Bobby Fischer

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ESPN's Jeremy Schaap did an outstanding report on Bobby Fischer on Sunday's SportsCenter broadcast.

Schaap's father Dick, also an ESPN reporter, who died a few months after 9/11, covered Fischer throughout his career, and as Fischer had no father, Dick was also a father figure to him. He took him to sporting events, hosted parties for him, tried to give him guidance and aid when he needed it. Dick was M.C. of the celebration back in New York after Fischer beat Boris Spassky in the famous 1972 match in Iceland.

As many people know, Fischer had some sort of mental break a few decades ago. He became a recluse, joined a cult, spouted anti-Semitic remarks. In the 90s he violated UN sanctions by participating in a rematch with Spassky in war-torn Yugoslavia. He became a fugitive, uncovering himself here and there to spout anti-U.S. and anti-Semitic remarks, such as his Phillippines radio note after 9/11 that the attack was "wonderful."

Last year he was arrested in Japan, and after many months, he was sent to Iceland last month, where, in recognition of his previous chess victory there, they offered him citizenship, apparently as a ploy to prevent his extradition to the U.S., as they won't extradict a citizen.

Hours after arriving in Iceland, Jeremy Schaap was there at the press conference to meet him and ask him questions. But Fischer seemed to have more questions for Schaap.

He started by asking Schaap if he was Dick's son, and then said yes, I knew your father, he was a Jew, right? Schaap answered yes, as are you (he reports that Fischer's mother was Jewish). Fischer responded by saying that in 1984 he had his name removed from the Encyclopedia Judaica, saying they gave him a "clean bill of health."

He kept returning to Schaap throughout the conference, and pounded him about how Dick had once said Fischer didn't have "a sane bone in his body." He befriended me, Fischer said, and then turned on me like a "Jewish snake." He asked Schaap if he had read the article Dick had written, and Schaap said he didn't know, but he new his father had written it, and that honestly, nothing Fischer had said today disproved it.

Oooo, snap.

Fischer is a sad case. Who can say what turned him to be the corrupted, twisted, despicable, pitiful man we see today?

The story may have a just or ironic ending, if not a happy one: it is possible Fischer may be prosecuted under Iceland's hate speech laws, for what he said to Schaap at the press conference.

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on April 19, 2005 10:38 AM.

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