Friday, February 1, 2008

Post mortem and tributes to Bobby

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

MOST of the news in the chess world has been about Bobby Fischer since his death a week ago. Even in death, he has managed to generate some controversy.

It seems that at his request, his burial was a closely guarded secret last Monday and only about five persons were present. He was buried in a village in Selfoss about 60 kilometers from Reykjavik, Iceland in a Catholic ceremony. The burial was allegedly unlawful as both Miyoko Watai and Gardar Sverrisson were not his legal representatives and were not allowed under Icelandic law.

Lately though, John Bosnitch, who led the “Free Bobby movement” while Fischer was in detention in Japan, attested that Miyoko and Bobby were indeed married in Japan and he was a witness to it and that the marriage certificate bears his name.

“Bobby could be such fun,” said Einar Einarsson. “I remember him singing “My Way” as I drove him in the car. He could be gentle and kind, particularly to children. In many ways he was quite a normal person. But there was always that dark side—he believed that dark forces were out to get him.”

Saemi Palsson was another close friend. He was Fischer’s police bodyguard during the Spassky match in 1972. He said, “Bobby was a genius, he could have been a great doctor, scientist—anything. But he was not emotionally intelligent—he didn’t know how to behave with people. He did not trust many people. He did not trust doctors and that is why he did not want treatment for his condition.”

He died of kidney failure which is curable today by a kidney transplant. One of my friends, Bert Ocon, had one in the late 70s and he is still alive and healthy today in Australia. An original member of Cepca, Fred Sandalo, had a transplant years ago and he is doing well.

TRIBUTE. Garry Kasparov: “The gap between Fischer and his contemporaries was the largest ever.”

Viktor Kortchnoi: “A chess genius has died; a loss for humanity.”

Lajos Portisch: “A big shock; the best chess player in history has passed away.”

Ljubomir Ljubojevic: “A man without frontiers. He didn’t divide the East and the West. He brought them together in their admiration for him.”

Jan Timman: “A great player and a great example to many. His book, My 60 Memorable Games, had a big impact on me. It is a shame he didn’t continue to enrich the world of chess with his unparalleled understanding after 1972.”

There had been some speculations on who would inherit his money, which is estimated to be around $3 million. If he had indeed married Miyoko, I think that she will share it with Bobby’s biological daughter, Jinky, whose mother is a Filipina who lives in Davao.

A close friend of Miyoko said, “There is simply no question that Miyoko was the closest person to Bobby and by far the most special person in his life. She is a woman of absolute integrity who will undoubtedly ensure that his daughter is taken care of, should she inherit his estate. She met Bobby in the 1970s and there was probably a relationship from that time. She was passionate about him and is devastated by his death. She promised never to betray his confidences and she will observe that

LARGER THAN LIFE. A legend in his own time. A god among mortals. These are some of the quotes describing his life. Another writes “He was fascinating and captured the attention of the world in an extraordinary period of its history. For better or worse, there probably won’t be anybody like him again.”

His triumphs and the prize money he demanded helped transform what had been considered a parlor game in the early 70‘s into mainstream sports today and an honorable profession. All professional chess players should thank him.

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