Jun

23

Richard FortmanMr. Richard Fortman is in his early 90s and can be called the Dean of Checkers. I visited his home a couple of years ago and took him and his wife Faye to lunch. He showed me his checker library and ran up some play for me. His books on openings, Basic Checkers, is a mainstay for three-move enthusiasts. Joe Schwartz who won 10 and drew 10 in the recent International Match and was the highest US scorer credits the study of Basic Checkers to his dramatic success. Mr. Fortman below replies to my query on Mr. Matthewson and thought you would enjoy his reply to me.

Hello Alan,

Christy Mathewson was before my time, however, my coach Harland Richards once met him while on a business trip to Boston at the local checker club in the early 20s. He said Christy's profession was baseball and that checkers was just an enjoyable hobby. He liked to entertain his teammates on long train rides to the west coast by playing them blindfolded. That is an art not given to all, as you know. Although Tinsley, Ryan, Banks, and Lieberman were adept, other masters such as Long or Hellman were not. Richards suggested a game but Christy declined (no time) but did autograph a scorecard for him. There is a photo that shown Christy playing Sunset Bell with members of his team as spectators. I was told his board and checker set are in the baseball Hall of Fame. I don’t ever recall seeing a published game that he played. Gassed in WWI, his life was cut short.


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