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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Charles Weldon

      Charles Weldon (b. 1939 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - d. 1993 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia) was a master and a professor of computer science at City University of New York. He was considered to be the superstar of his university department; one of the brightest and best. Today CCNY offers an award in his name for outstanding students in computer science. He taught a class called “mainframe assembler.” It’s interesting that CCNY also had another very strong master on their faculty, a chemistry professor, Dr. Neil McKelvie, who at one time served as president of the Manhattan Chess Club.
      Weldon won the US Amateur Chess Championship with a perfect score and was known for playing the Schliemann Defense against the Ruy Lopez. He was known to play in tournaments wearing a large pair of headphones, apparently to block out ambient sound.
      He died at age 57 when he became interested in the country of Yugoslavia and traveled there to play in a tournament. Weldon did well in the tournament but got sick shortly after the tournament; he had appendicitis and his appendix was removed. He could have had a medical evacuation back to the United States or to a hospital in Germany, but he did not feel that his condition was sufficiently serious. When complications developed, it was too late because Yugoslavia was involved in civil war and did not have the life support facilities to properly care for his peritonitis and as a result he died.
      Sam Sloane made an interesting observation that, unlike Bobby Fischer, Weldon’s presence in Yugoslavia, in view of his position of one of America's most distinguished computer scientists, was a matter of more serious concern than Fischer’s match against Spassky, but Weldon was never harassed by the US Government because of his presence in Yugoslavia.
      The play of both sides in the following game is not perfect, but it’s exciting.

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