The ongoing battle over Bobby Fischer's multi-million dollar estate now exposes to public view the secret love-life of the late eccentric world chess champion. Recently, the Iceland Supreme Court recognised the legality of Fischer's controversial marriage to Japanese IM Miyoko Watai which, it was expected, would have settled the issue. The ruling certainly eliminates any claims that Fischer's close friends and supporters may want to make. The matter, however, is far from over as a counter-claim has been filed in the probate court of Reykjavic on behalf of Fischer's love-child, Jinky, the daughter he fathered with his live-in partner in Baguio City, Phillippines, nine years ago.
Marilyn Young, Fischer's Phillippino lover, says through her lawyer Samuel Estimo, "it is well that Miyoko has been declared as the lawful wife of Bobby, but I am still seeking justice for Jinky, the daughter I had with him." In support of her claim, Young submitted Jinky's birth certificate, family photographs, bank remittances of Fischer's financial support and the affidavit of GM Eugene Torre, Asia's first grandmaster and long-time confidant and chief second to the chess legend in his return match with GM Boris Spassky in the former Yugoslavia in 1992. If Jinky succeeds in her claim she would, under Icelandic law, inherit two thirds of Fischer's estate, while his lawful wife would receive one third. The 64-year-old chess genius who died in Iceland of kidney failure two years ago left a substantial fortune including TT $11.5 million in bank accounts and a number of gold coins. "Bobby will turn in his grave if the inheritance of his daughter Jinky is not awarded by the Icelandic court," GM Torre said. "I had seen with my two eyes how Bobby lovingly took care of his daughter during her infant days in Baguio."
The veteran grandmaster, together with Young, her daughter and lawyer Estimo are now in London for the shooting of a BBC-HBO documentary on the life of Fischer. "We will be proceeding to Iceland after the shoot to follow-up the claim of Jinky," Young said. Miyoko Matai, acting president and general secretary of the Japan Chess Association, first met Fischer in Tokyo in 1973 after corresponding with him for several years. The two eventually became lovers and, in January 2000, settled down to a quiet life in Matai's home in downtown Kamata, Tokyo. However, their domestic harmony was suddenly shattered when the chess legend was arrested at the Narita International Airport for allegedly trying to travel with an invalid US passport. The situation grew more desperate for the couple when the Japanese government issued an immediate order to deport him to the US where he was wanted for violating international sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia. The charge arose from Fischer's return match with Boris Spassky which took place in Belgrade in 1972.
Watai, who later became Japan Women's Chess Champion, launched a frantic campaign to free Fischer, seeking support from chess fans around the world. The Committee to Free Bobby Fischer, which she formed with other admirers of the American chess giant, took aggressive legal action to stop his deportation. It was then that the two decided to marry, hoping that their legal union would help the US fugitive to gain a permanent visa in Japan and so avoid the impending deportation. The extradition case dragged on for nine months during which time the ex-chess champion agreed to publicly recognise his marriage to Watai with whom he had lived in common law for several years. John Bosnitch, a Canadian journalist and civil rights activist, who represented Fischer in the extradition matter, witnessed the union, signed the certificate and duly registered the event. "The fact that the US had illegally seized Bobby's passport was initially an impedement," said Bosnitch. "But after we argued that the illegal seizure violated his human right to marry, the Japanese authorities not only issued a certificate but also registered the marriage."
Fischer's plight also won the sympathy of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Japan whose leader, Mizuho Fukushima, personally and successfully lobbied the Icelandic parliament by satellite link to grant citizenship to the imprisoned chess titan. The authorities in Reykjavic readily responded, granting Fischer both citizenship and refuge in the Nordic state. They were grateful no doubt for the world-wide prominence which Fischer had brought to their city by choosing it as the venue for his 1972 epic duel against world champion Boris Spassky, the match in which he delivered the final coup de grace to the age-old Russian hegemony over the royal game. The unpredictable genius who had turned the chess world upside down ended his days quietly in the scenic town of Selfoss, 60 kilometres south of Reykjavik. As he grew older, Fischer's mysoginistic views on women apparently mellowed. In affairs of the heart he demonstrated a caring and concern out of character with the irascibility and single-minded aggression that marked his spectacular chess career. "Still," said his Japanese widow, "He didn't like women wearing lipstick and high heel shoes and colouring their hair."