Paternity riddle will see Bobby Fischer exhumed

The remains of chess genius Bobby Fischer are to be exhumed to determine whether he is the father of a 9-year-old girl, a lawyer representing the child and her mother said yesterday.

Thordur Bogason, a lawyer based in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, said the country's Supreme Court made the decision earlier this week in order to allow for tests so his client, Jinky Young, can find out who her father is.

"At this point we are just trying to establish this," he said. "And if she is confirmed as the daughter of Bobby Fischer, then by Icelandic law, she is his legal heir."

Fischer, 64, died in Iceland in January 2008. He left no will, Bogason said, adding that legal cases over who has the right to the US-born player's estate are ongoing.

Bogason said he had no information on the size of the estate left by Fischer. His longtime partner and relatives in the United States are also involved in the dispute, the lawyer said.

Gudjon Olafur Jonsson, who represents the American relatives, said his clients accepted the court's decision and awaited results of the paternity tests. Representatives of Fischer's partner could not be immediately reached.

One of Iceland's lower courts had originally been asked for permission to examine Fischer's remains, Bogason said, but it was denied. They appealed to the Supreme Court, which released its judgment on Wednesday.

Bogason called the decision to ask for the exhumation of Fischer's remains a "last resort," and said that they had hoped blood samples from Fischer might have been stored in an Icelandic hospital. Fischer is buried in southwestern Iceland, about 30 miles from Reykjavik. He had lived in the country since 2005.

Bogason said evidence was presented to the court showing Fischer had sent Jinky and her mother, Marilyn Young, "considerable" amounts of money on eight occasions in the years before he died, ranging from €1,000 to €5,000.

In the Supreme Court's judgment – which uses no names – Jinky's interest in determining her paternity was acknowledged as important. It said proof that more significant interests trumped that claim would have been required to prevent Fischer's exhumation.

Jinky, who lives in the Philippines with Young, flew to Iceland to provide her blood sample in December. The judgment said Fischer had regular contact with Jinky and her mother and that they had visited him in Iceland.

Their lawyer in the Philippines, Samuel Estimo, said: "We are very happy with the way the Supreme Court of Iceland ruled on our request." Young could not be reached.

The woman who was described in the judgment as Fischer's "partner for many years and a close friend and confidante until his death" said in court papers he never mentioned that he had a child with Young. She described that as being out of character because Fischer was "a very precise man."

Fischer, who was born in Chicago and raised in Brooklyn, New York, became famous in 1972 when he defeated Boris Spassky for the world championship. He held the title until 1975.

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