Anyone who could play the black side of this game — at 13 years old, for cryin’ out loud — deserves every ounce of deference the world can muster.
I participated in a grass roots effort back in the 1980s to recruit Fischer to return to active play. We went to Florida to attend a USCF meeting, where we drafted a letter essentially begging him to return. We passed a resolution recognizing him as the Undefeated World Chess Champion. We offered him life insurance, health insurance, a generous stipend, and to pay every expense he might incur for life if he would return to active play. We also offered him a job with a generous salary, which would consist of tutoring grandmasters, writing articles, or anything else that he might want to do. We went through all the proper channels that he required, corresponding through Claudia Mokarow, the only person he trusted at that time. After a heated battle, then USCF president (I think it was Steve Doyle) reluctantly agree to include an official apology on behalf of the USCF and “all chess players everywhere” for failing to give Fischer the proper support in his fight against FIDE (otherwise known then as the Soviet Chess Federation) and vowing that in any and all future negotiations he would have the full backing of USCF officials and staff. We mailed the letter and anxiously awaited his response. About two weeks later, we received a post card from Claudia. It said simply, “He will open your letter if you send him $10,000”.
Doyle. Was. Furious. He screamed and ranted that he was “not gonna shove ten thousand dollars down a hole just to see what happens!” We begged him to reconsider. He refused, and the board, filled with his sycophants, folded. Alas, it was over. The world had lost its greatest chess mind, and a bitter fart of a man could not be persuaded to see beyond his own petty indignity. It was one of the saddest days of my life. And now, to see a national treasure be treated as a common criminal because snot-nosed power-mongers believe they have a right to live our lives for us just galls me beyond words. It is like digging up Thoreau’s grave and putting his corpse in jail because he did not finish serving his time.
Damn. Just plain damn.