Reclusive chess champ Bobby Fischer, Jan. 17 Bobby Fischer, the enigmatic American chess genius who became a Cold War hero with his 1972 defeat of Soviet champion Boris Spassky but fell from grace in later decades when he became a recluse and fugitive known for his hate-filled rants, died Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008, in Reykjavik, Iceland. He was 64. Fischer, shown here in 1962, had lived in Iceland since 2005, when that country, which had hosted his legendary match against Spassky, offered him citizenship. He had been on the run from U.S. authorities since a 1992 rematch with Spassky in Yugoslavia that violated economic sanctions against Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian government. When Fischer made anti-American statements after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, the U.S. revoked his passport and unsuccessfully sought his return. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of the World Chess Federation, called Fischer "a phenomenon and an epoch in chess history, and an intellectual giant I would rank next to Newton and Einstein."
AP/ John Lent, file