By B. John Zavrel
The US chess genius Bobby Fischer in 1971. Today, the 61-year old faces 10 years in jail for playing chess in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1992.
Bobby Fischer (61), who is considered to be the most brilliant chess player in history, has been arrested in Japan on the request of the US government, ending a 12-year of evading American authorities since 1992. What was his crime? First, a bit of background is needed.
In 1972, at the height of the Cold War, Bobby Fischer became a hero for the free world. Only 29 years old at the time, he became world-known by challenging and defeating the world chess champion at the time, Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. The match, called the "Match of the Century", took place in Reykiavik, Iceland.
In 1992, when the United States under President Bill Clinton invaded the small country of Yugoslavia, bombing it for weeks and weeks as a prelude to similar invasions of Iraq by his successors. There was a rematch scheduled in Yugoslavia with the Russian chess master Boris Spassky. Fischer won the match 10 games to 5, and collected the winning stake of $3 million. Immediately, he was charged by the US with violating UN sanctions.
Ever since that time the chess genius has been moving around the word, from country to country, avoiding the US authorities for 8 years of the Clinton administration and 3 years of the George W. Bush administration. Apparently he has spent time in Japan and in the Philipines.
In 1996 he announced that he gave up chess in its current form, and from then on would play only his own version, called "Fischerandom", in which the pieces on the back line of the board are shuffled by a computer for each match. He said that this would bring fun back into the game, and prevent cheating.
It is a mystery, why the Bush administration would make the arrest of a chess genius such a priority at the time of its war against international terrorism. Osama bin Laden is still at large, the war in Iraq is an unprecedented disaster and rumors about the renewal of draft in the United States continue. There is increasing curtailment of freedoms of Americans under the so-called 'Patriot Act', we all know about the horrible scandal of bestial torture of helpless Iraqi prisoners by the US that shocked the world. The world community now knows that the whole case for war on Iraq was based on false pretexts and lies about non-existent nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
The arrest and persecution of Bobby Fischer and attempts by the US government to put him into prison for up to 10 years &endash; for playing chess in Yugoslavia 12 years ago &endash;in that small country that we bombed for weeks and weeks, without even declaring a war again it--is this the new face of America for the 21st century?
Copyright 2004 West Art, Prometheus 93