Iceland to decide future of US chess fugitive Fischer

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The Independent Online

Iceland's parliament will vote tomorrow on whether to grant citizenship to the fugitive American chess star Bobby Fischer, after the proposal was approved by a committee.

Iceland's parliament will vote tomorrow on whether to grant citizenship to the fugitive American chess star Bobby Fischer, after the proposal was approved by a committee.

Mr Fischer, 62, is in detention in Japan, awaiting deportation to the US, where he is wanted for violating economic sanctions against the former Yugoslavia by playing a highly publicised chess match there in 1992. Saemundur Palsson, one of the grandmaster's supporters in Iceland, said Japan had confirmed it would allow him to go to Iceland if citizenship was granted.

There is widespread support for Mr Fischer in Iceland, the scene of his greatest triumph. In 1972 he defeated Boris Spassky in a world championship match, ending decades of domination of chess by the Soviet Union.

Since being taken into custody in July for allegedly trying to leave Japan on a revoked US passport, he has repeatedly denounced the American deportation order as politically motivated, demanded refugee status and said he wanted to become a German national instead. He has also applied to marry Miyoko Watai, the head of the Japan Chess Association.

Fischer supporters in Iceland said they were raising money to send a group to Japan, in anticipation of the request succeeding. "Fischer has money, but he can't get at it from where he is now," said an organiser.

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