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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 19:12 GMT
Iceland grants Fischer passport
Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer at their rematch
Fischer has courted controversy throughout his career
Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer has been granted Icelandic citizenship after a vote in the country's parliament.

Mr Fischer, 62, has been on the run from the US for more than 10 years for violating economic sanctions in a match he played in former Yugoslavia in 1992.

Japan, where Mr Fischer is being held, has said it will not deport him to the US if Iceland grants him citizenship.

Mr Fischer beat Soviet Boris Spassky for the world title in Iceland in 1972.

That match ended a long Soviet domination of the chess world, and was hailed in the US as a Cold War victory.

But Mr Fischer's 1992 rematch against Mr Spassky, which the American also won, was deemed a violation of sanctions.

He was detained in July for trying to leave Japan on an allegedly revoked US passport.

On the run

Iceland's parliament voted 40 to nothing in favour of granting citizenship, with two abstentions.

I hope that he will stop cursing the Americans now - it has got him into so much trouble
Fischer supporter in Iceland

"I am very pleased with this, and I think that the dignity of the parliament has increased," said one of Mr Fischer's key supporters, Saemundur Palsson.

"I hope that he will stop cursing the Americans now. It has got him into so much trouble."

MPs in Iceland voted last month against granting Mr Fischer citizenship, offering him instead a special foreigners' passport and rights to residence.

Japan, however, refused to release the chess champion on such grounds.

After the quick passage of the new legislation, Icelandic officials said a passport could be ready for him as early as Tuesday.

Before he was taken into custody, he had managed to live undetected in Japan for three years, sometimes travelling abroad.

While in detention, he became engaged to the head of the Japan Chess Association, Miyoko Watai, but the authorities are still studying their marriage application.

Iceland to give Fischer passport
18 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer 'must be deported to US'
15 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer demands to go to Iceland
24 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer begins legal challenge
02 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Court delays Fischer deportation
08 Sep 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Fischer fails to halt deportation
20 Aug 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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