Chess Grandmaster. A United States chess champion at age 14 and a grandmaster at 15, he became a Cold War icon when he defeated Russian Boris Spassky for the world championship in 1972. It was the first time in nearly a century that an American had held the world title. Unfortunately, his reputation as a chess genius was overshadowed by his many idiosyncrasies. A few years after winning the championship, he relinquished the title to another Russian, Anatoly Karpov, when he refused to defend it. He dropped out of competitive chess and pretty much into obscurity. He did resurface in 1992 to play an exhibition rematch against Spassky in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, which he won and was paid over $3 million for his efforts. However, the U.S. had sanctions against Yugoslavia and he became a wanted man for violating those sanctions. After many years on the run, he renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Iceland in 2005 where he later died.
Bio by: Ron Moody