecting than to say that Fischer needs help. He's dangerous? USA and Israel are dangerous.

It's hard for me to understand when do Americans start realising that people really don't like their ideas or culture?
Recently i heard Bush's idea of what civilization is: the strong protecting the weak. And that's about the weakest definition of civilization i've ever heard.

Cognitive dissonance? Certainly. If you don't like to accept the facts, sure, come up with a rather farfetched psychological explanation. Kind of like Helsinki syndrome.
Less fortunate facts? You mean, not generally embraced facts? Goodness gracious.
i said it before and will say it again: what makes you different from for example China who concludes that dissidents are insane?

April 1 !!! -?

Forget chess: how about a boxing rematch between Fischer and Benko?

Sacateca: I did not comment on the political side of the discussion, I'm talking about less fortunate facts like Fischers jew-hate and such. (I think Iceland did a good thing, and hope that the buzz around Fischer(and Fischer himself) will calm down); I'm simply refering to that Iceland have probably generated a lot of trouble for themselves.

Doing the right (good) thing is rarely the same as making a smart move...

"he press in Iceland wrote some articles supporting Fischer's schizophrenic believes"

"he is right in most of the things he says about Israel and the United States. For quite a while these two countries have represented the most serious threat to mankind."

I think somebody has mistaken criticisim of Israel with anti-semitism. Quite a common mistake to make. Of course it's differcult to say, when Mig has censored most of the article.

In the past there were reports of a fist fight between Fischer and Benko in Montevideo, 1962, and also, there were also reports of Benko receiving $2500 to renounce his place in the Interzonal in Fischer's favor. I don't remember exactly, but it would be easy to verify those reports as they appear on the various Fischer biographies floating about on cyberspace. Anyway, it would be tremendous fun if they staged another fist fight plus a bribing scene this time!

This is to correct errors in the Bobby Fischer note: First, for tactical reasons, I have been retained as attorney for the Bobby Fischer Committee. I am still in close communication with Bobby regarding his personal legal affairs. Second, Bobby Fischer never filed a lawsuit seeking $200,000,000. The lawsuit was filed, primarily, to prevent the U.S. government from interfering with his move to Iceland.

"Sean also sent this item about the comical $200 million Fischer lawsuit against the US government. [In an amusing follow-up to that story on the lawyer Vattuone, Fischer apparently fired him over a week ago.]"

Wrong, again. I didn't say no lawsuit was filed. I said it has been dismissed at Bobby's request. Also, where did the link to the letter come from? It appears to be some Japanese site. I have never seen such a letter. Thanks.



Is someone actually surprised that the propaganda machine spreads an immense amount of lies about Bobby? Hope not.

"Forget chess: how about a boxing rematch between Fischer and Benko?"

I heard Fischer didn't do too well in the first fight - something about a black eye. I bet he won't be rushing back into that.

"It's not a questions of agreeing with some of what Fischer says or not. You can't say "well sure, he's calling for the extermination of all Jews and death to America, but you know, I don't like the politics of Israel or the US either." Insanity. Ignoring the racial/religious/genocidal part to try and make him out like a slightly quirky Chomsky is pathetic. "

But of course, if Hitler said that 2 + 2 = 4, he'd be right, whether he was an anti-semite or not. And Fischer, crazy (and Jewish, strangely enough) as he is, is right about Israel and he's right about Bush. And for the American press to make some old crazy chessplayer out to be a threat to mankind, while Sharon is razing Jenin to the ground, and Bush is becoming a butcher on the order of Genghis Khan (over 100,000 civilians have died, majority women and children), is some truly 'insane' inversion of reality that only Americans could fall for.

Sure, if Hitler were the only person pointing out that 2+2=4, it would be relevant. If what Fischer says about the US were vital, interesting, insightful, or in any way redeemable, it might be worth examining through the haze of ranting. But it's in no way unique or insightful, just like 2+2=4. So why credit him with being right (assuming you believe he is) about the US and Israel and overlook the horrific things he says when the stuff he is "right" about is so banal? Fischer offers no unique perspective or knowledge on these matters. His prosecution/persecution by the US might enable him to contribute insight to such cases, but saying it's because the US is led by Jews is hardly insightful.

Yes coward, Sharon is a war criminal, Bush is whatever you say he is, and Fischer is a Holocaust-denying wack job. And it's three o'clock, the sky is overcast and why should you want to argue about this?

If Fischer happens to utter a truth, it only means that even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while. If we leave Fischer alone maybe he'll go away and we'll be spared anonymous cowards who employ reductionist logic to mask his inexcusable behavior.

At the risk of getting the thread back on topic, I think a Fischer-Benko match would be fun. Nothing anybody would take too serious, and not as interesting as, say, Fischer-Karpov, or even Fischer-Carlsen, but something interesting for the world of chess. At the post-game press conferences Benko could discuss the reserve tempos and corresponding squares of the endgame and Fischer could scream profanities and talk about the mother of all scandals: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/motherofallscandals.html Now that’s entertainment.

Back to everybody’s favorite point of discussion, jew-bashing, Boris Spassky has spoken out against jewish hatred by adding his name along with the Russian elite to “the Letter of 5000,” a petition to outlaw jewish organizations in Russia. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3067416,00.html The petition cites jewish organizations as “anti-Christian and inhumane, and their customs go as far as ceremonial murder.” That makes three former World Champions (Alekhine, Fischer and Spassky) and one World Champion contender (Bogoljubow) who have openly expressed a Hitler-was-right type of sentiment. The jury is still out on Nigel Short to see which way he leans.

A Spassky apologist,
J.A. Topfke

"I am sure that the U.S. governemnt would be delighted to see Fischer arrive in a courtroom in the U.S.A. to present his evidence."

Hmm, let's see:

Selective prosecution [hounding him for over a decade for breaking a law which others broke without any indictment].

Habeus corpus: [The right to a fair and speedy trial].

By the United States' own laws, it is unconstitutional to deny someone a speedy trial before his peers, and it is illegal to pick and choose which people are prosectued for breaking a law. It is a FACT that Fischer was detained for nine months for having an illegitimate passport [when, in reality, a legal passport for him was extant anyway]. And it is a FACT that other artists violated the trade sanction in question without prosecution.

Mig: " But the damage Fischer causes is mostly to chess."

Fischer has done much more for chess than he has damaged it.

There is the obvious contributions that Bobby has made [His games, the degree to which the Sicilian has advanced in theory due to his work in the sixties, the instruction gained by people studying his games, and let's not forget his writing of what is possibly one of the three most helpful books in all of chess literature]

But there is the not so obvious effect, an effect that is hard to estimate in range and magnitude, that Bobby had on the game in terms of its prominence as a sport. Furthermore, Bobby was one of the most important champions of larger cash prizes and more comfortable venues for tournaments.

Finally, while it cannot be denied that some of what Bobby says is...dubious at best...there are some things he says that are hard truths that others, quite frankly, do not wish to accept.

For example, he attacks the United States for essentially stealing the US from the American Indians, who the US practically wiped out.

Hitler's express reason for conquest in the mid 20th centure was "living space" in Europe. When Hitler tries to take a chunk of Europe and foists genocide on the Jews, he is called a madman and a murderer....when Jefferson, Monroe and others conquest a far, far greater land and nearly cause the complete obliteration of a vast people, it was called "Manifest Destiny."

Yes, the parallels are not exact, but they are close enough to deserve a hard think, and this is a far more important truth than "2+2=4," and the fact that people would rather simply pretend that everything he says is the output of a deranged mind instead of admitting that most of the governments and peoples of the current world are illegitimate says more negative things about Bobby's critics than it does about him.

Fischer's past is not the topic under discussion. We are all aware of his contributions to chess and the chess world 30 years ago. As for his statements, you still miss the point entirely. That Fischer says some things you agree with doesn't make the psychotic rantings okay. It's just that simple. Fischer's opinions on abortion, Iraq, American Indians, campaign finance reform, or baseball scores are not unique or particularly informed.

Nobody is saying that Fischer is incapable of saying things that aren't genocidal lunacy, only that in light of such statements the rest of it is totally irrelevant. That some of his statements are in agreement with your own opinions is irrelevant and using him to promote those opinions at the high cost of ignoring his violent beliefs is repulsive.

Mig wrote:

[ "That Fischer says some things you agree with doesn't make the psychotic rantings okay." ]

What do you mean by this? When is psychotic rantings okay and when is it not ok?

Is Fischer spreading hate against Jews? Did he deny the holocaust? Did he instruct anybody to kill anyone? If so, can you or anyone supply specifics (what he said and which radio broadcast) so that I may verify for factual purposes.

Admittedly, I only managed to listen to about 25% of the his radio broadcasts because of his poor diction (I'm no prude but I do wish he would cut down on the profanity and insults). From that sample, I only heard insults like, "he's a Jew," or "controlled by Jews," etc. I have not heard anything like, "gas them," or "Auschwitz didn't happen." The difference between the first two examples and the last two is the first two are opinions and the last two instruct violence or deny a fact. If Fischer said anything like the last two I would like to know (can't stomach listening to the broadcasts for mere fishing expeditions).

Admittedly also, I am a fan of his chess, actually a fan of all great players but 3 in particular for being the greatest of the greats, Karpov, Kasparov, and Fischer. As one of the greatest of the greats, Fischer earned enough karma for me to forgive words he might have said out of anger, but my opinion may change if he actually incited violence against anyone.

Yes, he denies the Holocaust. ("Complete hoax") Yes, he spreads hate against Jews. Feel free to listen to the interviews, but you can save yourself the pain and take my word for it. I'm not keen to keep repeating it. Unless phrases like "they should all be wiped out" isn't up to your standards for hate speech. Fischer's website can satisfy you on all counts:


I'm less interested in whether or not his rants encourage already damaged people to go out and break windows. It's more disturbing to me that so many people are willing to ignore it entirely while trying to bring attention to his banal semi-political statements just because they coincide with their own views.

[Several silly posts deleted.] That's the problem with these things, you always have people who will take anything and everything as a platform for their own views. I'm not going to provide a forum to debate the correctness of Fischer's anti-Semitism and assorted endorsements of genocide and terror. It's pure flame-bait even if some of the posters are dumb enough to believe some of what they are saying. Having every item about Fischer derailed into whether or not it's really so bad to kill Jews or to talk about killing Jews is not going to happen here. I'm sure there are plenty of political/historical/white supremacist sites to accomodate you if that's what you're looking for. Thanks.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 6, 2005 9:34 AM.

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