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The NYT has a fascinating obit for Richard L. Fortman, lifelong Springfield resident and six-time Illinois state checkers champion:
"Richard Lee Fortman was born in Springfield on Feb. 8, 1915. His father, Richard Clarence, was a railroad telegrapher, and late at night, when few trains came, he and his co-workers along the line played checkers by telegraph. They could not betray themselves by keeping checkerboards in the stations, so the games played out entirely in their heads."