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Bloodgood, Claude Frizzel

Claude Frizzel Bloodgood (born Klaus Frizzel Bluttgutt III) was born in La Paz, Mexico on July 14, 1937 (some sources say he was born in 1924).  He was the author of The Tactical Grob, Blackburne-Hartlaub Gambit(1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 d6), and Nimzovich Attack: The Norfolk Gambits.  In the late 1950’s, he was editor of the Viriginia Chess News Roundup and the rating statistician for the Virginia State Chess Association.  In 1958, he started the All Service Postal Chess Club (ASPCC).  In 1970 he was sentenced to death for killing his stepmother by strangulation in 1969, apparently in a fight about an inheritance and bad check charges.  While on death row (prisoner 99432), he played over 2,000 postal games simultaneously.  The postage was paid by the State of Virginia.  He was scheduled for execution 6 times, but received a reprieve on all occasions.  His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1972 and the state stopped paying postage.  He was allowed to play in chess tournaments outside the prison, accompanied by a guard.  In 1974, Bloodgood escaped after he and another chess player (Lewis Capleaner – a murderer inmate) overpowered a guard (George Winslow) who was escorting them to a chess tournament.  Bloodgood cuffed the guard, stole his guns, and fled to New York.  When he was recaptured after several weeks at large, his correspondence privilege was taken away from him at Virginia State Penitentiary.  His escape led to the resignation of Virginia’s director of prisons, no more prisoners taken to outside chess tournaments, and the Virginia Penitentiary Chess program dismantled.  The guard was also arrested for his involvement in the escape.  In 1996 he was the 2nd highest USCF ranked player in the country (2702), just behind Gata Kamsky.  His actual strength was much less (perhaps weak expert).   He built up a high numerical rating by organizing chess tournaments and matches in prison, and consistently beat the other weaker players.  Each time he won another tournament, he accrued a few more rating points.  From 1993 to 1999, he played 3,174 rated chess games, winning over 91 percent of his games.  His rating pointed out a flaw in the USCF rating system.  He participated in the 15th U.S. Correspondence Championship, which began in June, 2000, scoring 3 wins and 9 losses (he died before finishing his last game).  He died of lung cancer in the hospital of the Powhatan Correctional Center near Richmond, Virginia on August 4, 2001.

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