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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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  • A Better Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Corbin Dallas (165835) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:43AM (#9715483) Homepage
    Can be found at this site [nwsource.com].
  • by Tar-Palantir (590548) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:47AM (#9715517)
    Sad when a genius has his cheese slide off his cracker.

    Fischer's always been a nutcase, even back when he was World Champion. Read a decent book on the history of chess (or one specific to him), there are (true) stories about Fischer that you just wouldn't believe. Little things like making the tournament organizers get a chessboard 3 millimeters larger. Flying his favorite chair to the match (in Iceland, no less). Giving up his freakin' World Championship because his insane terms didn't get met.

    Basically what I'm saying is, yes Fischer is crazy, but this not new.
  • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:48AM (#9715524) Homepage Journal
    UN sanctions, yes, but not US sanctions. UN sanctions don't automatically have the force of law. Graceland entered the Billboard Top Album chart on September 8th 1985. On September 26th, Reagan vetoed the bill intended to start US sanctions. On October 3rd the veto was overriden by the Senate... So it was close, and he got some flack for it, though it was largerly silenced because of the focus on black South African music, but he didn't violate US law.
  • by JPelorat (5320) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:48AM (#9715528)
    You realise he's been on the lam for a very long time now, right? That not everything has 'the war' or 'Bushcroft' as a primary cause? That more people freely say much worse than he has every day and nothing happens to them, nor will happen to them?
  • Re:Really (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:00AM (#9715640)
    See the end of this article [wikipedia.org]
  • by paulydavis (91113) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:01AM (#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 Maqueo (766442) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:03AM (#9715679)
    Up until Bobby Fisher Russia had been the reigning chess champion... well forever (with the exception of some european / cuban[!] players the beginning of the century). Not only the fact that he won in a time of political tension, but also played REALLY brilliantly was quite an amazing feat. He remains one of the greatest players all-time, and his matches against Spassky continue to be studied nowadays by chess aficionados everywhere. It also seems the KGB tried to pull several dirty tricks in order to help Spassky to win, without luck. If you have an interest in chess, check out some of his games. Amazing style (although I prefer Alekhine :P )
  • by REBloomfield (550182) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:07AM (#9715714)
    Bosnia was one of the six federal units that made up the former Yugoslavia, but gained independence in the early 90's.
  • by Physics Nobody (688399) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:28AM (#9715923)
    I really hate how this issue keeps coming up after so many years and yet so few people actually have their facts straight. Honestly I don't even care very much anymore, but if you're going to use Clinton as an example you should at least be accurate.

    What you never hear in regards to Clinton's famous court appearance is that before 'lying under oath' he asked the judge to define 'sexual relations'. The judge defined it as intercourse. Only after that did Clinton claim he did not have sexual relations.

    Now, I will not argue that he was being dishonest. I will not argue that he was being weasely. But lying under oath? If you can't go by the judge's definition of a term then what can you go by?
  • Sanction info (Score:5, Informative)

    by tambo (310170) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:32AM (#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

  • Re:Thank God!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jadenyk (764614) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:42AM (#9716068)
    Troll

    The US spent resources over several years looking for him. They will continue to spend resources in bringing him to the US, providing a fair trial (which will be next to impossible given his statements in the past) and housing and feeding him for the next x years while he sits in prison.

    Is he a true criminal? No. The only thing he has actually done that is illegal is play chess in a "bad" (as defined by the US Government) country. His views on terrorism and the attacks suffered by the US (as previously explained) are, unfortunately, shared by people who are still given time on TV, in newspapers and other media outlets. Freedom of speech is a basic right in this country.

    IMHO, the US should not bother bringing this guy back to the states and prosecuting him. They should revoke his citzenship and ban him from the US. "If you don't like it here, don't come back!" There is nothing to gain and everything to lose in giving this man a trial.

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:42AM (#9716072) Journal

    His mother was Jewish.

    That would also make him Jewish.

  • Re:Great Movie (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zebbers (134389) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:44AM (#9716092)
    dude, that movie has pretty much nothing to do with bobby fischer, except in the fact that the kid is nothing like him.
  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Informative)

    by lseltzer (311306) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:48AM (#9716124)
    You're right. He did make a stink and demanded the cameras be removed (see this page for lots of details [demon.co.uk]).
  • by looie (9995) <michael@trollope.org> on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:52AM (#9716167) Homepage
    The UN forbade people from playing chess in Yugoslavia?

    the match had a multimillion-dollar purse. fischer walked off with several million dollars from the win. that's why it was considered a violation of the "economic" boycott instituted by the US at the time. his opponent, boris spassky, lived in france, and so had no issues.

    also, to get there (because the US would not issue him a visa), fischer flew somewhere else (i forget where) and then bought another ticket into the match site. he was warned before he left, both privately and publicly, that the gov't would arrest him if he went there and then came back to the US.

    evidently, he's fallen on hard times. the last i heard, he was living in hungary with his girlfriend. i can't imagine what would take him to japan.

    mp

  • by theJerk242 (778433) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:56AM (#9716196) Homepage Journal
    Is there anything that you don't blame Bush for? When you have no better argument, just work in some good old fashioned Bush bashing. Fucking troll.

    You are mistaken. I did not intend to bash Bush. I don't care for him but I don't hate him. I'm just bashing how screwed up the UN's sence of justice is. UN law states that waging an agressive war against the consent of the UN is punishable by being put on trial at the Haige (excuse my spelling). In other words, you will be punished as a war criminal. George W. Bush Jr. did exactly that. I'm not sayiny that Bobby Fischer is a saint either. After all, he went against the UN will by playing a chess in Yugoslavia. So in summary, which is the greater evil, a chess player or a war criminal? I was just trying to point out the irony of how the UN is supposed to prevent wars from happening by punishing those who do cause agressive wars but instead put more effort into punishing someone who was merely playing chess.

  • by haystd (145257) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:58AM (#9716219)
    This creates debt, not more money.
    Not necessarily, debt can be used wisely. For example, a mortgage can be a very good thing as long as a person intelligently shops for a home and a good mortgage and doesn't buy beyond their means, plus most people can deduct a portion of the interest (on homes) in the US. The same is true of college loans, it provides the resources to go to college for many and the interest may be deductible.
  • by Cymage (612344) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:05AM (#9716295)
    Here is a person that doesn't want to keep more $$$ in their pocket.

    Buffett slams dividend tax cut

    One of world's richest calls plan 'voodoo economics,' says it puts burden on low-income families.

    Quotes: "The 3 percent overall federal tax rate I would pay -- if a Berkshire dividend were to be tax free -- seems a bit light," Buffett wrote.

    "Putting $1,000 in the pockets of 310,000 families with urgent needs is going to provide far more stimulus to the economy than putting the same $310 million in my pockets," Buffett added.

    CNN [cnn.com]

  • by Cryogenes (324121) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:06AM (#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?
  • Re:Mentally Ill (Score:5, Informative)

    by CyPlasm (89582) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:11AM (#9716361) Journal
    From this [theatlantic.com] article:

    Contrary to popular belief, Fischer didn't emerge from the womb a full-blown grand master. While he was learning the game, as a child in Brooklyn, he was essentially a hotshot club player--a prodigy, to be sure, but not obviously world-championship material. But at age thirteen, in 1956, Fischer made a colossal leap. That year he became the youngest player ever to win the U.S. Junior Championship. He also dominated the U.S. tournament circuit. What was astounding wasn't simply that a gawky thirteen-year-old kid in blue jeans was suddenly winning chess tournaments. It was the way he was winning. He didn't just beat people--he humiliated them.

    Maybe the onset of puberty "turned on" his mental illness. This [healthieryou.com] article and others [nih.gov] seem to suggest that puberty can trigger an underlying mental condition. In fact, this article [healthyplace.com] says:

    Social phobia is the irrational fear and avoidance of being in a situation in which a person's activities can be watched by others. In a sense, it is a form of "performance anxiety," but a social phobia causes symptomsthat go well beyond the normal nervousness before an on-stage appearance. People suffering social phobias intensely fear being watched or humiliated while doing something--such as signing a personal check, drinking a cup of coffee, buttoning a coat or eating a meal--in front of others. Many patients suffer a generalized form of social phobia, in which they fear and avoid most interactions with other people. This makes it difficult for them to go to work or school, or to socialize at all. Social phobias occur equally among men and women, generally developing after puberty and peaking after age 30. A person can suffer from one or a cluster of social phobias.

    Sounds like Mr. Fischer to me!

  • by amliebsch (724858) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:11AM (#9716364) Journal
    He broke U.S. law in addition to UN "law," therefore he can be tried in U.S. courts.
  • by Detritus (11846) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:14AM (#9716408) Homepage
    World chess champions have not been noted for their mental stability.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:24AM (#9716580)
    The poor are already paying almost nothing. Somewhere around 10-15% for families making less then $40,000... Of course $40,000 is quite a bit to be considered poverty. I think the idea is that lowering a lower or middle class person's tax rate a few percent isn't going to make a huge difference in their bottom line, at lease not enough for them to go out and build a new factory. A more affluent person may actually be able to make an impact on the efficiency of the economy.
  • Re:Jesus! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:31AM (#9716712)
    Seeing as most autistics tend to be very very good with mathmatics

    A lot of people believe this, probably due to the popularity of the movie Rain Man, but the fact is that so-called "idiot savants" are fairly rare among autistics. Most autistics do not have exceptional mathematic abilities.
  • by reidbold (55120) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:32AM (#9716720)


    Number of U.S. executions Value
    Year 1999 98
    Year 2000 85
    Year 2001 66
    Year 2002 71
    Average per year since 1976 29
    Total executions since 1976 820http://www.religioustolerance.org/executd.htm

  • Correct. Further... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mindstrm (20013) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:45AM (#9716937)
    not all such savants are mathematically inclined... sometimes it's music, sometimes it's memory, sometimes it's bizarre abstract math, etc.

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Informative)

    by JustAnotherReader (470464) on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:01PM (#9717136)
    If I remember correctly, in addition to being intelligent and somewhat crazy, wasn't there some talk a while back about him being autistic, or at least showing some traits of autism?

    I have a nephew who is autistic. Autism is an overwhelming syndrome that generally restricts the person who has it to only the most basic level of communication. More likely Fischer has symptoms of Asperger's syndrome.

    With Asperger's syndrom a person will often be quite intelligent but have some difficulty communicating verbally. They can speak, but they come off as being very shy. They tend to be focused on patterns and sequences (quite a talent to have for a chess player). They also tend to "self stimulate" by self hugging and/or rocking back and forth.

    All these symptom also appear in autistic children but with autism the ability to speak and communicate normally is quite often lost. They sometimes also tend not to bond with people. I know there was a time when my nephew didn't seem to understand that he had to relate to the people in his family differently than he relates to a chair. Also, autism tends to strike male children at about 18 months to 2 years old. It's not a syndrome that get worse as you get older. You have it or you don't.

    Fisher can obviously speak well. His thoughts may be delusional, but he doesn't have the speech issues or physical movement issues normally associated with autism.

  • by Von Rex (114907) on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:07PM (#9717211)
    Check this out. He wasn't very cordial.

    A letter he wrote to a Jewish encylopaedia that said he was a Jew [att.ne.jp]

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scarblac (122480) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:51PM (#9717936) Homepage

    An innocent play? There were economic sanctions against Yugoslavia for the civil war and genocide in Bosnia(*) that was supported by the Yugoslavs. Fischer netted $3.5 million for what amounted to a propaganda operation. He was convicted by a US jury, and I can see why.

    (*: I'm not 100% sure if it was exactly that part of the war, or another conflict at the time)

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:2, Informative)

    by operagost (62405) on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:53PM (#9717974) Homepage Journal
    Actually, it wasn't just the U.S. that forbade it, it was a U.N. sanction. Essentially, the whole world forbade it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:04PM (#9718151)
    No, because had they did, the earth would be shrouded in a thick layer of nuclear fallout and we wouldn't be posting on slashdot. We were lucky to just fight proxy wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan (and all those coups everyone orchestrated).
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:35PM (#9718643) Journal
    All the people against the iraq war was saying america wasn't giving the UN and its sanctions a chance. Now the UN is going after a sanction buster and the same people are crying foul.

    Sanction like this have been used before against south-africa. Put the country into total isolation and hope that this will become to big a burden to bear.

    Does it work? Well it doesn't for cuba and north-korea (wether it is right or not is another discussion) but it worked in South-Africa.

    But if a sanction is going to work it got to be complete. It is sorta like any law. You can have a speeding law but let person X speed because going after just one guy isn't "nice".

    There was an embargo, he broke it, he goes to jail. That is was "merely" a chess game is exactly the point. This was a cultural embargo. The entire point of it is to make it very clear to the people inside the embargo that they are no longer welcome in the world unless they learn to behave.

    There are just three choices to deal with countries that are "misbehaving", ignore/santion/war. All of them been tried and all failed and succeeded. If you can come up with a better one be sure to tell the world. But at least be consistent. You don't want embargo/santions and don't want war. Then don't whine ever again about something nasty happening to population X by population Y.

    Doesn't help this guys case that he is a nutter. There won't be much of a public outcry cause as soon as he opens his mouth people will be on the opposite side. Oh well couldn't have happened to a nicer person.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:40PM (#9718703)
    Semite != Jewish

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Muerte2 (121747) on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:48PM (#9718815) Homepage
    While I agree with you that Mr. Fischer is a little extreme with regards to his political reviews, that's his right. You can say all the crazy whacked out things you want, even things that aren't true. That's what freedom is speech is all about. That's what this country is founded on. It's only when you begin to act on these feelings that you run afoul of the law.

    There are certainly other people just like him living free in the US spouting just as much insane madness, but they're not being investigated by the feds. If you don't believe me have a walk through downtown USA outside a homeless shelter. Having a contrary opinion is NOT a crime. If it were all of us /F?OSS/i people would probably be in jail. If Mr. Gates had his way anyway.
  • by sirwired (27582) on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:54PM (#9718896)
    I believe he had been indicted years ago. It just took him a while to be caught.

    SirWired
  • by debest (471937) on Friday July 16, 2004 @03:05PM (#9719862)
    The highlight was the 1980 US/USSR hockey match for the gold medal.

    Not to nitpick too much, but this famous game was NOT for the gold medal, it was a semi-final match. The USA squad still had to beat Finland in the final to get the gold.

    Not that we Canadians still don't believe that was just a huge cosmic fluke, and all, but.... ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @04:26PM (#9721105)
    The sanctions were about doing business there, and in my book a $3.3 million dollar deal constitutes big business. Nobody would have minded if he went there to play chess for free.
  • by Dizzle (781717) on Friday July 16, 2004 @04:41PM (#9721281) Journal
    If cancer was cured, the pharmaceutical companies would be out of business.

    The "good" thing, in terms of interest to the big pharmaceuticals, is that you don't need to catch cancer. People don't catch cancer from other people, they catch it from other stuff such as dangerous activities (smoking and drinking come to mind) or through their genes.

    Unless they're curing people's genetic tendencies to form cancerous cells, the pharmaceuticals have a reason to cure cancer. If someone were gauranteed that their cancer could be cured, don't you think they'd be willing to pay a lot more?

    A cure for cancer doesn't mean that cancer goes away, just that people don't die from it.
  • Re:Sad, but true (Score:4, Informative)

    by SEE (7681) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:13PM (#9722209) Homepage
    In the sole case where it's actually been enforced for "literally half a century" - Cuba - "the families of immigrants (and imigrants themselves)" are being heard, and the loudest voices among them don't want to repeal the sanctions.

    The Cuba sanctions are supported by the most powerful Cuban-American political groups, and by Cuban-American congressmen - like the two Diaz-Balarts (who are Fidel Castro's nephews). That's why Congress hasn't repealed this.

    You can call it ethnic discrimination if you like, but it's the ethnicity itself that supports the discrimination.
  • by EvilSporkMan (648878) on Sunday July 18, 2004 @01:12PM (#9731623)
    100 is average by definition. The test determines your "mental age", which is divided by your real age and then multiplied by 100 to get a nice round number. Practically, anywhere from 90 to 110 is average due to variances in testing and all that jazz. This is according to my World Book Encyclopedia; The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] makes no mention of this.

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