publication date: Dec 20, 2008
author/source: Chuck Shepherd
One of the world's best-known strategists on the game of checkers passed away in November. Richard Fortman was Illinois state champion six times, and in the 1970s and 1980s published a seven-volume handbook on rules and tactics. Many people now considering the game would be astonished to know that, as in chess, there are masters and grandmasters, and international rankings, that experts actually study historical opening moves and endgames, and that some play, move-by-move, via the U.S. Mail. A New York Times obituary noted that Fortman played as many as 100 games simultaneously, and won games blindfolded. Until the end, according to his daughter, Fortman spent “hours each day” playing checkers online.