The Short Life of Billy Adam

William (Billy) Adam was a Syracuse, NY (the same neck of the woods as now-Norwegian GM Jon Tisdall) master whose life only lasted from 1963 to 1982. He came from a large family – many sisters (not sure if any brothers). It was shocking when I saw his obituary at such a young age (only 19). When I heard about his death from Joel Benjamin’s dad, Alan, I thought it was a practical joke – too implausible to be true. To demonstrate the power of the Internet World Wide Web on modern society, (the ‘converse’ power to forget older news), Bill’s life (which ended pre-Web, 1982) is not to be found in any source I was able to uncover via Google. Readers?

Apparently according to the following letter Jon Schroer and I were planning a Chess Life eulogy but nothing came of that (click to enlarge).

b_adam.jpg

Billy was a big natural talent. We had some adventures – for example he convinced me to save money and sleep under the chess tables in the Philadelphia World Open – a plan foiled by security guard flashlights at about 3:30 am (we were flushed into the bus terminal).   Billy rushed onto a bus that was idling with a sign in the front that said “Pittsburgh”.  I got him off that bus! And, in New York City, we even convinced IM John Watson to party with us one time. No small feat. Billy was a friendly kid with lots of energy.

The last few years of his life he spent as a student at SUNY Stony Brook, NY and he had mostly withdrawn from competitive chess, which was actually a big loss for chess.

Parallels with Peter Winston

One thing he had in common with Peter Winston:

Charlie Hertan writes in Chess Life magazine, “in November, 1977, when Peter had a miserable 0-9 result. He seemed a little off-kilter and baffled, as we all were, but I guess we chalked it up to his rustiness and terrible form at the time”. A strange coincidence, Billy Adam too had a baffling 0-and-something result in a US Junior. This included a dump where Billy played into Fool’s mate (the TD forfeited him, wisely). We can safely say that 0-and-something results from strong juniors are a clear signal for mental health intervention. If we had such intervention in either the Winston or the Adam case, they would probably be with us today.

I would like readers to chip in here with Billy Adam memories. I will hunt a game I played with him (he won in a Keres Attack, Philadelphia 1979) and post it here.

For now, I will simply relate that 1. e4 c5 2. d3 Nc6 3. f4 with the idea of g3, Bg2, Nb1-d2, Ng1-e2, was named by Billy as the “Billiam Attack.” Note the strange position of the white knights. He would keep flipping the knights with Nd2-f3, and, after a f4-f5, also get in the fearsome Ne2-f4.

Here’s a National HS Blog I found (‘A History of the National High School Chess Championship’, by Steve Immitt) that mentions a notable performance by 14-year-old Billy Adam.

Cleveland, OH 1977: The Ninth National High School returned to Cleveland, with 494 players. In the past 8 years, only once did either the top-rated player or a Master finish first (Larry Christiansen did both in 1973). The winner has usually been an Expert, as no one under 2000 has ever won (1976 was the only time it was won by a player ranked lower than 7th at the start). There is, however, an old National High School tradition of the “Cinderella A-Player,” an unknown player who has the tournament of his life only to fade at the end. This curious custom started at the first National High School in 1969, when Paul Jacklyn needed a last-round draw to win on tiebreak, but lost to John Watson. Nick Ocipoff was 6-0 when he blundered a winning position to jettison the title the following year. Peter Radomskyj had defeated the top-rated player to go 6-0 before losing to Christiansen in 1971. In 1976, Jake Meskin was 6-0 before he lost to Rich Kaner. Every time, the player who defeated the “Cinderella A-Player” went on the win the tournament himself. This year, 14-year old Bill Adam of Syracuse, NY was cast as Cinderella. Top-rated Yasser Seirawan (2364) was upset in round 3 by Chris Richmond (1809) of Burlington, VT, throwing open the path to the championship to Adam. After upsetting 2nd-rated Steve Odendahl (2217) he needed but a last-round draw on Board One with 6th-ranked Jim Thibault (2134) of Salem, MA. Jim sacrificed a piece for a crushing attack. Adam defended doggedly, only to be outplayed in the endgame. Thibault’s victory gave him 7 points and the best tiebreaks to capture the championship. Once again, the clock had struck twelve for Cinderella.

Some players that may be able to chip in with Billy memories: Jon Tisdall, Charlie Hertan, Jon Schroer, … (others?).

Breaking Billy Adam News

Breaking news from the ICC cyber universe, Oct 11, 2007: Firebug tells you: Billy Adams actually played in several tournaments in Rochester NY around that time. I may have a few games but definately Ron Lohrman may have some he played against Dr Marchand Stay Tuned!!!

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23 Responses to “The Short Life of Billy Adam”

  1. Barry Popik Says:

    Ah, Billy Adam!

  2. Bruce Leverett Says:

    I played a couple of games with Bill Adam in 1979, in futurity tournaments organized by Eric Schiller. I should be able to dig them up. Both times I got bad positions but narrowly escaped with a draw.

  3. Bruce Leverett Says:

    One of my games with Bill Adam was lost. After I had played over the other one and realized how bad it was, I hesitated to contribute it to this memorial. But that’s the way it goes. There were some good moves mixed in with the bad, so have fun.

    The game was in a “futurity” tournament, meaning that the main idea was to enable players to get FIDE ratings, by running a 10-man round robin in which 4 of the players alread had FIDE ratings. I already had a FIDE rating, while Bill Adam was probably trying to get one. In those days there was a minimum publishable FIDE rating, which was 2200. Also, a FIDE rating was a nice thing to have. I played in four futurity tournaments in 1980, in New York, Cleveland, and Boston, and two more in 1981, in Hong Kong. Later, my FIDE rating was good for some ultra-cheap entry fees in some tournaments in Europe.

    This tournament was held at the “Bar Point”. At least that’s what I remember as the nickname for the site, at the corner of Broadway and 14th, on the second floor. I’ve heard that this site got some bad press in “Searching for Bobby Fischer”. The sanitation was OK, really. But there was an unmistakably grimy cast. Maybe it was the missing or damaged floor tiles, or maybe it was the stuffed armchair that was long past the end of its useful lifetime. But chess players knew that affordable real estate at such a choice Manhattan location couldn’t last forever, and they used it and learned to love it. The tournament in which this game was played was the fourth futurity in a row (organized by Eric Schiller) at the site, and Bill Goichberg ran countless international swisses and low-category round robins there. It’s hard to imagine nowadays that it could have been so easy to find FIDE-rated chess in the United States, but it was, and the main reason was the Bar Point.

    Adam – Leverett, Futurity tournament, New York City, April 1980

    1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 O-O 5 Nge2 c5 6 a3 cxd4 7 exd4 Be7 8 d4 d6 9 Ng3 e5 10 Be2 Ne8 11 O-O f5 12 f4 e4 13 Be3 Nd7 14 b4 b6 15 Rac1 a5 16 Nb5 Rf7 17 Nd4 Nb8 18 b5 Qc7 19 Qd2 g6 20 Rfd1 Nd7 21 Nf1 Nc5 22 Qc2 Ng7 23 Nd2 Bd7 24 N2b3 Re8 25 Nxc5 dxc5 26 Nc6 Bd6 27 Rf1 Bxc6 28 bxc6 Qd8 29 Qb2 Bc7 30 Rcd1 Qd6 31 Bd2 g5 32 Be3 Rd8 33 g3 g4 34 Bd2 Qh6 35 Bc3 Ne8 36 Be5 Nd6 37 Rb1 Kf8 38 Qc3 Rb8 39 Rb3 Qg6 40 Rfb1 Kg8 41 Qe3 h5 42 Bc3 Rff8 43 Be5 Kf7 44 Kg2 Ke7 45 Qc3 Kd8 46 Bxd6 Qxd6 47 Qg7 Kc8 48 Bd1 Rd8 49 Qh7 Qf6 50 h4 gxh3+ 51 Kh2 h4 52 Qxh4 Qxh4 53 gxh4 Bxf4+ 54 Kxh3 Kc7 55 Bh5 Rf8 56 Rf1 Bh6 57 Bg6 e3 58 Bxf5 e2 59 Re1 Rxf5 60 Rxe2 Rf7 61 a4 Rbf8 62 Re6 Bf4 63 Rf3 Bd6 64 Rxf7+ Rxf7 65 Re4, agreed drawn

  4. Joe Lux Says:

    I shared a room during a US Open in Chicago with Bill and Vince McCambridge. They were in contention for prizes and asked me to figure their last round pairing the night before to prepare. I happened to get the pairings right, and both won and got part of the prize fund.

  5. charlie hertan Says:

    Too many Bill memories to cram into one email–but here’s a start:
    I believe that the “Billiam” Opening move order was usually 1.e4 c5 2.g3!
    as played in Billiam-Benjamin et al (and noted in Unorthodox Openings by Benjamin and Schiller). I remember a fine victory over Joel at a barpoint international, perhaps the tournament when bill first ditched the suit and tie look for the hip macho teen guy image (overcoming that Catholic background). I also remember him tell of an event where he scored 4-0 against strong masters, one was the late IM Robert (“Grooch”) Gruchacz.
    More later….

  6. matthew ohara Says:

    I remember bill when he arrived at the syracuse chess club in the early ’70s. Tisdall was a year younger than me, and had recently won the state championship at 14. I made a big deal of giving bill “lessons” at the club which were little more than pep talks over recent game scoresheets. When Bill made master at age 15, it was a big accomplishment. He played in two tournaments at teh same time at the Syracuse YMCA and the Salt City chess club site a mile away. His sisters were really hot, but didn’t seem too interested in me. I am trying to see if his old scoresheets are available….

  7. bioniclime Says:

    Bill Adam is mentioned in Joel Benjamin’s new book, Amercian Grandmaster.

  8. Alex Dunne Says:

    I played Bill five games or so and watched him develop from about 1800 to 2300. Will send the games later this week.

    Pax, Alex Dunne

  9. Alex Dunne Says:

    (307) Adam,W (1900) – Dunne,A (2195) [E81]
    Wellsboro, 1976
    1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 Nfd7 7.Bd3 c5 8.Nge2 Nc6 9.d5 Nce5 10.f4 Ng4 11.Bd2 e5 12.h3 Ngf6 13.Qc2 Re8 14.0–0–0 exf4 15.Nxf4 Ne5 16.g4 h6 17.Be2 a6 18.Rdg1 Bd7 19.g5 hxg5 20.Rxg5 b5 21.h4 b4 22.Nd1 Qa5 23.a3 bxa3 24.Bxa5 a2 25.Bc3 a1Q+ 26.Kd2 Qa2 27.Nf2 Nxc4+ 28.Bxc4 Qxc4 29.h5 Ba4 30.Qd3 Qxd3+ 31.Kxd3 Bb5+ 32.Kc2 Nxe4 33.Nxe4 Rxe4 34.hxg6 Rxf4 35.gxf7+ Rxf7 36.Rhg1 Raa7 37.Rg6 Rad7 38.Re6 Bc4 39.Rg5 Rf2+ 40.Kd1 Kf8 41.Bxg7+ Rxg7 42.Rxg7 Kxg7 43.Rxd6 Rxb2 44.Rc6 Bxd5 45.Rxc5 Bb7 46.Kc1 Rb5 47.Rc7+ Kf6 48.Rc3 Ke5 49.Rd3 Bd5 50.Rc3 Kd4 51.Ra3 a5 52.Kc2 Bc4 53.Rg3 a4 54.Rg4+ Kc5 55.Rg5+ Bd5 56.Rg3 Kb4 57.Kb2 Bc4 58.Rg1 a3+ 59.Ka1 Rd5 60.Rh1 Rb5 61.Rh3 a2 62.Rh2 Rf5 63.Rh1 Rf3 64.Rc1 Bb3 65.Re1 Rg3 66.Rf1 Rd3 67.Rc1 Rd8 68.Rh1 Bc4 69.Rg1 Ra8 70.Rc1 Ra3 71.Rh1 Bd3 72.Rg1 Kc3 73.Rc1+ Kd2 74.Rc2+ Bxc2 0–1

    (474) Adam,W (2080) – Dunne,A (2175) [B86]
    Rochester, 1978
    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Qe2 Be7 8.Be3 b5 9.Bb3 0–0 10.0–0–0 b4 11.Na4 Nxe4 12.f3 Nf6 13.g4 Bd7 14.Rhg1 Nc6 15.g5 Nh5 16.f4 g6 17.Nf3 Na5 18.Kb1 Nxb3 19.axb3 Bb5 20.Qf2 Qc7 21.Nb6 Rab8 22.f5 exf5 23.Nd5 Qb7 24.Nxe7+ Qxe7 25.Rge1 Qc7 26.Rd4 Bc6 27.Rh4 Be4 28.Nd4 Rfc8 29.Re2 Ng7 30.Rh3 a5 31.Bf4 Ne6 32.Qh4 Nf8 33.Rd2 a4 34.bxa4 b3 35.Kc1 bxc2 36.Ne2 Rxb2 37.Kxb2 c1Q+ 38.Nxc1 Qxc1+ 39.Ka2 Bb1+ 40.Ka1 Bc2+ 41.Ka2 Rb8 42.Qxh7+ Nxh7 43.Be5 Qb1+ 44.Ka3 Rb3+ 0–1

    (486) Adam,W (2115) – Dunne,A (2175) [B92]
    Syracuse, 1978
    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 b5 7.f4 e5 8.Nf3 Nbd7 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Bd3 Be7 11.Qe2 0–0 12.Kh1 b4 13.Nd1 Re8 14.Nf2 Bf8 15.f5 d5 16.Bg5 h6 17.Bh4 Qb6 18.Rae1 Rac8 19.Nd2 Qa5 20.Ng4 Be7 21.Bg3 Nxg4 22.Qxg4 Bg5 23.Qe2 Nf6 24.exd5 Bxd2 25.Qxd2 Qxd5 26.Rf2 e4 27.Bf1 Qc5 28.Rfe2 Qxf5 29.Qxb4 Ba8 30.Rf2 Qh5 31.Bxa6 Rcd8 32.Be2 Qd5 33.Bc4 Qd4 34.c3 Qa7 35.Rfe2 Nh5 36.Bf2 e3 37.Bg1 Qd7 38.Bxe3 Qg4 39.Bxf7+ 1–0

    (547) Adam,W (2165) – Dunne,A (2250) [C26]
    Rochester, 1979
    1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nge2 c6 6.0–0 d5 7.exd5 cxd5 8.d4 exd4 9.Nxd4 Be6 10.Bg5 Nc6 11.Nb3 Be7 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Nxd5 Bxb2 14.Rb1 Ba3 15.Qf3 Qxd5 ½–½

    (593) Adam,W (2305) – Dunne,A (2325) [C26]
    Rochester, 1980
    1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Bc5 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nge2 Nc6 6.0–0 Re8 7.d3 Nd4 8.h3 c6 9.Kh2 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Qh5 Be6 14.Bd2 Rc8 15.f4 g6 16.Qf3 Qb6 17.f5 Bxf5 18.Qxd5 Re2 19.Rad1 Rce8 20.g4 R8e5 21.Qb3 Qc6 22.Rg1 Be6 23.c4 dxc3 24.Qxc3 Bd5 25.d4 Bxg2 26.dxe5 Bh1+ 27.Kg3 Bf2+ 28.Kf4 g5+ 0–1

    MG Note: I will dig up a loss of mine vs Billy from the late 70s.

  10. Alex Dunne Says:

    Just one correction — Charles Hertan suggests Bill would have benefited from a mental health intervention. I was told at the time 1982 that Bill(who had epilepsy) had died during a fit, choking on his tongue.

  11. charlie hertan Says:

    The way I heard it was, he died of a seizure while fixing a motorbike–but I suspected possible drug involvement since bill liked to go to extremes.
    He stayed at his sister’s apartment in NYC for several months the year before he died(?), He aced the Census Bureau test and got a supervisory job despite his tender (teen) age. He liked trying on different roles for laughs.
    He turned me on to raw egg milkshakes, which I loved until I discovered the risk of salmonella. He had a pretty ornery persona and could offend people, but was pretty much a puppy dog once you got to know him. He was a close friend and it blew me away when he died. Barry Popik first introduced us when Bill was probably 14, and at that time he looked like a very square suit and tie type–but he transformed his image radically in the next few years, and became sort of hip and a bit macho, in a very offbeat way…he could be confrontative on the surface, but quick to laugh if you poked a hole in the veneer…He was kind of a dynamo, buzzing with nervous and creative energy, and he was a lot of fun, approaching things with gusto.
    To correct Alex’s correction–I didn’t say Bill could’ve benefited from counseling, I said that about Peter Winston in my article, and Mark G. extrapolated that thought to Bill, above…it’s a thought, but knowing bill, I don’t think he’d have gone for it! And I don’t think he had a mental illness, just too much drug attraction. Whereas Peter was definitely manic-depressive and was having a manic episode when I saw him just before he disappeared.

  12. Roy Eassa Says:

    I knew Bill from when he was 11 (1974) until I left Syracuse for college in 1977, plus saw him when I visited after that. He visited my house and I visited his (and distinctly remember telling him that his sister was really cute).

    In chess, we were rivals. He had begun zooming up in ratings and was undoubtedly better (and younger) than I, but I did manage the occasional win against him. One year I won the county’s high school championship but had to face the junior high champ for the overall school championship — and of course that was Bill. We played to two draws before he won the third game (it was supposed to be a one-game playoff!) and he got the “big” trophy. The next year, my last year in HS, I had to choose between chess and a math competition and chose the latter, only to learn that Bill had skipped playing and the overall trophy was even bigger. To this day I regret my math-over-chess decision!

    Bill could be incredibly obnoxious, but he was really a good guy. I was so sad to learn that he had gotten into drugs, but I was pretty sure he had given them up. Shortly after Bill’s tragic death, Dave Blaisdell (a high-ranking member of the Syracuse Chess Club at the time) told me that Bill died when he had an epileptic seizure that happened when he was swimming (i.e., it caused him to drown).

    It should be mentioned that the very next year after he had a disastrous result at the US Junior Championship, he tied for second place and almost won the thing. I have no doubt that he could have been a Grandmaster, like Jon Tisdall (who I first met in fifth grade when he demolished me in a game when we were first boards for our respective elementary school teams).

    It still saddens me to think of what happened to Bill Adam (and to Chris Bradshaw, who I also remember as a good guy).

    One final, random memory of Bill: I once dared him to take a drink of hydrogen hydroxide and he said, “No way, that stuff will kill you!” — then I told him that it was just another name for water.

    Hydrogen hydroxide! Never heard that one before — good one!

  13. Roy Eassa Says:

    Bill had a good sense of humor. He got it and laughed, even though in retrospect it would have been even funnier if I’d said “dihydrogen monoxide” (yes, I was taking high school chemistry at the time!).

  14. Ron Young Says:

    On a 70’s SNL episode, a guy on Weekend Update was complaining about media hysteria over chemicals in food, and he cited hydrogen hydroxide and sodium chloride as two scary-sounding-yet-harmless things. So Jane Curtin invited him to sample a glass of hydrogen sulfate (or whatever the precise chemical name for H2SO4 is), the guy gratefully accepted, and hilarity ensued.

    Ah, just noticed the latest post. Yes, I have heard that “dihydrogen monoxide” is the latest hip phrase.

  15. Randy Pellam Says:

    I was a very good friend of Bill’s and even stayed with him and his family for a month or 2 around 1976. ( He did have brothers) I drove Bill to many tournaments including the 1976 world open; a tournament in Philadelphia which he won moving his rating over 2300: and a 12 round insanity open (Rochester?) that we each won class prizes at.

    He was a great guy and a talented chessplayer. When he went off to collage I moved to Florida but we still ocasionally kept in touch by phone. I was deeply saddened to read of his demise in chess life.

    Bill loved life and liked to push things to the limit. One time I was driving Bill and Jon Tisdall to someones house where a big game of RISK was in the offing. I jokingly suggested that I do a 360 in the car at a high rate of speed. Bill was all for it while Jon was pleading with me to pull over and let him out. I did not do the 360 and Jon never rode with me again.

    By the way what did happen to Chris Bradshaw? Has he died also? He rode back from the 1976 world open with Bill and myself and we stopped in at USCF headquarters to check it out while Bill Registered for the top junior rating lists.

    Such a tragedy. For a time he was my best friend despite the fact I was 6 years older.

    And yes he did have several cute sisters,especially Madeline who I once got a kiss from.

  16. Randy Pellam Says:

    Following up on the previous comment a couple of corrections. I believe it was Diplomacy Bill, Jon, and I were headed out to play. I think it was 1977 I stayed with Bill and family for awhile.

    The following incident was typical of Bill as seen by those who knew him well. One day I found a long forgotten cake in their kitchen that appeared to be solid mold. I remember at least 7 distinct colors,(blue green purple red white grey black). Some so vibrant they could almost be described as day-glo all competing for the remains of the cake. I wish I had a picture of it. Bill quickly hid the cake in the garbage and cleaned the cake plate. He said it was made by his mother and did not turn out very well. He hid it so his mom would not find it and be reminded of the cake that no one wanted to eat.

    This was the kind and thoughtful person that would be seen by those who knew him well.

    RIP.

    There was a gigantic multi-player Diplomacy game at Jon Schroer’s house in Long Island and Bill may have been there. I know Bill was at Eric Schiller’s house (elsewhere on Long Island) and thought tennis balls were grenades (during an intense party).

  17. Robert Glassman Says:

    I played Bill in the 3rd round of the US Junior Open in Storrs, CT in 1976. The tournament, which was interrupted by Hurricane Bella and some player rowdiness, included many top players (Joel Benjamin, Steven Odenthal, Eric Moskow, et al). Well, Bill completely outplayed my Stonewall Attack in a game that was unique in my chess career in terms of the friendliness of my opponent. During the game, he kept up a fun and energetic banter with me, and even tried teaching me at times (apparently I would’ve had a clear positional edge if only I had….). Despite losing, I really took to Bill and we hung out (along with Joel Benjamin, “Class B Cinderella” player Mark Dean, whodrew Joel and beat several experts, my friend Tim O’Keeffe, and others. I never saw Bill again but his brief spark in my life was long remembered.

    I was pretty highly rated at 2095. But Charlie Hertan (2120) ruined my tournament.

  18. Randy Pellam Says:

    I drove Bill to that very tournament which I also played in. (US Junior open 1976). I always wanted to relate a story from that but never have.

    A large group of us decided it would be fun to move cars around in the parking lot. Eric Moskow was the ringleader in this effort. There were two cars identical in year,model, interior and exterior colors. We switched places with the cars. I do not remember Bill helping in this but he was with me while going out to my car later. An older couple was trying repeatedly to open the switched car without success. The lady finally looked closely at the objects in the interior and stated “this is not our car”.
    The gentleman was literally scratching his head wearing a look of confusion. After scanning the parking lot they found their car and left. I don’t see how they ever figured out why the car was not parked where they left it. Bill and I had a heck of a good laugh over that one.

    See the story on the 1976 US Junior Open.. I was there and remember that the Dean banned future chess tournaments “for life!” The problem was that the car move ruptured, I believe, the brake lines. Eric would know more. 🙂

  19. Dave Gertler Says:

    I’ll chip in with a couple of Bill Adam reminiscences. I met him when we played in round 5 of the 1978 National H.S. (the one where he tied for first). I had just smashed top seed & defending champ Jim Thibault to reach 4-0 and was pumped. Bill built a nice positional bind with a g3 Vienna and was about to win a pawn when I made a massive blunder, enabling him to trade his Queen for my two Rooks (with checks), then pick off the Queen I had just left en prise. So much for my title hopes.

    Later in that tournament, he was paired with Joel B, and before the round I heard Joel tell someone he was worried because he had seen Bill getting high and Bill played better when he was high. (Sorry to paint Bill in this light; apparently his drug use was well known. I think Joel won the game, but I could be wrong.)

    My other game with Bill was at an invitational “futurity” in NYC – one of the ones Bruce Leverett played in, as he mentioned above. Bill came to his games wearing a wineskin and drinking who-knows-what from it between moves. Our game went all of 5 moves before we agreed to a draw; he didn’t seem interested in playing, and I was having a poor tournament and glad for the half point. (I managed to be both the only player to beat tournament winner Leslie Braun and the only one to lose to tail-ender Ed Frumkin.)

    Anyway, Bill was an exotic character and a force on the chessboard; it’s a shame things turned out as they did.

  20. Roy Eassa Says:

    Regarding Chris Bradshaw, in 1983 he was on board an airplane and apparently tried to crash it while it was landing. He was in a mental institution for at least two decades after that. Here’s something about it, reported by Tom Brokaw: http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/program.pl?ID=533032 . And here’s the latest update (from 2005) I could readily find: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-136428641.html

  21. Roy Eassa Says:

    Update: Bradshaw was apparently released in 2010, 27 years after the incident: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/man_who_tried_to_crash_plane_i.html

  22. Bill Pierce Says:

    I’m amazed that I found this tread. Bill Adam & I were close friends while at Nottingham High School. He lived at the bottom of the same road I lived on so we walked home together most days. I did play chess but certainly not at the level at which Bill competed. I believe I was the last person from Syracuse to speak with him before he passed away. I just happened to run into him at the Shoppingtown mall just prior to him hopping onto his motorbike & heading back to Stoneybrook, where, as I understand it, he died later that evening. We (friends of Bills) also thought news of his passing was some kind of joke but since the news came directly from his mother (I still remember who, when & where) we knew it was not. I’m glad Bills memory is preserved here, even if his passing was in way back in BC (before computers).

  23. Wilfred Brown Says:

    I was a graduate student in Math at Syracuse from 1974-76 and quite active at the Syracuse Chess Club. I was a low expert. The club wasn’t all that strong, but Jon Tisdall would occasionally come (I had a car and if memory serves would give him rides), and I have the scores of four offhand games with Bill from 74-76. As far as I can tell they were all rather quick 30 minute games, not part of any tournament. Two were …e5 sicilians with Bill having Black, one a Rat and another a Gruenfeld, with Bill having White in those two. I left Syracuse in December of 1976 and never knew what happened to him. Very sorry to learn the news.

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