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1973 Bobby Fischer Newspaper Articles

Mattoon Journal Gazette, Tuesday, June 12, 1973
Will he ever play again
Chess champion's friends wonder
1973 New York Times News Service

NEW YORK —Friends of Bobby Fischer, the chess champion of the world, are beginning to wonder if he will ever play again. Since he won the title from Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland, last Sept. 1, Fischer has been in virtual seclusion. He has even turned down — or at least not accepted — an offer of $1 million (plus $400,000 for his opponent and expenses) from the International Hotel in Las Vegas for a match. His opponent could be Spassky or, if the former champion was not available, any other opponent of Fischer's choice.
After a few public and television appearances on his return from Reykjavik, Fischer retired to an apartment in Pasadena, Calif., the site of the headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God. He saw very few people and refused to give interviews.
Recently there have been reports that Fischer has become disenchanted with Worldwide Church of God. He is now staying in Denver with a man who used to be associated with the church.
Contrary to general belief, Fischer has never been a member of the Worldwide Church of God, a fundamentalist group headed by Herbert W. Armstrong that “follows Biblical teachings 100 per cent.”
A church official said recently that Fischer “has observed the church's principles better than many of our members,” but that he has been a “contributor rather than an actual member.”
Fischer never has gone through the baptism ceremony.
Several months before his match with Spassky, Fischer said that when he became world champion he would not be like “those Russian commies.” He said he would not wait for the completion of the three-year cycle of formal elimination contests, but would defend his title two, or even three times a year “if the price is right.”
But he has refused all offers, including the spectacular $1.4 million contract offered by the Hilton organization. One person close to Fischer was careful to say that Fischer had not really rejected the offer. Rather, he said, Fischer had simply declined to reply to it. Fischer keeps in touch with various friends by telephone. A night owl who sleeps most of the day and comes to life in the late afternoon. Fischer often telephones his friends at 4 A.M. wanting to talk.
It is hard to get anyone to comment about Fischer and impossible to get anyone to comment and then own up to the comment. Because in the ingrown word of summit-level chess, those who can boast of what passed for friendship with Fischer don't want to risk that rickety relationship.
“He expects to be entertained,” said a recipient of one phone call. “He's very suspicious and if he gets the idea that you are talking to others about him, you're off his list. He makes his own rules as he goes along. He has to have things his way — his way or no way. I myself don't think that Bobby will play any more.”
There have, however been precedents for Fischer's “retirement” from chess. Before he returned to action in the Russia versus the World Tournament in 1970, he had been in seclusion for about 18 months. There are those who believe that when his chess hunger becomes strong, Fischer will again enter the arena.
But at least one person who recently spoke to him thinks otherwise.
“Bobby's in a state,” he said. “He is reclusive and suspicious, especially about the press. In any telephone conversation he is apt to say, 'Are you going to pass this on to the papers?' He is absolutely frightened of the press.”
Any person in occasional touch with Fischer says that for the first time in his life Bobby is not keeping abreast of the chess literature. He used to play over every major tournament. Now he is unfamiliar with the latest theoretical innovations. “That,” said the friend, “is a bad sign.”