Bobby Fischer, “United States Person”
Bobby Fischer has died (NYT obit here). I’m old enough to remember how he made chess a cool sport (albeit temporarily) with his 1972 match-up with Boris Spassky in Iceland. More recently he was in the news on the lam from US authorities, after having been indicted for violating the US sanctions regime against Yugoslavia with a Spassky rematch there in 1992. (The regime applies only to “United States persons”, which, interestingly, includes permanent resident aliens in addition to U.S. citizens.) Detained in Japan in 2004 for traveling on a revoked passport, he was released only after acquiring Icelandic citizenship by a special vote of its parliament. He purported to renounce his US citizenship, although it’s not clear whether it was ever made effective and in any case that wouldn’t have worked to beat the rap.