August 13, 2009
I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland. For several years earlier this decade, I had an extra reason to make a trip: Bobby Fischer, who moved to Iceland in 2005 after a series of international incidents. As I mentioned in a post a couple of years ago, Fischer and my father were friends and colleagues on the U.S. chess circuit in the 1950s and ’60s.
Bobby wasn’t exactly known for being a friendly guy. But I still imagined visiting Reykjavik, spotting him on a park bench, and walking up to him to say, “Bobby, I’m Eliot Hearst’s son.” He’s a major figure in the mythology of my family, so of course I always wanted to meet him.
It was not to be: Fischer died in Reykjavik on January 17, 2008.
Fischer is buried in Selfoss, a small town about 40 miles from Reyjavik. I have an Internet pal in Reykjavik named Halldor, and he passed along these photos of Bobby’s grave. They were taken by an American friend of his named Judith Gans, a singer and Icelandic music expert: