Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Bloodgood’s Tricks

Claude Frizzel Bloodgood (July 14, 1937 – August 4, 2001) was a controversial American chess player, who 20 years ago reached an astonishing USCF rating peak of 2789. He was the second-highest-rated player in the U.S. after Gata Kamsky at the time.

Because of his rating, Bloodgood qualified to play in the U.S. championship. But there was a problem. He was a convicted killer!

He was sentenced to death in 1970 after having been convicted of murdering his mother, although this sentence was later commuted to life in prison. While in prison, he remained a very active chess player. He took part in a large number of correspondence games and also played many rated games against other inmates.

Bloodgood employed dubious openings in his games. Even more, most of his opponents were beginners. Look the following game and judge by yourself:

Bloodgood organized chess tournaments in Powhatan Correctional Center in Powhatan, Virginia. In those tournaments only prisoners from the same penitentiary took part. Many of them were taught by Bloodgood himself. That means that they were unrated and inexperienced players.

Some accused Bloodgood of obtaining USCF memberships for new prisoners and arranging rated games for them against other inmates, who would deliberately lose. In this way, the new players reached inflated rating.

Allegedly, Bloodgood played rated games against the new highly rated prisoners and gained rating points by defeating them.

These irregularities continued for several years and would be the reason why Bloodgood achieved in 1970 his highest rating USCF 2789 rating at the age of 60!!

The US Chess Federation alleges about rating manipulation.

Claude Frizzel Bloodgood died in prison in 2001.

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