BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Bobby Fischer, the U.S. former world chess champion, met his Russian arch-rival Boris Spassky in a Belgrade restaurant for their first game in 20 years, playing a friendly warm-up for their $5 million re-match beginning Sept. 2, the Tanjug news agency reported Thursday.
Fischer pulled out a pocket-size chess board and began arranging the pieces immediately after greeting Spassky on Wednesday night, Tanjug said. The two began by analyzing some aspects of their last match, which they played in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1972.
The pair then played a short 'warm-up' game, scrutinized by an audience comprised mostly of late-night restaurantguests, said Tanjug, which did not disclose the winner.
The two came to Belgrade after agreeing to play a $5 million re-match of their Reykjavik encounter organized by Jezdimir Vasiljevic, the owner of Jugoskandik, a private Serbian bank.
The match is to begin Sept. 2 in Montenegro's Adriatic resort of Sveti Stefan.The winner will get $3.35 million, with the loser receiving the rest of the prize money.
Still unanswered, however, is whether the match would violate the U. N. sanctions slapped on Serbia and Montenegro for underwriting the Serbian territorial offensive in the newly independent former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
The sanctions, imposed on May 30, ban financial transactions with the two communist-ruled republics.
Fischer, 49, a brash psychological maneuverer, captured the world championship title from Spassky in a celebrated tournament in 1972. Fischer showed up late for his games, complained about everything and made noise while awaiting his turns.
Spassky became so distressed during the tournament that his seconds accused the Americans of using electronic devices and chemical substances to disorient the Russian national champion.
Fischer automatically lost his title as world chess champion in 1975 when he refused to play Russian champion Anatoly Karpov on terms set forth by the International Chess Federation. The Federation thereupon stripped him of his title and gave it to Karpov.