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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 @09:37AM (#9715417) Homepage
    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 erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:39AM (#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 CrackedButter (646746) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:39AM (#9715439) Homepage Journal
    Anybody with some knowledge care to inform the few of us who are clueless as to what he did other than play a game of ...chess.
  • by lxt (724570) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:40AM (#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 gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:44AM (#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 foidulus (743482) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:46AM (#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 October_30th (531777) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:47AM (#9715514) Homepage Journal
    Yes.

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

  • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@carpane[ ]et ['t.n' in gap]> on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:53AM (#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 ~Socrates (126796) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:53AM (#9715570) Homepage
    I just couldn't help myself but think of the movie Hatley High when I saw this newsitem. I thought it was a great movie about chess and would like to reccommend it to all :).

    imdb link [imdb.com]
  • by yack0 (2832) <keimel@gmail . c om> on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:54AM (#9715579) Homepage
    > Sad when a genius has his cheese slide off his cracker.

    Fischer's cheese was never on his cracker. Ever.

    Yes, he was/is a brilliant chess player, but other than that he's shown absolutely no positive social graces, a raging ego (into the bad side of ego - some ego good) a sense of vengeance overall and a pretty cracked sense of the world.

    I'd even submit that there's a large portion of those who could be 'genius' and are wackos and/or socially inept as well.

    (no, not a troll, but I realize I should don the nomex suit)
  • Jesus! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:55AM (#9715585) Homepage Journal
    Did you listen to the whole thing? He's fucking nuts! I guess there is such a thing as being too intelligent. I just thought that if you were intelligent, you'd be smart enough to know where the straw men are. He said the Holocaust was a hoax, among other really scary things.
  • by SydShamino (547793) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:03AM (#9715672)
    >> If his only transgression were for the love of the game, the world would have forgiven him quickly... the court of public opinion would have ruled in his favor. ... If it's true that his views are against the people of Jewish faith and that he applauds the horror of 9-11, then the court of public opinion will rule against him if it hasn't already.

    He sounds like a stupid jackhole with more ego than higher intellect (with the exception of chess), but I'm still glad the "court of public opinion" has no bearing whatsoever on how he will be tried or sentenced. He opinions on 9/11 or the Holocaust, as stupid as they may be, are still his to say, and they cannot be used to influence his prosecution in a criminal case unless he tries to use them in his defense.

    I find it more telling, though, that we'll seek to retain a guy who played a game of chess in the wrong country, while letting one who defected to the wrong country, technically at war with us, then made propaganda films for them, be allowed safe passage just because he's sick. I hope to see consistency, one way or another.
  • by tabdelgawad (590061) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:06AM (#9715702) Homepage
    The difference is that Capone's other 'activities' were criminal, but spouting off anti-semitic and anti-American propaganda is not. I really hope this was a routine bust, not a calculated way to silence dissent (even if it's the worst kind of dissent).
  • by Doc Scratchnsniff (681952) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:08AM (#9715718) Homepage
    No, there should not. While these particular sanctions no longer exist, other sanctions exist against other countries, and will presumably exist in the future. Sanctions are not an end unto themselves, they are a means of coercing the sanctioned party in some way. This means all sanctions are intended to end eventually. The "violating a law no longer in effect" clause would diminish the effectiveness of sanctions, since potential violators would need only evade discovery until the sanctions are lifted.

    A quite extreme example of this is Iraq right now. Should we "let slide" anyone who broke sanctions there? After all, sanctions are lifted now. Of course, if the sanctions had been strictly held to, perhaps they would have actually diminished Saddam's power, instead of increasing it.

  • by Otter (3800) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:13AM (#9715766) Journal
    Well I had never heard of him before this.

    At the time, though, he was very widely known. Not quite "Miracle On Ice" level, maybe, although Fischer may in fact have higher name recognition than Mike Eruzione or Ken Morrow. Certainly they made a movie about Fischer first.

    It's amazing how poor people's memory can be, but the image of the Soviet Union as a nuclear-armed Bulgaria was created purely in hindsight. Fischer was before my time, but I'm old enough to remember be lectured about how we lazy, stupid American kids were doomed in the face of Soviet schoolchildren studying hours of astrophysics every day before heading off to physical training that exceeded what NFL players did back then. I was a bit startled when Russian children started arriving in our school. (Mostly Jewish emigres whose parents had served time.) I was "This is what they keep scaring us over?"

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lseltzer (311306) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:19AM (#9715829)
    And he was fucking nuts back in 72 as well. He's always been paranoid. He went apeshit before the 72 tournament refusing to play if there were any cameras or recording devices in the room. I believe he forfeited at least one game because he imagined there was a camera there.

    I was 11 years old at the time but I remember it pretty clearly. I was aware back then that he was kooky anti-semite.
  • by J-Piddy (581018) <goethe202@yahoGINSBERGo.com minus poet> on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:20AM (#9715836)
    Just doing some quick mental math, I find it hard to believe that anyone's memory is good enough to memorize enough of the intial moves to have a significant impact.

    At the beginning of the game, there won't be much variation between one game and another (at least compared to later in the game), so what's the difference between playing enough games that you figure out what are good openings and good counters, and just memorizing them? Do you think Fischer doesn't know "scores and scores of standard openings" himself?

    I would argue that the difference is in the middle game, where there is so much variation that only practice and pure ability can help, and where the chess versions of "script kiddies" are easily dispatched.

    IMAM (I Am A Mathematician), so trust me that combinatorics with games like this produce some huge frickin' numbers very quickly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:22AM (#9715870)
    It's not cheating, but it does allow a way of playing the game besides thinking out your moves. If you can remember a large number of opening moves and end games, you can significantly reduce the amount of effort required to win. This is exactly how computers are able to beat human players at chess. They store huge numbers of opening and ending moves, and only use "smarts" to get from one set to the other. Randomising the pieces would drastically increase the number of the possible opening moves, most likely making it practically impossible for any human to remember any significant number. Computers would have similar difficulty, and it would probably take a lot of time and storage space to allow them to match up against a grand master again.

    I think it would also change the inherent fairness of the game. Randomising the location of the pieces for each side is likely to give one person an advantage. The question is, is it more likely to give one side an advantage than the other side? Well, since we don't even have proof of whether or not chess is a fair game to begin with, I doubt we'll know that for awhile. Personally, I think being inherently unfair while also being computationally intractable makes for an interesting game.

    I've got to try this.
  • 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 jjohnson (62583) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:25AM (#9715885) Homepage
    What Fischer calls "cheating" is what others call "chess study". His criticism of the current form of chess is that being a grandmaster involves memorization of openings and endgames more than general strategy and tactics. His particular criticism of the "Russian Chess Machine", as he called it, was that it cheated by having hordes of grandmasters studying chess to back up their contender in a tournament; when there was a break in the game, the contender would meet with his committee of experts and receive the abridged version of their studies. The effect was to multiply the power of the contender because the rote memorization and study was done for him.

    Of course, Fischer also accused Russian chess players of throwing games to advance other Russian chess players who'd been picked to be the champion so that their contendor could get to the final round without exerting himself, and be fresh for the championship match, while someone like Fischer had to fight his way to that match and be exhausted when he got there.

    Fischer saw the former kind of cheating as an inherent problem in the fixed starting position of the game, and invented Fischerandom (TM) to overcome it. By randomizing the starting positions, book openings become meaningless and chess becomes much more an exercise in pure strategy/tactics and on-the-board analysis.
  • Re:Jesus! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:28AM (#9715920)
    A lot of top players are nuts. Korchnoi claimed opponents were using mind control on him. Morphy became a paranoid recluse. Euwe wore gloves while playing his games. Alekhine was world champ for many years but noone claimed his body when he died. Its a lonely occupation and the top players seem to have no other interests.
  • by mslinux (570958) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:31AM (#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.
  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Almighty Dave (663959) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:32AM (#9715966)
    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?
  • by cbelt3 (741637) <cbelt.yahoo@com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:38AM (#9716024) Journal
    Sort of, but, well, Blah. It's not that the "United States" grows intelligent people any more or less than any other country on this planet. Same base gene pool, kids. It's more that this country offers / offered the necessary freedoms and opportunities to let the hard working folks with dreams dream and achieve great things. Now that we're becoming more like other countries with more lawyers than scientists and philosphers, it's tougher to achieve dreams. Especially when everyone is suing you. Of course, that happened a lot back then (think Tesla)
  • by imroy (755) <imroykun@gmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:55AM (#9716190) Homepage Journal

    Ok, IANAE (I am not an economist), but from what I understand the "trickle down effect" just doesn't work the way people want it to. Firstly, The rich are already spending a lot of money. Giving them even more isn't going to make as big an impact as doing the same to a poorer person. Secondly, the rich still only make up a small percentage of the world's/US's population. So giving a tax cut to the poor instead of the rich will affect many more people. And lastly, the money spent by a rich person doesn't really trickle down to the needy. When they buy up-market products, the money will very quickly "leave" the local area since it's likely to be imported (no matter where they live). The money goes to some company, and executive pay is almost universally improportionate to the worker's pay. So it's basically the rich paying the rich, with very little actually trickling down.

    If Bush Jr really wanted to encourage the economy, a tax cut for the poor would have made a much better and longer lasting impact to many more people. People could pay off debts, get a better education, spend more time with the kids, start a small business, etc. He could have given people living on or near the povety line the opportunity to pick themselves up off the floor and make something of themselves. That would really help the economy. But instead he just gave the rich more of what they already have too much of.

  • by clary (141424) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:57AM (#9716210)
    Tax cuts are a "temporary high" because they must be met by either lower government spending in the future, undoing 1., or higher interests rates and higher interest payments to non-US residents, undoing 2.
    Discussion of tax cuts always seem to ignore a crucial factor: the tax rate before the cut. From what information I have been able to gather in my feeble, non-economist research, the tax rate cuts of Reaganomics were followed by an increase in tax revenue. (Reagan spent that and more, but that is another story.)

    Anyway, look at it this way. What will be the total revenue if the tax rate were 0 percent? Zero. What will be the total revenue if the tax rate were 100 percent? I can guarantee you that tax revenue from my lazy ass would also be zero in that case. If you are trying to maximize revenue, then there is a sweet spot someplace in between. (Whether maximizing revenue should be the goal is also another discussion.)

    A serious discussion of taxes must consider what should be the absolute tax rate. Republicans want to lower tax rates? Make them tell you what is their ideal tax rate for each income level. Democrats say tax cuts are irresponsible? Make them tell you what rates for each income level would be appropriate.

  • by hibiki_r (649814) on Friday July 16, 2004 @10:58AM (#9716218)

    You might be a mathematician, but I'm pretty sure you are not a chess player. Most legal opening moves are so bad that a chess player does not have to memorize anything: If somebody opens with something like a3 or g4, any reasonable move will give you an advantage. This is caused by how inmediately obvious most bad moves are. In chess, a really bad move can be "punished" 2 or thee moves later. A more subtle error might be noticeable in 8 moves or so. Compared to a game like Go, where mistakes could not be obvious to an amateur 30 moves later, chess's true complexity is relatively low.

    In pro chess you'll never see a truly awful opening move: any move that could be considered a theoretical innovation is tested and retested by a grandmaster before he ever makes it on the board.

    As far as known opening lines go, some of the biggest opening families like the Ruy Lopez have known variants well past move 10. More like move 23. Any Grandmaster out there knows all of that theory. Even I, a complete amateur, know more than a couple dozen opening lines past the 8th move.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:00AM (#9716241)
    I was a bit startled when Russian children started arriving in our school. (Mostly Jewish emigres whose parents had served time.) I was "This is what they keep scaring us over?"

    Depends on where they were coming from. A friend from Kiev area says everyone in his school district went through summer military training, learning to throw grenades, fire guns, etc, and that this was common throughout the area. When i mentioned this to a girl from Azerbaijan, she just rolled her eyes and said, "We never did anything like that - those Ukranians took everything way too seriously".
  • Re:Sanction info (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stienman (51024) <adavis@ubasi[ ]com ['cs.' in gap]> on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:07AM (#9716323) Homepage Journal
    For those keeping track of world events, those are essentially the same sanctions against Cuba. Many people say that it's illegal to travel there, but that's false - travelling there is fine - you just can't spend any money there.

    -Adam
  • by X_Bones (93097) <danorz13.yahoo@com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:09AM (#9716340) Homepage Journal
    This is called supply-side economics [korpios.org]; it's a nice concept, but it doesn't work. The problem is two-fold: people are greedy, and manufacturing techniques have made human labor more and more obsolete.

    Having more money in the bank does not make one more likely to start a business; why risk throwing money down the toilet on a failed startup when you can save it for a rainy day? Likewise, having more money does not make one more likely to consume more. Everyone needs certain manufactured goods, but those can be produced without human labor; that doesn't create any jobs. But the big-ticket items, by their very nature, are only available to a limited market; a small demand would not create many jobs either.* The US tried this in the 80s and it didn't work, and there's no indication that it would work now.


    * and don't think that an across-the-board tax cut would help the situation. Big-ticket items would rise in price accordingly, following the classic supply and demand rules.
  • by Rei (128717) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:14AM (#9716407) Homepage
    Ah, so high upper class tax brackets are a hindrance on the economy? Gee, you should have told that to the governments of the US during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, when the top US tax bracket hovered between 70-85%, and which (surely by pure coincidence) was our nation's greatest boom time. Then, our top tax bracket starts falling, all the way to below 30% under Reagan (while western Europe's top brackets rise), and (surely by coincidence) Europe's economy gains on the US's by leaps and bounds.

    Surely it was a fluke, since you're so insistant that high top tax brackets will ruin the economy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:18AM (#9716499)
    Poor people don't pay taxes. I make 36,000USD and have 3 kids. At the end of the year, I get everything I paid and more back.

    Small Businesses deserve the biggest tax breaks, IMO.

    I also believe that the goal of every single politician should be to DECREASE the programs that it offers over time. I'm sick and tired of people becoming so dependant on the government. It only encourages lazieness. Both on the part of the person taking the handouts, and on the part of the people who should be helping their fellow man. Instead, people just say "Go to the welfare office dude... free money!"

    sheeesh
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:20AM (#9716516)
    There's a slight problem with your argument. There are certain cases where you should NOT be tried for a crime you comitted, that was illegal at the time, but no longer so.

    A specific example I can think of is marijuana posession/use. Most of Europe has already figured out that there's no point in prosecuting personal posession/use. They won't prosecute you for posession back when it WAS illegal either. The reason? There was no basis for the law in the first place.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:21AM (#9716537)
    The problem with people LIKE YOU, is that they don't realize that "fundamental christians" are at the core of many, many advances that provide YOU with many of the things that you enjoy, like the democratic republic of the US of A.

    Thomas Jefferson, one of the great Libertarian minds, was a Deist who distrusted organized religions. I was raised Catholic until I had enough of the political rhetoric and decided to live out God's laws by living the best life I can and helping others independently of a church.

    The other examples you provide miss my point altogether... but as an example, there are Christian organizations who advocate the slaying of doctors in the name of "saving children." See my other anon. post for more examples of what I was referring to.

    I have to post anonymouly to preserve Karma-- while this is worthwhile discussion, it is offtopic, flamebait, and just generally outside of the usual slashdot commentary. :)
  • by Art_XIV (249990) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:23AM (#9716564) Journal

    A few years ago I spent several months working with a developer who was from Russia. Being a bit of a xenophile, I regularly questioned him regarding Russian life, politics, culture, etc, and was even able to explain a few curiosities of American culture to him.

    One day during lunch we found out that we had both been in the Army (not the same Army) at the same time, back when there was still a Cold War. I began to chuckle over the propoganda that the Army endeavored to instill in myself and my fellow soldiers. We had the impression that the Soviets were a bunch of automatons with no respect for human life that were just waiting to go war for any reason. How the Soviets were just dying to use chemical and/or nuclear weapons!

    Sergei began to laugh, too, and said 'That's the same sort of thing that they used to tell us about you Americans.'

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:32AM (#9716728) Homepage
    No, he didn't kill anyone - although, in response to September 11th, he told a Philippine radio station:

    "I was happy? ?Yes, I applaud the act? ?Fuck the US. I wanna see the US wiped out. "

    I'm just waiting to hear him blame his detention on Japanese Jewish operatives. ;) You know, Bobby, I'm not too fond of Israel's policies in the middle east, either. However, when you take things as far as, say, blaming the confiscation of your property in absentia by the government on "the Jews", you might as well be working to rebuild the Fourth Reich. Lets close with one of Bobby's quotes:

    "I'm hoping for a [scenario] where the [US] will be taken over by the military, to close down all the synagogues, arrest all the Jews, execute hundreds of thousands of Jewish ringleaders, and you know, apologize to the Arabs by killing off all the Jews over there in that bandit state, you know, Israel."

    Sieg heil, Bobby. Sieg heil.
  • by Slime-dogg (120473) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:33AM (#9716756) Journal

    Whoah. Bush is fun to make fun of. It doesn't actually reflect the effectiveness of his governance, nor does his propensity to attract jokes reflect the rebound that our economy has had... He's just easy to make fun of. Nearly every president is.

    I'd say that more people have a problem with Ashcroft than Bush, even though John is the result of George's decision-making process. I'd say that Bush has really only made a couple of mistakes:

    1. Telling us that there were WMD in Iraq, and that's why we should attack. He should have just told us outright that Suddam was dangerous to everyone, exposed his and France's cheating ways, and then gone after him. Of course, this would be after the whole Afghanistan thing is done. Military action, though politically dangerous, is usually beneficial to the economy, nationalism, and unification of citizens.
    2. Putting the power-hungry Ashcroft into his position. The department of homeland defence is sort of redundant, since we're supposed to have a fully functional NSA and FBI. I think Bush was just goaded into creating the new department, but I didn't hear any bitching in opposition at the time.

    Everything else... his big ears, his horrible handling of the English language, his slips of the tongue, his appearance of looking stupid, his daughters... they really don't have anything to do with his actual performance as a president.

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deathdonut (604275) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:34AM (#9716770)
    While he didn't willingly concede a game, he was warned that if he kept making silly demands (such as removing the first 7 rows of spectators, changing the lighting, de-glossing the chessboard, etc) the game would be forfeit. He continued, and the second game of the match was awarded to Spassky. The third game (and his first win of the match) was played in a secluded room to placate him. After the third match, he stopped being the one making insane demands and the Russians started taking apart light fixtures, filling bags with 'air samples' and accusing Fischer of using electronics to interfere with Spassky's brainwaves.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:44AM (#9716925) Homepage Journal
    Mr. Fischer I'm sure could have called any US embassy in the world these past 10 years and asked to get it all straightened out. Instead he knowingly hid and travelled on a revoked passport making the case against him worse.

    Would you propose that people you personally like should jump bail just because no puppies or Chomskyites were hurt in the process?
  • Arabs are semites. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:51AM (#9717021)

    I hadn't heard he was anti-Arab. Anti-Zionist , yes, (and I can respect that, at least while Sharon's in charge over there) and Anti-Jewish (I'm American, and believe in freedom of religion, so I can't agree with him on that one) but not anti-semitic .

    Equating anti-zionism and anti-judaism with anti-semitism is just a way to dehumanize the non-Jewish semitic peoples. They are real and they deserve just as much recognition as Jewish semites. Don't fall into the trap... especially if you are North American; remember, we're supposed to be the Good Guys! (TM)
  • by Otter (3800) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:59AM (#9717122) Journal
    Having posted earlier, I had started thinking along the same lines. When I was a kid, the rightists insisted were facing mortal threat from a merciless, implacable, all-powerful enemy. The leftists insisted it was all a big understanding, they were a superior, peace-loving society acting only in response to our American evil, and that the whole thing was a scam by our moron president and theocratic attorney general to implement a police state.

    And those Russian kids told us about a wretched, oppressive society whose primary victims were its own people but which had copied enough Western technology to still be quite dangerous. They, of course, turned out to be entirely correct.

    This all sounds oddly familiar. But I still remember going to bed without being certain that the world would still be there the next day, which is why I can't work up the frenzy over today's issues that other people have.

    Anyway, that's my Big Thought for Friday. Bring on today's SCO ragefest!

  • by bigpat (158134) on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:01PM (#9717145)
    "I'd agree with you, and am a big fan of that notion, but the problem is that Microsoft keeps the large majority of their reserves as cash. Which just fucks everything up. They need to start investing/spending."

    Cash "equivalents" probably, which include investments in other publicly traded companies. But regardless that cash is definately not just sitting around. It is being used to finance millions of americans spending.

    The real problem is that with the concentration of wealth, even the middle class are going into increasing amounts of debt. So, while they aren't leading a lower material standard of living than they otherwise would, they are increasingly becoming indebted to the rich. This sets up an environment where the rich, mostly through corporations and government, exercise undo control over people's lives. This cycle of control has been seen many times before in history and will increasingly become a form of feudalism and slavery.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:03PM (#9717161)
    It's this short sightedness and lack of the understanding of economics that leads these bashers of corporate and wealthy America. If you can't understand that the only reason jobs exist is because one of those evil rich CEO's created and developed a business that required human capital, you are living in an imaginary world.

    Job's don't simply exist arbitrarily, and jobs aren't created by the lower class. Lower class consumers can spend to increase demand for products and services which eventually will create a demand for human capital, but that's just a part of the big equation. Those who became wealthy by running a business and produced the ideas and implemented them are the ones who are absolutely necessary for jobs to exist.

    What makes me sick is these people who demonize the rich as evil, greedy, and only looking out for themselves. Those in the lower classes are every bit as greedy as those in the upper classes. Denouncing the rich simply because they've got more is ridiculous. Everyone wants as much money as they can acquire, most everyone at least, whether they are rich or poor. Discrediting the accomplished is simply stupid and counterproductive. Why in the world are we discrediting the successful out of jealousy?

    Life's not fair. In the system of capitalism there are winners and losers. Some of you may have ideas of a different system that would ideally be more fair to the poor. But the important thing to realize is that the ideal system is irrelevant if it does not produced the desired intended results when it's put in place.

    This whole idea of taking more money from the rich, giving it to the government and redistributing it somehow to the rest of us has been tried before. Although in some people's eyes this ideally should work to better all of us, the absolute fact is that this has been tried before and continues to go on in the world and the consequences are not what were expected.

    If you can't see that capitalism and the freedom of individuals to operate in the ways that you all condemn is what made this country the most free and wealthy nation in history, I don't know what to tell you. You are simply refusing to acknowledge factual evidence and reality.
  • Re:Jesus! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joshamania (32599) <jggramlich@@@yahoo...com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:03PM (#9717163) Homepage
    No, it's not total bullshit. Fischer violated economic sanctions that were leveled against a country for being complicit in the mass murder of thousands of people. His participation in the match gave credibility and economic advantage (probably) to a government that slaughtered its citizens.

    Now tell me it's total bullshit.
  • by Coppit (2441) on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:15PM (#9717366) Homepage
    Gee, what a big win for the US. Found an aging chess player who was on the run for an act of civil disobedience.

    If he were Martha Stewart, he would have gotten a slap on the wrist (and would have still appealed). As it is, I bet he was on some FBI shit list.

    By the way, this same sort of thing happened recently with the IEEE [ieee.org] and other professional organizations [ieee.org] with respect to embargoed axis of evil (TM) countries. They reasoned that if you edit a paper submitted from Iran, you are providing a service to that country. A couple professional societies gave the Treasury Department the finger. In April they finally recently fixed that part of the law so that the organizations are in the clear again.

    Government shouldn't block chess or science... Or crypto while I'm at it. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @12:53PM (#9717971)
    remind me again, what are we hearing about the people in iraq and terrorists from other areas... it seems ... familar.
  • Fischerandom Chess (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lseltzer (311306) on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:05PM (#9718179)
    Incidentally, in the wake of this story I noticed that he's been promoting something called "Fischerandom Chess" in which the first row pieces are places semi-randomly. See for more on this game. [chessvariants.com]
  • Re:Mentally Ill (Score:3, Interesting)

    by McDutchie (151611) on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:21PM (#9718452) Homepage
    If he has a social phobia that was severe, why was he in one of the mostly densely populated countries in the world? Just walking in Narita International Airport would have been a major challenge for him.

    Well, no... you don't interact with any of those people, nor would any of them be particularly watching you. In fact, being anonymous in a crowd is the easiest way for a socially phobic person to be "among people".

  • Sad, but true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Buran (150348) on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:22PM (#9718456)
    So if you need to go there to spend time with your dying father/grandfather BECAUSE HE'S DYING, they expect you to not eat anything while there, not stay anywhere, not get from the airport to where he's hospitalized, etc. etc. And the airlines are asshats and suddenly lose any recognition of the words "bereavement fare" and "family emergency" and "I cannot wait, I have to GO NOW" simply because of where you are trying to go (which is sadly typical of their behavior, I think, and a lot of why they're having money/image problems lately) just because of where your family happens to live.

    That seems to me rather cold-hearted and discriminatory on the part of the airlines/government and unfairly passes judgment on those who just happen to be from a particular part of the world and immigrated here for whatever their reasons might have been. Those people haven't done anything wrong and yet they're being fined and thrown in jail for trying to do the same thing anyone else would do... like visit their family, send money back home from wages earned fairly, not necessarily their immediate family (yes, really, there's a law telling you who you have to send money to and how much) ...

    Discrimination doesn't have to be about skin color to be discrimination -- it can be ethnic, too. I can't believe these crazy laws are still on the books after literally half a century. Why hasn't Congress repealed this? I'm sure the families of immigrants (and immigrants themselves) can be heard if they want to, and I can't see why they wouldn't want to.
  • by danheskett (178529) <[danheskett] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:24PM (#9718480)
    Following the news I've also continusouly heard about the continuing growth of the gap between the most wealthy and least, but I'm not sure if its real or just a statistical effect.
    I am not so concerneda about the gap. Having wealth leads to more wealth - that's the nature of investment and interest. And as people have wealth and retain it, it will inevitably grow. I am fine with that.

    The disparity would be concerning if the rest of the stake holders lost ground, but that is not happening based on the information you provided. The wealth of the "average" and median American continues to grow. It is growing more quickly for the wealthy thanks to compounding returns.

    I think the income tax right now is almost just right.
  • by dustman (34626) <[ten.cltt] [ta] [yraeld]> on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:26PM (#9718521)
    You might be a mathematician, but I'm pretty sure you are not a chess player. Most legal opening moves are so bad that a chess player does not have to memorize anything: If somebody opens with something like a3 or g4, any reasonable move will give you an advantage.

    First you say that "a chess player does not have to memorize anything", and then you say that you've memorized a couple dozen lines past the 8th move?

    I play a lot of chess... Since I signed onto freechess.org in Sep 1997, I have played more than 22,000 games (lots of them were with very fast time controls, or variant games, but still)...

    I am still a patzer. The most annoying thing (to me) in a game is just "trying to have fun", play an interesting game, and you run into people with a ton of opening knowledge.

    The fun part of chess is figuring things out. Not looking up a move in a book. (It doesn't matter if you've memorized the openings or not... It's essentially the same thing)

    I like Fischer Random much more than "normal" chess for this reason.

    In pro chess you'll never see a truly awful opening move

    There was another slashdot article a few years ago where a British GM was suggesting that he (and others) had probably played Bobby Fischer online, basically just because they got spanked so bad.

    Against GMs, this "mystery figure" would do things like his first 8 moves moving every pawn up once, or 1. d3 ... 2. Kd2 ... 3. Kc3 etc..

    And even after these horrible openings, this person was still dominating other GMs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:27PM (#9718527)
    Most of the poor people I've known (which is a lot, because I came from a rural environment with little in terms of economic prosperity) spent their money on tobacco products, $1 scratch-off lottery tickets, beer, buying things they couldn't afford (TVs, furniture, computers, ...) through Rent-A-Center, playing Bingo, and buying crap off of QVC. They bought food with food stamps. When that ran out they sat in line for two hours once a week at the local food shelf. They'd steal clothing from the donation bins of the local thrift shop or Salvation Army. They would get housing paid for by welfare (and often would locate from public housing setting to another as they would get evicted).
    So I don't know how many poor people you've known, or if they tend to be different in your neck of the woods, but what you've described sounds nothing like what I've known.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:42PM (#9718731)
    I hadn't heard he was anti-Arab. Anti-Zionist , yes, (and I can respect that, at least while Sharon's in charge over there) and Anti-Jewish (I'm American, and believe in freedom of religion, so I can't agree with him on that one) but not anti-semitic.

    The whole thing involves all sorts of semantic word games. Whilst ignoring that some of the strongest critique of Zionism (in the period of just over a century that it has existed) comes from Orthodox Rabbis.

    Equating anti-zionism and anti-judaism with anti-semitism is just a way to dehumanize the non-Jewish semitic peoples.

    These people's being better known as "Arabs"...

    They are real and they deserve just as much recognition as Jewish semites.

    These are also known as "Oriental Jews", "Sephardic Jews", etc. Yet are a minority of Jews. The largest group, the Ashkenazi, are not Semitic in anthropological terms. Yet are seen as "Semitic" according to Zionism because of speaking a "Semitic language". (N.B. the Zionist definition of "Semitic language" excludes the most widly spoken Semitic language though.)

    Don't fall into the trap... especially if you are North American; remember, we're supposed to be the Good Guys! (TM)

    That is known as "trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted and died of old age".
  • by mabu (178417) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @02:58PM (#9719742)
    It was also against US sanctions. Whatever you may think of the Iraq war, I think it's safe to say that there was no US law explicitly forbidding it.

    Take a look at the Constitution and the War Powers Act. Think again.

    Technically speaking, the president is not granted the authority to declare "war" and Congress does not have the ability to arbitrarily give such authority to the executive branch. Bush's "war" was definitely un-Constitutional, and likely illegal.
  • by bugnuts (94678) on Friday July 16, 2004 @03:43PM (#9720466) Journal
    If cancer was cured, the pharmaceutical companies would be out of business.

    They are more likely to be standing outside colleges offering $10.2M for curing the SYMPTOMS of cancer.

    And compare athletes, which you claim do nothing for society, to movies. Do you pay for movies to derive anything of value (e.g. entertainment)? Do movies contribute to society more or less than athletes?

    And the original poster you quoted, he's probably a pasty-faced geek sitting on his fat, spotted behind, casting judgements on what society does and doesn't need as he fires up a browser to surf more pr0n.

    Not everyone happens to agree with the view that athletes contribute nothing and entertainment is worthless. In fact, most disagree because that's something that Americans spend the most money on.
  • by JimmytheGeek (180805) <jamesaffeld AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @03:46PM (#9720521) Journal
    They cover a wide area:

    math: Claiming X - Y (where both X and Y are > 0) = X in a televised debate. "Fuzzy math! Fuzzy math!" The topic was privatizing social security. Gore said, correctly, that diverting payments that go to current retirees to private accounts leaves a shortfall.

    biology: doesn't believe in principle of evolution

    statecraft: squandered goodwill after 9/11: went from state much sympathized to pariah state much feared.

    statecraft 2: got in a land war in asia. They'll trade 2-10 for every one until we're done. We'll win every battle until we quit.

    statecraft 3: didn't finish potentially winnable war in asia because of elective war in iraq.

    governance: did not prevent torture from being used on those whose hearts and minds we're trying to win.

    governance 2: did not anticipate any problems in Iraq. Every expert did. Went in cheap and sloppy.

    character: lacks the humility and curiosity necessary to avoid the above mistakes. Leads to worse. For example, should have known that unsupervised, untrained 18 year olds will abuse authority. Or should have hired folks who knew that. Instead, encouraged abuse.

    at a certain point, being an optimist equates to being a dumbass. We're long past that point with W.
  • by GooberToo (74388) on Friday July 16, 2004 @04:01PM (#9720737)
    I've had this debate before. I don't consider entertainment to be contributing to humanity. It's fleeting at best. I can assure you that I understand the position that you've offered. I'm just not swollowing it.

    Not everyone happens to agree with the view that athletes contribute nothing and entertainment is worthless.

    As far as sports are concerned, several studies that I've read and/or watched documetataries on, indicate that their popularity stem from neglectful fathers, whereby, sports is the primary mode of emotional attachment to their sons. In turn, their sons grow up mindlessly attached to sports blindly attempting to regain the sole attachment that they had with their father. If anything, the success of sports seems to underline how pethetic and anti-social the average male is. In otherwords, it highlights that sports are a symptom rather than any form of positive social contribution.

  • by Suidae (162977) on Friday July 16, 2004 @04:07PM (#9720855)
    Why do athletes, that contribute NOTHING to society, get paid the most?

    Now, I'm no sportsfan, but to assert that sports are worthless is absurd. One of the most important aspects of society is socialization, and sporting events and teams have a huge influence on that. There are few other events that stimulate as much social interaction as professional sports (of course amature and 'little league' stuff is important too).
  • by mdecerbo (9857) on Friday July 16, 2004 @04:40PM (#9721262)
    It's really hypocritical that the US government can go after Bobby Fischer for violating the UN sanctions on the former Yugoslavia, when that same government was violating them on a massive scale.

    And while Bobby was just playing a chess match, the Feds were shipping huge amounts of arms to their favorite players in the region, the separatist Bosnian Muslims. As the Guardian newspaper in England documented [guardian.co.uk] :

    ...the Pentagon had incurred debts to Islamist groups and their Middle Eastern sponsors. By 1993 these groups, many supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia, were anxious to help Bosnian Muslims fighting in the former Yugoslavia and called in their debts with the Americans. Bill Clinton and the Pentagon were keen to be seen as creditworthy and repaid in the form of an Iran-Contra style operation - in flagrant violation of the UN security council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia.

    The result was a vast secret conduit of weapons smuggling though Croatia. This was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran... Initially aircraft from Iran Air were used, but as the volume increased they were joined by a mysterious fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft.

    Just as the trial of Slobodan Milosevic [slobodan-milosevic.org] is exposing the fact that most of the claims used to justify the US's Kosovo war were bogus [lewrockwell.com], maybe poor Fischer's inevitable trial will expose the lies told to justify the Bosnian war. [mit.edu]

    Now that it's been revealed that al-Qaeda members were fighting for the Bosnian Muslims [aljazeera.net], maybe the USA will acknowledge their mistaken policy, apologize to poor Bobby, and let him go.

    Yeah, right. Being an Empire [antiwar.com] means never having to say you're sorry.

  • by jlanthripp (244362) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:37PM (#9721828) Journal
    Actually, I'm a US citizen, and I've never thought of the UN as anything other than scammers bent on screwing the American People.

    They're not exactly incompetent though, as they've managed to get the US to foot the bill for pretty much everything of consequence they've ever done. And the US, despite providing quite a bit of the most expensive real estate on planet Earth for the UN's office space, despite providing virtually all the manpower ever used to enforce UN policies, despite paying in blood for the UN's fuckups, still owes UN dues!

    The only reason I don't want to see the US withdraw from the UN (and cease all foreign aid to banana republic dictators, etc. etc.) is because at this point in the game it would just make matters even worse.

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mirko (198274) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:59PM (#9722079) Journal
    If you allow countries that are human rights abusers to have the appearance of legitimacy, you give their actions that appearance.
    Actually, the US are under Human Rights Watch focus for Guantanamo's excess, but we sent people play tennis in Los Angeles, though, does this make us corroborate Iraq's invasion ?
    No : it's a game, a proof we support the people under the Power.

    He could have declared his support of that government's actions. That was not forbidden to him. It was only playing in a sanctioned tournament, where he would be representing the US, that was off-limits. Appearance is key here, as he would not actually represent the US's official stance, but would have that appearance to the rest of the world.
    Fisher is a Chess player, not a diplomat. Fox and CNN legitimated that WMD joke, why would they leigitimate Fisher's delirium ?

    No, respect your 1st amendment and let him bark, it's not as dangerous as intelligency evasion or terrorism conceiling.
  • Re:Jesus! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maxpublic (450413) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:45PM (#9722491) Homepage
    He wasn't told that he couldn't play chess in that country, merely that he could not play in a sanctioned tournament in that country. It's a bit of a distinction.

    I see. And somehow that's supposed to make the whole thing less absurd?

    The man is being charged with playing in a chess tournament when his fuckwit government ordered him not to. As insane as the son-of-a-bitch is, the government had no business pulling this totalitarian temper tantrum in the first place.

    It doesn't matter what his views are. It doesn't matter if Hitler is his hero. All that matters is that the government over-extended it's authority and attempted to illegally shackle one of it's own citizens. For try as I might, I see no Constitutional authority granting the government the right to command it's citizens as to which countries they might go to, and what they might do while they're there.

    Max

  • Re:Jesus! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by frost22 (115958) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:46PM (#9722500) Homepage
    This crap is supposed to be "insightful" ?

    If this was even a borderline "free" world he could go play chess where he fucking liked, and tell his politicos to shove it.

    Instead you US morons try to put that guy into prison for moving black and white wooden figures across a small playing field, thereby harming absolutely nobody, and all that while your borderline criminal president is all but proven to have started a real war with thousands of real people getting really killed based on a stinking pile of lies and innuendo ?

    Why the f*** don't you put the Texas moron into jail and leave harmlos players alone, instead ?

    Gosh !

    (Consider that a flame !)

  • Re:Mentally Ill (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hexatron (683320) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:45PM (#9723167) Homepage
    I take this opportunity to trot out my own Fischer anecdotes:

    I went to high school with him, except that he didn't attend it much. The only time I saw him was in a gym class. This class had about 250 kids in it (very big city school), and mostly we just sat around the walls and talked--a few more athletic types played basketball, and the teacher, as I remember, took attendance and hid.

    One day, Bobby Fischer showed up in this class, wearing street clothes (the other gym ritual was changing into white shorts, a white teeshirt (no printing on it--this is in antedeluvian 1958) the smelliest socks imaginable--never washed, abandoned at the end of the year--and Converse-style sneakers.

    So Fischer starts walking through this mass of sullen teenage humanity, and a big freckley Irish kid follows him around, loudly challenging him to a chess match. Fischer finds the teacher, gets whatever signature he needs, and starts walking back to the door. At this point, the Irish kid decides he is the new world chess champion by default, and declaims this loudly in Bobby's ear.

    My high school girl friend went to elementary school with Fischer--it was some little private school. She said that in the fifth grade, if he lost a game (probably basketball) during the lunch break, he would go home for the afternoon.

  • by ratzmilk (137380) on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:46PM (#9723177)
    80% of Humanity is reactive and 20% are proactive. Marketing companies prey on the 80%, as do most of the 20%.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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