Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Bobby Fischer vs. the UBS
November 12, 2006 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Bobby Fischer vs. the Union Bank of Switzerland: Chess master doesn't like his Swiss bank unilaterally closing his account. Letters go back and forth, lawyers get involved. Fischer posts all letters sent and received on his website. [Link goes to coral cache, original site is hosted at Geocities Japan. via namics weblog]
posted by slater (43 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe they can both split all that Nazi gold and call it a day.
posted by basicchannel at 10:22 PM on November 12, 2006


Fischer's mentally ill. These letters (especially the handwritten ones) are both sad and fascinatiing.
posted by bunglin jones at 10:26 PM on November 12, 2006


Poor Bobby. He's so messed up it's sad.
posted by facetious at 10:30 PM on November 12, 2006


If Bobby Fischer can't maintain a swiss bank account, what hope is there for all the contract killers of spy fiction?
posted by b1tr0t at 10:32 PM on November 12, 2006


I took a stroll through the root page of that geocities site, and boy howdy, if Bobby Fischer hasn't been victimized, imprisoned, and generally put-upon by Jewish folks on every continent. A taste: "Why pay the billionaire dirty Jew thief Sumner Murray Redstone and his companies National Amusements, Viacom and Paramount Pictures to see "his" movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer" when you can download the entire movie absolutely free of charge right here?" Niiiiiiiiiice.
posted by facetious at 10:45 PM on November 12, 2006


Near as I can tell, they refuse to say why they terminated his account. I kept reading through hoping to find out why and was disappointed.
posted by cj_ at 10:53 PM on November 12, 2006


cj_: I couldn't find it in there either. Must be the damned jews.
posted by rbs at 11:00 PM on November 12, 2006


Near as I can tell, they refuse to say why they terminated his account. I kept reading through hoping to find out why and was disappointed.

Likewise. Looks like a faceless corporation has decided to play its "we do whatever we like at a whim" card, and Mr. Fischer is just another victim, like many of us.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:02 PM on November 12, 2006


Cutting him off for being insane and obnoxious is a good enough reason, I was just hoping they'd say it. Given that they have legal protection to end the business relation ship for any reason, I figured they would at some point. It would've made for a more interesting read anyway.
posted by cj_ at 11:16 PM on November 12, 2006


Also: Anti-Semitism is illegal in Switzerland.
posted by basicchannel at 11:39 PM on November 12, 2006


Near as I can tell, they refuse to say why they terminated his account.

That's merely Swiss discretion in practice. The customer, once terminated, is not entitled to that information.
posted by dhartung at 11:40 PM on November 12, 2006


So, they're keeping his money?
posted by spazzm at 12:03 AM on November 13, 2006


I read the whole thing, huh.

I am betting that they just couldn't stand to deal with him anymore. You'll notice that towards the end, Fischer's representation at Logos starts prefacing arguments with "our client". e.g., "Our client is of the opinion that..." I am sure they realize, just as well as the (quite sensible and disarming) Swiss Banking Ombudsman does, that Fischer hasn't a leg to stand on.

Still, it was strangely interesting to read.
posted by blacklite at 12:07 AM on November 13, 2006


spazzm: After asking for information as to where and how to transfer it, they liquidated everything and transferred the balance in CHF to a bank in Iceland. Fischer told them to send it back. It is now sitting in an interest-bearing CHF account at UBS, and they would like to transfer it somewhere else as soon as possible. Balance of 3.5m or so.
posted by blacklite at 12:09 AM on November 13, 2006


3.5 million CHF? I didn't know being a deranged chess genius was so lucrative.
posted by spazzm at 12:17 AM on November 13, 2006


That's merely Swiss discretion in practice. The customer, once terminated, is not entitled to that information.

Yeah, I understand. But I want to know. I guess a train wreck isn't as interesting if you don't see it crash.
posted by cj_ at 12:30 AM on November 13, 2006


Wow. I just spent the last couple of hours at his site. Thanks, slater.
posted by premiumpolar at 12:39 AM on November 13, 2006


After publishing private correspondance on his site, it seems much less likely UBS will ever be willing to offer to work with Fischer in such a way as to resolve this satisfactorily for both parties. His pooch, so to speak, seems screwed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:45 AM on November 13, 2006


The legal process seems as oddly tedious as … chess.
posted by parhamr at 1:20 AM on November 13, 2006


No, chess's boredom pales in comparison to the tedium of the legal process. You don't have to fill out a form stating that knights move in an L-pattern. There's no appeal process for checkmate.
posted by tehloki at 2:45 AM on November 13, 2006


Searching for Bobby Fischer's bank details.

The best part of his webpage is:
"Furthermore, there's another, all-powerful reason why nobody should ever donate any money to Wikipedia and that's because it's obviously a CIA/ADL front"
posted by beerbajay at 2:47 AM on November 13, 2006


If chess is boring, you're doing it wrong. You could try the Fischer invented Chess960 for more interesting games.
posted by beerbajay at 2:49 AM on November 13, 2006


re:

I hope it's illegal in Germany, too.
posted by tehloki at 2:56 AM on November 13, 2006


Wow, that was weird.
posted by grouse at 3:07 AM on November 13, 2006


Wikipedia says "Étienne Bacrot won the Chess960 Open tournament, earning him a title match against Aronian in 2007." :)
posted by jeffburdges at 3:25 AM on November 13, 2006


it made me sad. the bizarre, scrawled letters have been written by one of humankind's great minds. we knew that Fischer had, well, more or less gone insane in the last three decades. reading that page is still very sad.

.
posted by matteo at 4:37 AM on November 13, 2006


it made me sad. the bizarre, scrawled letters have been written by one of humankind's great minds.

Puh-leaze.
posted by Alex404 at 7:04 AM on November 13, 2006


No one ever questioned Bobby Fischer's smarts. In terms of straight mental capacity, he was (maybe still is) a titan.

But yeah, he's batshit insane, and I can understand anyone, even a Swiss bank who you'd think would know from unhinged millionarires, who decides they wouldn't want to deal with him anymore.
posted by chicobangs at 7:30 AM on November 13, 2006


someone needs to send him a gift certificate Metafilter membership
posted by jeffmik at 7:50 AM on November 13, 2006


Dear UBS,

If you do not reinstate my bank account I will write a letter to the INTARNET. Then you'll be sorry.
posted by GuyZero at 7:50 AM on November 13, 2006


Where the hell are all the charges of anti-semitism coming from? The reason we don't know why UBS cancelled the account in the first place is because Fischer chose not to put that letter up there. I'm sure they sent him a letter asking him to stop doing whatever he was doing, followed by a stronger warning, followed by termination. Corporations are as much slaves to their process as customers are.

And the total in the account is about 2.8 million dollars.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:01 AM on November 13, 2006


My bet is that the bank was persuaded (by whom?) to act in order to get his funds moving (and be tracked). Isn't he wanted in the U.S.?

My bank would flush me because I'm so poor, but why would they flush away a rain-maker client? If I were a "shareholder" in the traditional sense, I would definitely be curious as to what the heck the management is thinking. I can put up with a lot of insanity for that kind of margin.
posted by GoodDesign at 8:26 AM on November 13, 2006


the bizarre, scrawled letters have been written by one of humankind's great minds.

Y'know, chess is weird. I had a roommate who really wasn't a very smart guy at all. He couldn't do basic math. He had trouble balancing his checkbook. He believed in conspiracy theories (even the really retarded ones). Yet, at the same time, the man could play some chess. He would regularly clean up on Yahoo, not an easy feat by anyone's standards. I guess if you do something enough, you'll eventually get good at it.

Bobby Fischer has a mind that is good for one thing, and one thing only.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:40 AM on November 13, 2006


i also sent this link to my sister, who works for a different bank in Switzerland. She writes:

"[It's] true, Swiss banks are allowed to terminate any relationship whenever they want without having to give a reason."

So I guess all of you wondering what the reason for the account termination is will just have to live with that explanation :)
posted by slater at 11:29 AM on November 13, 2006


Oh what the hell, man:
Could it be that the Jews are secretly (dare we say “sinfully”) listening to every word of Bobby Fischer’s live radio interviews? You better believe it!
Oh, those Joos. Always furtively listening mad chess geniuses on the radio.
posted by boo_radley at 12:05 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel: if you go to the top site, you'll see Fischer's ranting against Jews.
posted by boo_radley at 12:12 PM on November 13, 2006


Bobby Fischer has a mind that is good for one thing, and one thing only.

Harsh - the guy had an IQ recorded in the 180s and eidetic memory. He could have done lots of stuff, but probably still would have ended up insane. His savant-like attention to chess is more likely an early indication of his later mania than a limitation to his hardwiring.
posted by Sparx at 12:43 PM on November 13, 2006


Pastabagel: if you go to the top site, you'll see Fischer's ranting against Jews.

See also, Wikipedia.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:51 PM on November 13, 2006


I have got to start prank calling him.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:13 PM on November 13, 2006


Pastabagel, I think it's easier to justify the loss to your shareholders when the client in question is acting illegally, even if that conduct isn't directly related to the business he's conducting with you.

That of course opens a whole new set of doors as to whether or not we want corporations behaving like that in the general case, but I have a hard time generating any outrage over a bank dropping the man who pens:

B.F.: I intend to do what I'm doing right now.
P.M.: What?
B.F.: --Which is to expose the Jews for the criminals they are, the parasites they are, the liars they are, the thieves they are, the murderers they are.

Why are Wikipedia, The Heretical Press (and others) lying about what [I] said? Is everybody hard of hearing nowadays except at this Website? Because the tape recording is very, very clear on this point and it fully backs up the above transcript. A word of explanation: Where Bobby said the word "murderers" Wlkipedia, The Heretical Press (and others) have maliciously substituted the "n" word in their quotations from the interview, or else in their transcripted versions of the interview. Well, Bobby said the Jews are liars didn't he? Are they ever, are they ever... Flash! Wikipedia backs down and is now dancing to Bobby's tune! Put under intensive and intolerable scrutiny by this website the mighty Wikipedia caved-in and withdrew the forged "n" word and replaced it with the word which Bobby actually said which is "murderers."


He demands a retraction of a racist term, and instead insists of accuracy to the transcript, which is of him making far worse slurs against a different population. Completely unhinged...
posted by Mayor West at 1:54 PM on November 13, 2006


Reminds me of a sci-fi thriller I read long ago. One of the characters is a former spymaster. After he gave up spying his employer considered him to dangerous to have around but instead of killing him, he's dosed with a psychoactive drug.
The lasting side effect is that, while he's otherwise sane, he starts spewing off about the jews and the zionistic conspiracy for world supremacy at the drop of a hat.
Consequently, he's completely discredited and even his allies find it impossible to be in the same room as him for any stretch of time.
Can't remember the name of the damn book, though.
posted by spazzm at 2:23 PM on November 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


If you want to read a wonderful (fictional) set of correspondence, read James Thurber's "File and Forget". Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be online. It's in his book "Thurber Country", which is almost certainly in your library.
posted by neuron at 6:50 PM on November 13, 2006


GoodDesign, bobby's 3.5 mill isn't a rainmaker client to UBS, who has many clients with deposits in the billions.
posted by nomisxid at 8:22 AM on November 14, 2006


« Older The Secret To Great Bread,...  |  The invisible axe. Australian ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments