Historic Moment For Chess: Kasparov at Fischer's Grave

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 10.03.14, 13:33.

On the day Bobby Fischer would have celebrated his 71st birthday, Garry Kasparov paid a visit to his grave in Selfoss, Iceland. It was a historic moment for chess: arguably the two greatest players of the game never met, and so they were never as close to each other. Chess.com was there to witness the moment and for a brief interview with Mr Kasparov.

On Sunday, March 9th, 2014 the President of the Icelandic Chess Federation, Gunnar Björnsson, took Garry Kasparov to the small town of Selfoss, which is about 50 km east of Reykjavik. About half a year earlier he had invited the 13th World Champion to come to Iceland, to visit both Fischer's grave, and the Reykjavik Open. At the same time Mr Kasparov would have the opportunity to meet several Presidents of Scandinavian chess federations, to try and convince them to vote for him at the upcoming FIDE Presidential elections.

For Kasparov, the visit to Fischer's grave was the most important event, and it was carefully planned to take place on March 9th - Fischer's birthday. The author of these lines had the honor (it really was!) to be present at the historic moment when Kasparov arrived in Selfoss, walked towards the grave, had some photos taken, and sat inside the small church for a while.

Below is the brief interview with Mr Kasparov - in it you will also see images from his visit to the new Bobby Fischer Center in Selfoss.


“I can't help but thinking that this is the graveyard also for great, unfulfilled hopes, because so much could be achieved. This is the country where Robert Fischer reached his peak. It was not only his peak, but it was one of the most glorious moments in the history of the game of chess. It could have ended differently. It's not for us to come up with hypothetical versions of alternative history, but it's still very sad. It's as if this graveyard... We could feel that so many great hopes and expectations have been buried, without being realized. It's all behind us, all the controversies, and what is left is the unique contribution of Robert James Fischer to the game of chess and I'm here to pay this tribute.

Kasparov at Fischer's grave

It's a huge sense of sadness because... he stopped playing chess at 29. It's insane. How much can be done, how much could be achieved, if not for this terrible tragedy that put him away of the game of chess. Again, now, after everything is behind us, all these controversies, and all these things that have been associated unfortunately with Fischer's name, what is left is just this sadness that he's gone.

Kasparov at the Bobby Fischer Center

And also, I couldn't help myself but thinking: I never met him, which is also quite amazing, OK, I was nine in 1972 when he won the title, but still, there were many opportunities technically, but unfortunately it didn't happen. It's something that of course I will be missing.

1972 definitely was one of the greatest moments in the history of chess. I don't think chess ever reached such a peak of popularityas in 1972. I could only dream of using my abilities to make sure that the heritage of 1972, and the memories of Fischer's great rise, will be somehow repeated in the future.

Kasparov signing the book of condolances

As I just put in the book of condolances, it could be a great dream of working with him to promote the game of chess, but it didn't work out. But still, this legend I'm sure will accompany us in our quest for making the game of chess as popular as Fischer wanted.”

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  • vor 15 Monate


    A little known book is surprisingly good at explaining Bobby.  The author writes,   "It was immiediately clear to be that there was no such thing as an insignificant detail for Fischer, no small or less important things, no mistakes that could be corrected, but that he raised everything from the very start to the leveof being crucial and vital."  Stankovic, The Greatest Secret of Bobby Fischer  

  • vor 21 Monate


  • vor 22 Monate


    Ensure Bobby lives on by making every move (game) magical... HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL.

  • vor 2 Jahre


    Kasparov in relation to Fischer, reminds me of Steinitz in relation to Morphy.

    Through no fault of their own, and because Time played her part, Steinitz never got to play against Morphy.

    Through no fault of their own, and because Time too played her part, Kasparov never got to play against Fischer.

    It is a real shame that neither match took place. But on the positive side, the fact that neither match took place, that helped solidify the reputations of all concerned.

  • vor 2 Jahre


    5-25-14.resolution study. preparation? open discussion

  • vor 2 Jahre


    Kasparov talks with great sadness about the eternally missed chess games of a genius who stopped to play because he was afraid of losing. That's a case in point and coming from a chessplayer-turned-politician-turned-bureaucrat it may even be self referential.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Bobby  got me started in chess in 1972......I continue to this day ALL thaks to this one inspiring guy !!     Garry Hollingsworth    Australia     3rd March 2014                                                                        Please be relevant, helpful & nice!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Yes, I wrote that about the life of Fischer, being like the chessboard with 64 white and black squares. It was the first comment in another recent article about him.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Did you notice that Bobby Fischer didn't live to celebrate his 65th Birthday? He died when he was 64 years old. Also, he was 32 years old when he was stripped of his World Champion title.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Bobby Fischer and Paul Morphy were the great chess player and we could see the same story Paul Morphy tried to challenge world champhion Steinitz but but Steinitz refuse it and Karpov tried to challenge world champhion Bobby Fischer and Fischer refuse it. The old French adverb "history se repeat". Both of them are from America.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Fisher sets up the landmark, placing the game with the highest importance particularly in terms of price and the world's consciousness to chess.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Both Gary Kasparov and Bobby Fischer have their own place in history! Each a Champion of their times. It would have been nice if Fischer would have played longer, but it added to his mystique. Kasparov on the other hand, was truely a great champion in his own right! Possibly the greatest chess player ever in my time. Playing his peers and besting them was great chess, but to beat IBM Blue!, that was extraordinary. If Bobby and Gary could have ever gotten together to promote chess, the game could be? well we will never know! But I think exceptional would be a great description!


  • vor 3 Jahre


    Bobby lit up the world of chess like only Capablanca and Morphy before him. Bobby needed help but lived in an era when little was understood about conditions such as Aspergers or Autism.

    Time and memory fade but Bobby is still the most famous Chess name in 2014.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Bobby Fischer was a loner,he needed love and help -  He was and will always be my idol  - Adam 

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Gari's book about Fischer was so disappointing.  Given his playing strength and involvement in other activities, I wish he could provide some insight about the following, 

    1. Why did the two best U.S. players, Fischer and Morphy, have profound psychological problems at an early age.  They were great competitors but we don't see such problems in other sports or activities. 

    2. Football players treasure their victories and older ones still trot out their Super Bowl rings.  Yet chessplayers talk with mixed feelings about their accomplishments, Fischer went sadly downhill following his win, Spassky called being champion an unhappy time, Petrosian at times also talked about unhappiness. 

    3. There is a certain amount consistency between Fischer's actions on the chessboard and elsewhere, each reflects complete commitment and lack of compromise.  Who but Fischer would fail to agree to a draw in an obviously equal position (see Taiminov match).  




  • vor 3 Jahre


    No one can compare to the great bobby Fischer1

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Bobby fisher make chess a real sport

  • vor 3 Jahre



    I beseech you, do not confine me,

    Bobby, the chess player,

    the greatest one the world could ever know

    to the only role

    of alienated psychic paranoid.

    This was indeed the truth:

    I was a genius, an artist and a scientist;

    a winner ruthless but chivalrous

    a rare loser, somber but still stout;

    a warrior artist

    free from flattery and cheats,

    a warrior still living

    according to the laws of Samurai.

    In that game, what I have sought at most

    ’twas Beauty, Harmony and Truth:

    I raised it to almost boundless heights

    but I never encountered

    quiet and refreshment.

    Maybe it was not Madness

    to bring me away

    from my human sufferings;

    ’twas rather the dark and icy wind

    of Iceland

    and of its melancholy.

    Alfredo Pasin Monza Italia

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Going to Bobby Fischer's grave will not get you elected into FIDE. Garry Kasparov did this out of respect only.


  • vor 3 Jahre


    A generous tribute from one superb player to another. I thought Kasparov was very magnanimous in the words that he used to describe Bobby Fischer and Bobby's effect on chess and the chess world.

    I admire Kasparov the player. I can honestly say that Kasparov the person has gone up in my own estimation. Well done Garry.

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