The mysterious Tucuman who fell in love with Bobby Fischer and the role of Sandro in the romance

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The chess player who became world champion played in Buenos Aires in 1971 and visited Tucumán, where he met Yamila. He was amazed. Even the singer of the moment witnessed that little-known relationship

The mysterious Tucuman who fell in love with Bobby Fischer and Sandro's role in the romance


Cherquis Bialo

The mysterious Tucuman who fell in love with Bobby Fischer and Sandro's role in the romance

Sandro sang for the couple in a private mini-recital. Bobby compared the Argentine singer to Elvis Presley

The search was for a city in the world that would be accepted by all parties involved. Those affected were many: the International Federation, the local federations, the proposed cities and, fundamentally, the players. It was about organizing the elimination match between the grandmasters Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian -Armenian- representative of the Soviet Union and Robert James Bobby Fischer, American, born in Chicago. The winner of that match would face the following year -1972- the invincible world champion, the Russian Boris Spassky.

So Antonio Carrizo< /b>, a number one commercial announcer, radio and television host, popular and prestigious figure in the media and culture, in his role as controller of the Argentine Chess Federation, began to manage Buenos Aires as the organizing city of the match.

Fischer loved Tony Carrizo, whom he had met on his previous trips and felt Buenos Aires as his own space. Bobby's yes to Carrizo was immediate. And Petrosian's took a few months. The hardest part was missing: getting the official decree signed requesting that Buenos Aires be the venue for the Candidates Tournament -in competition with Belgrade-, as well as financial sponsorship from the government –12,000 dollars, of which 7,000 would go to Fischer < /b>-, plus all the expenses of tickets, stays, the exclusive occupation of the San Martín Theater for 45 days, all the extras and so on. It is true that Petrosian did not charge cachet for playing, but in exchange for this it was agreed to pay all the expenses of a team of six people –all staying in a hotel on Sarmiento street at 1200- in charge of the chess player Baturinsky. The world chess environment did not hesitate to consider him as an agent of the K.G.B, the same as the rest of the team. They were gamers, most of them teachers and analysts, but at the same time they all worked for the Soviet secret intelligence service.

The mysterious from Tucuman who fell in love with Bobby Fischer and Sandro's role in the romance

When Fischer met Sandro, who gave him a mini recital, Bobby compared him to Elvis Presley

That 1971 was atypical because Argentina had two de facto presidents: the generals Roberto Levinsgston and Alejandro Agustín Lanusse. But in both cases the same Minister of Social Welfare was held, Francisco Paco Manrique, a former ship captain, also a journalist, later a politician and creator of PRODE and PAMI- who, at the request of the lawyer Agricol de Bianchetti – an admired civil servant wisdom and honesty – managed to achieve such a difficult management. In this way, the dream of Carrizo, who at that time was controller of the Argentine Chess Federation, came true.

Bobby Fischer arrived in Buenos Aires with a bad cold and determined not to repeat some of the nocturnal experiences that most linked him to the Buenos Aires night. Unforgettable youth evenings floated in his memory by the master Larry Evans –fourtime North American champion and journalist- who knew the nightclubs of Buenos Aires like the palms of his hands. And in the 60s he took the young and surprised Bobby to places of enormous glamor such as Mau-Mau, Zum Zum (the owner was the famous cartoonist Divito, creator of Rico Tipo magazine), Afrika, Jaque, Reviens… Bobby was also a guest of other nocturnal characters in the city such as Tite Elizalde who was introduced to him by Christine Onassis and a group of beautiful friends at the Regis del Alvear. It was always rumored that the teacher and journalist had sexually initiated Bobby in Buenos Aires just after he turned 16.

The mysterious tucuman who fell in love with Bobby Fischer and the role of Sandro in the romance

Antonio Carrizo, a mythical figure of Argentine radio and television and a lover of chess, was the architect for the arrival of Fischer to compete in Buenos Aires

For this new and very important trip, Bobby was very clear about what he had to do to beat Petrosian. And that was: study the games and analyze the games for as long as it took, eat the chorizo ​​steaks on horseback and Pepito's strawberries with cream, drink only orange juice or mineral water, live at the Claridge Hotel -far from the San Martín so that no one would disturb him-, listening to Elvis Presley or The Temptations when he returned to the hotel. On the nights he had free, he only wanted to socialize with a few friends like Tony Carrizo -before anyone else-, Miguel Ángel Quinteros -whom Bobby respected and valued-, with the maestro Oscar Cuasnicú -current vice executive and symbol of the Argentine Club of Chess, Stock Market partner and investor advisor- and something with Miguel Najdorf against whom, in addition, he played games of “rapid chess”.

The teacher Cuaniscú remembers a night in which Quinteros won three rapid games – 7 minutes – and Fischer “went crazy”. He would take money out of his pocket and challenge Quinteros to play for money. He said in forced Spanish: “For money, for money, let's play for money Miguel…”. The gathering had been at Tony's house when he lived in Ayacucho near the corner of Vicente López. To lower the climate of tension since Bobby could not believe that he had lost three consecutive games and Quinteros did not know what to say to this new and prodigious friend, Carrizo put on music. “Listen Bobby, listen,” he told her. And once he returned to silence, he warned him, taking the shoulder of “Gallego” Héctor Muleiro, the star producer and inseparable friend of his: “I am going to make you listen to two Argentine artists who are going to be world figures, listen…”. And they began to hear the Piazzolla Quintet doing “Adiós Nonino”… Then Sandro singing “Rosa, rosa…”. Fischer was amazed and Carrizo, after repeating “You liked it, uh, you liked it!!!”, promised to introduce him to Sandro and take him to Claridge “one of these days”. “We can't see Piazzolla because he's in the United States…”, he clarified. It was from that day on that every time Bobby entered the room he asked his dear friend Quinteros: “Miguel, please, put Piazzolla on… let's listen to Adiós Nonino”.

A week or ten days later, Carrizo appeared with Sandro at the Claridge and after the usual introductions, Sandro, guitar in hand, sang three songs: “I want to fill myself with you”, “A girl and a guitar” and “Rosa rosa”. Bobby congratulated him and told everyone, “This one's better than Elvis Presley.” And after a while he challenged him: “Put that cigarette down for once… If you smoke you won't be a star…”

Such was the furor generated by Fischer's victory over Petrosian (6 and ½ to 2/½) that the government hired him to do simulcasts in 17 cities in the interior of the country. The incomparable genius charged $1,000 for each presentation and the two conditions required in the contract were met: being accompanied by Quinteros and traveling by plane from one city to another. After having started the extensive tour in Rosario and Paraná and before continuing to Resistencia, Corrientes, Salta and Jujuy, the international grandmaster, who had already become Spassky's rival to dispute the World Championship, arrived in Tucumán.

The mysterious Tucuman who fell in love with Bobby Fischer and Sandro's role in the romance

Miguel Quinteros and Bobby Fischer traveled to Tucumán in 1971 for a series of simulcasts. They stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of the city and there the American met Yamila, his Argentine fan

The first problem that Quinteros had to solve was to avoid Bobby the crowds and the legitimate “madness” of people for being close to him to see him, ask for his autograph, touch him… This is how they chose the Hotel Cerro San Javier just 24 km from the city of San Miguel de Tucuman. Ideal for “not seeing anyone”, having a quiet dinner, listening to Piazzolla with the 33 RPM Long Play that he had brought to Miguel and resting to continue.

The hotel's terrace resembled the imagined paradise judging by the low stars, the tender silence, and an aroma of fresh jasmine sweated with dew. All the hotel staff knew that no one could get close to the table where those two young men were having dinner, concentrating on a conversation without smiles. Suddenly something unusual happened: a young, tall, slender woman, With long black hair, lively almond eyes, a sincerely bright complexion, challenging lips, a kind forehead, slender ankles, fingers extended to the end of perfect nails, and a captivating smile lined with white pearls, he came to the table and ordered firmly: “Mr. Fischer, could you sign an autograph for me…?

The maitre d' became desperate, apologizing to Bobby while the waiters surrounded her to avoid further inconvenience. Fischer looked at Quinteros and said in a low voice: “Let everyone go except the girl…”. She was beautiful and she also had beauty because she had shown courage, determination, and independence from her parents and siblings who, from another table, blushed at the shame of such audacity. By the way, Fischer signed her autograph and although she refused to take a photo –she was terrified of photos and ran away from photographers- he invited her to join the tour, or to suspend the tour and stay in Tucumán, or to invite her to Buenos Aires as soon as she finished her obligations. Of all the options, Yamila, who had just turned 22, managed to convince her parents and travel to Buenos Aires at the end of November 1971.

The mysterious Tucuman who fell in love with Bobby Fischer and Sandro's role in the romance

Fischer contemplates a game played by Quinteros in Tucumán

Bobby and Yamila lived a love that was as sweet as it was intense. Fischer introduced her to Carrizo as her future wife and Tony, impressed by her particular beauty, proposed to her to work on his Channel 9 program in which Quinteros was a production assistant. The days in Buenos Aires were unforgettable for the couple as Sandro dedicated a couple of songs to them personally, Gato Dumas cooked for them and the small group of close friends offered them the best of their affection. Bobby seemed like a different person and one night at Claridge's he proposed to her immediately. He told her that it could be in Buenos Aires, in San Javier where she “heard his fantastic silence”, in New York, where she should return or anywhere in the world that she wanted. Yamila did not agree to do it immediately on the recommendation of her parents and they promised to do it the following year.

It was so that they were already focused on Grossinger preparing to travel to Reykiavik, Iceland, where it would be held the most anticipated match in history in the middle of the cold war, Bobby told Quinteros one day that he would send Yamila a ticket so that they could be together in the United States, that he missed her.

– Bobby, it's over, let's talk seriously, you have to choose now: Yamila or the world championship? – Quinteros asked sternly.

Fischer won the world championship from Spassky by writing the most brilliant page in world chess.

He never saw Yamila again.

(The first version of this note was published in 2021)

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