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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 12:08 GMT
Fischer begins legal challenge
A photo from 1992 of former world chess champion Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer is widely regarded as a flawed genius
Lawyers for former US chess champion Bobby Fischer have completed their first court hearing in the battle against his deportation from Japan.

After the hearing, Mr Fischer's Japanese fiancée said he was stressed and angry at his continued detention.

The controversial genius was detained in July while trying to travel to the Philippines on a revoked US passport.

He is wanted in the US for violating international sanctions against Yugoslavia in 1992.

Tuesday's court session was brief, with lawyers from both sides exchanging documents containing their evidence. The next session is due to take place in January.

After the hearing, one of Mr Fischer's defence lawyers, Masako Suzuki, said: "Our ultimate goal is to reverse his deportation order to the United States."

She added that: "We also want to win his release as soon as possible."

Lawyers for Mr Fischer arrive in court, 2 Nov 2004
Mr Fischer's lawyers aim to reverse his deportation order
Mr Fischer has already tried to fight his deportation by applying for political asylum in Japan and renouncing his US citizenship - both of which have been rejected by the Japanese courts.

But an injunction granted in September prevents him from being deported until this current lawsuit has been decided.

Miyoko Watai, who recently became engaged to Mr Fischer and is acting president of the Japan Chess Association, said her fiancée was being put under a lot of stress by his continued detention.

"He was illegally detained," she said. "He is angry at the Japanese government because they cannot stand up against the United States, and that forced them into catching him and keeping him in the detention centre."

"When he came to Japan, he had a proper passport with him. He has never violated the Japanese law at all - in other words he's being detained unjustly," she said.

On the run

Mr Fischer has been on the run from the US authorities for more than a decade, after being accused of breaking international sanctions by visiting Yugoslavia to take part in a chess match in 1992.

Before his detention, he had managed to live undetected in Japan for three years, sometimes travelling abroad.

A brilliant but mercurial player, Mr Fischer became a grandmaster at 15 and shot to fame in 1972 when he beat Boris Spassky of the then Soviet Union.

He held the title of world chess champion until 1975, and resurfaced in Yugoslavia for the dramatic 1992 rematch against Mr Spassky.

He won the game, but disappeared when the US authorities announced they wanted to prosecute him over the $3m he earned for playing, which Washington said violated US and United Nations bans on doing business in the country.

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08 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer fails to halt deportation
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Fischer plans to marry in Japan
17 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer to renounce US status
06 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Chess great seeks Japan asylum
02 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific

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