Desperate for Fischer


Bobby Fischer will arrive at 11:00, said the ticker that ran atop the screen on RUV, the State TV channel, last Thursday night.

Yes, the jolly former chess champion, and one of the world’s most famous anti-Semites, was on route to Iceland. He was supposed to land around 9, but his private jet was delayed a few hours.

I was watching “Desperate Housewives” on RUV as the ticker crawled across the screen. The clock was running towards 11:00 when Teri Hatcher’s character got locked out of her house naked. With only the shrubbery concealing Ms. Hatcher’s rockin’ body, I was on the edge of my seat wondering how she might get back inside.

The tension was unbearable because at any moment RUV might cut away to cover Bobby Fischer and I would never know what became of Ms. Hatcher’s character.

“That damn chess guy is ruining my night,” I thought to myself.

Okay, so perhaps I was overreacting. After all, Bobby Fischer is an important person. He beat Boris Spassky in a chess match way back in 1972. “Way to go Bobby!” He beat Spassky 20 years later in a rematch in the former Yugoslavia while Slobodan Milosevic, who is currently on trial at the Hague, was ordering the wholesale slaughter of certain Yugoslavians that Mr. Milosevic didn’t get along with. “I think the term for that is genocide.” Fischer’s name was also used in a movie title. That’s pretty cool. He’s also building a super Clock, which is why, according to Bobby, the US is after him.

(I suspect a Bobby Fischer decoder ring is on the way once he tunes that Clock.)

Nope. Even after reviewing Bobby’s CV in my mind, I’d rather see Ms. Hatcher dance around naked outside a house. No offence Bobby, but I interviewed Ms. Hatcher once and she’s much more attractive than you. Plus, as far as I know she’s not a hatemonger.

Luckily, “Desperate Housewives” ran in its entirety. Directly afterwards, the network cut to the Reykjavik Airport where hundreds of Icelanders stood in the wind and rain to capture a glimpse of Bobby Fischer, their hero.

Why Fischer is a hero to anyone but fellow crackpots is beyond me. I understand why the Icelandic government felt compelled to free Fischer. He’d been in a Japanese prison for nearly nine months, while the US let him languish in limbo as it took its own sweet time trying to deport him. The day after Fischer was granted citizenship, the US finally got around to sending a formal deportation request to Japan. Hey, either charge the guy and give him his day in court or release him. The US balked, and Iceland acted. But why Icelanders would be excited, even expressing joy over Fischer’s arrival is questionable.

Then the private jet landed and Bobby stepped out into the wind and rain looking like Santa Clause with his long, ragged beard, and potbelly.

But he’s not Santa Clause. He’s a clearly troubled man who spews hateful rhetoric whenever a journalist holds a microphone in front of his mouth.

Interestingly, the private jet delivering Bobby to his knew home was provided by the benevolent folks at Baugur, which owns Channel 2, the TV station that just happened to have an SUV waiting to whisk Bobby away from the mob scene for an exclusive interview.

Yes, money can buy you just about anything, even an exclusive interview with a nut job. EW

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.