Robert James "Bobby" Fischer
March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008
was an American chess Grandmaster, and the eleventh World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Later in life he renounced his US citizenship and became an Icelandic citizen.
Fischer's achievements are legendary. At 13, he won a brilliancy that became known as the Game of the Century. Starting at age 14, he played in eight United States Championships, winning each by at least a point. At 15½, he became both the youngest Grandmaster and the youngest Candidate for the World Championship up until that time. He won the 1963-64 US championship 11-0, the only perfect score in the history of the tournament. In the early 1970s he became the most dominant player in modern history—winning the 1970 Interzonal by a record 3½-point margin and winning 20 consecutive games, including two unprecedented 6-0 sweeps in the Candidates Matches. In 1972, he wrested the World Championship from Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union in a match held in Reykjavík, Iceland that was widely publicized as a Cold War battle.
In 1975, Fischer did not defend his title when he could not come to agreement with the international chess federation FIDE over the conditions for the match. He became more reclusive and played no more competitive chess until 1992, when he won a rematch against Spassky. The competition was held in Yugoslavia, which was then under a strict United Nations embargo. This led to a conflict with the US government, and he never returned to his native country.
In his later years, Fischer lived in Hungary, Germany, the Philippines, and Japan. During this time he made increasingly anti-American and anti-Semitic statements, despite his Jewish ancestry. When his U.S. passport was revoked, he was detained by Japanese authorities for nine months in 2004 and 2005 under threat of extradition. After Iceland granted him citizenship, the Japanese authorities released him to that country, where he lived until his death in 2008.