Bobby Fischer, once the world chess champion, requested a burial according to the Catholic funeral rite. His wish seemed unusual for a man born into a Jewish family, who later was involved with an evangelical Christian sect (some would say cult). His anti-Jewish and anti-American comments in recent years had earned him enmity from many quarters. His breaking of the embargo against Serbia in 1992 led to an arrest warrant issued by the US government. He lived his last years as an exile in Iceland.
Only five people attended the Rite of Committal in a small city thirty miles from the capital Rejkjavik.
“I don’t know if he converted to the Catholic faith, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t,” said Father Jakob Rolland of the Rejkjavik diocese.
He was an inspiration to many chess players of my generation. I began playing serious chess in the aftermath of what is known as the “Fischer Boom,” a period in which many American youth took to the game during Fischer’s World Championship reign.