Bobby Fischer was born in New York and became world champion in 1972 after beating the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky in a tournament held in Iceland. The match was widely viewed as a cold war confrontation by proxy, and Fischer wrote a strongly anti-communist pamphlet called ''The Soviets Have Fixed World Chess''. This didn't stop the FBI from investigating both Fischer, whom J Edgar Hoover believed to be a target of Soviet recruitment, and his mother, thought by Hoover to be a sleeper agent. The FBI file on Fischer and his family was obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer under the Freedom of Information Act back in 2002.
While Hoover and the FBI suspected the Fischer's of being communist agents, the KGB was just as concerned with Fischer. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, several documents revealing the level of concern over Fischer and his impact on the propaganda war were revealed from KGB files. There was an ongoing project within the Soviet intelligence service to discredit Fischer and to break his morale.
With two great world powers fighting a proxy war on his back, Fischer eventually lost his cool. He turned from American hero to American hater, while also remaining violently anti-communist. His anti-American rants were punctuated with high levels of anti-Semitism and paranoia, and he eventually became a recluse. When he came out of hiding to play a match in Yugoslavia, he violated US trade sanctions and became a fugitive, disappearing again only to surface later in Japan where he was arrested in 2004. He renounced his American citizenship and eventually became a citizen of Iceland where he died in 2005.