(Page 2 of 2)
Spassky returned to Russia right after the Yugoslav match and was punished only with temporary travel restrictions. But Fischer has arguably committed at least one additional felony under U.S. law by attempting to travel with an invalid American passport.
THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT WOULD probably not help its reputation abroad by treating Fischer more harshly than Russia treated Spassky. His name is known wherever chess is played, and he would be regarded widely as a political prisoner. And, indeed, there would be at least an ounce of truth in the description.
I don’t have much sympathy for Fischer, though it is worth remembering that there is no record of him having harmed anyone but himself. It is unfortunate that he remains the face of American chess thirty years after he refused to defend the world championship. His reappearance in the headlines will only make matters worse, and ensure that he remains the favorite topic of conversation amongst chessplayers.
Like some haggard ghost, he haunts even the World Chess Federation lists: In theory he still holds a 2780 Elo rating, branded with an “i” for “inactive.” If his active status were revived he’d be, technically, rated ten points higher than the present world champion, Vladimir Kramnik.
We presume, when we regard a mentally “sick” man, that there must be really a decent person underneath all the maladjustment, delusions, and torment. Some chess fans seem to expect that coercive psychological treatment will reveal a “real” Fischer no one has ever seen — a Fischer who plays great chess for art’s sake, without quarreling or cosseting. The best one can really hope for is that the ugly legal process will be gotten over with as quickly as possible, and he will be allowed to resume his sordid life of angry solitude somewhere — out of sight, but for lovers of chess, never quite out of mind.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?