22 August 2004

Searching for Bobby Fischer

The Flag of Convenience Edition

Remember Bobby Fischer? The greatest chess player of all-time appears to have failed his legal challenge to halt Japan's extradition procedure, and is now considering a final solution: marrying the president of the Japan Chess Federation and applying for Japanese citizenship.

If Mr. Fischer fails, Singapore should seriously considering offering him citizenship on the condition that he takes up the post of head coach for chess in the country.

After all, Singapore's tried and tested approach to building entrepeneurs, artists, sportsmen, the economy in general... seems to consist of hiring the foreign guy and giving him citizenship, a nice landed property, and some cash.* If the foreign talent policy could work so consistently the past few years, why not invite Bobby Fischer now?

While he may have retired from competitive chess, this just means he has all the time in the world to analyse current chess competitions (instead of merely preparing for them), and coach young chess players here towards the goal of say, achieving a grandmaster rating for a Singaporean by 2010, and a FIDE or PCA championship contender by 2020. We might even surpass Cuba in the chess world!

* Factoid of the day: Did you realise Hongkong comedian Stephen Chow - yes, he of the Shaolin Soccer fame - was a Singapore PR for a grand total of 3 years in the early 90s? Offered a cool figure, the comedian sensibly accepted (Hongkong's movie industry was in a slump then, and he didn't make any movies in that period) and bought a condo here as part of the PR deal. When the time came to renew the PRship, the sensible Stephen Chow sold off the condominium and returned to Hongkong to make his greatest film to date...

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