The remains of chess legend Robert J. “Bobby” Fischer will soon be exhumed to determine if he had a daughter, and to settle his estate.
When the eccentric and reclusive Fischer died in January 2008, in Reykjavik, Iceland, he left behind an estate worth several million dollars, including $3 million in a Philippines bank, gold bullion in an Icelandic bank, and several properties in Iceland.
Fischer rose to fame as a child prodigy during the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1972, he won the World Chess Championship from defending world champion Boris Spassky, becoming the first American to win the title. But Fischer never defended the title, and never played in a competitive event again. He fell into obscurity, surfacing only when he became notorious for anti-government and anti-Semitic tirades.
He ran afoul of the U.S. State Dept. when he played an exhibition rematch against Spassky on the 25th anniversary of their historic match. It was played in Yugoslavia at a time when travel there for Americans was banned.
He lived abroad from then on, eventually settling in Reykjavik in the final years of his life.
Laying claim to the estate are Fischer’s nephews, a Japanese woman who claims she married Fischer in 2004, and a young woman from the Philippines who claims to be Fischer’s daughter, according to ChessBase News.When the probate court began to investigate the paternity claim, they discovered that there were no DNA samples of Fischer at the National Hospital where he died. The girl, Jinky Young, is the daughter of Marilyn Young, who was Fischer’s live-in companion during the years he lived in the Philippines.
Initially, the court awarded the estate to Miyoko Watai, four-time Japanese women’s chess champion, who claimed she married Fischer in 2004. The Supreme Court of Iceland invalidated Watai’s claim after she could not produce an original marriage certificate.
Fischer is buried in Selfloss Cemetery, outside of Reykjavik. No date for the exhumation has been given.