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Conrad Goodman
Born NYC: 7/01/1935
Known professionally in Art & Chess circles as Conrad

Ah, the snippets of memory!

I played my first chess game at age 8  with favorite aunt Sylvia. Then,
continued to play occasional chess until 1958, when I began to take the
game more seriously, competing evenly with dozens of NYC masters, and
playing hundreds of blitz games a week in dingy pay-as-you-play
Manhattan parlors referred to as chess clubs -- at the rate of 60 cents
an hour, which got you paired with any available players, plus all the
free cups of coffee your stomach could hold.

One of those smoke filled parlors was over a movie theater at 42nd and
Columbus Avenue, which some of you might remember. Another was above
some dingy shops on 42nd near 6th Ave. Both were filled with chess bums
and hustlers of all ages, looking to play you for the time tab -- or
anything from quarters to $5 a game.

Besides the usual masters, like Valvo, Zuckerman and Hoffman,
there were players like Richmond. Tall, elderly, boney, toothless,
thick uncombed gray hair; tobacco stained fingers with unclipped
nails, always broke, wearing the same shabby clothes. Everyone
wanted to play Richmond because it was a sight to see him win game
after game in simple, positional style, while nodding to everyone
in the room from his chair. Rarely looking at the board or pieces,
all-in-the-room knew you'd soon be mated -- when he raised his hand
and said, "Mister Proprietor .. another cup of black coffee please."

There came a time when Richmond refused to play me for money, nor did
the other regulars, including a brilliant hustler named Jackie who
spotted anyone knight odds at 5-minutes and randomly moved pieces with
either hand. I think his ambidexterity -- plus a gaping hole on b1
simply threw players off.

One day in 1970, I saw two guys analyzing a game that looked vaguely
familiar! It was my semi-final Golden Knights postal game in progress
versus Martin Resnick. I was ranked 10th in the US at that time in
USCCF, and needed that win to take 1st in the round -- then supervised
by Jack Battell; now by Alex Dunne, whom I also had the the good
pleasure to play several times.

I listened to the guys analyze my game and pointed out a `what if'
move .. without telling them I was Martin's opponent. Then I told my
wife about it. She used to sit next to me in those smoke-filled
parlors, always reading books while I hustled the hustlers.

On that same day, I told Marianne that I was going to create my
own postal chess club ... and also decided to relocate my clock to
the stone chess tables next to the skating rink in Central Park,
where I was quickly known as a speed king -- chess, that is. ;)

I would dash to those tables every work day during my lunch hour,
plus play there Saturdays and Sundays as well. On rainy days
we'd play inside that small house .. which some might recall is
centered between the sixteen stone chess tables. Marianne sat
next to me, always reading books, usually Agatha Christie.

Since I usually spotted most opponents 2 minutes on the clock,
and played 5-7 or 3-5 minutes, my table usually drew lots of
spectators. At the other tables these regulars usually played:
Jersey .. the jolly elderly grand master who walked with a limp;
Hans .. the thin elderly Danish chess expert with white hair;
Joe .. with both of his dobermans sitting at his side;
plus Camille .. who always managed to get the shaded table.

As Central Park got more dangerous, Marianne persuaded me to
get more involved with my own club called PCSI .. which stands
for Postal Chess Sports International. I also formed a small
chess group at work to play during lunch in the 2nd floor
lounge of the J C Penney Corporate Headquarters at 53rd & 6th
Avenue, where I was happily employed as an Art Director.

I then began teaching chess to co-workers on tuesday nights;
and formed two teams that competed in the `Commercial Chess
League of New York,' organized by Jerry Bibuld.

We played great teams from firms like Con Ed and Met Life,
and I usually ended a tourney night with 5-minute games vs
friends like Maurice Perria, John Sarar and Lisa Korhonen.

Our teams won the B and D divisions in our 1st season out.
After receiving CCLNY trophies at the Sloane House on
34th Street, most of us lost to GM Arthur Bisguier in a
simultaneous exhibition. It was quite a night!!

Next came 1-on-1 invites at our NYC apartment to players like
Cleveland Amory, Abe Cohen and Wayne Conover plus many others,
including my closest chess friend Danny Colon.

A bit later, Marianne was quite relieved when Vladimir opened a
pay-as-you-play chess parlor on Lexington just south of 57th. This
housed our games for the next few years, until that building was sold.

Danny and I then started meeting a few times a week after work in the
Citi-Corp Building. That's the tall slanted one landmark located on 53rd
& Lexington. Our 7-minute games drew lots of spectators, plus more chess
players --- which left no tables or chairs for atrium food shops to seat
their customers, so they closed us down.

Just about this time, Marianne and I started taking European vacations
each year. She's from Belgium, so we'd start there, then travel to meet
postal chess players at hotels in different cities. While I played at
clubs and coffee houses in England, Holland, France, Belgium and
Switzerland, Marianne got to read lots of foreign magazines, while
sitting next to me for moral support.

The most exciting session I recall was my first and only lawn chess
games in Bern. I scored 1.5 to .5 against their local IM, walking
on a huge chess board. Moving 4-foot pieces was quite a departure
from my hand-held postal chess recorder album.

We also took short vacations to visit my Mother in Florida. I got to

play in dozens of clubs from West Palm Beach .. down to the stone tables
at Washington & 8th in Miami Beach .. often spotting familiar faces from
Central Park. Chess is a small world, n'est pas?

In 1988, JCPenney relocated its Corporate Headquarters to Dallas. We
love it here, but I haven't played any otb since that move. By way of
compensation, I increased my postal chess activities, and have sustained
my IM status while playing from home --- with Marianne now writing books.

As retirement approached, I became a contemporary artist -- plus active
email chess player, and usually keep 50 games going via post and email

Now I'm delighted to be competing in IECC matches arranged by Lisa Powell.

In closing, let me say that my favorite player is George Koltanowski,
who just happens to be from Belgium ... and my favorite games are those
that exit book lines in the early opening stages.

Here's that 1970 Resnick - Goodman Golden Knights postal game:

[Event  "Golden Knights"]
[Site   "Postal"]
[Date   "1970.??.??"]
[Round  "Semi-Final"]
[White  "Resnick,Martin"]
[Black  "Goodman,Conrad"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bc4 b5 5.Bb3 a5 6.a4 b4 7.d4 Bg4
8.Qd3 Nxd5 9.Nf3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 e6 11.O-O Be7 12.c4 Nb6 13.Rd1 Ra6
14.Nd2 O-O 15.Ne4 N6d7 16.Qg3 Bh4 17.Qh3 f5 18.Ng3 c5 19.d5 Bxg3
20.Qxg3 e5 21.Bc2 Rg6 22.Qe3 e4 23.f3 Ne5 24.f4 Nf3+ 25.Kh1 Nd4
26.Bb1 Nd7 27.Ra2 Nf6 28.Qe1 Ng4 29.Be3 Rh6 30.Bxd4 cxd4 31.h3 Qc7 1-0