|Typical Schroeder chess books|
Schroeder was born on November 30, 1927 and as far as I know is still alive and living in Washington state. I knew him quite well when he lived in Cleveland, Ohio and was active as a tournament director and was known for visiting the John G. White chess book collection at the Cleveland Public Library where he would meticulously hand copy games from famous tournaments, type them up, mimeograph them and then sell them for fifty cents apiece at tournaments. I even helped him on one book by proofreading the games and I think he gave me a book (a real one) of Karpov's games for my efforts.
One day he approached me at a tournament and asked if I had a car and could I give him a ride to his apartment to pick up some chess books to bring back and sell. His apartment was in an older building and was sparsely furnished with a small portable black and white TV with a coat hanger antenna. Chess books were piled all over the place. On the way back we stopped for lunch at an out of the way Chinese restaurant where we were the only non-Chinese in the place, but Schroeder seemed to be pretty well known.
According to his "Confidential Chess Lessons," a typewritten and mimeographed booklet of miscellaneous "instructions", Schroeder learned to play chess around 1945. Originally from Michigan, he moved to Ohio where he became active in promoting chess everywhere he could. While serving in the Army during the Korean War his pocket chess set was always with him and he played a lot of postal chess during that time. After the war he returned to Columbus, Ohio and later moved to Dayton, Ohio. While living in Dayton he never once visited the home of the poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, or went near the internationally famous Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, or visited the Wright Brothers Memorial. At some point he ended up in Springfield, Ohio, where in 1957 he got married and the Schroeders had one daughter.
In the 1950’s he studied the game and players extensively and became editor of the Columbus YMCA Chess Bulletin and became an active tournament player. He founded the Tru-Test Company, which sold chess books and supplies. In Cleveland he was founder of the “Cleveland Chess Foundation" and published the “Mini-Might Chess Bulletin." He also founded the Prison Chess Fund which supplied chess books to prisoners and encouraged people to play postal chess with inmates.
One lesser known incident in Schroeder's career was when he was selected by the controversial Nestor Farris to be the editor of The Chess Correspondent. According to Bryce Avery in Correspondence Chess in America, it was the "most catastrophic blunder in Farris' entire CCLA career."
Avery wrote that when he got the job, Schroeder had been given enough material for a couple of issues, but he wouldn't use it, choosing to write his own material instead and got the CCLA board's dander up by complaining in the magazine that they had not given him enough material. He also changed the design that had been used by the previous editors, Isaac Kashdan and William Wilcock. Schroeder's cover was too dark and the font hard to read. He also used filler that included drawings of maggots, photos of Elizabeth Taylor dressed as Cleopatra and a cartoon of a woman wearing only a towel. Sounds like the January, 1975 issue of the magazine, Schroeders' only issue before getting fired, was a forerunner of Kevin Spraggett's blog! An excerpt from that January, 1975 issue by Schroeder can be seen HERE.
At the 2012 US Open, held in Vancouver, Washington where Schroeder was then living (and probably still does), the USCF Executive Board (Ruth Haring, Greg Walters, Allen Priest, Mike Nieman, Mitchell Atkins, Jim Berry, Bill Goichberg) voted not honor him with an award. Schroeder's reaction: "Look in your Funk and Wagnalls for words to express my opinion of them. Invectives, derogatory, vituperative, caustic. Being a gentleman of refined habits, I never employ such language and decline to lower myself into their midden-heap."
Schroeder declared the following game, published by Al Horowitz in Chess Review where he was referred to as Shredder Schroeder, was his first brilliancy prize game, adding that he was not a good attacking player, but nobody could miss his sacrifice.