Bobby Fischer

, the brilliant but reclusive chess champion, was detained at Tokyo's Narita Airport while trying to go to the Philippines. There is talk of extraditing Fischer back to the U.S., because Fischer has been wanted ever since playing a game in Yugoslavia when sports games were sanctioned. A chess player, a wanted criminal, just for playing a game. Yes, sanctions, but it seems small potatoes now. The twist is that Fischer's possible extradition is tied into another fascinating case, about the U.S. trying to extradite a now 64 year-old U.S. army deserter Charles Jenkins who defected to North Korea. (The Jenkins story has it all - his wife was kidnapped, they finally reunited in Indonesia where Jenkins was found, international intrigue and political tangling, young children caught in the middle, illness.) Fischer is also an alum of Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, like Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond; it was recently reported that Erasmus is being re-aligned to house smaller high schools.

Gothamist is very fond of the film, Searching for Bobby Fischer. Although there is no Bobby Fischer in it, it does have an interesting look at the chess games in Washington Square Park. For more Bobby Fischer, read Rene Chun's 2002 Atlantic article, Bobby Fischer's Pathetic Endgame. One person doesn't think Fischer's playing was in violation of anything, but adds that Fischer's criminally charges were ordered by "Executive Order" from President Bush (41).