Dear Mr. West,
I am a chess player and a fan of unorthodox openings in particular. I came across your blog on Robert Durkin. It seems that information on Mr. Durkin is quite scarce on Internet, and I have not found much on Mr. Durkin in any of my unorthodox chess literature either. Do you know if Mr. Durkin was married or had any children? Do you know if he is still alive? I am always curious about the backgrounds of my favorite chess players.
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Having met Robert Durkin only twice, I don't know the answers to your questions.
More than 25 years ago, he showed up on a Saturday morning at the Toms River chess club carrying an old suitcase that contained pieces, board, and an oversized clock. When one of the chess players objected to using the clock, Durkin chose not to participate in the scheduled quads. Otherwise, I probably would have been paired against him.
In December 1987, we played the following game at the Hamilton quads. I show approximate ratings.
Robert Durkin (USCF 2100) - Jim West (USCF 2200), Hamilton NJ 12/1987
1.Na3 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.e4 Nc6 5.Ne2 e6 6.O-O Nge7 7.f4 d6 8.c3 O-O 9.d3 Rb8 10.Be3 b5 11.Qd2 b4 12.Nc4 d5 13.Ne5 Nxe5 14.fxe5 bxc3 15.bxc3 Qc7 16.d4 Ba6
17.Rf2 dxe4 18.Bxe4 Nf5 19.Bxf5 exf5 20.Nf4 Bb7 21.e6 cxd4 22.cxd4 fxe6 23.Nxe6 Qc6 24.d5 Qxd5 25.Qxd5 Bxd5 26.Nxg7 Kxg7 27.Bxa7 Rb7 28.Bd4+ Kg8 29.a4 Rfb8 30.a5 Rb1+ 31.Rf1 Be4 32.Bb6 Rb2 33.Rf2 Rxf2 34.Kxf2 Kf7
35.Ke3 Ke6 36.Kd4 Kd7 37.Bc5 Kc6 38.a6 Rd8+ 39.Kc4 Bd5+ 40.Kd4 Bg8+ 41.Ke3 Kxc5 42.a7, and White resigns.