Spassky wrote Bush in hopes of resolving an international incident in which Japanese authorities have held Fischer for the past month for presenting a revoked passport. The United States invalidated it because Fischer played Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992, violating U.S. sanctions. He is considered wanted in the United States, The Times of London said.
"Bobby and myself committed the same crime," Spassky wrote. "Put sanctions against me also. Arrest me. And put me in the same cell with Bobby Fischer. And give us a chess set."
Fischer has apparently lost his love for his homeland. In speeches, interviews and on his Web site, he has vilified the United States, expressed his hatred for Jews and his belief that the Holocaust is a myth and praised those behind the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Regardless, his arch-rival remains a fan.
"I would not like to defend or justify Bobby Fischer," Spassky wrote. "I am asking only for one thing. For mercy, charity."