donderdag, maart 24, 2005

The Icelandman Commeth

The Free Bobby lobby must be happy.

Chess legend Bobby Fisher is headed to Iceland after finally being freed from eight month's detention in Japan.

Iceland's Parliament voted to award citizenship to Mr. Fischer, a tribute to his epic cold war match in 1972 in Reykjavik against the Russian Boris Spassky.

He has tried to seek political asylum and to renounce his US citizenship, and announced plans to marry Miyoko Watai, head of the Japanese chess association, with whom he had been living in Japan.

Iceland is a close US ally, and as the only non-armed member of Nato depends on Wash ington for its defence. Reykjavik's actions won praise from Fischer's supporters. "Very few countries would have the courage to do what Iceland has done," said John Bosnitch, head of the Committee to Free Bobby Fischer.

Fisher was in detention for trying to leave the country using an invalid passport which was a initially a backhanded way for Japan to do America's bidding. The American government wanted him as Fischer is wanted in the U.S. for playing an exhibition match against Russian Boris Spassky in 1992 on the resort island of Sveti Stefanin. The match was held in violation of sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia. Of course, if it had been one of VP Cheney's war-for-profit buddies at Haliburton, violating sanctions would have been ignored but unlike war-for-profit cronies of Cheney, if convicted in the U.S., Fischer could face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The granting of citizenship will only protect Fischer to an extent. Iceland, like Japan, has an extradition treaty with the U.S. and Washington could continue to seek his arrest.

Fischer was characteristically defiant as he arrived at the airport to be free of Japan.

"I won’t be free until I get out of Japan. This was not an arrest. It was a kidnapping cooked up by Bush and Koizumi," he said, referring to US President George Bush and Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Asked why he thought the US had pursued him for so long, Fischer replied, "It’s a Jew-controlled country," and launched into an anti-Semitic tirade.

As he walked towards the airport entrance, he turned, unzipped his trousers and acted as if he was going to urinate on the wall.

Fischer, meanwhile, says he will launch a $200m civil suit against the US government for wrongful imprisonment and emotional harm.

Of course, with the unnaturally expensive prices of Iceland, he might need every penny.

Fisher's legend is well documented by The Guardian's Stephen Moss:

"Many believe Fischer to be the greatest player of all time. Kasparov, who himself retired recently at the age of 41, had a higher official rating, but that may be misleading - there is an element of inflation in ratings over time. One thing is certain: a match between the two would be a media sensation. Even if they played now, it would be a multimillion-dollar event. How galling it must be for active grandmasters that the world is focused entirely on these two retired rogue bulls of the board. Fischer v Kasparov in Reykjavik some time next year? Why not? See you there!"

By the way, have a listen to Lazy Susan's song about Bobby Fisher. via One Good Move

Geen opmerkingen: