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Bobby Fischer Found 1379

Posted by michael
from the governments-never-play-for-a-draw dept.
paulydavis writes "Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer, wanted since 1992 for playing a tournament in Yugoslavia despite U.N. sanctions, was detained in Japan for an apparent passport violation and will be deported to the United States."
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Bobby Fischer Found

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  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:37AM (#9715417)
    Radio Interview [att.ne.jp] from 9/11/2001.

    While I disagree with just about everything he has to say he did mention (paraphrase) "now that the Cold War is over and now they want to wipe me out because I am useless." He's probably right. The USSR was using their hand picked superstars (athletes mostly) to make their country seem superior. Bobby Fischer certainly made the US look much better than usual in that regard, but he has the view that he single-handedly changed the view of the United States from a baseball and football (US) country to one of intellectuals... This I just don't agree with. Maybe for that brief moment in time (1972). It's certainly not considered that now (or in 2001).
    • by TopShelf (92521) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:42AM (#9715467) Homepage Journal
      Maybe for that brief moment in time (1972). It's certainly not considered that now (or in 2001).

      Oh, just give that Jeopardy guy a chance. By the time he tops $10 million, the country will be teeming with Brainiac wannabes...
    • Sanction info (Score:5, Informative)

      by tambo (310170) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:32AM (#9715967)
      Wow. 238 comments at present, and yet no one (including the OP) has provided information about the sanction? You guys are slacking...

      I dug up some information [chess-poster.com]:

      On September 1, 1992, Bobby Fischer came out of his 20 year retirement and gave a press conference in Yugoslavia. He pulled out an order from the U.S. Treasury Department warning him that he would be violating U.N sanctions if he played Chess in Yugoslavia. He spit on the order and now faces ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he returns to the U.S. In addition, he must forfeit his $3.65 million to the U.S. Treasury and forfeit 10% of any match royalties earned. On September 30, Bobby Fischer began his rematch with Boris Spassky in Sveti Stefan, Yugoslavia. The match was organized by banker Jedzimir Vasiljevic. On November 11, Fischer won the match with 10 wins, 5 losses, and 15 draws. He received $3.65 million for his winnings and Spassky received $1.5 million.

      And I found the letter [ishipress.com] from the Senate that explains the basis for the sanction:

      Department of the Treasury
      Washington
      Aug 21, 1992
      Order to Provide Information and Cease and Desist Activities

      FAC No. 129405

      Dear Mr Fischer:

      It has come to our attention that you are planning to play a chess match for a cash prize in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) (hereinafter "Yugoslavia") against Boris Spassky on or about September 1, 1992. As a U.S. citizen, you are subject to the prohibitions under Executive Order 12810, dated June 5, 1992, imposing sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro. The United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control ("FAC"), is charged with enforcement of the Executive Order.

      The Executive Order prohibits U.S. persons from performing any contract in support of a commercial project in Yugoslavia, as well as from exporting services to Yugoslavia. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the performance of your agreement with a corporate sponsor in Yugoslavia to play chess is deemed to be in support of that sponsor's commercial activity. Any transactions engaged in for this purpose are outside the scope of General License No. 6, which authorizes only transactions to travel, not to business or commercial activities. In addition, we consider your presence in Yugoslavia for this purpose to be an exportation of services to Yugoslavia in the sense that the Yugoslav sponsor is benefitting from the use of your name and reputation.

      Violations of the Executive Order are punishable by civil penalties not to exceed $10,000 per violation, and by criminal penalties not to exceed $250,000 per individual, 10 years in prison, or both. You are hereby directed to refrain from engaging in any of the activities described above. You are further requested to file a report with this office with 10 business days of your receipt of this letter, outlining the facts and circumstances surrounding any and all transactions relating to your scheduled chess match in Yugoslavia against Boris Spassky. The report should be addressed to: The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Division, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Annex - 2nd floor, Washington D.C. 20220. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Merete M. Evans at (202) 622-2430.

      Sincerely, (signed)
      R. Richard Newcomb
      Director
      Office of Foreign Assets Control

      - David Stein

  • by mfh (56) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:37AM (#9715421) Homepage Journal
    > Fischer, indicted by a grand jury in 1992, managed to elude authorities and left a tantalizing trail that included radio broadcasts from the Philippines and sightings in Japan.

    So Fischer played a 12 year game of chess against the feds and lost, eh? That's the problem when you run from the law... you can't 'mate 'em, but they can 'mate you in 12.
  • Thank God!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:38AM (#9715428)
    They finally caught that villain! Justice is served!
  • by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:39AM (#9715433)
    I was somewhat surprised to find this in the article:

    In radio interviews, he praised the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, saying America should be "wiped out," and described Jews as "thieving, lying bastards." His mother was Jewish.

    Behavior like that wont't help his cause regarding his 1992 match that was in violation of UN sanctions.

    This is sort of interesting as well. It hints at a greatly inflated sense of self-importance and a little paranoia.

    He announced that he had abandoned chess in 1996 and launched a new version, "Fischerandom," a computerized shuffler that randomly distributes chess pieces on the back row of the chess board at the start of each game. Fischer claimed it would bring the fun back into the game and rid it of cheats.

    Cheers!

    Erick

    • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:44AM (#9715495) Homepage Journal
      Fischer claimed it would bring the fun back into the game and rid it of cheats
      Thats not entirely it. Fische Random [wikipedia.org] is designed to remove the advantage to be gained from memorising scores and scores of standard openings and to encourage play based on talent rather than preparation.
      • by rifftide (679288) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:57AM (#9715604)
        Not a bad idea. Memorization of openings has long been a dreary arms race, and machines have way more capacity than anybody else. Maybe they should try it on an exhibition basis during tournaments.
    • by October_30th (531777) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:47AM (#9715514) Homepage Journal
      Yes.

      Here is a more thorough article [theatlantic.com] on Fischer's rise and fall.

    • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc AT carpanet DOT net> on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:53AM (#9715567) Homepage
      Well Fischer has always been politically incorrect. This is the same man that accused the russians of ruinin ghte game of chess by always playing for mates against eachother and always playing western masters for the win, and saying that women can't play chess because theres not a woman in the world he couldn't beat given knights odds. (not that there are more than a handful of men that could beat him with knights odds)

      As a friend informs me, he had dissapeared back in the 70s because he believed the US government was out to get him. So in his mind he had been in hiding from the US for 26 years before he said that.

      I guess the upshot is that we can now all expect a few more good crzy bobby fischer quotes in the near future.

      Frankly i think its all pretty bogus. Ok Yugoslavia was under sanctions. Big deal. He went there to play chess. I think this entire mess shows an inflated sense of self importance for the US gov, or at least hypocracy. The UN matters when they agree with US and doesn't matter when they don't?

      Hes an old coot who was one of the most well known chess grand masters ever. SO much so that he gave up his title and quit the game years before I was born, and I still know who he was. Just let him be, hes not hurting anyone.

      Sure hes an asshole, but should bein gan asshole really be a crime?

      -Steve
    • by mslinux (570958) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:31AM (#9715955)
      He's very mathematical...probably has asperger's syndrome (high-level autism). These types of people don't have *any* social feelings, or if they do it's very little. It's simply not in their DNA. They don't purposefully intend to piss everyone off, but that's one of the things they do. Nothing personal, it's just how they are.

      I have asperger's syndrome. I offend people constantly. I know this, but I can't help it and the fact that they're offended doesn't bother me... not in the least. I've tried to make myself feel bad about my lack of social tact, but I can't.
  • by lxt (724570) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:40AM (#9715450) Journal
    ...not entirely sure about this one, but didn't Paul Simon violate US/UN sanctions by recording his album Graceland in South Africa? I don't recall anything happening to him over it (then again, I was only around four years old at the time :))...
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:41AM (#9715455) Homepage
    Perhaps they should start an oil-for-chess program.
  • Really (Score:5, Funny)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:41AM (#9715464) Homepage Journal
    How could the submitter fail to title this article

    Bobby Fischer Found ... In Japan
  • Deported !! (Score:5, Funny)

    by hyderabadi (797479) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:42AM (#9715474) Homepage
    deported to the United States - that's new!!
  • Nice chap (Score:5, Funny)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:43AM (#9715481)
    Sound like a guy that could be posting on slashdot, if he only was into computers :-).
  • A Better Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Corbin Dallas (165835) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:43AM (#9715483) Homepage
    Can be found at this site [nwsource.com].
  • by foidulus (743482) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:46AM (#9715507)
    going to extradite him to the US, but they will not extradite a soldier by the name of Jenkins, who "disappeared" into North Korea while in the US military guarding the 38th parallel some 20 or so years ago. Jenkins married a kidnapped Japanese woman while in North Korea, and will be returning to Japan for a medical checkup soon. I actually don't think they should extradite either of them, but if you are going to do it, at least be consistent...
  • by Gentoo Fan (643403) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:47AM (#9715512) Homepage

    He announced that he had abandoned chess in 1996 and launched a new version, "Fischerandom," ... Fischer claimed it would bring the fun back into the game and rid it of cheats.

    I think Valve [valvesoftware.com] should hire this guy to patch up Counter-Strike.

  • by Cavio (217880) <cavio@hotmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:48AM (#9715521) Homepage
    Shouldn't there be some kind of rule against arresting somebody for violating a law that is no longer in effect?

    Heck, Yugoslavia doesn't even EXIST anymore. It's kind of a moot point.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:04AM (#9715683)
      Shouldn't there be some kind of rule against arresting somebody for violating a law that is no longer in effect?

      No. There's a fundamental principle in law called "retroaction" that says you can't be prosecuted for something you did in the past that contravenes a law that was passed after what you did, the only notable exception being war crimes and genocide (the Nazi atrocities were severe enough that the Nuremberg court simply ignored this rule and tried the Nazi officials with law made up after the fact).

      So Bobby Fisher should be tried for violating a law that existed when he did the deed, just as you shouldn't be prosecuted for driving at 70mph on a road that has a 50mph sign today, but had a 70mph sign when you drove on it.
  • US Hypocrisy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fpga_guy (753888) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:51AM (#9715548)
    From the article:

    U.S. authorities accused him of violating U.N. sanctions imposed against Yugoslavia by playing the match.

    Yeah 'cos we all know about the US's unwavering respect for the UN [abc.net.au]...

    But only when it suits...

  • by xs650 (741277) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:51AM (#9715551)
    Now that Martha Stewart and Bobby Fischer have both been aprehended, I feel much more secure.
  • by paulydavis (91113) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:01AM (#9715646)
    I wanted to submit this link when i submitted the story but it was an afterthought. It is a great story on what Fischer has been up to in the alantic monthly. story>/A> [theatlantic.com]
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:03AM (#9715676) Homepage
    While I'd never condone terrorist activity, I too would hate a country that tried to arrest me for simply playing chess. As an American I'm utterly embarrassed.
  • by No. 24601 (657888) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:03AM (#9715677)
    who was a champion for the US during the Cold War. He's now the most wanted man [wikipedia.org] in the world.
  • by angst7 (62954) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:08AM (#9715723) Homepage
    Japan. Oriental setting
    and the city dont know what the city is getting...
    The creme de la creme of the chess world
    and a show with everthing but Bin Laden.

    Time flies! Doesn't seem a minute
    since Yugoslavia had the chess boys in it
    All change dont you know that when you
    play at this level its no ordinary venue?

    In New York or Afganistan or Iraq... or this place!

    One night in Tokyo and all jews are bastards...
    Not much between self hate and insanity
    You'll find a spook in every karaoke bar
    and if your lucky you've still got your qeeen
    I can feel deportation creeping up on me.

    (ok, so the execution was weak, but you get the idea)
  • While Bobby Fischer might have technically violated some U.S. laws, (and this one technicality is just the first that he has dealt with) he really should simply be left alone.

    I've been following Bobby Fischer since he started publishing Chess columns in Boys' Life [boyslife.org]. While not necessarily a hacker, certainly a classic geek.

    He all but dropped out of society in almost a Ted Kaczynski [crimelibrary.com] fashion, and can IMHO be classified as the most persecuted American by the U.S. Government. He was also wanted a few years ago on tax evasion charges, but I thought that got cleared up. He really has been hounded by the U.S. government for many things, and gone through ups and downs in his life that I would not wish on anybody.

    A really good writeup [archive.org] about Bobby Fischer's trip to Yugoslavia is on bobbyfischer.net

    I had to use the internet wayback machine because for some reason the regular website [bobbyfischer.net] is down. Probably due to some slashdotting, although in this case probably not directly due to slashdot it self (surprisingly). Some absolutely incredible articles. I've also seen segments on television news programs that have also discussed his life, and it seems rather pathetic. How much of this is brought onto himself, and how much is out right presecution [theatlantic.com] remains to be debated, but he should really be given a nice quite spot in Montana and be left alone.

    Maybe the U.S. government is afraid of letting intelligent people who think the U.S. government is screwed up be left alone.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:23AM (#9716558)
      Whoa whoa whoa, why does he have to be my neighbor? Since when did Montana become the little "out of the way" place to store your undesireables? First you send us Californians and movie stars, and now you're sending hate filled nutcases. That's on top of the wack-jobs we already have here. Damnit! Montana is NOT the Australia of the U.S.!

      I say we give Bobby a quiet little spot right next door to you.
  • by Cryogenes (324121) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:06AM (#9716308)
    Just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they're not after you.

    Fischer is definitely paranoid. For example, he said he believes that all of today's chess matches are rigged (the players have agreed on the sequence of moves beforehand). On a wider scale, he thinks the Jews are after him and his family, that the holocaust did not happen etc.

    On the other hand, jailing a person because he played in a chess tournament? Have we all become mad?

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