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In 2001, Nigel Short went public with the opinion that he had in fact played Bobby Fischer on the Internet Chess Club.

This was denied by Fischer himself, and the consensus seems to be that it was not in fact Fischer that he was playing. However, though I have the impression of reading something about who Short was really playing some time ago, I cannot remember this for sure and now cannot find a conclusive source on who Short's opponent actually was. Has there ever been a definitive statement on this?

Thanks very much.

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I know of no definitive source as to the true identity of "ICC Fischer," but the notion that it was someone operating an engine always struck me as plausible and probable. Here's a piece by Frederic Friedel from 2001 making a case for that: chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=11 (Note the link to several games of "ICC Fischer" at the bottom of that page, for those curious.) –  ETD Aug 20 '12 at 1:06
ah, thanks! nice article. –  user1539 Aug 20 '12 at 3:51
I asked the ICC this and they basically told me to shut up. –  xaisoft Aug 21 '12 at 14:53
ICC are the only ones who can answer this question. –  Rauan Sagit Dec 12 '14 at 17:50

3 Answers 3

Nobody knows who he played, because nobody has come forward to take credit; however, some chess sleuths compared the moves against various engines and found that there was considerable evidence to support a particular engine (I believe it was called "blitz tiger") as the mysterious Fischer. Because of the incident where Short chatted with Fischer, there must have been a human behind the account as well (many accounts on the ICC are run entirely by computers without any human interaction at all). The ICC can probably do some user profiling to figure out who the player is either by comparing the location/IP/e-mail to another user or by doing some internet forensics based on information they gathered from the incident. However, it seems like they either don't care or if they did find out, they don't want to share (based on what xaisoft said) so it will probably always be a mystery. And, to be honest, it's a better story that way, and because all this is is a good story, that's a good thing.

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I doubt ICC keeps server logs for the 10+ years that would be required to do this kind of analysis. –  David Richerby Dec 10 '14 at 17:38

If you can believe that Fischer would play as white: 1.f4 e5 2.f5 d5 3.g4 Qh4# White checkmated 0-1 Unlikely. More likely it was someone with a chess engine having some fun, likely someone who is very inexperienced as provided by the example. He would make very poor opening moves and let the chess engine take over beating many GM's.

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One of my teachers former students was on the chess team at school and was an advanced computer programmer. He often played with the ICC using an engine using Fischer's moves. When my teacher asked him about this event the student basically said "Im not saying i didn't do it." I dont know if this is true but i thought that this was a funny coincidence.

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-1 This failed to answer anything. –  Student T Dec 12 '14 at 2:38

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