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Robert Alfred Karch (1930-2010) was born on March 24, 1930. He was active in organized chess for over 60 years.
Robert played chess for the Lincoln High School team in Tacoma Washington in the 1940s. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1949 (Private, stationed in Osaka, Japan) and retired in 1972 as an Army Major.
In the late 1950s, he was doing the chess ratings for Northwest Chess and the Washington Chess Federation.
In 1958 he was stationed in San Francisco and became the Vice-President of the San Francisco Bay Area Chess League.
In 1959, he was doing the West Coast Chess Ratings while stationed in Germany.
In 1971 he was an active chess player in Okinawa and an active member, along with Sergeant Bill Wall, at the USO club in Naha, Okinawa. He was also active in the All Service Postal Chess Club (ASPC) and its publication, King’s Korner.
In 1972 he worked briefly for B.H. Wood in England as an editor for Chess magazine. He then returned to the Pacific Northwest and opened a full-time chess center, called the American Chess Service, in Seattle, which was active from 1972 to 1974. Active members of his club included Grandmaster Peter Biyiases, future Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan, and International Master Eric Tangborn.
In 1973 he won the Seattle City championship.
He served as editor of Northwest Chess in the 1970s and 1980s and editor of Chess International, a chess magazine dedicated to correspondence chess.
He served for over five years as the U.S. Secretary to the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF)
In 1983, he was Secretary of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) and ran for president of the USCF.
In 1990, he helped organize the quarterfinals match between Anatoly Karpov and Johann Hjartarson in Seattle.
In 2008, he served as a volunteer judge for the Chess Journalists of America.
He died in Spanaway, Washington (near Tacoma) on March 23, 2010, one day before his 80th birthday.