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Wikipedia Biography of Tom Dorsch
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Tom Dorsch (b. 1942 in Nebraska) is a chess master and a chess
politician. Because of his involvement in many controversies, there is
little agreement about him, and many will disagree with this
biography, but he is definitely worthy of a Wikipedia, so here is a
start. Those who disagree are welcome to edit.
Dorsch became a chess expert at an early age, eventually rising to
master. He also became a professional poker player, using fake ID
before he was 21 years old to get into the card rooms in Emeryville,
California, where poker was legal. Dorsch played primarily at the Key
Club and less often at the Oaks Club. His specialty was lowball.
His problem was that, although he usually won, whenever he won big he
would go out and buy a steak dinner at a fancy restaurant and spend
his winnings. If he won even more, he would go to Tijuana, Mexico,
where he would check out the whorehouses and the strip clubs, with an
eye for the donkey shows. He even got to know some of the girls who
performed in these animal acts on a first name basis. He would spend
all his gambling winnings and, as a result, when he lost, he would not
have any backup money to get back into the game.
Therefore, Dorsch tried to hustle the weak games in the game room at
the ASUC Student Union building on the campus of the University of
California at Berkeley. His problem there was that the impoverished
students he beat at poker often did not pay their gambling debts.
Dorsch briefly attended the University of California at Berkeley,
majoring in psychology. He quickly made a name for himself, because a
sign was posted at the student union check cashing window which stated
"DO NOT CASH CHECKS FOR TOM DORSCH". He had been writing checks with
no money in the bank hoping to cover the checks with his winnings at
His career at chess was more promising. Dorsch played in the 1961 US
Open Chess Championship in San Francisco, where he met Norman Tweed
Whitaker. Dorsch later played for the University of California chess
team in the Bay Area Chess League. The Berkeley team won the league
championship that year, in part because of victories by Dorsch against
higher rated players. Dorsch played on the Berkeley team in the 1963
US Intercollegiate Chess Championship on the campus of Notre Dame
University in Indiana. The Berkeley team tied with the University of
Texas team led by Henry Davis and Stephan Jones for the US
Championship, after Dorsch got a last round draw from Steve Tarin,
when Tarin had a winning position but failed to see the winning
maneuver whereas Dorsch did see it.
Subsequently, it was discovered that Dorsch had not been a registered
student for the semester that he helped the Berkeley team win the
In the Fall Semester, 1963, Dorsch rented space in the apartment of
Sam Sloan at 2119 Carleton Street in Berkeley. Sloan later said that
he knew that Dorsch had not been involved in the Kennedy
Assassination, because Dorsch had walked into Sloan's apartment only a
few minutes after Sloan heard the news that JFK had been shot. Dorsch
claimed that he had not heard about the shooting.
In 1964, Tom Dorsch disappeared. Sam Sloan filed a law suit against
Dorsch for the unpaid rent. Tom Maser served the summons of Dorsch
while Dorsch was playing in the 3-5 lowball game at the Key Club. A
month later, Dorsch filed an answer in the Berkeley Small Claims Court
stating that he had joined the US Army and was exempt from suit under
the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. This court filing was
accompanied by a letter from his commanding officer. Dorsch has since
often stated that he went to Vietnam and fought in the War in Vietnam
just to get away from Sam Sloan.
After joining the Army, Dorsch was sent to the Army Defense Language
School in Monterey, California. Dorsch was given intensive training in
Russian. He also scored a rating of sharpshooter.
Within a few months, Dorsch was completely fluent in the Russian
language, to such an extent that a real Russian would have thought
that Dorsch was one of them. Whether Dorsch knew any Russian before
attending Army Language School is not known.
After that, Dorsch disappeared. It is known or believed that he did
work for the CIA. Whether he was doing black bag jobs as a field
operative or if he was just sitting in an office, reading, decoding
and translating Russian language documents is not known, as Dorsch has
never discussed this subject.
His length of service is also not known. It has been posted on Usenet
that Dorsch served 20 years in the military and was a lifer. Dorsch,
while actively posting on the same place, never denied this. However,
Mike Goodall, a chess organizer and a friend of Tom Dorsch, has stated
that Dorsch served only four years in the Army and that after he got
out in 1968 Dorsch worked in low level jobs in the Social Security
Administration and the US Post Office. Dorsch went to law school on
the GI Bill and graduated, but he failed the California Bar
Examination four times and was not allowed to take it again, so he
never became qualified as a lawyer.
Dorsch was absent from the world of chess for nearly 30 years, from
the mid-1960s to the early 1990s. However, he played in the Armed
Forces Championship several times. Thus, it seems likely that after
his unsuccessful effort to became a lawyer, Dorsch rejoined the army
and served out the remainder of his 20 years.
When Dorsch returned to the world of chess, it was with a bang. Almost
immediately he became one of the most important politicians in the
United States Chess Federation. He became President of the California
Chess Association and the Editor of CalChess Magazine.He married one
of the top woman players in California, Carolyn Withgitt, who was both
a lawyer and an accountant and who, more importantly, had a job, so
that Dorsch was able to enjoy a luxurious life in Silicon Valley
without ever having to work.
Tom Dorsch became friends with everybody. He was well liked and
popular. He ran for USCF Treasurer in 1996. He was elected by
acclimation, as he had no opponent. He was, at that point in time, the
most popular personality in the world of chess. He could have become
USCF President any time he wanted it.
However, after winning election, the dark side of Tom Dorsch began to
emerge, slowly at first. Dorsch became one of the most active posters
on Usenet, posting several times a day. His postings usually attacked
USCF Vice-President Bill Goichberg and USCF President Don Schultz.
This did not hurt his popularity at first, because there were many
people who did not like Bill Goichberg and Don Schultz, and Dorsch was
supported by many including especially Bruce Draney, a fellow
Nebraskan who was the most active poster on rec.games.chess.politics.
In mid-1998, Dorsch disappeared for two months from Usenet. When he
came back in October, 1968, he seemed to have a changed personality.
Instead of being happy and affable, Dorsch started attacking everybody
including even those who had supported him up until then. For example,
he attacked the popular USCF Executive Director Mike Cavallo, because
Cavallo had written something favorable to Schultz, whom Dorsch did
not like. Later, Dorsch attacked Sam Sloan, when Sloan said something
in favor of Cavallo. After that, Dorsch attacked one of his strongest
supporters, Grandmaster Larry Evans, because Evans had written
something in favor of Sloan. Sinilarly, at the March 1999 Executive
Board meeting, Dorsch attacked well liked and harmless USCF Secretary
Rachel Lieberman, accusing Lieberman of sending out the ballots early
because she thought she was leading in the election. No such thing had
As Dorsch continued to attack more people who had been his friends,
his friends started to turn against him. Two weeks before the votes
had been counted but after the ballots had been mailed out, Dorsch
announced on Usenet that the results of the election were known and he
had been elected and would be the next USCF President.
Dorsch was proven wrong. Instead of winning re-election, Dorsch
finished near the bottom. However, the remaining candidates on the
Dorsch Slate were all elected.
After this stunning defeat, Dorsch continued to be active in chess for
a while. He became President of the California Chess Association
again. However, eventually he soured on the slate he had gotten
elected. Dorsch had supported Jim Pechac for election as Treasurer.
When Pechac proved to be a poor person for the job, Dorsch attacked
Pechac. Dorsch also attacked George John, whom Tim Redman was trying
to anoint as his successor. Because of the attacks by Dorsch, Pechac
and John were defeated in the 2001 elections, much to the relief of
Goichberg, who now agreed with many of the things Dorsch had to say.
Dorsch had changed directions and failed to support even his old
friend Bruce Draney in the 2001 elections. Because of this, the slate
he had supported and gotten elected in the 1999 election was
completely wiped out and defeated in the 2001 election.
Since then, Tom Dorsch has dropped out of chess. His wife has divorced
him. He has not played a tournament game in nearly three years. He has
resigned all his chess positions and has moved back to Nebraska to
live with his mother.
* FIDE rating card for Tom Dorsch
* US Tournament Record for Tom Dorsch
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Dorsch"
Categories: 1942 births | American chess players | Chess players |
Vietnam War veterans
Wikipedia Biography of Tom Dorsch
Sam Sloan wrote:
but he is definitely worthy of a Wikipedia,
Definetely not. Wikipedia is a general Encyclopaedia, not some "people I
find interesting" collection. And the whole article is absolutely and
without any question inappropriate for an encyclopaedia. First of all:
Mr. Dorsch is simply not famous. Nobody outside the chess scene knows
him. And why should anybody have taken notice? (Think about it: are
there any articles in general magazines or newspapers, featuring Mr.
Dorsch? And I don't mean local gazettes, but at least nation-wide
sources, and I don't mean some mentioning of his name in some article on
page 13. Are there any books published about him, or are there books,
where he plays some important role?)
But most of all, the article is full of personal observations,
judgements, ruminations, rumours. For an outsider it is a simply a
ridiciluous collection of irrelevant facts about somebody.
Please, make your own site, something like "People Sam Sloan knows", but
keep those things out of Wikipedia.
Sam Sloan's view of Tom Dorsch
I hate Dorsch so I write garbage about him. My job is to smear everyone
who doesn't support Goichberg and Schultz. Did I do a good job?
Wikipedia Biography of Tom Dorsch
Anyone who assigns more than passing legitimacy to Wikpedia has very, very
Imagine if science textbooks, or novels, were written by consensus. What is
the value of a reference work that any asshole on earth can contribute to?
The idea is ludicrous. Wikpedia's imprimatur on junk postings doesn't make
Wikipedia Biography of Tom Dorsch
Tom Dorsch once made several advances toward me. I told him it would
take more than the 50 cents he offered. I also asked him to shower
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