NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Checkers Master Checks Out

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A NOTW Classic (December 2008): One of the world's best-known strategists on the game of checkers passed away in November (2008). Richard Fortman was Illinois state champion six times, publishing a seven-volume handbook on rules and tactics in the '70s and '80s. Many now considering the game would be astonished to know that, as in chess, there are masters and grandmasters, international rankings, that experts actually study historical opening moves and endgames, and some play, move-by-move, through the U.S. mail. A New York Times obituary noted 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. o

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