Saturday, June 11, 2016

Searching for Bobby Fischer

The Bobby Fischer Museum in Selfoss, Iceland
Chess champion Bobby Fischer spent the final years of his life an exile in Iceland.  This is where he died.  This is where he is buried.

Fischer single-handedly caused the 1970s chess boom (which hit big probably when I was in seventh grade) with his famous championship match with Russian Boris Spassky.  It was a Cold War death match more exciting than Rocky IV because it was real.  USA vs. USSR.  Capitalism vs. Communism.  Fischer vs. Spassky.

There is a museum dedicated to Bobby Fisacher in Selfoss, Iceland, on the southern coast of Iceland.  Fischer is buried here, too, in front of this small church.

Fresh flowers on the grave.  It's nice that someone still cares despite Fischer's obvious demons.

The cemetery and the grave are guarded by a single cat.

Contrary to the information I found on the internet, Fischer is not buried on the property of his museum.  His museum is located on a main street in Selfoss.  It was closed when we arrived Saturday morning.

NOTE:  Not sure why the sign for the Bobby Fischer center is in the shape of the State of Nevada.  I approve nevertheless.

The museum was closed when we got there in the morning.  It's open for a very limited number of hours per day and, again, I was given bad intelligence about this museum from he internet, which told me it was open from 10:00AM to 1:00PM.  It's open from 1:00PM to 4:00PM, summer hours, so plan accordingly on your next Iceland trip.

When we got back to Selfoss after traveling part of the Golden Circle, the museum was open.  The Golden Circle is a mini-loop road -- more of an isosceles triangle than circle, to the south and east of Reykjavik.  Each leg of the triangle is about a 45-minute drive.

The museum is small and uncrowded and fascinating.  Fischer ended up exiled in Iceland when he had his U.S. passport revoked during the George H.W. Bush administration.  Fischer ignored an embargo on Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslavia to play a rematch against Spassky in 1992.  Fischer was ordered not to go.  He went.  And he never returned to the U.S.  Add in some nasty comments about America after 9-11 and, basically, Fischer was the proverbial Man Without a Country, until Iceland took him in for humanitarian reasons.  And, perhaps, out of fond remembrances of the 1972 Fischer/Spassky match in Reykjavik.

That is an exact reproduction of the table on which the Reykjavik matches were played.

The museum visit would be interesting for anyone wanting some insight into the tortured soul who was Bobby Fischer.

1 comment:

  1. Never underestimate the powers of a single cat.