Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Fischer - Benko Slapping Incident

Actually, you're wrong. No, it was not Bobby Fischer who initiated the physical violence this time but Pal Benko, a Hungarian immigrant who technically acts as one of Fischer's second during the 1962 Candidates Tournament in Curacao the Netherlands. Yup, he got slapped! And it was Fischer himself who proves that he was physically harassed by one of his seconds. From, we came upon this very interesting lines: "After the fifth round of the first cycle, (it was a grueling quadruple round-robin) both Fischer and Benko had adjourned games. (This was the era when adjournments were the norm.) Fischer demanded that Bisguier assist him. Benko, who had started the tournament much better than Fischer, wanted help with his adjourned game against Petrosian. There was a shouting match, and Benko apparently lost his cool."

The following day, Fischer wrote the following letter as a protest about the "slapping" incident...

This is an official protest of the behavior [sic] of Pal Benko. On the night of May 9, a little before midnight, Benko entered by room without my permission; he had followed Bisguier in. I immediately asked him to leave and he refused. I repeatedly asked to leave and he refused each time. He became angry when I refused to allow my second, Arthur Bisguier, to help him (Benko) analyze his adjournment with Petrosian. He insulted me and when I answered him he struck me while I was seated in a chair. I did not strike him back. Then he finally left the room.

I suggest that Benko be fined and/or expelled from the tournament.

The above episode was witnessed by Arthur Bisguier.

/s/ Robert Fischer

Question is, was the 19 years old Bobby Fischer being bullied? It looks like he was.

Full article at's From the Archives

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