Friday, November 10, 2006

Latest about Bobby Fischer

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Bobby was in the headlines again recently when the Union Bank of Switzerland UBS, one of the world`s biggest banks, transferred his deposits amounting to about $3 million without his permission and against his will, to a bank account in Iceland where he now resides.

In an interview a few months ago, Bobby said he has been in dispute with the bank’s intention to terminate his account without any reason other than saying that it (bank) does not want to have a relationship with him. The money has been in deposit with the bank since 1992, which he presumably earned from his match with Boris Spassky in 1992 in Yugoslavia where he was guaranteed $5 million.

Anything that has to do with Bobby is always news to chess players all over the world. Vladimir Kramnik of Russia has just won the world championship from Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and dozens of chess articles have already been written comparing champions from the past to Bobby.

A few weeks ago, listeners to a private radio station in Iceland were surprised to hear in the early morning hours an interview with Fischer who talked about his dispute with the Swiss bank UBS, the United States --- which he believes is run by extremists --- Jews, North Korea and china and about chess, past and present.

I will deal only with the chess portion as this is a chess column and not anything else.

In the interview, Bobby reads from a book “Parting with Illusions,” which was written by Vladimir Pozner in 1990 about the Cold War:

“I remember Mark Taimanov…losing his match with Bobby Fischer by the implausible score of six to zero….. So when Taimanov fell to Fischer six-zip, it was a sensation that rocked the chess world. It was, in fact, such an unbelievable affront that the Soviet Chess Federation stripped Taimanov of his title as Grand Master of the USSR. Later, when several other Grand Masters were blitzed by Fischer, the Soviet Chess Federation realized its mistake, but refused to acknowledge it. To this day, Mark Taimanov retains the rank of International Grand Master but has not had his Soviet ranking restored.”

Bobby also talks about champions from the past.

“Some kid of fourteen today, or even younger, could get an opening advantage against Capablanca, and especially against the players of the previous century, like Morphy and Steinitz. Maybe they would still be able to outplay the young kid of today. Or maybe not, because nowadays when you get the opening advantage not only do you get the opening advantage, you know how to play, they have so many examples of what to do from this position. It is really deadly, and that is why I don’t like chess any more.

“Morphy and Capablanca had enormous talent, Steinitz was very great too.

Alekhine was great, but I am not a big fan of his.

Maybe it’s just my taste. I’ve studied his games a lot, but I much prefer Capablanca and Morphy. Alekhine had a rather heavy style, Capablanca was much more brilliant and talented---he had a real light touch. Everyone I’ve spoken to who saw Capablanca play still speakS of him with awe. If you showed him any position he would instantly tell you the right move…

“Capablanca really was fantastic. But even he had his weaknesses, especially when you play over his games with his notes he would make idiotic statements like “I played the rest of the game perfectly.” But then you play through the moves and it is not true at all….. He wanted to change the rules [of chess] already, back in the twenties, because he said chess was getting played out. He was right. Now chess is completely dead. It is all just memorisation and prearrangement. It’s a terrible game now. Very uncreative.”

So there you are. In the interview, Bobby says that he does not want to play chess anymore.

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