Did R.O. Mitchell meet Bobby Fischer?

GM Bobby Fischer

Back in 2001 there were rumours circulating that Bobby Fischer was playing games at the Internet Chess Club. GM Nigel Short was one of the first to make the claim that an extremely strong player used several anonymous accounts to play top players. Short had apparently heard it from a player in Greece (where he lives). He was skeptical, but was able to set up a 50-game match with this mystery player.

After losing 8-0 in the first series, he was amazed at his discovery. There was also talk about his unorthodox openings such as 1.f3 2.Kf2 and sometimes moving the king as far as the knight five square and back. When he made public this encounter everyone was doubting the credibility. However he then revealed the final proof:

The final “proof” that Short was playing Fischer in cyberspace came when the Briton asked: “Do you know Armando Acevedo?” – an obscure Mexican player. The response was immediate: “Siegen 1970.” Fischer had played Acevedo in the Siegen Chess Olympiad of 1970. “The guy was obviously trying to tell me something,” said Short. (see story)

Now that is something that only a few people can recall unless it is a top Grandmaster thoroughly familiar with minute details of Fischer’s career. Maybe it was Garry Kasparov of the “My Predecessors” fame? Doubtful he would engage in such a charade. What is the credibility of Short’s claims? When asked about this, Fischer denied Short’s claims. The story slowly went away.

R.O. Mitchell

Recently Carlos Sims of Tennessee has released a report that the late R.O. Mitchell had an encounter with someone under an ICC “guest” account. The report states,

“On July 15, 2001 R.O. Mitchell claimed to have played Robert J. Fischer. Many of our local chess players think R.O. was just playing some patzer who probably using Fritz or some other chess-playing program. Whoever this duffer was gave convincing evidence that he was indeed Bobby Fischer! R.O. saved his conversation with this so-called Fischer.”

See R.O.’s conversation here and games here. It’s hard to tell from the games. In looking at the games, it seems to be more of an evidence of Mitchell’s less than stellar blitz play than anything else. Lionel Davis has made similar claims of meeting Fischer at the ICC and states that Fischer was a proponent of ultramodern openings. Could this been a prankster with Fritz? Could it have been Fischer? What do you think?

One Comment

  1. HI: HERE IS WHAT I KNOW! I am not a patzer or a computer cheat.
    I designed a lot of those games myself to make 10 off the wall moves a computer could never make in those days. THIS was to shock my whoever i played. HENCE I could play speed games because i knew where I was going but you text book bound people did not! I designed my crazy openings on a grandmaster strength computer observing what moves it discarded in all variations. THIS I did practicing my rather unorthodox openings. I just got a little carried away with them and a few jokes when i saw how inept players were when out of book in uncharted lines.
    I ask you would any gm let alone fischer tell jokes while playing? GIVE you more time on your clock? etc. etc. I am that guest and have games to prove it! I played these crazy moves long before the internet was ever created! in the first nigel short game where he lost bad he blundered a knight ask him about it. THEN I swept the floor up with him. VERBATIM he said you can,t do that I said why not. HE said because i am nigel short. I blurted out yea and I am bobby fischer so what. I did not mean to say i was it was a wise crack. BECAUSE I thought he was kidding saying he was nigel. I could only know this if i was on the other side of the board in that closed room!. ask short see what he tells you! I can play blindfold call mate 15 deep etc. seirwann say me at the philadelphia chess club back before the internet giving lessons to someone and playing a guy behind me blindfold and killing him! I was invited to a masters tournment as an unrated player. in phila i was voted in I declined when I found out they would lose so many rating points when I win. I trashed to many 2200 too 2400 players all over the net! I don,t cheat or use a computer and i assure you i am no patzer. to prove I use no computer in those icc games where i hesatated for a long amount of seconds on the 28 th move because of possable draw then i picked the wrong move in that game. the long pause and bad move choice proves i was not running program to cheat!! E MAIL ME I will tell you the whole story. EVER wonder why no one has laid claim all these years? BECAUSE it is me and they have no proof but I do. this is no joke i am the real deal.

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